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Food News 2008

 

Comments on the 2006 Census for Agriculture

Released on December 2, 2008 and on May 16, 2007

A summary by David Cohlmeyer of Cookstown Greens

As Ontario’s farm population continues its long decline, down another 6% from 2001 and now representing only 1.5% of the Ontario population, changes to our food system in a democratic society need to be initiated and followed through by city-folk more than ever.

The average age of Ontario farmers has continued rising from 51 years in 2001 to 53 in 2006, the highest of all occupations (the national labour force average is 41 years). Quebec, with more munificent support for young farmers, has only 7% of farmers over 65 years, while Canada-wide, farmers over 65 comprise of a whopping 11%. Even more concerning is that Ontario’s young farmers, those under 35 years of age, have decreased by 25%!

posted on November 27, 2008

Rich countries launch land grab to safeguard food supply

- States and companies target developing nations
- Small farmers at risk from industrial-scale deals

By: Julian Borger
Published: November 22 2008
Source: The Guardian

Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies.

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of "neo-colonialism", with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.

Rising food prices have already set off a second "scramble for Africa". This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports.

posted on October 29, 2008

'Locally grown' food sounds great, but what does it mean?

By: Julie Schmit
Published: 28.oct.08
Source: USA Today, link

Virginia farmer Rod Parker can walk into a grocery store 10 miles from his farm, 40 miles from it and even 100 miles from it and see his fresh produce marketed as "locally grown."

Some retailers even consider "locally grown" to be something produced a day's drive from the store, he says. Meanwhile, "I'm sure consumers think it's grown right down the road," says the owner of Parker Farms.

Nationwide, retailers from Wal-Mart to Whole Foods are increasingly devoting more shelf space to "locally grown" products including such things as fresh produce and Thanksgiving turkeys. Whole Foods, for one, now spends almost 22% of its produce budget on locally grown products, up from 15% four years ago, it says.

"There's a feeling that if it's local, it's safer. I consider that a myth," says Christine Bruhn, food-marketing specialist at the University of California-Davis.

posted on November 07, 2008

Sprawl eating away at prime farmland

At the same time, demand for locally grown food is on the rise, says Agricultural Action Committee

By: Moira Welsh
Published: October 09, 2008
Source: The Star

Prime farmland in the greater Toronto region is being gobbled up by urban sprawl at the same time that consumer demand for locally grown food is on the rise, says an agricultural expert.

"Assuming sprawl will continue, it will eat up the better land in the GTA," Elbert van Donkersgoed, executive director of the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee, said yesterday.

The greenbelt protections in the GTA – forbidding development on a tract of land that rings the region – do not protect much of the best quality farmland, van Donkersgoed said at a breakfast session of the Canadian Urban Institute.

Read more >>

posted on September 29, 2008

The Star: Little Portugal is trendy, with a family vibe

By: Emily Mathieu
Published: Sep 26, 2008
Source: The Star

Time-tested restaurants and a thriving community park are what Judith Rudoler loves about the four city blocks around Havelock St.

Rudoler lives at Bloor St. W. and Dufferin St. in an area known as Little Portugal. The area also has a sizable Korean and Caribbean population and gives off a nice, eclectic family vibe, she says.

"I like the fact that it is not overly trendy," says Rudoler, 30. She's also a 30-minute walk to The Paper Place at 887 Queen St. W., a speciality store selling hand-made papers from around the world, where she is the manager.

She has lived in the same area for about 10 years.

We start on Havelock and head south. Along the way she points out her favourite house with a giant lilac bush out front. "It's not the house, it's the lilac bush I love the most," she says. Rudoler loves lilacs so much a fair portion of her shoulder and back sport a detailed tattoo of the flower.

What is the best part of your neighbourhood?

Dufferin Grove Park, says Rudoler standing at the park's edge at Havelock St. and Sylvan Ave. "I think this is the best part of the neighbourhood ... it's amazing."

posted on September 29, 2008

The Star: City's not fired up about ovens in parks

Environmental and health concerns must be considered, says official

By: Alan Christie
Published: Sep 25, 2008
Source: The Star

More bake ovens in Toronto parks is an idea that just smells right.

But it's easier said than done, apparently.

