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Constructed wetland purifies vineyard waste the natural way

This is the second in a series of stories showcasing the innovative things Ontario farmers are doing on their farms to improve the environment – in honour of Earth Day.

Constructed wetland in a Nigara vineyard helps treat wasteTough new regulations governing vineyard waste management meant the owners of Sixteen Mile Cellar in the Niagara Region had some tough choices to make.

Previously, small estate wineries were allowed to store the liquids and residues from their grape crush on-farm and then haul them away.

The rule change now requires waste treatment facilities on site, which can get very expensive very fast. Continue reading Constructed wetland purifies vineyard waste the natural way

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

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

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

Biotechnology key to production growth in Argentina

LS-OF-biotechnology Argentina Idigoras EU ambassador-Sep 10

Gustavo Idigoras, former ambassador to the European Union for Argentina, addresses IFAJ delegates.

Most of the time what I write about on these pages have to do with food and farming in Canada.

This is the second in a series of articles about agriculture in Argentina – a key global competitor for Canada’s farming sector.

Public perceptions and consumer attitudes can make some Canadian farmers think twice about if or how they use popular production tools like pesticides or biotechnology.

Not so in Argentina. Continue reading Biotechnology key to production growth in Argentina

Soy underpins Argentine economy

Argentinian flagMost of the time what I write about on these pages have to do with food and farming in Canada.

Every once in a while, though, I’m lucky enough to have a chance to experience agriculture in other parts of the world – as I did last month with a fascinating trip to Argentina for the 2013 International Federation of Agriculture Journalists congress.

Much of Canada’s agriculture sector depends on exports so it’s important for us to be aware about what’s going on with other nations who export agricultural products as well. Thanks for reading.

Continue reading Soy underpins Argentine economy

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