Enjoying local food in Eastern Ontario

By Resi Walt, Farm & Food Care Ontario

A taste of local food in eastern OntarioLike most people, I enjoy day trips and exploring new places – especially when those places specialize in food! Over the course of Ontario’s Local Food Week from June 1-7, I had many opportunities to celebrate the food that is grown and produce in Ontario. One highlight from the week was the trip I took to Eastern Ontario.

Farm & Food Care Ontario partnered with Foodland Ontario to offer a local food experience for food enthusiasts from the Ottawa-area. Farm & Food Care Ontario has been organizing these farm tours since 2006, and each year they grow in popularity. The goal is to showcase different commodities and types of farming every year, and the tour participants include chefs, recipe developers, food writers, culinary instructors, and professional home economists. The tour is always such a great learning experience and good fun too. Continue reading

Young couple excited by the challenge of farming

By Melanie Epp

Sarah Biancucci and Vince Tkaczuk

Sarah Biancucci and Vince Tkaczuk

Vince Tkaczuk and Sarah Biancucci are the proud new owners of a small, seven-acre farm south of Mount Forest. They bought the property in June of 2013, and in the process moved one step closer to realizing their dream of becoming farmers. The two have big plans for the property they’re now calling Bell’s Edge Farm.

As their slogan, ‘Innovation and Cultivation,’ says, the goal is to farm intensively, but as sustainably as possible. Starting a new farm from nothing comes with its challenges but as the couple’s story shows, determination and drive prevails. Continue reading

Innovation is sweet for Ontario maple syrup producer

By Jeanine Moyer

Doug Thompson shows the wireless Tap Track monitoring system designed to identify problems in his maple sap lines.

(Hilton Beach) – What do you get when you combine the centuries old tradition of making maple syrup with today’s modern farmer? Innovation and savvy marketing. That’s the approach Doug Thompson of Thompson’s Maple Syrup in Hilton Beach, ON has taken throughout his more than thirty years of tapping trees and making maple syrup. Continue reading

Observations about bee deaths in Ontario

Observations about Bee Deaths in Ontario

A rarely heard view from the Field

Guest editorial by:  Craig L. Hunter, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association

Ontario has experienced significant bee deaths in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 the initial premise was there was some relationship to a highly unusual early spring and sudden freeze. However, significant bee deaths were also reported in 2013, a ‘normal’ spring year. Continue reading

Making room for diversity

By Nancy Tilt for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association

Rudy Zubler is a dairy farmer. He is also an avid naturalist and a wildlife photographer. His appreciation of natural areas comes as no surprise then, either within his neighbourhood or on his own property.

Zubler and his wife, Barbara, came to Canada from Switzerland twenty years ago. Their 170 ha certified organic farm lies just east of Ridgetown in Kent County. The realities of economic survival in the field of agriculture are only too well known to any farmer making a living from the land. However, as Zubler puts it, “The world is all one. It takes both cropland and natural habitat to make a landscape.”

Rudy Zubler on his farm near Ridgetown

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Roots, shoots and teas: a passionate brew

By Lisa McLean

Thunder Bay – A strong connection to Ontario’s boreal forest has led a Northern Ontario woman to make a successful business of turning foraged plants into teas. But like the forest itself, protection and sound environmental practices are key ingredients to ensuring sustainability for future business.

Lee-Ann Chevrette photographed while harvesting for her teas.

For Lee-Ann Chevrette, Boreal Forest Teas is a creative way to bring together many of her passions. A native of Timmins Ontario, Chevrette was raised with a keen appreciation for the landscape of her homeland, and she benefitted from the passed-down knowledge from her parents and grandparents about many of the plants on its floor. Chevrette expanded on that childhood love of the boreal forest when she studied biology and environmental protection at the University of Guelph and spent ten years working as an ecologist in British Columbia, the Yukon, and Northwest Territories. She has also studied to become an herbalist. Continue reading

Sustainability and stewardship at the heart of fifth generation family farm

By Lilian Schaer

(Haliburton Highlands) – If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you. That’s the philosophy of Godfrey and Jean Tyler who farm their family’s fifth generation century farm in the rocky Haliburton Highlands.

With no off-farm income, the Tylers use all four seasons to grow and sustain their small farming business.

The Tyler farm family includes (from left) Sam, Jean, Joanie and Godfrey Tyler

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Farmers Must Take the Lead on Sustainable Agricultural Development

Guest blog by Terry Daynard

I have seriously underestimated the sustainability of the term “sustainable development,” especially as it pertains to agriculture. I’ll make that mistake no more. This column explains why Ontario/Canadian farmers should not make that mistake either.
The column is quite lengthy. To reduce the time required for reading, casual readers can skip the last half which is largely about “what next?”, in contrast to the “what?” and “why?” in the first half.

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Of Organic Food and Measured Risk

Guest blog by Holly Spangler, Farm Progress

So, you may have heard: Stanford University released a study yesterday that shows organic produce is no more nutritious than conventional produce. Farm Progress reported on it here, too.

The knee-jerk reaction among conventional agriculture has been – and will continue to be, I suspect – a hearty “we told you so.” And I’d be lying if I said that didn’t cross my mind, too, along with a sarcastic comment or two…”shut the front door! Organic isn’t any better? Wait, didn’t we say that already?”

I’ve written for years about the rise of organic agriculture – today, it’s a $27 billion business in the U.S. I’ve also written about the need for choice, and the simultaneous need for consumers to be informed about that choice and not swayed by savvy marketing.

To read the rest of this blog visit this link: http://farmprogress.com/blogs-organic-food-measured-risk-3581