Monday, November 19, 2012

University of Guelph Bioproducts Centre Receives $2 Million

GUELPH Ontario - November 16, 2012 - U of G News Release - The University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) received $2 million today from the federal government.

The funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) will be used to purchase equipment and to expand the centre. BDDC scientists turn plant materials into resins, polymers and tough fibres to make biobased plastics and bioproducts.

The funding was announced in Guelph today by Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development and regional minister for southwestern Ontario, on behalf of Gary Goodyear, minister of state.

Finley said the money will help “ensure that researchers have the tools they need to develop and assess new bio-based products that have tremendous commercial applications” and will help provide new jobs.

U of G president Alastair Summerlee added:

“This is an investment in the future. It will allow us to expand and enhance the BDDC, where scientists from across the disciplines are working together on viable solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems. They are finding new uses for agricultural products, creating green alternatives and making Canada a world leader in the field.”

The centre opened in October 2008. Researchers study ways to use soy, wheat, corn and other crops to make everything from car parts and furniture to fuel. They also investigate new crops for use in composite materials. They hope planted-based materials will help reduce our dependency on petroleum-based products.

Rob Gordon, dean of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, said the BDDC supports and important and evolving role for agriculture.

“It’s a catalyst for innovative green products that will ultimately enhance the value of Ontario’s agriculture sector. It also provides a training environment that will help to further position Ontario as a global leader in bioproducts.”

The BDDC is directed by Amar Mohanty, a professor in U of G’s Department of Plant Agriculture and School of Engineering and holder of the Premier’s Research Chair in Biomaterials and Transportation.

“Bioproducts are the wave of the future,” Mohanty said. “We sincerely thank FedDev Ontario for this timely contribution that will accelerate the creation of innovative green biomaterials-based solutions to create a sustainable competitive advantage for businesses in our province and beyond in the fast-growing bioeconomy.”

Created in 2009 under Canada’s Economic Action Plan, FedDev Ontario is intended to help businesses and communities in southern Ontario to compete globally.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Its Harvest Season!

Be sure to buy local this holiday season and get out to Strom's Farm for some outdoor family fun!

Strom's Farm is a second generation farm started in 1978 with Jay's love for sweet corn. Jay and Marg started with one acre of sweet corn then added pumpkins in 1996. Channing, their oldest son, returned to the farm in 2000 with his wife Amy. In 2002, they added a corn maze and in 2006 Channing and Amy bought the farm and added a bakery. Channing and Amy, along with their two sons, invite you to visit our farm for quality produce and an exceptional fall experience.

Our season begins around August 1st and continues until October 31st. In August, we pride ourselves in the freshest produce and quality baking. Mid-September our farm is transformed with the beauty of autumn. Our farm is filled with thousands of pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, hay bales, and many items for your fall decorating. Join us on the weekends, starting September 22, for our 6 acre corn maze, tile, rope, cedar and straw maze, wagon rides, pedal carts, corn trail, sand pile, pumpkin chuckin', and homegrown popcorn!

Strom's Farm
5089 Wellington Rd 32, Guelph, Ontario
ph (519) 822-1070
fx (519) 821-3583

Driving Directions

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Picking

Every pumpkin is known by its stem. - proverb

...from the Old Farmers Almanac - October brings autumn into full swing, and who doesn’t love a fall walk in the woods or a stroll through an apple orchard to enjoy the season’s bounty?

We’re noticing pumpkins brightening up farm stands across much of the country. For many, the harvest came early. Here are some tips for pumpkin picking:

...Do not pick pumpkins off the vine because they have reached your desired size. Wait until they mature. (If you want small pumpkins, buy a small variety.)

...Cut fruit off the vine; do not tear. Be sure not to cut too close to the pumpkin and to leave a liberal amount of stem

...Before storing, pumpkins should be cured in the sun for about a week to toughen the skin.

...Early harvest? No worries. If you store in a cool, dry, dark place between 50 and 55 degrees, the pumpkins should last about 6 months.

...They are best stored sitting on a board or cardboard or straw (not a cement floor) about 2 inches apart (not stacked or touching).

...One of our readers shared this tip: Wash a picked pumpkin in a very mild chlorine solution (1 cup of chlorine to 1 gallon of water. This gets rid of bacteria that cause rot. Then thoroughly dry.

See our pumpkin page for more harvest tips - and great reader Q&As.

If you’re going to a pumpkin patch, remember to buy pumpkins with stems attached; they will keep better.

Listen! The wind is rising,
And the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
Now for October eves!

- Humbert Wolfe (1885–1940)


All this talk of pumpkin gets us excited about mouthwatering pumpkin recipes.

Enjoy these fall favorites—courtesy of our new Everyday Baking cookbook.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Sugar Cake

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

TIP: See how to cook and clean a pumpkin.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rural living could be an obesity risk factor

The United States is currently going through an obesity epidemic, and public health experts and others are understandably very concerned. There isn't a single state that has an obesity rate of under 20 percent and the medical costs associated with obesity were estimated to be approximately $147 billion in 2008.

Many researchers have wondered whether there might be a rural-urban divided as regards obesity rates, and a team of scholars at the University of Kansas and the Unviersity of Florida has done some work on the subject that is garnering attention.

Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the team found that 39.6% of people in rural areas were obese, as compared with 33.4% of those in urban areas. The team of researchers also noted that several factors were associated with higher rates of obesity, including being married, consuming a high daily calorie intake or a higher percentage of calories from fat, or being of African-American descent.

One of the investigators, Professor Michael G. Perri, noted that

"Rural areas have fewer resources to assist residents with lifestyle changes related to weight management."

It remains to be seen what might be done to address this disparity, but one solution might be to use the expertise of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Service, which has offices in just about every county in the United States.

Read the full article at the Los Angeles Times

>From The Scout Report,
Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2012.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Canada celebrates Organic Week Sept. 22-29, 2012

OTTAWA, September 21, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - For the third consecutive year, the Canadian Organic Growers and Canada Organic Trade Association are partnering with groups across the country to celebrate Organic Week in Canada.

This energized week recognizes the environmental and community-building contributions of organic growers and businesses in both urban and rural communities. From organic farm tours to harvest meals to wine tastings—there are dozens of events taking place across the country. A school contest is also encouraging children to get their hands dirty and better understand farming.

"In Canada, there are more than 3700 organic growers," said Beth McMahon, Executive Director of the Canadian Organic Growers. "Organic Week is an opportunity to applaud their commitment to the environment and a healthy food system. We really encourage people to get to know their farmers."

Organizers of Organic Week are also taking the opportunity to highlight the strong growth of the sector: with 66.5% growth in organic farms since 2001, according to the latest Census of Agriculture. The value of the organic market is now valued at more than $2.6 billion in sales, and has grown by 160% since 2006.

