let's talk farm animals

Start-up farms featured in To Make A Farm

 

By Lisa McLean, Agricultural communicator

What happens when you take a handful of city dwellers, drop them on rural land and leave them to make money farming? A new feature documentary about food and farming has done just that.

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Posted by FFC on March 26th, 2012 :: Filed under Farm life,Organics,Uncategorized
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Why are you choosing organic?

Guest Blog: Lisa McLean, Agricultural communicator

I am fortunate to surround myself with a number of strong, intelligent, critical-thinking friends. Many of them are also parents, and all of them want the very best for their families. 

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Posted by FFC on February 7th, 2012 :: Filed under Consumers,Food,Media,Organics,Speaking out
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Why hormone-free labels and other claims don’t really tell the story

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I just read a news feature by a Vancouver Sun reporter who, for personal reasons, has looked into the food labels that appear on our grocery shelves.

His story arose after seeing a milk carton labeled “hormone free” and purchasing local organic chickens, “worth the premium, my wife said, because, among other things, they were hormone free.” He wanted to check it out for himself and so went onto Google and into stores to do some research of his own. By his own admission his research confirmed both his suspicion and his “ignorance”.

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Posted by FFC on October 10th, 2011 :: Filed under Chickens,Consumers,Dairy cattle,Food,Misconceptions,Organics,Turkeys
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The Myth of Meatless Mondays – Alleviating the consumer’s conscience without affecting climate change

The following is reprinted with permission from the Animal Agriculture Alliance in the United States (www.animalalliance.org). For its full collection of Meatless Monday resources, visit  http://animalagalliance.org/current/home.cfm?Section=Meatless_Monday&Category=Current_Issues.

The Myth of Meatless Mondays – Alleviating the Consumer’s Conscience Without Affecting Climate Change
Judith L. Capper, PhD, Washington State University

In July, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report claiming that everybody should eat less meatand dairy products in order to mitigate climate change. It was an interesting report, not least because it recommended that if consumers were going to eat meat, they should choose “meat, eggs and dairy products that are certified organic, humane and/or grass-fed as they are generally the least environmentally damaging”. Working within the sustainability arena, I firmly believe that any production system has a role within agriculture provided that it is environmentally conscientious, economically viable and socially acceptable. However, the EWG’s promotion of organic or grass-fed systems as having a low environmental impact is ironic given that such systems actually have a greater carbon footprint per unit of meat or milk produced compared to their conventional counterparts.

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Posted by FFC on October 6th, 2011 :: Filed under Activism,Beef cattle,Feeding the world,Global Warming,Meatless Monday,Misconceptions,Organics,Sheep,Vegetarian
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Even experts can inflate the facts

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

A recent news item in the Vancouver press illustrates why we need to be critical of what we read, regardless of who it comes from. This particular news story highlighted the growing demand for animal welfare certified foods in B.C. To her credit the journalist went to a noted expert rather than a vested marketer to write her story. In this case she cites UBC professor of applied ethics and long-time welfare researcher David Fraser.  According to her reporting, the animal welfare expert says the move (to certified humane) is part of a larger consumer trend of rejecting products from factory farms.

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Posted by FFC on August 22nd, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,eggs,Food,Media,Organics
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Election time and the platforms get wobbly

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

I am not committed to any particular political party and, like many Canadians, tend to cast my ballot based on election platforms.  Not that I necessarily expect them to be honoured, but sometimes party platforms devolve into nonsense.

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Posted by FFC on April 14th, 2011 :: Filed under Activism,Innovation and technology,Organics,Regulations
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What is sustainable anyway?

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

The concept of sustainability has raised a flurry of definitions, expectations and actions in recent years. The difficulty is that the definition is often determined by whoever does the defining. “Sustainable agriculture” has been a long time tenet of food producers. Retailers and foodies and special interest groups of all strips are now attaching new attributes to “sustainable food”. The result, unfortunately, is that “sustainable agriculture” doesn’t always mesh with “sustainable food”.

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Posted by FFC on February 23rd, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Feeding the world,Organics
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