Every Tuesday, Violetta Cardella, a volunteer baker, gets up early so she can help bake bread in two ovens at Dufferin Grove Park. The bread is brought to the Stonegate farmers' market on Park Lawn Rd. Most of the loaves, with no additives and baked with organic grains, sell for $4. The sesame bread is $5.

Cardella not only bakes the bread, she helps sell it. The market is only open one day, Tuesdays, from 4 until 7 p.m. in the tiny parking lot of St. James Anglican Church.

Julia Graham, a community health worker at the Stonegate Community Health Centre, hopes the market can be moved to a larger area in Bell Manor park, about 10 minutes away – complete with a bake oven. She says the Stonegate community is waiting for the City of Toronto to establish a policy on ovens in parks before applying for one.

But Peter Leiss, a supervisor and acting manager in the city's parks and recreation department, says city council has no policy on allowing bread ovens in parks, with the strong suggestion not to expect one.

Approvals are made "on a case-by-case basis," Leiss said in a telephone interview.

posted on September 17, 2008

The Globe and Mail: In defence of fat

Banishing butter, well-marbled steaks and chicken skin from our diets hasn't made us skinnier or healthier. It's just made our food boring. It's time to shed our phobia of fat and embrace the ingredient that may be the sixth taste, James Beard Award-winning author Jennifer McLagan argues in this excerpt from her controversial new book

By: JENNIFER MCLAGAN
Published: September 17, 2008
Source: The Globe and Mail

"From the beginning of human history until the middle of the last century, the word fat had positive connotations. People lived off "the fat of the land" and everybody was happy to receive a "fat paycheque."

Fat was valuable and useful. The best meat was well marbled and had a good coating of fat, and only the plumpest chicken was selected for the pot. Fat was an integral part of our diet, and those who didn't eat enough were sickly and often died.

People living in extreme conditions, like the Inuit and the Masai, survived only because their food was high in fat. Eating fat and being a little plump was a sign of prosperity and health; no one wanted to be thin.

Fat is no longer seen as valuable, and being plump is considered a health risk. Fat is no longer admired or associated with wealth, and, worse still, the fat in our food is now inexorably linked to the fat on our bodies. So our fear of getting fat makes us choose low-fat meats and eat lean chicken. Related Articles

Recent

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

posted on September 17, 2008

Did Bayer Pesticides Cause the Mass Death of Bees?

Published: August 25, 2008
Source: www.organicconsumers.org

bees, honeybeesThe German Coalition against Bayer Dangers has brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management. The group accuses Bayer of marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby causing the mass death of bees all over the world.

The Coalition introduced the charge in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year.

Since 1991, Bayer has been producing the insecticide Imidacloprid, a best-selling product that is exported to more than 120 countries. When patent protection for Imidacloprid expired in most countries in 2003, Bayer brought the similarly functioning Clothianidin onto the market. Both substances can get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.

The marketing of Imidacloprid and Clothianidin coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European and American countries. Up to 70 percent of all hives have been affected.

The German Coalition against Bayer Dangers suspects that Bayer submitted flawed studies to play down the risks of pesticide residues in treated plants -- a suspicion that was later confirmed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Sources: Organic Consumers Organization August 25, 2008

posted on September 06, 2008

The Star: Small cows have a big future in Ontario

`The small cow with a big future' is gaining ground in Ontario

By: Francine Kopun
Published: September 06, 2008
Source: The Star


FRED THORNHILL FOR THE TORONTO STAR
Grant Comissiong with his herd, in Rosemeath.
"My wife named them all. They're all named after spices."

Have a cow. Seriously.

Not a humongous, lumbering soft-eyed hay-eater. Those are for cattle ranchers.

The cow for you is petite, the height of a big dog, survives on grass and bushes and produces high-quality milk or meat. A mini-cow.

At 700 pounds, they remain unsuitable for condo balconies or even the average backyard, but mini-cows like the Dexter, growing in popularity in North America, can live happily on half a hectare or less.

"My cows are the talk of the neighbourhood because they are small and they live on weeds," says Charlotte Gushue of Charlotte's Web Farm in Millbrook.

The Dexter is a cow whose time has come, enthusiasts say. They keep your lawn cropped, and produce food, making them energy efficient. And if you keep your own cow, you know it's not hopped up on hormones or stuffed with chemicals.

posted on September 02, 2008

Good news for Canadian consumers: Monsanto is dropping a genetically engineered hormone for milk

Canada — The power of global consumer pressure has forced U.S. chemical giant Monsanto to get out of producing the bovine growth hormone rBST, a genetically engineered (GE) product to increase milk production in dairy cows.

