Tag Archives: organic farming

Meet Jim Fortier – The Market Gardener

“What we need is food grown with care, by and for people who care.”

Jean-Martin Fortier (JM) is a farmer, educator and best-selling author specializing in organic and biologically intensive vegetable production.  His award-winning book, The Market Gardener, has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide to reimagine ecological human-scale food systems. His message is one of empowerment in order to educate, encourage and inspire people into pursuing a farming career and lifestyle.

He his the co-founder, with his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches, of Les jardins de la grelinette, an internationally recognized micro-farm in Southern Quebec known for its high productivity and profitability.  Since 2015, he is the farm director at Ferme des Quatre-Temps, an experimental farm in Hemmingford, Quebec. This ambitious project was initiated by a group of philanthropists and practitioners of organic farming with the aim of paving the way towards a more ecological and nourishing food system for Quebec.

As an educator, JM places a strong emphasis on intelligent farm design, appropriate technologies and harnessing the power of soil biology as key components of successful farming. A storyteller who weaves the technical aspects of farming with anecdotes from his farm, he has facilitated hundreds of workshops, seminars and conferences in Canada, Europe, Australia and the United States.  His methods and practices are featured in The Market Gardener’s Toolkit, an educational documentary produced by Possible Media, and in The Market Gardener’s Masterclass, an online course for professional growers.

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Organic farming goes for scale in prairies, pushes back on skepticism

OttawaMatters – Sept 2, 2018 (Canadian Press)

Travis Heide was raised on a conventional farm and used to take it personally when his wife, who grew up on an organic farm on Vancouver Island, talked about going pesticide and fertilizer-free.

Travis Heide was raised on a conventional farm and used to take it personally when his wife, who grew up on an organic farm on Vancouver Island, talked about going pesticide and fertilizer-free. Now, his the Saskatchewan-based farmer owns one of the biggest organic farms in Canada.

“Every time she talked about organic, it was like she was attacking the way I was raised.”

High prices for some organic crops helped push him to experiment with the practice in 2015 on farmland he secured through a partnership with property manager Robert Andjelic. Profits on the organic crop ended up helping offset losses on his conventional crop that year.

Heide has since gone all-in on organic and is pushing to see how big such farms can grow with a 16,200 hectare operation, as the industry matures and concerns mount about the impacts of conventional farming. The federal government, for example, recently moved to phase out nicotine-based pesticides that are linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths.

“What we’re not spending in chemical, we’re investing in people and machinery.”

Heide said he stuck with the model because it made sense on a business case, as demand grows for the products and the market matures, and other farmers are taking note.

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The Great Laws of Nature: Indigenous Organic Agriculture Documentary (22 min)

Muskoday Organic Growers Co-op,

A group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada

Let’s reconnect with our relatives in nature In 2013: the plant beings: A group of First Nations People in Saskatchewan Canada are reclaiming their Indigenous organic and natural agricultural heritage, reconnecting with Nature, learning and observing her natural laws, and getting back on the road to self-reliance. This video is presented here courtesy of Muskoday Organic Growers Co-op.. If you want to purchase a copy of this video please contact the producers through this link: rivard@rivard.tv

NOTE: The Bank ACT prevents loans to First Nations directly to start Coops and businesses.

Video Link

Article:  Indigenous co-ops in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Agroecology and the fight against deadly capitalist agriculture

Climate and Capitalism, June 17, 2018 by Colin Todhunter

Agroecology can free farmers from dependency, manipulated commodity markets, unfair subsidies and food insecurity. It is resisted by giant corporations that profit from the status quo.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India. This article was originally published as “Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset,” on his blog, East by Northwest. Colin invites readers to follow him on Twitter.

Food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified and unhealthy and diets less diverse. There is a loss of biodiversity, which threatens food security, soils are being degraded, water sources polluted and depleted and smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production, are being squeezed off their land and out of farming.

A minority of the global population has access to so much food than it can afford to waste much of it, while food insecurity has become a fact of life for hundreds of millions. This crisis stems from food and agriculture being wedded to power structures that serve the interests of the powerful global agribusiness corporations.

Over the last 60 years, agriculture has become increasingly industrialised, globalised and tied to an international system of trade based on export-oriented mono-cropping, commodity production for the international market, indebtedness to international financial institutions (IMF/World Bank).

This has resulted in food surplus and food deficit areas, of which the latter have become dependent on (US) agricultural imports and strings-attached aid. Food deficits in the Global South mirror food surpluses in the North, based on a ‘stuffed and starved’ strategy.

Whether through IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programmes related to debt repayment as occurred in Africa (as a continent Africa has been transformed from a net exporter to a net importer of food), bilateral trade agreements like NAFTA and its impact on Mexico or, more generally, deregulated global trade rules, the outcome has been similar: the devastation of traditional, indigenous agriculture.

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Organic Agriculture Is Going Mainstream, But Not the Way You Think It Is

Organic going mainstream

“Big Organics” is often derided by advocates of sustainable agriculture. The American food authors Michael Pollan and Julie Guthman, for example, argue that as organic agriculture has scaled up and gone mainstream it has lost its commitment to building an alternative system for providing food, instead “replicating what it set out to oppose.”

New research, however, suggests that the relationship between organic and conventional farming is more complex. The flow of influence is starting to reverse course.

Even with the upscaling, the market position of organic agriculture remains limited.

In Canada, organic sales grow by nearly 10 percent per year, and the total value of the organic market is around $5.4 billion. Yet the reality is that the industry is still dwarfed by conventional agriculture.

There are more than 4,000 certified organic farms in Canada, totalling 2.43 million acres. But this accounts for only 1.5 percent of the country’s total agricultural land.

Also, aside from the two organic heavyweights—coffee (imported) and mixed greens (mostly imported)—the market share of organic groceries is pretty small, at around three percent.

Yet the influence of organics is felt well beyond its own limited market.

SOURCE

Seeds of Life: A Quiet Revolution is Underway at the Foothills of Niyamgiri, India (14 min)

With help of local organisations, the Panga Kodhs have gone back to traditional, organic, mixed cropping methods. Even the forests are benefiting.

“I’m born of this soil. Putting poison in the soil is like poisoning one’s parents. Why would I harm myself like this?”, says Adi Kumurka. Kumurka belongs to the Panga Kondh indigenous community in Odisha’s Rayagada district. His community is engaged in mixed organic cropping from traditional seeds. This is the traditional way of farming that his community has practised since untold times. But there was a long gap in between when malnourishment and farmer suicides compelled these traditional farmers to migrate to faraway places to look for jobs. What changed?

Article: Seeds of Life: A Quiet Revolution

Video: Seeds of Life (14 min)