According to the Chicken Farmers of Ontario website: “CFO is continually looking to meet the changing needs of Ontario chicken consumers and markets. These new programs will help farmers fill local food and seasonal markets and will give Ontario consumers more choice and options in how and where they buy locally grown chicken.
The new CFO programs were developed following six months of extensive public consultations during which the Board and its Team Ontario partners solicited input from farmers, the chicken processing sector, the retail food industry, members of the public and government stakeholders. CFO is focused on finding new ways to support the growth of a local chicken industry, increase job opportunities across the province and ultimately to provide fresh ideas to grow Ontario.
The Artisanal Chicken Program is directed at those farmers who are interested in growing between 600 and 3,000 chickens annually for select target markets such as local farmer markets….”
Sounds great. Now how about a similar program from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) for raw milk producers who want to operate small community based farmshare enterprises outside of the quota system?
In fact the principle would be very similar to what the CFO have done. The CFO recognized the existence of a niche market (for local chicken) that was not being served through their quota system and they graciously took steps to accommodate the supplying of that niche by small producers outside their system of quotas.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that that a lot of the resistance to re-interpreting the law to allow small herdshares comes mainly from the DFO and their lobbying to protect what they see as their interest in maintaining a monopoly in the Province. If the DFO were suddenly to have a change of heart about their attitude to raw milk, might that not lead to more flexibility on the regulatory front?
A similar sort of re-interpretation happened not that long ago with respect to farmers markets and the health premises regulation, which was being applied also to church groups and other ad-hoc semi-public gatherings, to varying degrees of strictness.
In response to public pressure, and in recognition of the problem, the Ontario Health Ministry put together a special set of guidelines to apply to farmers markets and church gatherings, and it all happened over the course of just three months — and it didn’t require any changing of the law, only changing of the regulations derived or interpreted from the law. Here’s a link to the document that resulted from that process.