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More cooking, better labelling can address food waste

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I’ve written about food waste before: here and here, for example.

The statistics that are often used to quantify the shocking amount of food that we produce but end up discarding are staggering.

Not only are we wasting the actual food, but we’re also throwing out the water, energy and other resources we’ve used to produce it.

Various United Nations studies estimate that at least one third of all food produced by the global agricultural system doesn’t make it from the farm to the table.

In Canada, the Value Chain Management Centre has found that our food waste sits at approximately $27 billion a year. Continue reading More cooking, better labelling can address food waste

Happy cows don’t make headlines

Schaus Land & Cattle Company feedlot near Alliston ON Another undercover video of farm animal abuse – this time on a BC dairy farm – means another black eye for farmers in the media.

Those of us in farming know these terrible incidents are by far the exception and not the norm – but the many millions who see or read the bad news stories don’t.

What never makes headlines are the thousands of Canadian farmers who do the right things every day when it comes to raising their livestock.

I had the chance to visit one such farmer recently (whose barn is pictured above) as part of the Farm & Food Care annual media tour for food writers, bloggers and culinary professionals. Continue reading Happy cows don’t make headlines

Welfare-friendly housing for young chickens

Egg farmer Chris Mullet Koop

Egg farmer Chris Mullet KoopChris Mullet Koop didn’t set out to start raising his own pullets (young chickens).

He really just wanted to convert his layer barn into an enriched colony system – but as these things sometimes go, one thing led to another and then another.

Now, he’s the first farmer in North America with an innovative enriched pullet housing system called the Combi Pullet. Continue reading Welfare-friendly housing for young chickens

Community & sustainability at heart of local blueberry farm

This is the week we mark Earth Day, on Tuesday to be exact.

Many of us give a bit more thought to the environment this week or do a few extra things to mark this day. And those are all good things.

Farmers, in my opinion, have a special relationship with the environment, a stronger bond if you will.

They work with the soil and the water every day to grow crops and raise livestock – and unlike most of the rest of us, they also live where they work.

That’s just the way farming is, and this makes them all the more aware of what’s going on with the environment and of the need to be good to it.

This week, in honour of Earth Day, I will be introducing you to some of the many Ontario farmers I’ve met over the years and sharing with you some of the unique and interesting things they’re doing on their farms where the environment is concerned.

Sometimes it’s a better farming practice to save time or money (or both!), other times it’s purely for the good of the world around – and most times, it’s a little bit of both. Continue reading Community & sustainability at heart of local blueberry farm

Argentina no longer a global beef powerhouse

This is the final article in a short series about agriculture in Argentina, a country I had a chance to visit as part of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists conference in 2013.

A gaucho or cowboy on horseback in ArgentinaArgentina has traditionally been amongst the world’s leading beef producing nations.

Much of its proud rural history is based on cattle, ranching and gauchos – the legendary cowboys of the South American Pampas region who spend their lives herding cattle on the vast grasslands.

But the country is far from the global beef powerhouse it used to be, as delegates to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ congress held in Argentina learned in early September. Continue reading Argentina no longer a global beef powerhouse