Published: 08 August 2008
Source: greenpeace.org


Is this cow free of bovine growth hormone?

This is good news for Canadian consumers because right now they may be eating processed foods—including ice cream and infant formula—that are made with rBST modified milk ingredients. Canadians continue to eat products with rBST even though Canada, and also Europe, has banned milk and cheese made with the hormone for the past decade.

Global and consumer markets have rejected rBST and that has caused Monsanto’s decision to get out of the rBST business in the U.S..

"This is a big victory for American and Canadian consumers," said Josh Brandon, agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace. "The massive and sustained rejection of rBST milk highlights even further the need for Canada to require labelling of all genetically engineered foods."

posted on August 29, 2008

The Globe and Mail: Go wild

By: BONNY REICHERT
Published: August 27, 2008
Source: The Globe and Mail

Think wild blueberries are exotic? Try picking your own cattail shoots, milkweed pods or wild ginger. Eating locally might be trendy, but foodies who are serious about tasting terroir are turning to foraging.

Wild foods are local edibles with attitude and grit — coming up when and where they please without help from farmer or gardener. Chefs across the country already know these indigenous plants are as delicious to eat as they are exciting to hunt, and many are in their prime right now.

Salal berries

Where it grows On evergreen shrubs in the shady, moist, coastal areas of British Columbia.

When to look for it The plant begins to fruit in June, but the berries, about the size of a cranberry, are not ripe until they are dark blue or black, usually in late July through August. Sturdy crops of berries can last into the fall, when they will be sweetened by a few autumn frosts.

posted on August 28, 2008

Experts see local farms as safer option

By: Cindy E. Harnett
Published: 27.aug.08
Source: Times Colonist
The article on Times Colonist website

More locally produced food won't stop people from getting foodborne illnesses, but in the wake of a the deadly listeria outbreak connected to the death of 15 people so far, including one from Vancouver Island, it would help reduce the scale of the tragedy, Tom Henry says.

"When you put all your eggs in one basket, it affects a lot of people in contrast with a small slaughterhouse or butcher shop," said Henry, a local author and editor of Small Farm Canada.

If an outbreak happened in a Ladysmith plant, for example, there would be perhaps one or two deaths and a dozen illnesses, and the products could be retraced and people contacted quickly, Henry said.

Meanwhile, recent outbreaks connected with spinach, tomatoes and cheese have affected people nationally and internationally.

posted on August 23, 2008

A flood of farmers’ markets

By: Diane Peters
Published: August 22, 2008
Source: National Post

TORONTO • Light rain begins to patter on the high metal roof over the Brick Works Farmers' Market. The cavernous space dotted with market stands is suddenly flush with customers who have dashed in from the nature walk, face painting table and cob-making workshop. The crowd is almost elbow-to-elbow, but not quite. There are lineups - well, short ones - to check out the organic meat, nab a bag of sprouts and wait for a bowl of spicy hot chic peas.

That was 11:30 a.m. An hour later, the place is nearly empty. Was market day a success? Sort of. The organic beets have long sold out, the breakfast burrito guy must be ready to collapse, but there are still lots of peaches left on display.

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/flood+farmers+markets/743139/story.html

(:/document:)

posted on August 21, 2008

Market Trends

Enough talk about farmer’s markets, let’s see some action!

Many studies demonstrate how a vibrant farmer’s market
can revitalize an urban core.

By: BRENT WARNER
Published: September/ October 2008
Source: Small Farm Magazine

Farmer’s markets have been one of the most successful vehicles for getting local produce to customers, but rapid changes have to be made by farmers, consumers, and—most importantly— governments at all levels to keep up this momentum.

