The Ontario Cheese Society is transforming into a Canadian organization to represent and promote artisan, farmstead and specialty cheesemakers coast to coast.
Since its inception as a provincial body in 2004, the Society has grown to include more than 100 active members as Canada’s only value-chain-based cheese organization. Its membership includes all levels of the value chain from cheese producers and dairy farmers to cheesemongers, retailers, distributors, supporting industry, food writers, academics and cheese enthusiasts alike.
“It became clear to us that cheese producers and cheese lovers in other provinces would be interested in—and benefit from—becoming part of a unique value-chain organization,” says Gurth Pretty, Ontario Cheese Society chair and president of the new Canadian organization. “At our annual general meeting in April 2010, the board of directors presented a proposal to expand our mission across Canada.”
Members endorsed the proposal and the hunt was on for a new name for the new organization. In August, a member survey revealed emphatic support for the new name, with 81 per cent favouring Canadian Cheese Society. It will be a bilingual organization, known in French as la Société des fromages canadiens.
The transformation to the new name and new organization will officially take place January 1, 2011, with the unveiling of a new logo and a revamped website. The Canadian Cheese Society’s first conference will take place in Toronto in the spring of 2011.
The Society objectives are:
- to promote and support the attainment of the common goal of its members, which is to grow and develop the artisan/farmstead/specialty cheese sector;
- to organize networking and educational opportunities for members;
- to provide co-promotion opportunities;
- to advocate the importance of the artisan/farmstead/specialty cheese community to policy makers and the consumer;
- to facilitate professional development opportunities for its members.
There are four levels of membership:
- Supporting Industry
For background on the transformation, see the earlier report by CheeseLover.ca.