Empty grocery store shelves are among the factors that some point to when arguing for a wholesale overhaul of the country’s food production.  |  Reuters/Carlos Osorio photo

Will the COVID crisis cause a food revolution?

Innovative technologies are waiting on the shelf, but will they finally be embraced?

There’s been lots of blather about exciting food and agriculture industry technological innovations. “Smart” everything has been talked about for more than a decade. My newspaper has published dozens of stories about the possibilities of blockchain. The “internet of things” is a term buzzing away at every farm and ag conference out there. But it’s […] Read more

Don’t take farming and food for granted says U of C report

Canadians and Canada’s governments shouldn’t take farming and food for granted. That’s the bottom line of a June 9 report from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. “Food security in Canada is not something to be taken for granted and government policy action must reflect the essential service agriculture provides for our nation,” […] Read more

Don’t expect too much, no matter what happens with Meng

Whatever happens Wednesday, China will not be a market we can count on again

Tomorrow (Wednesday) a B.C. Supreme Court judge will release the ruling on whether or not to uphold the validity of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s arrest and detention on a U.S. extradition request. A lot of people are hoping Meng gets released, goes back to China, that China calms down, the two Michaels are released and […] Read more


With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has killed more than 70,000 Americans, a number of large meat-processing plants have shut down because of infected workers. The result has been fewer markets to which to sell livestock and higher prices for meat. | File photo

Is North America’s food supply system a disaster or a success story?

Under the stress of COVID-19 both the flaws and resiliency of the Canadian and U.S. food systems have become popular topics

Is our food system a disaster? Widespread food shortages on grocery store shelves make some think so. In the early days of COVID-19, when I saw empty shelves for some dairy products, flour and toilet paper I got pretty spooked about food security. When I heard about packing plants becoming rife with virus, hundreds of […] Read more

As slaughter plants in Canada and the United States reduce line speeds, shifts or effect temporary closures to deal with COVID-19 concerns, analysts say supplies are likely to be affected. | File photo

Will the wild changes in the grocery, food and farming systems survive the pandemic?

What will create lasting changes and what is transitory?

The food, farming and grocery sectors have been shocked by the coronavirus crisis. Packing plants have been temporarily shuttered, creating crises on hog farms and cattle feedlots that can’t move animals they have no space for. Food products that everybody has taken for granted for decades, such as flour and yeast, have become suddenly scarce, […] Read more


Are crops and meat Canada’s best soft power tools?

An agricultural think tank thinks they could be

Are you hoarding toilet paper? How about white flour? Cheese? From trips to my local supermarket and posts on my social media accounts, it seems like lots of people are. If you were planning to spend this month baking bread and using a lot of toilet paper and haven’t already stocked up, forget about it. […] Read more

Supply? Demand? What are we dealing with?

Economists and analysts are wrestling with enormous uncertainty

Most of what goes into creating the price of crops and livestock comes from supply and demand. More supply and less demand? Probably lower prices. More demand and less supply? Probably higher prices. It’s a little bit more complex than that, but those are some of the basics. But how do you project future prices […] Read more

Chill days of spring

Thinks about neighbours, friends, everybody you deal with in this fraught spring

Recent days on the eastern Prairies have been surreal, as beautiful blue skies and temperatures in the teens have melted snow and allowed the self-isolated masses to get outside into backyards, front steps and balconies, despite the overwhelming gloom emanating from every news broadcast and new story people can see and read. Today, as ice […] Read more


Is the hot dog a sandwich? How consumers answer that question shows the tricky emotions that food processors must navigate when promoting their products.  |  Getty Images

Consumers’ views a factor for protein sector

Consider the hot dog. Is it a sandwich? How the hot dog seems to consumers says a lot to plant protein food product developer and entrepreneur James Battershill about how the plant protein marketplace needs to be approached. “The reality is that consumers don’t think of a hot dog as a sandwich,” said Battershill, who […] Read more

Sustainability, best practices and processes should be verifiable.  |  Katelyn Duncan photo

Verification systems necessary for best practices

The word sustainability means something different to everyone, and this is somewhat problematic. If I were to ask an entire room of farmers if their farm is sustainable, likely every one of them would raise their hands. It seems odd, considering that no two farms are the same. Current sustainability dialogue for grain crops is […] Read more