"Organics are a tightly regulated and inspected system, which prohibits synthetic toxins, GMOs and many additives in growing and processing," said Matthew Holmes, Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association. "As people continue to look to reduce exposure to synthetic chemicals and genetically modified ingredients, as well support environmentally-friendly choices, demand for organics will only grow."

To find out more about events in your area, visit

Organic Week was made possible this year by champion sponsors Nature's Path Foods, Hain Celestial Canada, The Big Carrot, Mill St. Brewery, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, The Canadian Health Food Association, and UNFI Canada; as well as national supporters Ambrosia Organic Growers, Beretta, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, Earthbound Farm, Ecocert, Ethical Bean Coffee, Fruit D'Or, Grainworks Inc., Kamut International, Left Coast Naturals, Nature's Fare Markets, Organic Garage, Organic Meadow, ShaSha Bread Co., Silk Soy Beverage, SunOpta, Taste of Nature, and USC Canada.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Paper Explores Environmental, Economic Costs of Dam Removal

GUELPH Ontario - September 11, 2012 - University of Guelph News Release - It’s a “dam” dilemma for more and more resource managers. Remove a dam to help restore sport fishes in the Great Lakes or to save endangered lake sturgeon, for instance, and you risk allowing parasitic sea lamprey to harm the fishery or further decimate a threatened species.

A new review paper whose authors include University of Guelph biologists discusses tradeoffs and possible economic or environmental costs of removing dams or creating fishways, an increasingly popular option among resource managers.

The paper was published online this month in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

“There’s a large push for new fish passageways and dam removal,” said Rob McLaughlin, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and the paper’s lead author.

He and former master’s student Eric Smyth worked with fisheries scientists in Michigan, Massachusetts, Ontario and British Columbia.

More resource managers are looking to fishways and dam removal to help build up migratory fish populations and to restore stream biodiversity and natural ecosystems.

Referring to fish and invertebrates that can harm native or desirable fish, McLaughlin said,

“The reality is that dams can be good if they’re blocking aquatic invasive species. There’s a need for a more nuanced approach as opposed to a bandwagon, one-size-fits-all approach to the problem.”

The team looked at almost 200 research publications involving more than 40 fish species and numerous dam locations across North America, Europe and Australia. Their paper discusses tradeoffs and effects of dam removal and fishway construction on various species, and ways to assess costs, benefits and tradeoffs.

The authors highlight an example involving invasive sea lamprey, highly prized walleye, and endangered lake sturgeon and northern brook lamprey at the Black Sturgeon dam in northern Lake Superior.

Smyth studied the Black Sturgeon River for his master’s thesis at Guelph. Referring to competing interests from sport fishers to environmental groups to government agencies, he said,

“There is no simple way to resolve the tradeoffs. No matter what, there’s going to be some negative consequences to management.”

Around the Great Lakes, a number of dams were built initially to control water levels and later modified to thwart sea lamprey. These parasitic fish entered the Great Lakes in the early 20th century.

Canada and the United States created the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) to control sea lamprey. McLaughlin has worked with the GLFC on lamprey control, and came to Guelph in 2002 under a GLFC-funded ecosystem program.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ministers of Education Mark International Literacy Day

TORONTO, September 8, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Provincial and territorial education ministers are joining today with governments, business and labour, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals from around the world to celebrate International Literacy Day (ILD).

ILD was established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to highlight the fundamental value of literacy and promote greater literacy around the world.

UNESCO has chosen the theme "Literacy and Peace" for ILD 2012 to underscore the role that literacy can play in resolving conflict and promoting civic engagement and social harmony.

"Ministers of education are pleased to add their voice to the global call for greater literacy for all peoples," said the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education for Nova Scotia. "We recognize that literacy is a one of the pillars of an open and democratic, economically strong, and socially inclusive society."

Provinces and territories continue their efforts on literacy through a wide range of programs and initiatives adapted to meet the varied needs of their respective populations. This flexible approach — a hallmark of Canada's education systems — ensures that government resources are used to maximum effect and successes are shared among provinces and territories and on the international stage.

Canadians can learn more about literacy in Canada by visiting

Literacy also remains an integral part of the work of CMEC and is addressed in a variety of programs and activities, including education data and learning assessment, international engagement, and early childhood education.

Of particular note is CMEC's participation, in partnership with the federal government, in OECD's flagship assessment of adult skills and learning, the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). PIAAC will provide Canadians with one of the most complete portraits ever of adult skills in Canada, including literacy, and will inform policy development for years to come. The first results from PIAAC will be released in fall 2013.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August brings two full Moons! A Blue Moon and a Full Red Moon August 31

From the Old Farmers Almanac - It is the Almanac’s style to use Native American or colonial names for the full Moon. The first full Moon, on August 1, is the “Full Sturgeon Moon.”

The second full Moon, on August 31, is the “Full Red Moon,” which is an Algonquin name. Read our August Moon Guide for Moon phases, video, best days, folklore, and more.

This is not to be confused with the expression “blue Moon,” which many folks define as the second full Moon in a month (which occurs about every 2.5 years).

The expression "blue Moon" may have derived from the extremely rare occurrence of a Moon becoming tinged with blue when seen through atmospheric layers of forest fire smoke or volcanic dust. Since these blue-looking Moons were very unusual, the phrase “once in a blue Moon” was coined.

There was also an earlier definition of “blue Moon” related to the seasonal (tropical) calendar; the phrase’s roots have a long history involving calendars and the measuring of the year.

Nowadays, the definition that has taken off as modern folklore is simply the second full Moon in a month.

No matter what meaning you give them, blue Moons are rare, and we all know what you mean when you say, “once in a blue Moon”!

When high the Sun in noonday glory rides,
Where willows keep the lake’s green margin cool,
The speckled trout amid their shadow hides,
And dragonflies haunt every shaded pool.

– Thomas S. Collier

Sincerely, The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ontario's Lennox and Addington County's Dark Secret Comes To Light With Opening of Province's Most Southerly Lookout to View the Pristine Night Sky

NAPANEE, Ontario, August 7, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Astronomers have long known a dark secret about the rural southeastern Ontario community of Lennox and Addington (L&A) County. Now that secret has come to light with the official opening of the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area - the most southerly point in Ontario where you can view the pristine night sky uninhibited by the glare of city lights.

The opening of the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area could not have come at a better time from an astronomical perspective, coinciding with the beginning of the Perseid meteor shower, a spectacular natural display of "shooting stars" that will rain across the sky this week and peak Saturday, August 11, 2012.

