Author: Andrew Campbell

Andrew is a dairy farmer in southern Ontario who also specializes in helping farmers learn about social media and advocacy. Once broadcasting farm news reports on the radio, he still likes to keep a close eye on news and issues relating to agriculture. Andrew is the owner of Fresh Air Media (http://www.thefreshair.ca), has a mild addiction to Twitter and believes the Brier & Scotties are the most important sporting events in the country.

Ag Education in the Time of Mommy Bloggers

With two young children around our house, I often wonder if our parental intuition is weaker than it was for my parents or grandparents. When one of the kids feels hot, we take their temperature. We are pretty sure they have a fever – but can’t remember for sure what that threshold is, so we… Read more »

The Trouble with the TPP

What makes a fair marketplace? Whether you are here on the farm or catching a city cab, marketplace dynamics are a hot topic these days. Taxi drivers in Toronto are at their wits end as the popular ride-sharing site UberX is sucking up business. Unlike two taxi companies competing for business, UberX and cab companies… Read more »

It’s Good to Be a Bee, When You’ve Got Plenty to Eat

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I moved my dairy farm to Toronto’s Yonge and Eglinton. I’d take some floor space out in a nearby building and then open the doors to let the cows come and go as the please. Free-range is all the rage, anyway. I wouldn’t feed them myself though, I’d… Read more »

The Consumer is Dead. Long Live the Consumer!

“It’s what the consumer demands.” Whether it be new products on store shelves, changes to government regulation, or new on-farm protocols, this has become the trumping selling point for whatever it is that needs selling. “The Consumer” is demanding oversight. “The Consumer” wants a more sustainable product. “The customer (read: consumer)” is always right. But… Read more »

When Science and Belief Collide, Emotion Trumps Facts

The debate over whether or not it is a good idea to have your children vaccinated is one that every person in agriculture needs to pay attention to. I use the word debate not because there is any argument — the value and safety of vaccines has been proven time and again. I would fall… Read more »

Want to Avoid Guilt in the Grocery Store? Shop Solo

Not surprisingly, like any livestock farmer I’ve ever met, you’ll find me enjoying a glass of milk, a steak or a hard-boiled egg on any given day. And as a conventional farmer, I believe in the safety of the food system I produce for, so am not likely to buy organic. They are things I’ve… Read more »

Preserving Bee Health at the Farm Level — Let’s Collaborate, Learn and Communicate

When the Grain Farmers of Ontario rushed to create a new coalition of farm groups, known as Farm Action Now, there was a sense that legislation was in the works in which the government would steer away from evidence-based regulatory decisions, and instead pander to an environmental lobby that had a lot of scare factor… Read more »

Why I’m Not Converting the Farm to Organic Production

As a proud farmer, I love answering questions, discussing issues and listening to concerns about everything agriculture, food and all of the connections in between. Sometimes though, some of those conversations have me thinking for weeks. Case in point: a simple enough question from a young woman left me trying to sort out a tremendously… Read more »

The Lost Art of Feeding Ourselves — How Home Economists & Farmers Can Help #BringBackFood

For Mary Carver, a professional home economist, it is hard to imagine — a 20 year old that doesn’t know how to crack an egg; a shopper wondering why he couldn’t find bananas local to Ottawa; a senior no longer eating eggs because her doctor had told her to stop eating dairy products. The stories… Read more »

Who is Responsible for Educating the Consumer?

I’ve got to give her credit — Trish Sahlstrom, a vice-president of A&W, recently walked into a room of beef farmers in Saskatchewan to talk up her company’s ‘Better Beef’ campaign on beef produced without hormones. It’s a good niche to sell beef, but as I’ve said before, framing it as ‘Better Beef’ is where… Read more »

The Folly of Trying to Eliminate All Risk in a Risk-Averse World

By now, you’ve likely heard about or seen an ‘undercover’ video that shows terrible abuse of dairy cows on a farm in British Columbia. In the disturbing video, cows are kicked, caned or beaten up simply because they were weaker than the young workers. After that video release, dairy farmers across the country did something… Read more »

Let’s Put an End to the Shill Talk

Talking about food and farm practices, there is never a shortage of ideas and opinions. I’m actually starting to wonder if we have surpassed the level of passion for food that politics once took up. After all, with voter turn-out continuously in a free fall, I wonder if instead we now focus on all the… Read more »

The Corporation Conundrum: Why Consumers Hate Monsanto, But Love Their iPhones

On a warm evening last summer, I sat around a backyard barbeque with a number of people my wife works with. This group tends to be quite removed from the farm, naturally because many of them were raised in the city, and now live and work there as well. When discussing where the delicious watermelon… Read more »

The Sliding Scale of Animals as Our Equals: Which Are Pets, Livestock or Neither?

A number of years ago, one of the first farm meetings I attended as a young radio reporter on the agriculture beat had a speaker talking on a subject that few farmers had considered. It was on what role activism would play in food production down the road, and how farmers could react. At the… Read more »

Ag Literacy Starts in the Home Room

It’s March and I can almost taste spring. Certainly the thermometer around here isn’t part of that – but the slightly longer days and that first day of spring marked on the calendar for later this month – has me longing for it. Dream with me of those warm spring nights in the field filling… Read more »