Apparently some governments are beginning to understand this. In June the Ontario government announced a $4 million funding program to help make local food available through both on-farm sales and at Ontario farm markets. It is part of $56 million to be spent over the next four years to support local initiatives (more information at: http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/infores/releases/2008/062408.htm)

Read more >>

posted on August 20, 2008

Canadian Organic Regulations

By: Doug DiPasquale
Published: Aug 5th 2008
Source: AOL, Canada

As of December 14, 2008, you will see a new label appearing on organic products in grocery stores. But the new Canada Organic logo is more than just a colourful new sticker - any product which claims to be organic will now need to comply with the requirements of the Organic Products Regulations overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

From 1999 Canada had strictly voluntary national organic standards in place and private regulatory bodies would certify products as organic. As of December 2006 the Organic Production Standards passed into law, where any product claiming to be organic, or have organic ingredients, needed to comply with the standards put forward by the federal government. There has been a two-year transition period for growers and manufacturers to get their operations up to these national standards. As of this December, the transition period is over.

posted on August 16, 2008

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster

By: Jeff Randall
Published: 12/08/2008
Source: Telegraph

The mass development of genetically modified crops risks causing the world's worst environmental disaster, The Prince of Wales has warned.

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster Listen: The Prince of Wales speaks out

In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone "seriously wrong".

The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research.

He accused firms of conducting a "gigantic experiment I think with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong".

"Why else are we facing all these challenges, climate change and everything?".

posted on August 01, 2008

Quebec to allow raw-milk cheeses

By: INGRID PERITZ
Published: July 31, 2008 at 7:12 PM EDT
Source: Globe and Mail

MONTREAL — Quebec has taken a new step toward culinary uniqueness: It will allow its cheese makers to produce the kind of stinky, oozing, unpasteurized bries and camemberts that are illegal in the rest of North America.

The government has modified regulations to allow the production and sale of raw-milk cheeses that have been aged for less than 60 days.

Elsewhere, such young cheeses are verboten due to health concerns. But producers in Quebec, which leads the country in raw-milk cheese consumption, have been lobbying the province for years to change the rules.

They believe such raw-milk cheese is not only healthy, but pasteurization destroys microbes that give their product a deep, palette-pleasing flavour.

“We are very pleased by what is being put on the table. It will bring about a new wave of soft cheeses and raise them to a completely new gustatory level,” said Nancy Portelance, who represents 17 artisan cheese makers in the province.

posted on July 24, 2008

AGRICULTURE-SOUTH AFRICA:
Small Farmers Pushed to Plant GM Seed

By: Kristin Palitza
Published: Thursday, July 24
Source: Inter Press Service News Agency

DURBAN,Jul 21 (IPS) - Baphethile Mntambo has been farming organically for the past five years because she knows that avoiding chemicals will in the long-term benefit her yield. She decided not to plant genetically modified seeds because she has heard that they cannot be saved for the next season and will eventually deplete her soil. But she is not entirely sure how and why.

"I have heard about GMO, but I don't understand what it is exactly," she says. "The only thing I know is that it will cost a lot of money to buy the seeds, the fertiliser and the pesticides."

Mntambo is one of 50 small-scale farmers in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province who have been taught how to farm organically by non-governmental organisation Valley Trust. The farmers learn to plant seasonal crops that will provide their families both with food security and an opportunity to generate income by selling their produce at local markets.

posted on July 21, 2008

GMOs - Just Say No

By: Doug DiPasquale
Posted: Jun 30th 2008 5:12PM

I came across a fantastic site recently that really helps to elucidate the issue with genetically modified foods. There is a ton of information on this site, and I quote liberally from it below. I figured I would draw your attention to the site and use it as an opportunity to discuss an important topic.

But first, a little bit about GMOs. Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs (also called Genetically Engineered Organisms, or GEOs) are plants or animals that have been altered at the genetic level by having foreign DNA inserted into their natural DNA strand. The result is that new properties are derived in the plant or animal that never previously existed. This should not be confused with natural breeding processes that have existed on this planet since life began and that we humans have perfected over millions of years. Genetic Modification is defined as "the altering of the genetic material in [an] organism in a way that does not occur naturally by mating or natural recombination or both".

posted on May 27, 2008

Canada Votes 'No' on GE-Food Labels

Podcast: 'Deconstructing Dinner' on Bill C-517's defeat in the House of Commons.

By: Jon Steinman
Published: May 26, 2008
Source: TheTyee.ca

View full article and comments here http:///Life/2008/05/26/BillC517/

On April 10, Deconstructing Dinner aired a segment on Bill C-517 -- a bill introduced by Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament Gilles A. Perron. The bill was calling for the mandatory labelling of genetically engineered foods.

Canadians have long been demanding that foods containing genetically engineered ingredients be labelled. Over 40 countries around the world have successfully implemented such requirements.