The L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area is easily accessible and located at Ontario's Sheffield Conservation Area north of the 401 on County Road 41, 36 km from Napanee, ON, making it the most southerly point in the province to see the pristine night sky for stargazing. (See The specially designed open air viewing area officially opened to the public on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. (See )

"Lennox and Addington County is the best location this far south in Southern Ontario for stargazing, giving you a night sky experience very similar to what was available 100 years ago," says renowned astronomy author Terence Dickinson, who has published 14 books on the subject, selling over two million copies worldwide.

"I moved here in 1976 knowing it was a location where you could access such a pristine night sky," adds Dickinson, who is also editor of SkyNews magazine. "The L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area creates a dedicated, accessible space for anyone to now enjoy what really is the biggest expanse of nature - the universe. The question I get asked the most, especially by people in bigger cities like Toronto or Ottawa, is where can I go to really see the stars. Now I can tell them. This is really a gift of nature here in this part of L&A County."

While the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area is ideal for both amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, Stephen Paul, Lennox and Addington County's Manager of Economic Development, says the appeal is much broader based.

"This designated stargazing site is open to everyone," says Paul. "You don't need a telescope to enjoy and appreciate the natural wonder of the pure night sky. We are very fortunate in this area to be surrounded by the right natural conditions where you can enjoy a view that is not available in any other place in southern Ontario. So we designed the site with a flat surface to make it easy to take pictures, set up a telescope or just bring along a lawn chair and enjoy the view with your family."

The site's designer and project manager sees the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area as a special place and he imbued his design with spiritual symbolism.

"We tried to create an environment that symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth, where infinity is expressed in the skies," says Hans Honegger, Designer Bon Eco Design. "We had complete reverence for the natural terrain, finding a spot that is naturally open and unencumbered by trees and integrating the natural presence of the pre-cambium rock of this region into the design. We also incorporated the symbol of a raven into the platform as the astronomical north arrow indicator."

The end result is a rustic, nature-inspired viewing area that blends with the natural environment and includes benches for those who just want to sit and admire the natural beauty of the sky the way their ancestors would have 100 years ago.

Lennox and Addington County is situated in south-eastern Ontario, conveniently centered between the cities of Kingston and Belleville. The county covers a sprawling area of 2,841 square kilometres, stretching from Lake Ontario, northward over 130 kilometers to Renfrew County. The northern half of the county forms part of the Canadian Shield. The southern half of the county is essentially rural, with the exception of the Town of Greater Napanee and the suburban community of Amherstview within Loyalist Township. The rural area is dotted with a number of villages and hamlets which function as commercial and tourism centres for the surrounding area. Settled at first by United Empire Loyalists and later by American and European pioneers, Lennox and Addington County is alive with reminders of a rich past: the family names of the earliest pioneers endure, and hundreds of grand Victorian homes and farmsteads still stand as symbols of an era of hard work and bustling growth, their survival and vitality a testament to the vision of the founders. Visit

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home sweet phone: over 80 percent of Canadians choose to have a home phone line

When it comes to things that are most important, Canadians prefer to connect over the phone

TORONTO, July 31, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - While many of us frequently send-off quick electronic messages, the majority of Canadians still pick up the phone to catch up and stay connected when it counts. According to a survey commissioned by Primus Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PTGi (Primus Telecommunications Group, Inc.) NYSE:PTGI, and conducted by Angus Reid, 83 percent of Canadians have an active home phone line.

So why, in the age of smart phones, do so many Canadians maintain a home phone line? The number one reason is that people want a phone number that's tied to their household or family, rather than just to them personally. It helps them stay connected to those closest to them - 67 percent say their extended family members contact them primarily at their home number, followed by friends at 63 percent, parents at 49 percent, spouse/partner at 47 percent and kids at 35 percent.

"The message we hear from Canadians is that their home phone gives their family and household a central contact point for those who are most important to them, such as family and friends," says Rob Warden, Senior Vice President, Residential Services at Primus Canada. "Home phones provide a very reliable means of communication that you can't always get from a mobile phone, and clearly Canadians still value the personal touch of a phone call."

Given the choice between the phone, email, text or social media, more Canadians choose to relay good news and important messages by phone. Fifty-six percent call to say "Happy Birthday!" where only 20 percent choose social media, 12 percent email and 5 percent text message. Asking for a favour also requires a conversation, with 65 percent choosing to talk it out compared to texting and emailing (both at 8 percent) or social media (2 percent).

"Congratulations on the job promotion!" warrants a call for 48 percent of Canadians, versus 24 percent over email, 12 percent social media and 7 percent text message. And the polite thing to do when you're running late is to call. 67 percent of Canadians do so. Text message follows at 24 percent, email at 4 percent and social media at 1 percent.

While email edges out the phone slightly when it comes to keeping in touch on a regular basis, the difference is only 3 percent - 33 percent choose email, 30 percent a phone call, 23 percent social media and 11 percent text message. Email is the big winner overall when it comes to how Canadians spend their time online; 95 percent said email is what they typically use the Internet for, followed by general research at 81 percent, banking at 77 percent, news at 65 percent and social networking at 59 percent.

From May 25th to May 26th 2012 an online survey was conducted among 1,516 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error is +/- 2.5%, or 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to age, gender, region and education (and language in Quebec) to ensure a sample representative of the entire population of Canada.

About Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc.

Primus Telecommunications Canada Inc. is the largest alternative telecommunications service provider in Canada. Primus Canada offers a wide selection of consumer and business telecommunications services available nationwide including Home Phone, Internet, Long Distance, VoIP, Wireless, Hosting, Managed Services and Enterprise IP Telephony. Primus Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of McLean, Virginia-based Primus Telecommunications Group, Incorporated (NYSE: PTGI). Additional information is available at

About PTGi PTGi (Primus Telecommunications Group, Incorporated) is a leading provider of advanced communication solutions, including, traditional and IP voice, data, mobile services, broadband Internet, collocation, hosting, and outsourced managed services to business and residential customers in the United States and Canada. PTGi is also one of the leading international wholesale service providers to fixed and mobile network operators worldwide. PTGi owns and operates its own global network of next-generation IP soft switches, media gateways, hosted IP/SIP platforms, broadband infrastructure, fiber capacity, and data centers located in Canada. Founded in 1994, PTGi is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Calling all tree enthusiasts: the public is invited to register for Trees Ontario's Certified Seed Collector Workshops

TORONTO, July 19, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - With Ontario in need of a billion more trees to achieve the minimum 30 per cent forest cover needed for a healthy ecosystem, it is critical for growers to have a consistent supply of native woody plant seed. This summer, Trees Ontario, in partnership with the Forest Gene Conservation Association and the Ontario Tree Seed Plant, is hosting four Certified Seed Collector Workshops.

