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ORGANIC FARMING NEWS, OPINION & BACKGROUND

Selected news and background stories from
the world of organic farming

NEWS
BACKGROUND NEWS STORIES
AUDIO & VIDEO

For news older than four months, go to our Organic News Archive
  • Stories are selected with Canadian organic farmers in mind but are not intended to reflect our views pro or con.
  • While we update these links from time to time, you may find some articles withdrawn or expired.
 
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Stories about or from Canada: Canadian organic farming news

Fred Pearce, New Scientist - September 14, 2015
Bees win as US court rules against neonicotinoid pesticide

The US ruling against sulfoxaflor, which is manufactured by Dow AgroSciences, was made by a federal appeals court in San Francisco and applies nationally. The court found that, in granting approval for sulfoxaflor in 2013, the agency had violated its own rules on obtaining safety information, and should collect more data on its effects on bees before granting approval for its use.
Full text

Sustainable Pulse - August 26, 2015
Unique Gene Expression Study Shows Roundup Causes Massive Kidney and Liver Damage at Low Doses

The study results suggest that long-term exposure to an ultra-low, environmental dose of Roundup at an glyphosate-equivalent concentration of only 50 ppt (parts per trillion), in an established laboratory animal toxicity model system, can result in liver and kidney damage, with potential significant health implications for humans as well as domesticated animal and wildlife populations.
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Elizabeth Grossman - August 25, 2015
Big Food is Spending Millions to Lobby for Less Transparency

From GMO labeling to pesticides to the source of the meat you buy, a handful of companies are spending heavily to keep information off your food labels.
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GM Watch - July 30, 2015
Protection of health and environment more important than confidentiality for experts – EU court

From now on in Europe, the names of experts commenting on the safety of pesticides during the regulatory process cannot be kept secret.
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Sonia Faruqi, author of 'Project Animal Farm,' - July 15, 2015
Here's Why Even Organic Farms Are Awful For Animals - And How They Can Be Improved

Talks to HuffPost about food labels, animal welfare and what you can do to make a difference.
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University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - July 9, 2015
As a good source of protein, Vitamin A, calcium, iron and fiber, broccoli is so full of nutrients, some call it a "super food."

Americans are willing to pay $1 more per pound for U.S. organic broccoli than that from China and Mexico and up to 32 cents more per pound than that grown in Canada.
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DPA / The Local - June 26, 2015
Greens warn: German breast milk unsafe

Witte warned that no conclusions should be drawn from tests on 16 women, but added that this was a first indication that there is a problem. She called for the tests to be broadened to include a larger sample set of breast-feeding women.
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Alberta Farmer - June 24, 2015
Organic is booming - and the push is on to get more growers

Demand for organic grain is growing at a sizzling pace and the sector fears it will lose market share if it can't up production.
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Elaine Watson, Food Navigator, USA - May 30, 2015
Kashi Agrees to Pay up to $3.99m to Settle 'All-Natural' Lawsuit; Campbell Soup under Fire over Prego Labels

New developments in three high-profile fale advertising lawsuits underline the risks associated with making 'all-natural' claims on foods made with genetically engineered ingredients, with Kashi and Karlin Foods agreeing to sizeable settlements, and Campbell under fire over Prego labels.
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Janet Thomson, CBC News - May 30, 2015 Canadian organic farming news
Canada 5 years behind Europe when it comes to banning neonic insecticides

