On Monday, Robin Turner from Roots and Shoots Farm and Paul Slomp from Grazing Days were invited into the CBC All in a Day studio to share their thoughts about what Premier Wynne had to say about her vision for agriculture in Ontario. You can listen to the full interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/allinaday/2013/07/22/farmers-respond-to-premier-wynnes-agricultural-priorities/
On Thursday 14 June 2012, the Ottawa West edition of the EMC featured this article about Grazing Days with a special focus on the health benefits of Grass-Fed Beef. Thanks Emma Jackson for a great article!
You can find an easier to read version of the article here: http://www.grazingdays.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Farmer-grazes-surface-of-sustainable-beef.pdf
In a press conference in Ottawa this morning, Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food didn’t hold back on his comments suggesting that Canada needs to develop and implement a national food strategy to close some of the gaping holes in Canada’s Food System. (You can read the full report here)
Bill C-18, the “Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act” was tabled in the House of Commons in October. It is aimed at dismantling the single desk of the Canadian Wheat Board, the farmer owned and controlled organization that markets all of the Barley and the Wheat from the Canadian Prairies.
The Canadian Wheat Board is an amazing piece of infrastrucutre that puts power into the hands of Canadian grain farmers in a global grain market that is controlled by a few huge multinational corporations such as Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, and Bunge to name a few. In a plebiscite in August of this year, 62% of wheat farmers and 51% of farmers voted in favour of the Canadian Wheat Board single desk, yet the Conservative Government is steamrolling ahead with Bill C-18 – aiming to have the bill become law by Christmas.
Today the National Farmers Union, released a call to action of Non-farmers to join farmers and act against the attack on the Canadian Wheat Board. Please click on the PDF below to find out the Seven Reasons why Non-Farmers should care…
Why Canada needs a national food strategy
Jessica Leeder – Global Food Reporter
From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 29, 2011 12:33PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, May. 01, 2011 9:54AM EDT
Contrary to what it says on the stock ticker, food is not just any old commodity. As its more holistic advocates say, it’s the subject of humankind’s most intimate relationship: Food can give life and, through absence or extreme overindulgence, it can take life away.
Those who can afford to fill their bodies with it three-plus times a day use it to sustain families and friendships. We turn to it in times of depletion (nutritional or emotional) and celebration. Many of us spend untold hours watching shows or reading about and cooking up its endless manifestations.
The paradox of this love affair is that Canadians have lost touch with the value of food. In 1931, more than 30 per cent of the people in this country lived on farms. That number has whittled to just over 2 per cent.
Few of us understand what really goes into our food or how our choices send ripples to the fields. Most of us live in cities and gobble down cheap food from big-box stores or wherever else low-cost grub can be had, without questioning why prices are so low.
We’re skeptical of the premiums on local, free-range and organic – why pay higher prices if there’s a cheaper option? – and lean on takeout, restaurants and convenience meals to get us through busy work weeks.
Without realizing it, we raise kids who can’t cook and won’t swallow a vegetable. We have become the fattest generation in Canadian history, addicted to eating and riddled with cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
A national food policy is the only way to bring symbiosis back into the system. Cathleen Kneen, a long-time activist with the People’s Food Policy Project, argues that it’s even a matter of Canada’s security. “If you’re at all interested in sovereignty, start with food,” she says.
“Any jurisdiction that doesn’t feed its people is at the mercy of whoever does.”
For Monday’s federal vote, for the first time, all five parties included food-specific policies in their electoral platforms. However, the Liberals were the only ones to promise a national strategy.
England, Scotland, Norway and even Sudan have all implemented long-term food strategies, but Canada has for decades shied away from the idea as overly complex. Any good policy will require sacrifices from virtually everyone at the table, most of whom have conflicting interests.
While agribusiness and prairie grain farmers want better access to export markets, locavores, environmentalists and fruit-and-vegetable growers want Canadians to eat fewer imports and more of what can be grown at home.
Consumers generally want the best price regardless of where the food comes from. The retail sector wants to sell it any way it can, from bulk warehouses to drive-throughs. The health-care system needs people to make better food choices.
The process of hashing out the elusive balance in all of this is so politically fraught that four separate organizations, representing farmers, foodies, agribusiness, academics and industry, have set out to draw up their own blueprints for policy-makers.