In southern Ontario, seed collection is complex as there are more than 100 native tree and shrub species, inconsistent year-to-year tree seed production and fluctuations in the demand for specific species. If seeds are mis-identified, sourced from unidentified locations, or generally of poor quality, it is challenging for tree seedling nurseries to supply healthy stock for upcoming planting seasons.

For climate change mitigation strategies to succeed, high quality, source-identified native seeds are needed. Furthermore, well trained and informed seed collectors are needed to support long-term seed banking and assisted migration efforts in Ontario.

Trees Ontario's Certified Seed Collector Workshops are hands-on courses covering seed forecasting, seed collection, handling, processing and storage. Participants may become Registered Certified Seed Collectors with the Forest Gene Conservation Association upon successful completion of the final exam.

Workshops will be held in the following locations:

Ontario Tree Seed Plant August 21 and August 22 141 King St Angus, ON L0M 1B0

Walpole Island Land Trust: Heritage Centre July 31 and August 1 RR3 Walpole Island, ON N8A 4K9

Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture August 29 and August 30 2565 Niagara Parkway Niagara Falls, ON L2E 6T2

Lambton College September 5 and September 6 1457 London Rd. Sarnia, ON N7S 6K4

This course is part of Trees Ontario's annual technical workshop series, including educational programs on Seed Forecasting, Seed Collection and Growing Native Trees from Seed. Few spots remain and pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux Highlights Canadian Government's Commitment to Agriculture Science

LAKEFIELD, Ontario - Marketwire - June 29, 2012 - Today, as part of a regional tour of Southern Ontario, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Pierre Lemieux toured a farm to learn about the adverse effects stable flies have on dairy and beef farms.

"Our Government is always interested in practical science and common sense solutions that can help our farmers grow their profits," said Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux. "Our Government encourages this kind of privately funded research, which directly helps the bottom line of our world-class dairy and beef farmers."

As part of the tour, Mr. Lemieux learned that biting-flies on livestock farms can significantly affect the bottom line of farmers, but that these pests can be controlled. Dr. David Beresford, biology professor at the University of Trent, has been studying the ways of mitigating this problem.

"I am pleased that our Government is interested in practical research. Biting flies, for example, costs the dairy and beef industries in North America $3 billion per year in lost weight and production," remarked Dr. Beresford. "Based on my research, I have been able to slowdown the growth rate of stable flies on farms by 15%, and with further research I hope to halt their population growth entirely."

Mr. Lemieux used the opportunity to highlight the work undertaken by individuals and private industry as well as the significant strategic investments that the government has made in science and innovation. For example, the Agriculture Innovation Program, a two year $50 million investment, helps to get new products, technologies, processes to market, and improve the productivity and competitiveness of Canadian producers and processors.

Dr. Beresford's work on farm pests has been published in the Journal of Dairy Science, Economic Entomology, Journal of Vector Ecology, and Medical and Veterinary Entomology, with his most recent work soon to be released in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Technology and Smart Phones Are Changing Cities, and The Densest Cities Benefit The Most

from by Lloyd Alter - Design / Urban Design

For years, the prevailing wisdom was that the Internet might be bad for cities, as people could essentially do everything, from work to entertainment, from their home in the country. Certainly this is true to a point; I am writing this from a cabin in the woods. In the Financial Times, Simon Kuper notes that in fact, the opposite is happening;

Writing in the Financial Times, Simon Kuper notes that the internet, and the smart phone in particular, are bringing people together.

The internet was perfect for cities. It created new networks that reinforced older urban networks. Patrik Regardh, head of strategic marketing for the mobile-phone operator Ericsson, says urbanites email, phone and use social networks more than people outside cities. After all, they have more contacts, and so they communicate more.

Kuper makes an interesting point about how desktop computers tied people to their desks, and laptops tied them to Starbucks. But the smartphone changes everything.

In short, smartphones are helping make the densest cities the best places to live, as witnessed by property prices in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and London.

More in The Financial Times

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New contest launched Seeking farmers for the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar

GUELPH, Ontario May 22, 2012 – It’s often said that there’s no such thing as a typical farmer – that Ontario’s farm community is comprised of tens of thousands of outstanding farmers. Each farmer could be considered unique for the way they grow their crops, raise their livestock or manage their environmental practices.

Farm & Food Care Ontario is celebrating the heart and entrepreneurial spirit of Ontario’s farmers by launching a new contest to feature a farmer or farm family who is proud and passionate about farming. The winning farmer or farm family will be featured on a page in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar.

The calendar, now entering its eighth year, has featured the faces and stories of almost 160 farmers and farm families since it was expanded to include all types of farmers in 2005. The goal of the project is to break stereotypes about Ontario’s farmers and get some important messages about modern farming to the public. The Faces of Farming Calendar is successful every year as it features compelling and creative photographs to capture the interest of anyone who opens the cover by introducing real farmers and telling their stories. Each year the calendar is distributed to thousands of Ontario media, chefs, grocery stores and politicians and is sold through the Farm & Food Care website, office and local outlets.

Project manager Kelly Daynard said she continues to hear new and unique stories from the participants each year – stories that are captured in the captions that appear below each photo.

“We’re hoping that this contest will identify even more of those stories that should be told – stories that clearly identify the passion farmers have for their careers, their way of life and some of the struggles they’ve often had to overcome to get to where they are today.”

Farmers and farm families are encouraged to enter the contest by submitting both a photo and short essay (400 words or less) describing their farm and their pride in farming by answering the following questions:

...Names and ages of all entrants (as pictured in the photo) ...Address, including county or region, and phone number ...A short description of the farming operation (including types of crops grown, livestock raised, products sold) ...History of the farm – number of generations farming, etc. ...Any other details that make their story unique including community involvement, environmental initiatives, unusual hobbies or backgrounds, etc. ...What makes them the perfect candidate for this project – describe why you and/or your family are proud and passionate about farming.

All entries must be received at the Farm & Food Care office no later than Friday, June 15, 2012 when they will be reviewed by a panel of judges. The winning family will participate in a professional and memorable photo shoot in July, will receive complimentary copies of the calendar and two tickets and accommodation for the 2012 Ontario Harvest Gala and calendar launch on November 1, 2012 in Guelph.

Entries can be emailed to or mailed to 100 Stone Road West, Suite 106, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 5L3.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Man-made Pollution Shifting Tropics and Sub-Tropics Poleward

photo credit: © NASA Goddard Photo and Video/CC BY 2.0

by Mat McDermott Science / Climate Change

We've reported before on how climate change is expanding the tropics and sub-tropical zones towards the poles. Now there's some new research showing how man-made pollution, such as black carbon soot, is contributing to this poleward shift.

