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Ontario farm meeting rising demand for locally grown edamame

Jacob holding a bag of frozen edamameDemand for edamame, a type of soybean popular in Asia as a snack and vegetable dish, is growing in North America.

Most edamame sold here, however, is imported – something that a local Ontario farm family is working hard to change.

MacKellar Farms, near the southwestern Ontario town of Alvinston, is Canada’s only commercial supplier of edamame using a locally grown crop. Continue reading Ontario farm meeting rising demand for locally grown edamame

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Focus on reducing food waste, not just boosting production

Note: This commentary was originally published in Ontario Farmer, June 25, 2013 edition.

June 5th was World Environment Day. I don’t normally pay much attention to these kinds of things – we seem to have a day for everything – but this one got me.

The theme of World Environment Day this year was food waste. Continue reading Focus on reducing food waste, not just boosting production

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Price, not welfare, governs egg buying decisions

Ontario eggsAbout two-thirds of Canadian egg buyers have never bought eggs produced in cage-free facilities.

They say they could be motivated to change their buying habits – but price will be the key factor and not hen welfare.

That’s according to a study by NPD Group looking at consumer attitudes and demands for cage-free eggs, conducted last year for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA). Continue reading Price, not welfare, governs egg buying decisions

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Our love affair with smartphones is still growing

My first cell phone made phone calls. And that’s it. There was nothing smart about it. In fact, when you left the digital network urban areas, you had to insert an extra adapter so it would continue to work in then-still analog rural Ontario.

The ups and recently mostly downs of homegrown mobile device pioneer Research in Motion has made me think lately about how mobile technology has changed in the eight years since I got my first Blackberry, colourless screen, track wheel and all. Continue reading Our love affair with smartphones is still growing

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Farmer asks public to help save his farm

The biggest challenge for innovators and entrepreneurs is usually money. The same goes for charities, not-for-profits and pretty much anyone who runs a small to medium sized business.

A solution that many opt for these days is crowdfunding – turning to the Internet to ask the general public to help with anything from launching a new venture, publishing a book or paying vet bills to raising money for victims of illness, disaster or tragedy. Continue reading Farmer asks public to help save his farm

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Young farmers reach out to consumers

A group of young farmers has taken to social media to share with Canadians how they produce food and two fruit and vegetable growers are right in the thick of it.

Erin McLean, whose family runs a pick-your-own berry operation near Peterborough and serves farmers’ markets and local grocers with fresh fruits and vegetables, and potato grower Stephanie Kowalski from the Alliston area are part of a recently launched initiative called Dinner Starts Here.

Central to the project is a website called dinnerstartshere.ca, which features blog posts by ten young farmers as well as recipes, answers to frequently-asked farming questions and information about buying local. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest will be used to share information and bring visitors to the site. Continue reading Young farmers reach out to consumers

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Keeping birds away from wine grapes

Automating the acoustical devices that keep birds away from grape crops in Ontario’s vineyards could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of these tools.

Better management options for the devices – also known as bird bangers – can reduce crop losses and improve relations with non-farm neighbours put off by the noise, according to a recently completed Ontario study. Continue reading Keeping birds away from wine grapes

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