Manitoba requires certification for organic products

Manitoba’s Organic Agricultural Products Act came into effect July 1. The legislation regulates the use of the term “organic” for all food products grown or processed in Manitoba and sold within Manitoba. The province is the first to enact legislation since the Canadian Organic Products Regulations were passed in 2009, which regulate the use of […] Read more

Growers should be motivated by more than science

We often hear that we should make decisions based on science, which seems to be the logical and smart approach. Science is a strong tool that provides a rigorous way of answering questions and can identify correlations and sometimes cause and effect. However, like all tools, science has its limitations. Science cannot answer questions such […] Read more

A growing customer base means organics still matter

The Western Producer has been publishing my monthly column for 10 years now, so it is a good time to reflect. Organics has come a long way since then, perhaps the furthest in public perception. Celebrity endorsements have encouraged consumers to take a look and they have seen the benefits in reducing their exposure to […] Read more

Lessons from First Nation

This year’s Guelph Organic Conference and Expo looked to the roots of agriculture in the Great Lakes region for lessons in modern organic farming. Richard Hill, a member of the Haudenosaunee First Nation, which is part of the Six Nation Confederacy, spoke to an attentive and enthusiastic crowd. Before his talk, several people were working […] Read more

Environment should be first and last priority

Guy McPherson of the University of Arizona says it well when he reminds us where our first allegiance should lie. “If you really think the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” McPherson is reminding us that we are part of the earth, not the other […] Read more

Plant pathologist Don Huber says glyphosate changes soil ecology, making plants susceptible to diseases that could eventually cause diseases in humans.  |   File photo

Scientist raises concerns about GM crops and glyphosate

Future historians may well look back and write about our time …. about how willing we are to sacrifice our children and jeopardize future generations with this massive experiment that is based on false promises and flawed science just to benefit the “bottom line of a commercial enterprise,” said Don Huber, referring to the North […] Read more

The problem, my friend, is blowing in the wind

Organic events:

High winds in September damaged crops, bins and buildings. It also moved swaths, especially canola swaths. This is a problem to the people who count on the yield from those swaths, but it is also a problem for where those swaths and airborne seeds landed. Organic standards strictly prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms […] Read more

Organic industry must share research information

Organic researchers met in Winnipeg in late February to share results at the first Organic Science Cluster Conference. Organic research has been augmented under a science cluster funding arrangement from Agriculture Canada through the Organic Federation of Canada to the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC). This funding arrangement began in September 2010 and will […] Read more

Is now the right time to move to organic production?

It’s been a rough couple years for organic producers on the Prairies. They’ve been hit hard by factors largely outside their control: weather and markets. Problems with weather are not unique to organic producers nor to the last couple years, but the recent weather problems have been unusual. We are more used to drought than […] Read more

Can organic production feed seven billion people?

The organic industry is often asked, “but can organics feed the world?” The question seems to imply that “organic” is a warm and fuzzy idea or a trendy menu item, but certainly not a realistic system for addressing world hunger. As the world population hits seven billion, perhaps it is time to give the question […] Read more