Innovative collaboration drives greenhouse project

By Blair Andrews, Farm & Food Care

Greg Devries, president of Truly Green Farms, displays tomatoes-on-the-vine being grown in the company’s greenhouse in Chatham.

Greg Devries, a farmer from Chatham-Kent, is hoping to use innovation and a unique partnership to redefine the greenhouse vegetable industry. If successful, his efforts could also get people to think about tomatoes in a “greener” way.

Devries is the president of Truly Green Farms, a company that is gradually building a 90-acre greenhouse complex across the road from the GreenField Ethanol plant in Chatham.

In a first for North America, the greenhouse operation will be using carbon dioxide (CO2) and low-grade, waste heat from the ethanol plant to help grow the tomatoes. The concept is to take a greenhouse gas like CO2 that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere, and use it to produce a healthy food product. Continue reading

A green Christmas begins with the tree

By Lisa McLean
Everett, Ontario – This month, when Fred Somerville harvests Christmas trees on his farm, he’ll be harvesting a crop that was 14 Christmases in the making. That’s because it takes an average of 12 to 15 years to grow a Christmas tree from seed to its average height of six or seven feet.

John and Fred Somerville

Somerville grows pine, spruce and fir trees near Everett, Ontario, through a business his father started in 1950. At that time, most trees harvested in Canada were grown in forest settings. Today, 98 per cent of real trees sold are grown on Christmas tree farms, often on agricultural land which is not ideal for food crops.
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Cattails may be a solution to greenhouse gas emissions

by Kelly Daynard
In Manitoba, cattails may provide a unique solution to displacing fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This past September, members of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation toured the Netley-Libau Nutrient-Bioenergy project north of Winnipeg. The project is documenting the ability of cattails to capture and store nutrients coming into the Lake Winnipeg Basin. The cattails are then harvested and turned into biomass for bioenergy.

Harvesting cattails

Dr. Hank Vennema, of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, explained that Lake Winnipeg is the tenth largest fresh water lake in the world. The last 60 years have resulted in a significant degradation to the Netley-Libau marsh area caused by drainage, dredging, flooding and other changes.

This has resulted in a significant loss of wetland habitat. The marsh, which is 250 square kilometers in size, is one of the largest freshwater coastal wetlands in North America. Continue reading

What about Greenhouse Gas?

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Climate change – the term is widespread, and commonly used. It’s also common for people to talk about causes of climate change and contributors to greenhouse gases. Farms do contribute to greenhouse gas, but at the same time, they also reduce greenhouse gases. The following excerpt is from “The Real Dirt on Farming II”.

“What about greenhouse gas?

I’ve heard farming contributes to greenhouse gas. What are farmers doing about that? Yes, agriculture is part of the problem. But we are also an important part of the solution.
Scientists estimate agriculture produces 10 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, coming largely from livestock, accounts for one-third of agriculture’s emissions and nitrous oxide, which accounts for most of the rest, comes from farm soils, especially those that have used manures and fertilizers. Continue reading

Farming and greenhouse gases

by Patricia Grotenhuis
Climate change – the term is widespread, and commonly used. It’s also common for people to talk about causes of climate change and contributors to greenhouse gases. Farms do contribute to greenhouse gas, but at the same time, they also reduce greenhouse gases. Continue reading