Q & A with the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society

This summer, you’ll once again see the Kootenay Mountain Grown (KMG) label on some of our produce. This special designation belongs to the certifying arm of a unique and exciting local agricultural organisation called the Kootenay Local Agricultural Society (KLAS).  We thought you might be interested to find out more about KLAS, their many services and the small family farms they support and promote.

What is KLAS?

KLAS is a non-profit local agricultural organization dedicated to the production and promotion of local agriculture and products. They are committed to supporting and strengthening sustainable agriculture and related businesses in the region. They do this by providing an extensive list of services to their members, including:

  • An extensive tool lending library. Thanks to an additional grant from the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), the Tool Library is about to double in size. The CBT has very generously allocated an additional $ 50,000 to the expansion and development of the Society’s Tool Library – the equipment has been chosen and will be arriving in late April or early May 2012.
  • A virtual and physical reference book lending library with over 250 titles combined.
  • Courses on subjects including gardening and beekeeping. See featured photos.
  • On-line resources like their excellent ‘Growing in the Kootenays’ Guide, Seed Saving guides and tons of information about Kootenay Beekeeping!
  • Certification with their Kootenay Mountain Grown label.You may have noticed the KMG label in the produce department at the Kootenay Co-op! As the owner and certifier of the Kootenay Mountain Grown (KMG) label, the Society is responsible for ensuring that only farmers and processors that meet the KMG standards for organic agriculture can market their product as KMG.
  • KLAS aslo provides support and information to its members through regular newsletters, farm field days, mentoring programs, research trials, and marketing materials.

Who can become a KLAS member?

Anyone can become a member! The basic membership fee is only $40/year. This allows you to access the benefits listed above. If you are a farmer, grower or processor there are additional benefits and fees.

Where can we get more information about KLAS?

Check out their great website! www.klasociety.org

What is the purpose of the Kootenay Mountain Grown label?

The Kootenay Mountain Grown (KMG) label was created by KLAS to enhance the sales of, and to create an identity for, locally produced agricultural produce and to build and reinforce consumer preference for local products.

The KMG certification has been designed to foster a thriving, sustainable local food supply.  It was formed by farmers, food activists, and local food buyers, and responds to an increasing focus on locally grown food.  The certification process is clearly defined and affordable for small farmers.

Is KMG the similar to Organic Certification?

  • The KMG certification process ensures that the food grown by our farmers can only be grown with products and methods that are approved for certified organic standards.
  • Their farmers are committed to supplying food that is high quality, fresh, ripe, clean, safe and nourishing.
  • All their farms are local family farms who strive to be ‘Beyond Organic’.
  • All their farms are GMO free zones, they promote the use of local seeds and seed saving and promote the preservation of heritage varieties.
  • All Livestock on their farms are humanely treated and ethically raised.
  • Their farms provide a secure food supply for the Kootenays.

How can people get more specific information about KMG certification?

They operate their own published standards (available for download on their web site) and they have a system of farmer to farmer based certification to ensure that all their farms comply with KMG standards. For information about KMG go to www.kootenaymountaingrown.org

-On the Table,  July/Aug Issue 2012

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