Month: September 2008

Farmers not to blame

The following article was printed in the Waterloo Region Record on September 30 2008. Farmers aren’t to blame for rising food prices By Lilian Schaer The global food crisis is starting to hit home. Even here in Ontario where a strong farming sector produces an abundance of top quality food and exports much of it […]

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Do we want to eat Canadian food?

The following column was printed in the Guelph Mercury on September 25 2008. Do we want to eat Canadian food? By Lilian Schaer Harvest is upon us and you can’t go very far without running across someone promoting local food. It’s everywhere – new farmers’ markets and road side stands, festivals and advertisements. Everyone, seemingly, […]

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The double standard on listeria

How serious is the government really about protecting consumers in wake of the listeria outbreak that has been plaguing Canada? Right now, I’m not convinced they really mean it. They recently announced tough new measures that now require Canadian companies that produce ready to eat meats to disassemble and aggressively clean their meat slicers to […]

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A bird’s eye view

I had a bird’s eye view of rural Ontario today – and it was one fo those “stop and think” sort of moments. I took a flight to Ottawa from Kitchener on Bearskin Airlines this afternoon. The plane was a small one – small enought ot make an already nervous flyer like me even more […]

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From fruit to feed and food

Although I’ve been home from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) congress for close to a week, I’m still getting caught up on posts as I finish working my way through the last couple of days of the event. This next one is making me hungry just thinking about it – must be because […]

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Old world to new

How things can change in a week. Last week I was on a mountainside in Austria, photographing cows and learning about how local farmers are keeping history and tradition alive in the next generation. Today I’m about as far from tradition and that Old World mountainside as I can get – in the glitz and […]

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Tomato fight comes to London…sort of

Many of us have heard of the crazy tomato fight festival held in the Spanish town of Bunol every year. Now an event billed as London Ontario’s biggest tomato fight is set to kick off this coming Sunday. Having seen pictures of the messy, free-for-all tomato splat fest, I was intrigued at the idea of […]

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But for the kindness of strangers

We have known since we arrived in Austria that we might have some difficulties getting home from the IFAJ congress because of some bad flight scheduling on our part – inadvertent but still our fault. But neither Kelly nor I had any idea of how hard it is to get there from here, or that […]

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More than just pie

For me, pumpkin is indelibly linked to that sure-fire sign of fall, pie. But here in the Styrian region of Austria, pie is the furthest thing from their minds and pumpkin production is booming.

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The hills ARE alive!

Much of Austria is covered in pastoral mountainside fields – beautifully scenic but largely unsuited for agriculture. But in the mountainous northern regions of the Austrian province of Styria, some entrepreneurial farmers are not only making a living by farming on the alpine pastures, they’re also revitalizing rural communities and keeping ancient traditions alive.

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Canada cleans up

There was an impressive showing by Canadian agricultural writers and photographers at the 2008 Star Prize awards handed out at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Graz, Austria yesterday.

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It was like looking in a mirror

It was an all-too-familiar tune and one that most in the international audience could strongly relate to. The President of the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry for Styria (one of Austria’s nine provinces), Gerhard Wlodkowski, talked to us about his organization’s activities last night – and chief among them was raising public awareness about how […]

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The grass isn’t always greener

An earlier post by Kelly talked about the changes in Slovak agriculture since the end of Communism almost 20 years ago. While many things have been positive, things don’t seem to be entirely rosy in the world of Slovak agriculture. Several farmers and farm managers that we’ve met on our journey so far have talked […]

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Mud, minerals, water…ahhh!

Earth, nutrients and water are the fundamentals of growing food. But today I had the chance to experience these fundamentals from an entirely different perspective – a mud bath and healing waters in a Slovak health spa.

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Following the money

The topic of subsidies is always a heated one in the farming world. Canadian farmers claim the Americans get too much support from their government. The Americans claim they need more to keep up with what the European governments give their farmers…and on and on it goes. Here in Slovakia, subsidies are also an issue. […]

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