Think Progress reports on a new study, published in Nature:

Black carbon aerosols and tropospheric ozone, both man-made pollutants emitted predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere's low- to mid-latitudes, are most likely pushing the boundary of the tropics further poleward in that hemisphere.

This expansion of the tropics has been happening at a rate of 0.7° latitude per decade.

As for the potential impact of this, lead author Robert Allen says:

If the tropics are moving poleward, then the sub-tropics will become even drier. If a poleward displacement of the mid-latitude storm tracks also occurs, this will shift mid-latitude precipitation poleward, impacting regional agriculture, economy, and society.

For example, the southern portions of the United States may get drier if the storm systems move further north than they were 30 years ago. Indeed, some climate models have been showing a steady drying of the subtropics, accompanied by an increase in precipitation in higher mid-latitudes. The expansion of the tropical belt that we attribute to black carbon and tropospheric ozone in our work is consistent with the poleward displacement of precipitation seen in these models.

If there's some good news in this, it's that reducing black carbon soot is increasingly on the international agenda, and that compared to other climate pollutants its effects are very short-lived once the source of the pollution is eliminated.

Friday, May 25, 2012

BetterPlanet ‘Donor Wall’ Grows at the University of Guelph

GUELPH, Ontario May 24, 2012 - University of Guelph News Release - The University of Guelph today unveiled seven additions to its dramatic "donor wall" in Rozanski Hall. The donor wall in the lobby of the classroom complex honours supporters and tells the story of the University’s BetterPlanet Project.

“It’s intended to be an evolving symbol of the issues and needs being addressed as we look to create change and make the world a better place,” said president Alastair Summerlee.

“Today we are adding to this work of art. The seven new pieces represent extraordinary giving to the University and the potential for growth via the new opportunities these gifts provide.”

Donors highlighted today are:

...Philip Gosling and Susan Gosling, Gosling Foundation: a second leadership gift to the BetterPlanet Project of $1.5 million to establish the Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation;

...Tony and Anne Arrell, U of G graduates: $1 million to support excellence in teaching and 20 annual scholarships for students across disciplines;

...Wolf Haessler, U of G graduate and founder of Skyjack Inc.: $1 million to enhance the University’s engineering facilities and to fund 20 new scholarships;

...Donald Pestell, Ontario Agricultural College graduate: $600,000 for the D.J. Pestell Student Service and Alumni Centre at the Ridgetown Campus;

...The late J.E. Blake Graham, Ontario Veterinary College graduate: $500,000 for the Blake Graham Fellowship Endowment Fund, supporting graduate studies in public health and zoonotic diseases;

Bob and Gail Farquharson, a second leadership gift to the BetterPlanet Project of $537,000 to support individual preventive health-care research; and

...Scotiabank, $500,000 to support scholarships and case study competitions in the College of Management and Economics.

The 42-foot-long installation depicts a mural map of Canada painted by five local artists, along with four columns for the themes of the BetterPlanet Project: food, environment, health and community.

Launched publicly in fall 2010, the BetterPlanet Project aims to raise $200 million to help U of G improve research and teaching.

The donor wall was unveiled last September at the campaign’s halfway point; the campaign had raised more than $136.5 million.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

From the city to the farm to the big screen

NEUSTADT, Ontario May 7, 2012 from — To Make A Farm, a new feature-length documentary film exploring the lives of five new farmers with non-farming backgrounds, will show in Ontario in early March, with screenings in Guelph, Walkerton and Campbellford.

Filmmaker Steve Suderman and the operators of three featured farms — two of which are located near the Grey County community of Neustadt — will be in attendance.

Stepping into the limelight to help promote the film and connect with those in attendance at the screenings will be Tarrah Young and Nathan Carey of Green Being Farm (also highlighted in this edition of Regional Country News for recently achieving certification as a “Bee Friendly” farm); and Leslie Moskovits and Jeff Boesch of nearby Cedar Down Farm — both of which are Neustadt-area community shared agriculture operations producing a variety of vegetables, meats and other produce.

The other featured farmer in the film is from Minnedosa, Manitoba,

Promotional material for To Make A Farm, named one of the 10 most popular Canadian films at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2011, says the film asks: “What might the future of local food and farming look like?”

Suderman, who grew up on a farm in western Canada and later taught courses on documentary and experimental film at the University of Regina, examines his own family history in farming while, according to the promo material, “discovering a vibrant community of new farmers with urban backgrounds.”

“To Make A Farm depicts the struggles and triumphs of a season on a fledgling farm through the eyes of five young people who have decided to become small-scale farmers, despite having no backgrounds in this demanding profession.”

Upcoming screening events for the film are:

Jubilee Hall in Walkerton, 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 3; and two screenings at the Bookshelf Cinema in Guelph, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5 and 9 p.m. on Monday, March 5.

“I thought it would be impossible for someone to take up farming who didn’t grow up as a farmer,” Suderman says in a news release about the film. “But once I met these farmers and started filming, I was inspired by their passion and hard work."

“I think there are skeptics out there who think the new farmer movement is driven by romanticism, and perhaps there’s an element of that. But in the film you see the struggles and setbacks, and the need to make it work as a business.”

To Make A Farm was described as “exceptionally hopeful” by critics at the Vancouver International Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere in 2011 and was held over for an additional screening after attracting sell-out crowds. Since then, the film has continued to play at festivals across Canada. Last month it made its US premiere at the Big Sky Documentary Festival in Montana, and later will play at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington DC, one of the world’s largest environmental film festivals.

“The filmmaker and farmers hope to draw attention to the lives of local farmers and the realities of small-scale agriculture,” stated the promotional material.

The southern Ontario connections for the film aren’t confined solely to the portrayal of the two Neustadt-area farms. While the director, producer and editor are all based in Saskatchewan, the music for To Make A Farm was recorded at Chalmers United Church in Guelph. More information or to preview clips of the film, visit

To Make A Farm Television Premiere on TVO!

To Make A Farm will make its television debut on TVO (Ontario) Wednesday, May 16 at 9:00 pm EST.

Encore presentations:
Wednesday, May 16 at 12 midnight
Sunday, May 20 at 9:00 pm
Tuesday, May 22 at 9:00 pm

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stephen Lewis talk today at the Global Development Symposium at the University of Guelph

GUELPH, Ontario May 7, 2012 - University of Guelph News - Stephen Lewis, a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS in some of the world’s poorest countries, delivers the keynote speech today at the “Global Development Symposium: Critical Links Between Human and Animal Health.”

