Category: urban farm

Should ‘vertical’ factory farms get a free pass?

In a recent Fast Company magazine article there was a feature on the benefits of using technology to produce food. The article praised the efficiency gains made by implementing the latest in what technology could provide. The farm in the article is located in San Francisco. That’s right, it’s a vertical farm. The company’s name… Read more »

Urban Development Guidelines Need Teeth to Rein In Sprawl

Cities and towns are approving land development now that may not happen for a decade. If we’re to protect farmland from being swallowed by ever-expanding municipal boundaries, we need to act now to stop it, says Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) . Currie’s organization is one of 16 farm groups leading a… Read more »

Will the REAL farmer please stand up?

Guest post by Janine Lunn I am happy to see that farming is gaining popular interest. It seems that lately agriculture has become sexy, and I’m relieved to see we’re graduating from the old image of men wearing striped coveralls, straw hats and chewing a stem of wheat. Many non-farmers are now keen to meet… Read more »

A Ban on Bans — Should Farmers Fight to Enshrine, in Law, Access To Tech?

Consumers are farmers’ customers…eventually. But in between the farmer and the consumer is an entire supply chain, from processor, to transporter, to wholesaler and retailer, each taking their pound of flesh. Yet, if consumers demand certain items, production systems or products, it’s largely farmers, not the entire supply chain, that must adapt and shoulder much… Read more »

Sorry, Farmers, You’re Soon to Be out of a Job. Urban Shepherd, Anyone?

I don’t mean to alarm you, farmers, but your job is in danger. Career Cast, a job-hunting site, recently released its “Most Endangered Jobs for 2014” with the role of farmer listed in the No. 2 position, faring only slightly better than the much-beleaguered mail carrier. Two things: this is not shocking, nor necessarily negative…. Read more »

The Day Organic Farming Died

Do you have that very famous lyric in the Don McLean song “American Pie,” running in your head?  You should. Organic farming — as we know it — could be over. No, I am not an organic farmer, but if I was, I would be very concerned about a new pricing concept being pushed by large-scale… Read more »

Farmers as Influencers: Consumers Aren’t Your Target Market

We’re all consumers. We buy cars and trucks, clothes and electronics, seed and fertilizer, food and drinks. About 2% of the population, farmers, also create a very personal consumable — food and food ingredients. Roughly 8% of our population, that is the amount of us involved in the agriculture industry, have a pretty good handle… Read more »

Connecting the Dots From Farm to Table: A Conversation with John Gilchrist

Combine living and working in the “information age” with the greatest variety of choice the consumer has ever seen and you’ve got yourself a unique set of first-world problems. For the farmer, that essentially boils down to marketing problems. There is not only a large volume of information available to the consumer, but a demand… Read more »

Lessons Learned from my Ford Pinto about Food Trends

The last Ford I owned outright – and lived to tell the tale — was a 1972 Pinto. To me, at the time, it was a beauty, silver-grey with a thick black stripe along the rocker panels. I thought it was cool, but, in truth, I was an idiot to drive it. I was lucky… Read more »

A Veterinarian Responds to A Recent “Investigative Report” Regarding Canada’s Egg Laying Industry

This blog post is one I was hoping not to have to write. In Canada, there was recently an “investigative report” on the commercial egg industry. It developed after an animal activist group took undercover footage and passed an edited video to a television newsmagazine. The resulting 30 minute show was a black eye to… Read more »

Expanding Diversity in Agriculture — Pass the Chocolate Covered Crickets

In case you haven’t heard, the 2013 winners of the Hult Prize (a $1M prize to help entrepreneurs start a proposed business) is a group of students from McGill, who have addressed this year’s theme, “The Global Food Crisis,” with, you guessed it, crickets! Aspire Food Group aims to grow, prepare and sell edible insects. Currently, their… Read more »

Strong leadership needed to double ag exports & build a strong Ontario job market

For a province that can seem overrun with highways and hi-tech interests (at least in its most southern regions), it’s significant that its premier, Kathleen Wynne, chose to name herself agriculture and food minister when she took over the reins. She had every other option. You name the portfolio and it could have been hers…. Read more »

Help consumers on their road to better health by explaining what you do

Yet more evidence is trickling out about consumers’ upbeat perceptions of farmers. And not surprisingly, once again, it’s good. This time the source is food consultant to the Royal Winter Fair, popular dietitian Lois Ferguson of Eating For Ecstasy fame. She’s released results of a survey conducted with more than 1,400 fairgoers last November, which… Read more »

Ontario Government Launches New Local Food Fund

Ontario Premier and Minister of Agriculture Kathleen Wynne was on hand at Foodshare Toronto yesterday to announce that applications are now open for a new Local Food Fund. “Supporting local food does so much for Ontario. We are committed to working with our industry partners to increase the demand for local food, which will feed… Read more »

Youth Summit Provides a Glimpse of the Future of Ag: Kim McConnell

Editor’s note: This is a special guest editorial from Kim McConnell, founder of AdFarm. The following was shared with his team at AdFarm after a week at the Youth Ag Summit, held last week in Calgary.    This past week, I had an opportunity to participate in an amazing experience.  I moderated the week-long Global… Read more »