research and innovation

New label makes soybutter safe solution for peanut-free schools

A new approach to labelling a locally produced soybutter is making it easier to use in Ontario’s peanut-free schools. The toasted soy spread looks and tastes so much like peanut butter that some schools weren’t allowing it, says Scott Mahon, President of WOWBUTTER Foods, a family-owned business in the Stratford area. To address this challenge, […]

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“Green” lubricant alternative now available in Canada

A new vegetable oil-based multi-purpose lubricant is now available for sale in Canada – with the potential to open up significant new markets for Canadian grain and oilseed farmers. Smart Earth Corporation’s new Ecolube product was developed in Canada by Linneaus Plant Sciences Inc. as an environmentally friendly substitute for popular lubricant and penetrant products […]

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Tobacco plants may save lives

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 […]

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Growing plants for energy

Biomass is a promising emerging market in Ontario and farmers can learn more about growing and making money from these purpose-grown crops on a series of upcoming regional car tours. The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) also showcased miscanthus (seen in the image at left) and switchgrass test plots at Canada’s Outdoor Farm […]

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New crops in local soils raising high hopes

Lavender, hazelnuts and sweet potatoes are not crops we commonly associate with this province. Yet they’re starting to emerge in Ontario’s south coast area, the fertile sand plains in Norfolk, Brant, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford counties where tobacco used to reign supreme. As the decline of the tobacco industry continued over the last decade, agricultural […]

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Greenbelt farmers saving energy, survey shows

A new study shows that energy saving initiatives by farmers in Ontario’s Greenbelt are conserving enough energy to power 1,788 homes annually. And on-farm solar panel installations in the Greenbelt are generating enough electricity for an additional 170 homes, says the report completed by engineering consulting firm Agviro, Inc. “Our study showed some really positive […]

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New cluster promotes Ontario food and farming

Southwestern Ontario’s burgeoning agri-food sector received a boost earlier this month with the launch of the Ontario Food Cluster. My alma mater, University of Guelph, along with the City of Guelph and others are partners in this new initiative designed to attract more foreign investment and creating more businesses in our agri-food sector. In addition […]

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Reducing energy use on the farm

Farms are, for the most part, pretty large energy users. Barns housing livestock, the use of sophisticated feeding or milking technology or climate control and water recycling systems in greenhouses – all require energy to keep going. So it’s no surprise, with energy costs on the rise, that many farmers are looking for ways to […]

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Decision to cut food research makes no sense

Most of us will agree that food – and the farming the brings us that food – are pretty essential to our quality of life. In fact, it’s one of the basic underpinnings of an orderly society. As we can see in other places around the globe not as fortunate as we are, hunger and […]

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Healthy Ontario farms will help us as supplies decline

The crystal ball says we live in the best place in the world. Personally, I’ve long been convinced of it, having lived in this area for most of my life, but this is the opinion of a bio-economy expert who spoke at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre recently. His perspective was a bit different […]

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Protecting the environment – one farm at a time

Folks in food and farming talk a lot about all the things farmers do to protect the environment – but often in somewhat general terms. Here’s a real life example in Terry, a farmer and business owner from the Stouffville area. I interviewed him this past summer for an article that I was writing and […]

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Unlocking the potential of soy proteins

Soybean varieties developed for specific food and health applications represent a key future growth opportunity for the Canadian soybean industry. Different types of soybean protein can be ideally suited to specific food applications, which can lead to new food products and processes, says a University of Guelph scientist who is involved in research in this […]

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Soybeans could help extend life of asphalt roads

This is an update to a blog post I put up almost a year ago, where I wrote about a soy-based asphalt sealant that can help keep potholes at bay. I was intrigued by the potential of the product at the time – both for municipalities trying to keep their roads budgets under control in […]

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Dispelling dispair about the future of food and farming

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 […]

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Car, furniture production cheaper, greener with soy

Soybeans are helping to make industrial epoxy resins used in construction, automotive and furniture production hardier, greener and less expensive. Researchers at the University of Guelph are working on a new soy-oil based bio-resin that, when mixed with soy stalks and soybean meal, can create new biodegradable “green composites”.

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