The symposium, which runs until Wednesday, is part of the Ontario Veterinary College’s 150th-anniversary celebrations.

Along with Lewis, a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University, the event will feature David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer; Brian Evans, Canada’s chief food safety officer and chief veterinary officer; John McDermott, director of the research program on agriculture for improved nutrition and health with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research; and U of G president Alastair Summerlee.

Beyond veterinary medicine, the symposium will explore interdisciplinary approaches to improve public health and food security and strengthen communities. It brings together social, environmental, medical and veterinary scientists with policy-makers, students and community members interested in global development.

For more information, see

Saturday, May 5, 2012

6.8 Million Birds Die Because of Communication Towers in North America Each Year

25X More Than the Number of Birds Killed by Exxon Valdez Spill

from by Michael Graham Richard - Science / Natural Sciences

Every single year, the 84,000 communication towers spread around North-America kill an estimated 6.8 million birds. Some of these towers can be 2,000 feet high and surrounded by a large number of dangerous guy wires that help keep the towers upright. To put things in context, the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill killed about 250,000 birds, and the Empire State building is 1,250 feet high, so we truly are talking about very tall towers and a very large number of birds killed.

The taller the tower the greater the threat, the study found. The 1,000 or so towers above 900 feet accounted for only 1.6 percent of the total number of towers. Yet these skyscraper towers killed 70 percent of the birds, about 4.5 million a year, said lead author Travis Longcore, associate professor in the USC Spatial Sciences Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences..

The author does a very good job explaining it, so please check out the video below:

These birds are worth saving just because of their intrinsic value, but on top of that they also provide many services to us, such as eating insects and keeping our forests healthy.

Via USC News

Fertile Soils Need Animal Agriculture: Joel Salatin on Integrated Farming

photo credit: Peak Moment/Video screen capture

from by Sami Grover - Science / Sustainable Agriculture

Joel Salatin has been described as America's most influential farmer, and with good reason. While mainstream agriculture has subscribed to the "get big or get out" school of farming, Salatin's Polyface Farms venture has been developing a deeper, more integrated approach to sustainable food production based on human-scale farming systems and a tight symbiosis between plants, animals and their human stewards.

For those who believe the vegan diet is the path to sustainability, Salatin's systems of rotational grazing and pasture will no doubt sound like (if you'll pardon the expression) putting lipstick on a pig—but as Salatin explains in the interview below with Peak Moment TV, the deep, rich soils that our current farming system is busy depleting have been brought about by the interaction of perennial plants and grazing animals.

It is true vegan diets avoid many of the worst excesses of our current farming systems. It is also true that we could recycle an awful lot of human poop to lessen the reliance on animal agriculture. But until someone can show me what a vegan world really might look like, my money is on a more enlightened form of animal agriculture playing an important role in feeding us humans for some time to come.

Folks like Joel Salatin are showing us what that might actually look like. Thanks to Peak Moment TV for another great video.

FortisBC Osprey nest camera launches for another season

KELOWNA, British Columbia, May 4, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - FortisBC's nest camera has begun streaming live video of a pair of Osprey that return every spring to their nest near Benvoulin Road.

FortisBC relocated this nest from a nearby utility pole in 2007 to protect the Osprey from risk of electrocution and the pair has continued to return to this nest each year.

"Our nest camera has proven to be extremely popular with our customers in recent years," said Tom Loski, vice president, customer service. "Again this year we are looking forward to the tens of thousands of views we receive from our customers interested in catching a glimpse of the Osprey and their offspring."

Typically, Osprey return to the same nesting site each year. Their usual routine is to build up their nest with new materials, lay their eggs and then hatch and raise new chicks each year. Osprey will typically nest between May and September and migrate south for the winter.

Watch live streaming video from fortisbc at

FortisBC's successful Osprey nest management program relocates nests from atop energized power poles to safer sites. This program helps protect birds from electrocution and improves electrical safety and reliability. Birds nesting on energized poles can damage the electrical equipment, causing power outages or fire when nest debris falls on power lines.

FortisBC follows the Ministry of Environment's permitting conditions and enlists the services of biologists to assist in the removal of the nests to alternative platforms on poles nearby. FortisBC's success with the program has seen more than 40 poles installed throughout B.C.'s southern interior.

For more information on the nest management program or to watch streaming live video of the Osprey, please visit

FortisBC is an integrated energy solutions provider focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and alternative energy solutions, at the lowest reasonable cost. FortisBC employs more than 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 47,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at or

Live video link available at

Tim Hortons responds to customer demands for more humane eggs and pork

VANCOUVER, May 4, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Under mounting pressure from animal welfare organizations and consumers, Tim Hortons announced today it will call on its pork suppliers to eliminate the gestation confinement of breeding sows and that it plans to purchase at least 10 per cent of its eggs from enriched caging systems by the end of 2013.

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) still feels Tim Hortons' initiative falls short of making necessary improvements to animal welfare, particularly in regards to egg-laying hens. Through VHS's online petition on Change.Org, more than 30,000 people have urged Tim Hortons to stop the use of cages and crates for hens and sows.

"VHS is pleased that Tim Hortons is sending a strong message to the pork industry that change is needed to get animals out of tiny crates," said Leanne McConnachie, Director of the Vancouver Humane Society's Farm Animal Programs. "Like many consumers nationwide, we are disappointed that the company still refuses to use any cage-free eggs though."

Approximately 26 million hens produce Canada's egg supply, and Tim Hortons' 10 per cent commitment will only affect about 35,000 hens—the equivalent size of the average battery cage barn. In B.C. alone, more than 300,000 hens are raised in cage-free systems such as free-run, free-range and organic free-range. Most of Tim Hortons' competitors have opted to purchase eggs from farms using cage-free systems.

Friday, May 4, 2012

OGRA Partners with RCCAO and MTO for Wellington County Bridges Study

OAKVILLE, Ontario, May 4, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) has partnered with the Residential & Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) and the Ministry of Transportation to undertake the Wellington County Bridges Study.

This pilot study will determine the bridge infrastructure needs of Wellington County and its constituent municipalities and assess the potential to use alternative delivery methods. MTO has provided $50,000 in funding with the balance of the $100,000 study being funded by RCCAO and OGRA.

The work will be phased with the first three stages relating to the key steps in developing a bridge asset management plan. Phase 4 will consider alternative delivery options such as bridge bundling and phase 5 will include conclusions and recommendations. A Project Team will be organized with representation from the RCCAO, OGRA, MTO and Wellington County. The final report will be made available to OGRA members.

OGRA President Alan Korell is eager to begin this project.