On April 3, 2008, C-517 was debated in the House by members of all parties. Deconstructing Dinner recorded the debate and followed up with Conservative MP Bruce Stanton who opposed the bill.

The bill was debated yet again on May 5, and on May 7 was defeated by a vote of 156-101.

However, there's one problem; some MPs opposing the bill and joining in the debate on May 5 clearly had very little idea what genetically engineered foods are. Some information in particular, which was shared with the expressed purpose of assuring other MPs and Canadians that GE-foods are safe, was, quite simply, untrue.

The freedom to choose between genetically-engineered foods and non-engineered foods has been negated due to misinformation used to influence the vote.

Of course, as per usual, only one other media source has covered this bill, and that is the country's largest agricultural publication: The Western Producer. Unfortunately, even they did not pick up on the misinformed MPs speaking on the bill.

Voices/guests

posted on May 23, 2008

India accuses potash producers of unfair prices

By: Sean Silcoff
Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Source: Canwest News Service; Financial Post

VIENNA, Austria -- For three decades, India has subsidized its fertilizer industry to keep costs low for farmers. Now, with prices for chemical crop nutrients soaring, that subsidy is taking a giant bite out of the nation's coffers and India's agriculture leaders are accusing the world's producers, led by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., of pushing prices too high and exacerbating the global food crisis.

"What we've observed in the last year is a cartelization of suppliers," said U.S.

Awasthi, managing director of one of the world's largest buyers of fertilizer, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative Ltd. (IFFCO), with 55 million members, many of them small holder farmers.

Read more >>

posted May 09, 2008

Panel questions factory-like farms

WASHINGTON (AP) — American agriculture must move away from its focus on large, industrial farms to reverse environmental and human health problems, a private commission reported Tuesday.

The report examined the impact of what it called the widespread use of industry-like facilities, where large numbers of cattle, pigs and chickens are concentrated, often in very close quarters, for rapid growth and preparation for slaughter.

"There is increasing urgency to chart a new course," concluded the report by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, which spent more than two years examining the industrial farm systems.

LEARN MORE: Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production

The facilities, the report concluded, "often pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the animals themselves" while shifting rural America's economic power from farmers to livestock processors.

posted on May 06, 2008

Poultry in motion: Chickens adopting urban lifestyle

You can raise them in New York but not here. Toronto locavores are hoping to change that

Lucky Clucky feasts directly from the bowl of plenty while
behind her Sally and Heidi forage on the backyard lawn.
The chickens are illegal in Toronto,
a situation their owner is hoping to change.

By: Leslie Scrivener
Published: May 04, 2008
Source: Toronto Star

It's an idyllic scene in a sunny backyard in North Toronto. The forsythia is bright as springtime, and Sally, Heidi and Clucky wander by contentedly. They are plump, vigorous, egg-laying hens that, despite their beauty and utility, are illegal in Toronto.

Nonetheless, their owner has kept them quietly in her backyard coop through the winter and now lets them range freely in the yard, which is shallow but 15 metres wide.

"It makes total sense to me, rather than getting in the car, driving to the grocery store and buying eggs trucked in from a far away farm, to go to the back yard and get eggs," says "Alice," who asked that her real name not be used. A middle-aged mother of two teenagers who works at home in the food business, she had identified herself on the telephone as a "renegade" chicken owner. "Besides, I know they are healthy and what they've eaten."

Toronto bylaws forbid keeping poultry, for health reasons. On the other hand, pigeons raised for sport are allowed, provided they rest, roost or perch only on their owner's property.

Oddly, by raising a few chickens in the city, Alice is in step with a do-it-yourself food movement that is thriving in cities like New York, Portland, Chicago and Seattle. It's legal to keep chickens in those cities and dozens more in the United States.

posted on May 01, 2008

Hungry Planet: What the World Eats


The Mendoza family and a servant in
their courtyard in Todos Santos
Cuchumatán, Guatemala, with a week's
worth of food. © 2005 Peter Menzel from
'Hungry Planet: What the World Eats'

By: Michele Norris
Published: May 1, 2008
Source: NPR.org

All Things Considered, November 9, 2005 · Imagine inviting yourself to dinner with 30 different families... in 24 countries. Imagine shopping, farming, cooking and eating with those families... taking note of every vegetable peeled, every beverage poured, every package opened. Well that's what photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D'Aluisio did for their new book, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. The husband-and-wife team wanted to see how globalization, migration and rising affluence are affecting the diets of communities around the globe. Each chapter of their book features a portrait of a family, photographed alongside a week's worth of groceries. There's also a detailed list of all the food and the total cost.

