This project, formerly known as the Sustainable Farm and Food Initiative, was developed by a coalition of Ontario farm organizations in collaboration with representatives from the food and beverage sector, academia, and non-government organizations. From the work completed to date, an evolution of SFFI into a national initiative is the next critical step, therefore, a national leadership committee is required as well as a more inclusive name. As a result, the Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) is was developed.
CASI has received approval for their Dairy Goat Pilot Project. This proof-of-concept project will include the development of an electronic tool (or questionnaire) that will consist of questions compiled from three existing sustainability tools. This sustainability tool will be tested by 8-12 dairy goat producers and subsequently evaluated by the project team for ease of use, alignment with international sustainability tools, and overall usefulness to the dairy goat supply chain. The key learnings from this proof-of-concept project will further inform the development of the whole farm, whole value chain model that is integral to the CASI. In-kind support related to the development and implementation of the data collection tool for this proof-of-concept project is being provided by BIO and AGSI.
CASI is intended to be a whole farm, whole value chain approach to meeting the increasing demands for demonstration of on-farm sustainability practices. CASI will provide the on-line platform that will help the industry meet the need for a one-stop approach to sustainability ()
As the needs of a growing population for food, fibre and fuel continue to put pressure on a shrinking agricultural land base. Sustainable agricultural practices can help alleviate this pressure. The three most accepted pillars that encompass sustainable agriculture are economic, social and environment.
Simultaneously, there is increasing pressure across the value chain for demonstration of sustainable production practices. This demand for evidence of sustainability has resulted in the development and implementation of a multitude of commodity-specific standards, programs and tools which have potential to create confusion, redundancy and increased costs across the sector.
Therefore, need exists for a simplified and streamlined approach that will help farmers meet the market demands for evidence of sustainable production methods, as well as to drive continuous improvement across the sector.
Members of this initiative include the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association, Provision Coalition, Presidents’ Council, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies, The Food Institute of the University of Guelph, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Farm & Food Care Ontario and National Farmers Union of Ontario The Initiative’s Steering Committee is Chaired by Gord Surgeoner, former President of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies. This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.