"To partner with a respectable organization such as RCCAO and to have the support of MTO enables us to bring our shared expertise and experience to the table. This study will benefit Ontario municipalities by providing guidance on how they can use innovative delivery approaches to reduce their long term bridge renewal costs."

"We need to look at new ways to help municipalities maintain, rehabilitate and replace their bridges. This study follows on other OGRA efforts such as Municipal DataWorks, ongoing training and advocacy work in support of Ontario municipalities" said Joe Tiernay, OGRA Executive Director.

Andy Manahan, RCCAO's Executive Director, feels that

"The Wellington County Bridges Study supports the goal of the province's long-term 'Building Together' strategy to use innovative approaches to fund infrastructure improvements. RCCAO is particularly pleased that analytical methods will be used to compare traditional approaches with AFP and bundling approaches for the rehabilitation and maintenance of municipal bridge structures."

The mandate of the Ontario Good Roads Association is to represent the infrastructure interests of municipalities through advocacy, consultation, training and the delivery of identified services.

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Celebrating the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Golden Anniversary

Canada's leading non-profit land conservation organization
celebrates fifty years of conservation legacies

CALGARY, May 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Fifty years of conservation is worthy of a celebration! And what a celebration this will be!

This "Legacy of Landscapes" event will celebrate projects in Alberta conserved by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the people who have made it happen. CBC Radio's Stuart McLean is the featured guest speaker, along with award-winning cowboy poet Doris Daley. The Honourable Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment will bring welcoming remarks, while His Worship, Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary will also join supporters to celebrate this milestone.

Honourary co-chairs of the event, Hal Kvisle (retired President & CEO, TransCanada Corporation and Chair, NCC National Board), Pat Daniel (CEO, Enbridge Inc.) and Fred Green (President and CEO, CP Rail) have brought together sponsors, supporters and corporate Calgary to celebrate this Legacies of Landscapes event. And NCC is celebrating by bringing the landscapes they have conserved to life in the Westin's grand ballroom. A 63-foot projection of landscapes NCC has conserved, other visual displays, live greenery and rehabilitated birds from the Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale will round out a spectacular evening.

"After fifty years, NCC is really just gaining momentum. 45,000 supporters - individuals, corporations, foundations and governments - support our conservation work from coast to coast. Everything flows from nature in one way or other. People really are realizing that the well-being of our planet, our children depends on the proper functioning of our natural systems. Tonight is a celebration of the many Canadians who already believe in the critical importance of our work and an opportunity to celebrate the many significant projects that have been completed in Alberta and across Canada. We look forward to creating another fifty years of conservation legacies." - Bob Demulder, Vice President, Nature Conservancy of Canada - Alberta Region

Since 1962, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast - and over 185,000 acres (75,000 hectares) in Alberta, including projects like the 35,000-acre Waterton Park Front conservation project.

Proceeds from table and ticket sales support East Slopes stewardship - started by Daryl K. ("Doc") Seaman when he conserved the 9,400-acre OH Ranch near Longview, under conservation easement through NCC. This will help ensure the ongoing care of nearly 100,000 acres of lands conserved by NCC along the eastern slopes of Alberta's Rocky Mountains.

"The Conservancy's legacy of leadership and innovation in the preservation and management of important natural areas has made an invaluable contribution to the protection of our country's natural heritage," said Alberta Environment and Water Minister Diana McQueen. "The work of the Alberta Chapter and its dedication to Alberta's natural splendour is greatly appreciated and highly valued by our government."

"It is my distinct pleasure to serve as honourary co-chair of the Nature Conservancy of Canada's fiftieth anniversary celebration in Calgary. We have so many conservation success stories to celebrate over our fifty years - from the landowners who have chosen to work with NCC to protect their lands, to partners who have participated in a number of our projects, to our supporters without whom none of this would be possible. This is one of the first celebrations in 2012 that will take place across Canada in honour of NCC's golden anniversary, and serves as a grand way to kick off our next fifty years." - Hal Kvisle - Nature Conservancy of Canada national board chair

About the Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares), coast to coast and over 185,000 acres (75,000 hectares) in Alberta. By investing in conservation we are ensuring that our natural world remains a home for wildlife, a haven for recreation and a vital resource that cleans the air we breathe and the water we drink. Through strong partnerships NCC works to safeguard our natural areas so that our children and grandchildren will have the chance to enjoy them. To learn more visit:

Government of Canada announces support for women and girls in rural Nova Scotia

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, May 2, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women highlighted Government of Canada support for women and girls in rural and remote communities in Nova Scotia.

"I am pleased to highlight our Government's support for projects in Nova Scotia that address issues of violence and economic security affecting women and girls living in rural and remote communities," said Minister Ambrose. "In every region of Canada, particularly in rural and remote regions, women play important roles in their families and communities, and are key to our country's prosperity."

As part of its recent Call for Proposals for Women Living in Rural and Remote Communities and Small Urban Centres, the Government of Canada has invested in projects through the following organizations in Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Native Women's Association

The Nova Scotia Native Women's Association is receiving $265,600 in Government of Canada support for a project that will work with Mi'kmaq women located in the rural regions of Cape Breton and Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia. The goal is to create two community plans to address the issue of violence against women: one for three communities in Cape Breton, and the other for three communities in the Annapolis Valley.

The Second Story Women's Centre, Lunenburg

The Second Story Women's Centre in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is receiving $296,377 in Government of Canada support for a project to improve community support for women and girls affected by violence in communities along the South Shore of Nova Scotia. In addition to supporting women and girls, the group will engage men and boys to help stop violence against women, and encourage healthy relationships.

YWCA Halifax

YWCA Halifax is receiving $298,438 in Government of Canada support for a project that will work with women residing in the community of Spryfield, Nova Scotia. The goal is to develop a community plan in collaboration with business and community leaders to better coordinate services and resources, and more efficiently address the economic security of women in Spryfield.

Tri-County Women's Centre, Yarmouth

The Tri-County Women's Centre is receiving $300,000 in Government of Canada support for a project which will work with adult women from various ethno-backgrounds in Yarmouth County who have experienced financial insecurity. The goal is to identify and work to address institutional or other gaps in the community that can cause financial difficulty in areas such as employment, affordable housing, childcare, transportation, financial literacy, training or education.

Over the last two years, through the Women's Program of Status of Women Canada, over $2 million in funding has been approved for community-based projects in Nova Scotia.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trees Ontario's Newest Green Leader Makes "Nowhere Farms" the Place to Plant

TORONTO, April 26, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Philip Holst has been named a Trees Ontario Green Leader for his dedication to forest restoration.

Trees Ontario's Green Leader Program recognizes landowners who have worked with our partners to take part in the Ontario government's 50 Million Tree Program, which aims to plant 50 million trees in southern Ontario.