Read more >>

posted on April 18, 2008

Slaves to the sheaf

Blame our addiction to wheat for rising prices — not hungry Third Worlders

By: Wayne Roberts
Published: 18/4/2008
Source: nowtoronto.com


Fact that wheat bakes into puffy bread lets capitalists sell air.

As prices for rice, wheat and corn hit record levels globally, the media and stock traders are having a heyday with stories about the end of cheap food.

But reports of the death of cheap food are greatly exaggerated. The more interesting threat is that we will have expensive cheap food.

That’s because monopolies, centralization and uneducated tastes are the cheap tricks of the cheap food industry. And of 7,000 plant species that can be cultivated by humans, only 150 are grown commercially, and the three mentioned above represent half the calories consumed in the entire world.

But we get ahead of ourselves. The price hysteria proceeds apace. Donald Coxe, global portfolio strategist for the Bank of Montreal, claims food scarcity has become the world’s second-biggest danger after the threat of nuclear war.

The expanding middle classes of India and China want their share of meat, dairy and egg products, and that’s driving up the price of feed grains that fatten livestock, Coxe says.

“We are facing the real possibility of the worst global food crisis for which we have records,” he told a Toronto business crowd in mid-February, a crisis that will probably require a major boost in spending for genetically engineered products to meet the demand.

The editor of influential U.S. mag Foreign Affairs has sounded similar alarms about the challenge of feeding an expanding global middle class of meat and grain eaters while holding the line on prices in North America and Europe.

Read more >>

posted on April 03, 2008

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Monsanto already dominates America ’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

By: Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
Published: April 2008
Source: Vanity Fair


No thanks: An anti-Monsanto crop circle made by farmers
and volunteers in the Philippines
By Melvyn Calderon/Greenpeace HO/A.P. Images.

Gary Rinehart clearly remembers the summer day in 2002 when the stranger walked in and issued his threat. Rinehart was behind the counter of the Square Deal, his “old-time country store,” as he calls it, on the fading town square of Eagleville , Missouri , a tiny farm community 100 miles north of Kansas City .

The Square Deal is a fixture in Eagleville, a place where farmers and townspeople can go for lightbulbs, greeting cards, hunting gear, ice cream, aspirin, and dozens of other small items without having to drive to a big-box store in Bethany , the county seat, 15 miles down Interstate 35.

Everyone knows Rinehart, who was born and raised in the area and runs one of Eagleville’s few surviving businesses. The stranger came up to the counter and asked for him by name.

“Well, that’s me,” said Rinehart.

 

posted on March 31, 2008

Boom times down on the organic farm

By: NORVAL SCOTT
Published: March 29, 2008
Source: The Globe And Mail

As one of the pioneers of organic farming in Canada , Gert Lund has long struggled to compete with big farmers who do things the conventional way, producing their crops with herbicides or pesticides.

However, things couldn't be going better for Mr. Lund. The explosion in demand for organic produce - vegetables grown without pesticides or fertilizers, or animals reared without antibiotics or genetic modifications - means that Lund 's Organic Farm, which has produced organic vegetables near Innisfail, in central Alberta since 1988, is performing rather better than its conventional neighbours.

"We've gone past the conventional guys and we've been doing better than them for the last two or three years," said Mr. Lund. "The market is so hot right now - we're doing alright, that's for sure."

Mr. Lund isn't the only farmer to appreciate the benefits of going organic. According to figures released yesterday by Statistics Canada, the number of organic farms in Canada increased by almost 60 per cent between 2001 to 2006, with 3,555 farms offering certified organic products.

Organic food still represents a very small part of the domestic market, accounting for less than 1 per cent of the $46.5-billion that Canadians spent in grocery stores in 2006. However, that portion is of considerable value; Mr. Lund sells his carrots at Calgary 's Farmers Market at prices of up to 60 per cent more than non-organic alternatives. He says customers include Calgary 's professional elite, but also mothers concerned about getting the best for their children.

Read more >>

posted March 22, 2008

Slow Food Toronto Farm to Home Fair

For more information Check Toronto Slow Food Web Site

 

Read more News.


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