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Selected news and background stories from
the world of organic farming


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  • While we update these links from time to time, you may find some articles withdrawn or expired.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

Science News, Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) - September 14, 2016
Comprehensive study finds widespread mercury contamination across western North America

Widespread mercury contamination has been recently documented in air, soil, sediment, plants, fish, and wildlife at various levels across Western North America.
Full text

Canada Living, Colin Todhunter - August 16, 2016
Yes, Organic Farming Can Create Food Security On A Global Scale

Organic agriculture could produce enough food on a global per capita basis for the current world population. Instead, we have organic farming being squeezed out and marginalized as some kind of impractical niche model in favour of an unsustainable, corporate-controlled chemical-intensive model.
Full text

Guardian Sustainable Business - August 14, 2016
Can we feed 10 billion people on organic farming alone?

Organic farming creates more profit and yields healthier produce. It’s time it played the role it deserves in feeding a rapidly growing world population
Full text

Science News, Northern Arizona University - June 30, 2016
Microbes, nitrogen and plant responses to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide

Plants can grow faster as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase, but only if they have enough nitrogen or partner with fungi that help them get it, according to new research.
Full text

Science News, Dartmouth College - March 23, 2016
Study illuminates pollutant's movement from aquatic to land food webs

More mercury than previously thought is moving from aquatic to land food webs when stream insects are consumed by spiders, a new study shows. The findings shed new light on the influence of dissolved organic carbon in the spread of mercury contamination.
Full text

Gene Logsdon - Originally published by The Contrary Farmer - February 25, 2016 Canadian organic farming news
Organic Farming News Almost Too Good

The organic farming news is so good even big agribusiness companies like Cargill are reportedly getting into it. Some organic farmers and their organizations are worried that the demand and high prices will mean overproduction.
Full text

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - January 16, 2016 Canadian organic farming news
Newfoundland. could soon see more organic farms, advocates say

More and more farms in the province are moving towards being certified as organic, says Theresa Richards, executive director of the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN).
Full text

Fred Pearce, New Scientist - January 7, 2016
Organic matter in forests is breaking down more quickly with climate change, accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere

As global temperatures rise, the organic matter in forests appears to break down more quickly, which is accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere, according to new research.
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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


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."

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


For other news items and discussion, visit our Organic Farming Forum

Pertinent Federal (Canadian) & Provincial (BC) Regulations
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