Canada's wait-and-see policy on neonicotinoids, the controversial insecticide often blamed for the widespread death of bees, is "where France was five years ago," says a researcher with the French National Centre for Scientific Research.
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The Cortez Journal - April 23, 2015
New invasives threaten our farms, the wild
Many organic farmers quickly lost their certified-organic status, because the GE genes their crops now harbored were officially labeled as a pesticide. Frequently, these small farmers went out of business, and were forced to sell their farms to large landholders at reduced prices.
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Science Daily, Washington State University - April 14, 2015
Study puts a price on the help nature provides to agriculture
Scientists from Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States describe the research they conducted on organic and conventional farms to arrive at dollar values for natural processes that aid farming and that can substitute for costly fossil fuel-based inputs.
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Allan Dawson, Manitoba Cooperator - April 9, 2015 Canadian organic farming news
No Roundup Ready alfalfa production for 2015
Forage Genetics International will allow 20 demonstration plots in Eastern Canada.
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Maria Rodale, American Society for Horticultural Science - April 6, 2015
Living mulch, organic fertilizer tested on broccoli
The authors concluded that organic fertilizer may have inconsistent effects on broccoli yields in living mulch systems.
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Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc. and book author - April 3, 2015
Is This the Beginning of the End of Glyphosate?
Let's hope that we can all see that the solution to our agricultural problems is already right before us: regenerative organic agriculture.
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DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - March 31, 2015
Soil organic matter susceptible to climate change
Soil organic matter, long thought to be a semi-permanent storehouse for ancient carbon, may be much more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought.
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Kelly House, The Oregonian - March 17, 2015
Groups sue EPA for approving insecticide despite threat to endangered species
Conservationists who argue a newly-approved insecticide is a known killer of bees and other pollinators plan to sue the federal government for letting it go to market.
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Danielle Grindlay, ABC Rural - 17 March 2015
SA Agriculture Minister says soil program proves utilising "God's gifts" can boost yields better than GM technology
Mr Bignell said the trials had strengthened his view that South Australia should maintain a moratorium on GM technology, which he said gave the state's produce a "market edge".
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Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun - March 17, 2015 Canadian organic farming news
Garden centre moves to protect pollinators
Art Knapp bans plants treated with neonicotinoids after honeybee death link
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Nathan Weller, EcoViva - March 3, 2015
Farmer Cooperatives, Not Monsanto, Supply El Salvador With Seeds
Local seed has consistently outperformed the transnational product, and farmers helped develop El Salvador’s own domestic seed supply–all while outsmarting the heavy hand of free trade.
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Lydia Warren, Daily Mail - February 24, 2015 Canadian organic farming news
Hershey's pulls GMO ingredients from best-selling chocolate bars amid backlash against 'Frankenfoods'
Recently the B.C. government announced their plan to crack down on the misuse of the term organic as applied to fresh foods and produce sold around the province.
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Lindsay William-Ross, Vancity Buzz - February 23, 2015 Canadian organic farming news
What B.C.'s new rules for organic products mean for shoppers and farmers
Recently the B.C. government announced their plan to crack down on the misuse of the term organic as applied to fresh foods and produce sold around the province.
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Kendra Nordin, Christian Science Monitor - February 17, 2015
Organic farming continues to rise across the globe
2 million of the world's 1.5 billion farmers are now producing organically, with nearly 80 percent based in developing countries.
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Christina Sarich, Natural Society - February 15, 2015
Sorry Monsanto: Organic Food Demand is Absolutely Exploding
Consumer demand for organic food is seeing double digit growth year over year, and it doesn't show signs of stopping.
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Associated Press - February 6, 2015
Farmers file more than 360 corn lawsuits against Syngenta
China, a growing importer of U.S. corn that refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn't tested, had not approved Viptera when Syngenta began selling it.
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Western Producer. Mary MacArthur - February 5, 2015
China may control future of GMOs
Its decisions will affect whether GM grain is fed to hogs and cattle and whether pork bellies are imported to China.?
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Elizabeth Grossman, February 5, 2015
New Science Confirms: If You Eat Organic You'll be Exposed to Fewer Pesticides
The largest study to look at organophosphate exposure in humans sets the stage for vital research into the health effects of pesticides.
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David Schubert, CNN - January 28, 2015
The coming food disaster
There is no consensus in the scientific community that GMOs are safe, says David Schubert at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
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Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun - January 25, 2015 Canadian organic farming news
B.C. to weed out false organic produce claims
New regulations will restrict the use of the word "organic" to describe only products that have been certified by a national or provincial certification program, effectively closing a loophole that had allowed B.C. farmers to use the term without being certified, provided they were not selling their products outside B.C.
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Jenne Bremmer, Great Southern Herald (Australia) - January 20, 2015
Organic council rejects GM request
An application by the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia to permit some tolerance to GM organisms in organic foods has been rejected.
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Associated Press - January 7, 2015
Monsanto earnings fall 34% after a year of global protests
The agriculture products company's revenue fell more than 8% to $2.87bn in the period, on lower sales of corn seeds and herbicide.
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ARCHIVED NEWS STORIES (More than four months old)

AQUACULTURE NEWS

AUDIO/VIDEO

One of the world’s foremost authorities on restoration agriculture, Mark Shepard is happy that its popularity is growing but worries that its systemic nature is being misunderstood or "much degraded".

Tim A. Wise: Family farmers caught in the middle between corporate monopolies


More at The Real News

FOOD, INC. In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli - the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser(Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farm's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising - and often shocking - truths about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

More info.

New Film Takes on Organic Food Critics and Kicks Ass
Starr Vartan, Huffington Post

Surely you've heard the arguments: "organic isn't any healthier," "organic food is too expensive," "organic doesn't mean anything," or maybe you've seen Penn and Teller's take-down of the "Organic tastes better argument." During the last 12 months, a slew of anti-organic messages have been promulgated in the media. Good thing filmmaker Shelley Rogers has spent the past five years of her life putting together a movie that not only refutes most of these bogus talking points, but gives us an up-close look at what organic agriculture really is (as well as addressing some of the criticisms brought against it). Rogers' conclusion, after years of work and research, is that organic isn't just a question of personal health, and that standards really do make a difference. But rather than telling us this, she lets the experts - farmers, scientists, activists, doctors, and ecopreneurs - explain from their knowledgeable and frontline perspectives.

