National food policy in Canada

February 28, 2010

The distinct lines between agriculture policy and its relatives food and environmental policy are starting to become  very blurred, and thats a good thing. This past week at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture‘s 75th Anniversary and annual general meeting they had a video conference about the UK’s new National Food strategy that Jamie Oliver was very involved with starting.   Anne Howden Thompson a writer with the Ontario Farmer writes that CFA president Laurent Pellerin spoke to the need for a national food policy and that the CFA would be helping to lead this new initiative. In toronto their has been a food policy council in place since 1991.  It’s time we took a look at these questions national, and I for one am glad that the farmers are taking a leading role in getting it started.


Small Farms can Feed the Hungry

February 24, 2010

When it comes to discussions of food and agricultural policies the question is frequently raised of how can we feed the poor and the hungry people of the world. For the past 50 years the mainstream idea has been that the subsidized production of specialized commodity crops provides the cheapest production of calories possible and that therefore those in hunger with little money would be able to afford more food. But recently their has been a major movement contouring this argument which believes that the production of the most calories both cheaply and environmentally in a local diversified system would be a better option. A newly published study showed that “small family farms can match or exceed the productivity of industrial-scale operations” another states “That’s the kind of agriculture that’s friendly to biodiversity, and that’s the kind of agriculture that peasant farmers actually do.” Maybe its time to take another look at our standards for agriculture and our food system.


Jamie Olivers Food Education!

February 12, 2010

As a member of the agricultural community I commonly find myself  wondering , wouldn’t it be nice if the average consumer really understood what agriculture provides for them. Really understood the situation todays farmers are facing. Really understood what goes into the food they eat every day.

Would this increased understanding lead a a shift in the agricultural system, the health care system, improve the environment, it all revolves around one thing. FOOD!

Food its something that our lives used to revolve around, the day didn’t start till we had breakfast, we took a break midday for a bite and the world came to a halt around 5:30 so that we could all eat dinner and share a conversation before watching the news.

Food its a vital part of our lives and we need to recognize it as that, this might be Jamie Olivers TEDprize wish but I think we can all benefit from it.

PLEASE WATCH the video and THINK about it, the READ, check out his website, THINK about that, the DECIDE what you DO and DON”T like about it and how YOU can CHANGE your relationship with FOOD and maybe someone close to you too!

I know  I’ve made a change and put food back into a place of importance in my life, and i’m a broke busy and unemployed student, why can’t you?


How I write my Blog.

February 10, 2010

I start by looking at different news sources and websites that I generally already look at on a regular basis. Once I have found a topic that I am interested in, generally its the first story that I read until the end without getting distracted and moving on. I take some time to think about the topic. I try to look up any background information or other websites that may be attached to the story.  If the story is quoting another story, I try to track down the original. If its talking about a scientific paper I try my best to find it. I also look at any websites of any organizations involved in order to see if they have comented on the topic. Finally while writting my blog I do my best to finish with a questions, a debate topic, a controversy or at least an opposing position in order to try to get my readers to think more about the topic.

And last but not least I reread and edit my post!

And then I do a google search for a picture to make it interesting!


Better Barley=Better Malt=Better Beer

February 8, 2010

Agriculture research can have some pretty diverse impacts but few are closer to an aggies heart or maybe an aggies beer gut then that smooth malt flavor of their favorite beer. Thats right agricultural research into barley malt, a group  of researchers at the agriculture research service lab in Madison Wisconsin are doing just that. Chemist Mark Schmitt and plant physiologist Allen Budde, have been doing just that for years, having published a paper in 2007 and 2008 on the topic. They have analysed over 200o of North America’s best malting barleys and are comparing their enzyme activity and ability to break down proteins and complex sugars while sprouting, in the malt production process.

So lets all raise a glass to some fantastic agricultural researchers!


Time to Invest in Pork?

February 2, 2010

Maple Leaf Foods, Canada’s largest pork processor might be a good investment this year according to a Reuters report.  The report says that the major pork company will benefit from the currently low grain prices and its stocks are still low after its major food recall in 2008.  The report says maple leaf foods outlook looks “fantastic”. What type of impact will this outlook have for farmers producing for Maple Leaf, will it finally be an opportunity to make a profit? Or will the monopolistic control of the market that Maple Leaf exerts on the industry mean more slim times for farmers and big profits for the corporation and its share holders?