I get to learn about some pretty neat things in my life as someone who writes about food and farming. The following story, which was released by the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre a few weeks ago, ranks high on my list of all-time favourites.
PlantForm Corporation, a University of Guelph spin-off company, is using tobacco plants to manufacture treatments used to combat critical illnesses like cancer using technology developed by university researchers. Continue reading Tobacco plants may save lives
In Western Canada, student enrolment at various agricultural colleges is on the rise. And an increasing percentage of students flocking to programs in animal, food, life and environmental sciences are coming from urban areas, which spokespeople at these institutions attribute at least partly to the growing public interest in agriculture and food.
Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College hasn’t yet released its enrolment numbers for this year so I don’t know if this is purely a western phenomenon. I’m intrigued by it, however, especially in the face of a commonly used agricultural statistic — the average age of Canadian farmers. Statistics Canada tells us it’s approximately 52 years of age, which elicits hand-wringing and worry from some corners about agriculture’s future.
Yes, it’s a high number, but at the end of the day, it’s just that — a number. On its own, it does little to tell the real story of what’s going on in food and farming. So who is the farmer of the future? Continue reading Dispelling dispair about the future of food and farming
By 2025, farmers need to double their food output to feed an estimated global population of eight billion. That’s a startling statistic and what it means is something we all need to start thinking about.
I came across it in a report on the Colorado Ag Classic, a convention of Colorado wheat, seed, corn, sunflower and sorghum producers that was held this past week. Ag experts from the United States Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University talked about the challenges farmers will face in trying to meet future food demands. Continue reading Feeding the world without destroying it?
Corn uses too much water and too much fertilizer to produce, its critics often charge, making it a bad environmental choice.
Yet millions of people around the world depend on corn as a staple of life - as food for themselves, as feed for their livestock and as a renewable fuel alternative. And that demand is only expected to grow in the decades to come. Continue reading New corn to be better for environment
Farmers sometimes get a little upset at how their livelihoods are depicted in urban media and on the Internet. They feel their side of the story isn’t being told, which leads consumers to have unfair or incomplete notions of food and farming.
For the most part, farmers are too busy farming and often, activist groups are leading sources for journalists – because they’re available, accessible and eager to tell their tale. Continue reading Upcoming presentation to focus on agriculture and activists
Here’s an interesting follow up to a story I first posted on this site in May, 2008.
At the time, I wrote about John Baker and his efforts to find opportunities for industrial hemp following a presentation he made the the annual meeting of the Eastern Canada Farm Writers Association. Continue reading New life for an old crop
I keep reading the same messages over and over again lately – and from different parts of the world. Agriculture, it seems, is under fire from government. Continue reading Regs, regs and more regs for farmers