More info.


How a group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada are reclaiming their indigenous agricultural heritage, reconnecting with Nature, learning and observing her natural laws, and getting back on the road to self-reliance.


The Meatrix Relaunched The Meatrix Relaunched. Do you want to learn the truth about factory farming? Watch the new, updated and remastered edition of The Meatrix. - VIDEO
Farming Today Farming Today This Week Magazine from the BBC - AUDIO
Rural News Australian Broadcasting Corporation Rural News Australian Broadcasting Corporation - AUDIO
Family farms What's Happening to the Family Farm? Canadian Canadians who run our family farms have sometimes struggled to keep pace with the demand for cheap, abundant food. Threats to the family farm have ranged from the high cost of land and crippling interest rates to corporate competition and encroaching cities. CBC Archives looks at the evolving family farm. - AUDIO
The Legend of Permaculture - Bill Mollison Bill Mollison, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Bill Mollison has been called the genius of permaculture, a guru, a living legend, a crank, and even a bombastic old bastard. But whatever you think of him, you'd have to be impressed that Bill's ideas have influenced the lives of millions of people all over the world. - AUDIO


PERSPECTIVE: BACKGROUND ARTICLES RELATED TO ORGANIC FARMING
UPDATED FREQUENTLY

 

TYRANT FARMS

Unique Gene Expression Study Shows Roundup Causes Massive Kidney and Liver Damage at Low Doses
"Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food. We recommend buying organic for any produce-country combination in the medium or higher risk categories. We found that all organic produce falls into the low- or very low-risk categories."
FULL STORY

TYRANT FARMS
A Response to Slate Magazine on GMOs & Biotech
"Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food. We recommend buying organic for any produce-country combination in the medium or higher risk categories. We found that all organic produce falls into the low- or very low-risk categories."
FULL STORY

Without GMO labels, we all eat in the dark Losing Our Grip - 2015 Update
In 2010 the National Farmers Union published a major report called "Losing Our Grip: How Corporate Farmland Buy-up, Rising Farm Debt, and Agribusiness Financing of Inputs Threaten Family Farms and Food Sovereignty". With our 2015 update, we are revisiting that report to see how the situation has changed.
FULL STORY

Rabble.ca How neonicotinoid pesticides are poisoning Canada's agriculture Canadian
Agriculture in Canada is heading down a dangerous path, promoted by Health Canada's willingness to continue to approve the use of neonicotinoids despite the harm done by these chemicals.
FULL STORY


Globe and Mail
How this organic dairy producer milks small stores for big growth Canadian
While Andres isn't drawn to growth and does little advertising, there's plenty of room to expand production. Canadian organic sales have tripled over the past six years, to about $3 billion annually, according to the Canada Organic Trade Association.
FULL STORY

What You Didn't Know About Canadian Farms Young farmers see opportunities growing non-GMO
The growing demand for non-GMO corn and soybeans is creating opportunities for farmers to profit, and some young farmers aim to capitalize on those opportunities.
FULL STORY

What You Didn't Know About Canadian Farms What You Didn't Know About Canadian Farms Canadian
William Davis, a preventive cardiologist who practises in Milwaukee, Wis., argues in his new book Wheat Belly that wheat is bad for your health - so bad that it should carry a surgeon general's warning.
FULL STORY

Achieving a Sustainable Food System with Organic Farming

Achieving a Sustainable Food System with Organic Farming
Despite a slight decline between 2009 and 2010, since 1999 the global land area farmed organically has expanded more than threefold to 37 million hectares, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online service.
FULL STORY

Diary of an Organic Strawberry Diary of an Organic Strawberry Canadian
Largely missing from that debate are the voices of the farm workers who spend their days harvesting these crops. For Jesus E. Valenzuela Felix, there's no one better to tell that story than... an organic strawberry.
FULL STORY

A conversation with environmental campaigner Wendell Berry A conversation with environmental campaigner Wendell Berry
Berry is still a committed activist, arguing these days for a 50-Year Farm Bill to address such deeply unfashionable issues as soil degradation and sustainable agriculture.
FULL STORY

Celebrate the Farmer! Celebrate the Farmer!
We need real farmers who grow real food, and the will to reform a broken food system. And for that, we need not only to celebrate farmers, but also to advocate for them.
FULL STORY

Where have Canada’s young farmers gone? Where have Canada's young farmers gone? Canadian
Let's be clear that we're not only talking about fewer farmers as farms increase in size. The point to emphasize is that as the overall population of farmers declines, young farmers are disappearing even faster.
FULL STORY