They’ve taken it on themselves to map out ways to foster healthier national diets and contribute to long-term global food security; to promote local, sustainable food systems while competing in international markets.
The People’s Food Policy Project, the largest civil-society effort, released its version of a national food strategy this month, based on more than 3,000 interviews. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is at work on the final draft of its plan, and the Conference Board of Canada is slated to release the first findings of a three-year project in May.
While no one is foolhardy enough to assume that any of the strategies will be snapped up verbatim by the next government, the widespread recognition of the need is a sign that a global movement is cresting in Canada.
“It might be argued that we don’t really need food sovereignty because there is so much food available. [But] we don’t know what will happen with climate change,” said Ralph Martin, the recently appointed Loblaw Chair of Sustainable Food Production at the University of Guelph.
“It’s during this time that food is readily available and relatively cheap that we’re going to have to design a system for more food sovereignty and more food security for Canadians.”
That doesn’t mean Canada should slam its borders to imports and prepare to grow all of its own food. But it does mean revamping our narrow view of the value of food and agriculture.
“There are some people who think that farming is about people with strong backs and weak minds. It’s the opposite now. They need to be extremely educated, adaptable and entrepreneurial people,” said Peter Phillips, an agriculture economist and trade expert with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.
“I don’t think that mindset has totally captured the imagination of our political leaders or even our bureaucratic leaders. We don’t have … a long-term vision of where we could be.”
Jessica Leeder is The Globe and Mail’s global food reporter.
SPRING/ SUMMER 2011
Looking to grow your understanding of food security issues?
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Starting in May, we are offering a basic introductory course in food security concepts, a food policy and programs course, a course on community development and food security, and two urban agriculture courses – which are part of an urban agriculture series developed by Ryerson’s Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and Centre for Studies in Food Security in partnership with ETC-Urban Agriculture and the international network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF).
Courses offered in SPRING/SUMMER (MAY-AUGUST) 2011: that are still open to first-time students:
CFNY 407 Community Development and Food Security
CVFN 410 Understanding Urban Agriculture
CVFN 411 Dimensions of Urban Agriculture
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To find out more about the online courses and/or the Certificate in Food Security, visit:
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The article below outlines the link between the use of antibiotics in livestock and its effect on drug resistance in humans – Another reason why Grazing Days is committed to not using antibiotics in the grazing of our beef. The article was published on July 15, 2010 at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20100715/BUSINESS01/7150344/1030/Antibiotics-in-livestock-affect-humans-USDA-testifies
Antibiotics in livestock affect humans, USDA testifies
By PHILIP BRASHER • firstname.lastname@example.org • July 15, 2010
There is a clear link between the use of antibiotics in livestock and drug resistance in humans, President Barack Obama’s administration says, a position sharply at odds with agribusiness interests.
In testimony to a House committee on Wednesday, even the Agriculture Department, which livestock producers have traditionally relied on to advocate for their interests, backed the idea of a link between animal use of antibiotics and human health.
The Agriculture Department “believes that it is likely that the use of antimicrobials in animal agriculture does lead to some cases of antimicrobial resistance among humans and in animals themselves,” said John Clifford, the USDA chief veterinarian.
The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates antibiotics in animals and humans, has recently proposed to end the use of many drugs as growth promoters in hogs and other livestock. Only antibiotics such as ionophores that have no human use would be permitted to speed animals’ growth. The FDA has set a schedule for phasing out the drugs’ use or proposed specific restrictions.
Officials said the ban is needed to ensure that the drugs remain useful in human medicine.
Clifford was joined by officials from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in telling a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee that there was evidence of a link between animal uses of antimicrobials and human health.
At an earlier hearing, government health experts said U.S. data on the linkage was lacking. But Wednesday, administration officials tried to make a closer connection. Studies of salmonella, for example, have shown that giving antibiotics to livestock causes bacteria in the animals to develop resistance and that resistant bacteria in food can be transmitted to people, said Ali Khan, the assistant surgeon general.
Agribusiness representatives and their allies on the committee said more research is needed.
“So far there’s nothing that links use in animals to a buildup of resistance in humans,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.
A representative of the drug makers, Richard Carnevale of the Animal Health Institute, said there is “no unequivocal evidence” of a connection.
A committee member, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Ia., said there were “very real production concerns” with restricting the drugs. He said “this is an issue that demands thoughtful careful consideration of all points of view.”