First Organic Dairy in Eastern Canada Launched in Guelph
August 11, 2010
(GUELPH, ON) – A milestone achievement for the organic dairy farmers’ industry was realized today during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Guelph to officially launch the first organic dairy in Eastern Canada. Steen’s Dairy Ltd. and Organic Meadow Co-operative Inc. were joined by Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Carol Mitchell and more than 100 Organic Meadow farmers to celebrate the opening of the 20,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art dairy processing facility, the first new independent dairy constructed in more than 20 years.
Currently, three dairy conglomerates produce 70% of all milk processed in Canada. Over the past 20 years, many small operations have either closed or consolidated. Today’s launch is evidence of the increasing popularity of buying local, Canadian organic dairy products as well as the increasing brand strength of family-owned operations such as Steen’s Dairy, and Organic Meadow Co-op that’s comprised of 100 family farms located across Ontario.
"This partnership is all about family," said Tom Steen, owner of Steen’s Dairy Ltd. "We’ve remained a family business for three generations and have been associated with Organic Meadow since it started 21 years ago. So our new venture is simply a continuation of a longstanding mutually successful relationship."
With a $500,000 investment from the Ontario government through the Rural Economic Development Program and Ontario Market Investment Fund (OMIF), the new facility, owned and operated by Steen’s Dairy and Organic Meadow, will produce both conventional and organic dairy products. More than 50 full-time equivalent jobs were created during the construction phase of the project, building a top-grade facility large enough to grow with the increasing demand for organic milk, yet small and flexible enough to process niche products.
The dairy incorporates best-in-class components to minimally process milk to achieve unsurpassed flavour, and is the first of its kind in Canada to feature stainless steel walls reflecting Steen’s and Organic Meadow’s overriding commitment to purity.
"We’re proud to be local and independent and every one of our 100 family farms is committed to providing Canadians with wholesome, certified organic food," said Steve Cavell, CEO, Organic Meadow. "Our partnership with Steen’s will help us grow to ensure the long-term viability of our co-op member family farms."
A total of 30 jobs have been protected in the move of Steen’s Dairy from Erin, ON to its new Guelph location on Laird Rd., and up to a dozen more jobs will be created in coming years.
About Organic Meadow
Organic Meadow Co-operative Inc. is a farmer co-op consisting of over 100 family farms, more then 50% of which are within 100 miles of downtown Toronto. Organic Meadow Inc is the marketing organization that helps to bring more then 60 products to consumers across Canada. As a co-op, Organic Meadow shares profits with the farmers who lead it and have invested in it, thereby supporting rural economies in Ontario. Organic Meadow sustains its strong social mission and actively supports a number of charities including The Stop/Green Barn, Farmers Helpline, a co-op development in Gambia (Africa), the Guelph Family Shelter, Second Harvest and others. Organic Meadow has also funded and helped create organic farmers' co-operatives in Nova Scotia and Manitoba. For more information, visit the Organic Meadow website at www.organicmeadow.com
About Steen’s Dairy
Steen’s Dairy Limited is a third-generation company dedicated to delivering fresh, quality dairy products to Ontario customers. The company supports local dairy farmers with same day pick-up and processing, and meets the ongoing challenge of finding new, innovative methods of production and packaging to consistently provide the finest dairy products available.