Cornucopia Institute: Organic Watergate White Paper The Organic Watergate White Paper
For a comprehensive look at the organic sausage making in Washington, The Cornucopia Institute has lifted the veil on how the USDA has implemented the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the law passed by Congress to protect the integrity of organic food and farming.
FULL STORY

The birds and the weeds: A farm conservation love story A technological leap forward to old-time farming
A team of four scientists in the United Kingdom spent a year collecting dirt from all over an organic farm near Bristol, which grew mostly clover, oats, wheat, and barley. Their goal? To determine just how much food a farm that grows crops to feed humans also provides for wildlife.
FULL STORY

The Storm Surge of Decentralization The Storm Surge of Decentralization
Local organic food initiatives are often more contentious. Industrial agriculture and food processing corporations are very powerful, to the point of having subverted regulatory mechanisms ostensibly geared towards the public good, but which now serve to safeguard corporate profits and market share.
FULL STORY

The great milk robbery: How corporations are stealing livelihoods and a vital source of nutrition from the poor The great milk robbery: How corporations are stealing livelihoods and a vital source of nutrition from the poor
Milk is taking on ever-greater importance in the livelihoods and health of the world's poor. Most of the dairy markets that serve the poor are supplied by small-scale vendors who collect milk from farmers who own just a few dairy animals. But such systems of "people's milk" are in direct competition with the ambitions of big dairy companies, such as Nestle, and a growing number of other wealthy players that want to take over the entire dairy chain in the South, from the farms to the markets.
FULL STORY

SOrganic rice cultivation transforming lives of Damoh farmers Organic rice cultivation transforming lives of Damoh farmers
The farmers in these villages shunned the High Yielding Varieties and the 'progressive', high-input, fertilizer-pesticide dominated farming practices often advocated by the government and took to completely traditional methods along with a set of cultivation practices collectively called System of Rice Intensification (SRI), initially developed in the early 1980s by a French priest in Madagascar.
FULL STORY

Frances Moore Lappe’s Grand Vision: Treat Markets as Ecosystems Frances Moore Lappe's Grand Vision: Treat Markets as Ecosystems
As Occupy protests across the United States challenge gross economic disparities, Lappe's EcoMind calls for a drastic rethinking of how markets should work, in a grand vision that weaves together environmental and social justice.
FULL STORY

It Takes a Village to Raise a Vegetable It Takes a Village to Raise a Vegetable
Tainting of organic crops cannot be undone and at the risk of ending up like we did with corn where you can rarely find purely organic corn in the U.S. because of GMOs, it's a slippery and scary slope to start down.
FULL STORY

Pasture-raised or organic: Why we can’t do both Pasture-raised or organic: Why we can't do both
Although it's far from the current reality, one of the most transformative innovations - and I believe the most ideal method for grain acquisition - would be an independent system owned and controlled by local farmers.
FULL STORY

Organic Growers Focus On Planning Organic Growers Focus On Planning Canadian
Today they have one of B.C.'s model agriculture operations: Klipper's Organic Acres based at Cawston, B.C. in the ag-rich Okanagan-Similkameen region, south of Penticton. They'd made a local name for their 40-acre market garden and orchard operation for the past 10 years, expanding from five acres in 2001 when the farm was launched. But this year their reputation erupted when they won the B.C. & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers of 2011 title, an award they were finalists for in 2005, '06 an '07.
FULL STORY

Tweeting farmers bridge gap between farm, table Tweeting farmers bridge gap between farm, table Canadian
Like more and more farmers across Canada, Black has found that Twitter has become, among other things, a way to bridge the gap between farm and table, and connect Canadians wanting to know more about where their food comes from with the people who make their living producing it.
FULL STORY

Pesticides are good for you Pesticides are good for you Canadian
The lowest point in the session came when Carl Winter launched into a lengthy attack on the Environmental Working group's Dirty Dozen, an annual list of the 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides.
FULL STORY

Heritage livestock: Milk ‘em for all they’re worth Heritage livestock: Milk 'em for all they're worth
As heirloom produce gains a growing cult following among eaters, the more under-the-radar interest in heritage livestock breeds may see a resurgence, too.
FULL STORY

U.S. touts fruit and vegetables while subsidizing animals that become meat U.S. touts fruit and vegetables while subsidizing animals that become meat
U.S. farm policy grew out of the economic hardships suffered by Midwestern farmers in the 1930s due to unpredictable swings in agricultural markets and the desire to protect the national food supply. Many critics feel the policy is no longer relevant and should be redesigned to promote healthful eating.
FULL STORY


ARCHIVED NEWS BACKGROUND STORIES

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