David Depuydt, Stewardship Coordinator, Stewardship Oxford, nominated Holst after working with him over the last few years to plant his property.

"Phil is a family man and community-oriented fellow; He wanted to enhance the landscape for the next generation. He respects the value of agricultural land, but has restored several acres of marginal land into wetland and wildlife habitat on his farm," explained Dave.

Trees Ontario recently visited Holst's Woodstock, Ontario, property. The previous owner had planted wind breaks before Holst bought the property in 1997.

"I view myself as a steward as opposed to an owner. I've always loved this property and I see our family as the next in a long line of stewards of this land. I just continue on where the previous family left off," explains Holst.

Since 2010, Holst has planted approximately 8,000 trees. The trees are a diverse mix of spruce, white pine, red oak, white oak, sugar maple, hemlock and fruit trees. When he purchased the property, it was comprised of 6 acres of lawn and 40 acres of top quality Guelph loam farmland. Four acres were bush, yard and orchard. Now, it boasts 36 acres of workable land and the rest is made up of trees, tree seed orchard, ponds, walking trails, and wetlands.

Holst has been restoring the land and wetlands, always adding to the property. He cropshares 36 acres of farmland with nearby farmers, planting corn, soybean and wheat on a rotational basis.

"As an involved and invested landowner, I've recommended this program to a lot of other landowners in the area. When I heard about the 50 Million Tree Program, I contacted Dave Depuydt, who shared information on the subsidies and support available for tree planting," explains Holst.

"If farmers have land sitting idle, let's do something to make it really useful - let's plan for the next 40-50 years," says Holst. "Partnering with a few other conservation organizations, it's really worth it for the landowner to make the most of these subsidies. Everyone benefits."

Holst will again participate in the 50 Million Tree Program in spring 2012, and credits the Stewardship's help in making the process easy. Four acres of his Woodstock property have been employed as a pilot research project and will potentially shape assisted migration tree planting in future years.

"I have a tree seed orchard. We've planted native trees, but we've mixed in some red and white oaks from Tennessee and Pennsylvania to assist in adapting to climate change. It's really a pilot project with Trees Ontario, Stewardship Oxford and Forest Gene Conservation Association to determine which trees will be best suited for this area in 40-50 years. In four or five decades, we'll have a seed source for better-adapted oak trees," adds Holst. "Planting trees is beneficial to everyone. I want someone in the future to say "the folks who planted this must have had some vision"."

Holst has advice for other landowners who are interested in planting trees:

"For marginal land or areas you want to plant, it is a good program and covers most of the costs."

"Planting trees helps us create a healthier environment. Trees clean the air, mitigate the effects of climate change, increase wildlife habitat, provide shade and help prevent flooding," said Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources. "I applaud Mr. Holst for the work he is doing. His trees are making a difference. I encourage others to take part in the 50 Million Tree Program to help protect Ontario's natural beauty."

"All of our 50 Million Tree Program landowners are making a positive change for all Ontarians. But it is worth recognizing these Green Leaders for their local stewardship and commitment in restoring the environment for future generations," said Rob Keen, Trees Ontario CEO.

"With forest restoration, you'll have something permanent and greater in value than you had before," says Holst. "This place is highly productive. We grow our own food, can our meat and accentuate the positive in every area of our farm. We have so much wildlife, yet we still produce from our farmland," Holst said. "You can make such a contribution in such a short time."

Trees Ontario is the lead agency for the Ontario government's 50 Million Tree program, which provides financial incentives to landowners looking to plant trees. It also provides eligible landowners with hands-on professional help and advice on tree planting, including determining site eligibility, allocating funding and coordinating planting.

Ontario planted nearly 3 million trees in 2011. Our goal is to support the planting of 10 million trees per year by 2015. To help put Ontario on the path to achieving this goal, Trees Ontario is seeking landowners to participate in its programs. For more information about the 50 Million Tree Program and other tree planting programs and incentives available to Ontario landowners, please click here.

Help Us Save Our Environment. One Tree at a Time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Experts challenge sustainability of Canada's food system

A new WSPA report reveals the hidden costs
of industrial animal agriculture

TORONTO, April 24, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has released some alarming findings from a report commissioned to look at the wide-ranging impacts of Canada's animal agriculture practices.

What's On Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture exposes the destructive impacts of intensive livestock operations (ILOs) on our health, the environment, animal welfare and rural Canada.

"Intensive livestock operations or ILOs are producing drug resistant super bugs, destroying our planet's life support system and transforming the social fabric of our rural communities," says Melissa Matlow, WSPA Campaigns Manager, Humane and Sustainable Agriculture.

The report also exposes the real costs of our food. We are seeing the results of our broken system through the escalation of food safety and public health issues.

"Food-borne illnesses are costing our healthcare system between $12 and $14 billion annually," says report contributor Dr. Eva Pip. Animal agriculture uses more land and water than any other human activity. "The running of ILOs also involves significant energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions," notes Dr. Tony Weis.

ILOs are costing Canadian taxpayers directly as well. As Darrin Qualman points out,

"Government of Canada data shows that hog ILOs couldn't exist without huge tax-funded subsidies." Farm animals are paying a high price too. They suffer painful mutilations, are bred to grow faster and crammed into small cages, all to make ILOs possible. "There is solid evidence that our industrial farming practices are causing acute suffering for animals," concludes Dr. Ian Duncan.

Key report findings:

...The huge amounts of manure from ILOs contain antibiotic residues, heavy metals and pathogens (like E. coli). When applied to fields or illegally dumped in ditches, these toxins end up in our drinking water and on crops. It also flows into lakes and rivers, killing fish

...Non-therapeutic use of antibiotics is causing drug resistant super bugs to be found on ILOs in manure and in groundwater near fields - risking the effectiveness of life-saving medicines

...ILOs are causing species loss, soil erosion and lake and river pollution

...Taxpayers are subsidizing the largest industrial farms. Hog farms with annual revenues over $1million collected 72% of the subsidies in 2009. Since 1996, Canadians have given nearly $4 billion to subsidize the hog industry

...ILOs have caused the hollowing out of rural communities as increasing debt, diminished quality of life and soaring unemployment mean businesses, people and infrastructure are abandoning these areas

...Painful mutilations done to farm animals (beak severing, hot branding, teeth breaking, etc) without anesthetic would be illegal if performed on a cat or dog and are purely surgical solutions to human-made problems

WSPA is calling for changes by all levels of government to policies and practices that will safe-guard the health of Canadians, protect our environment, revitalize rural communities and improve the lives of farm animal across the country.

Report recommendations:

...Phase out painful mutilations (de-beaking, castration, etc) performed without anaesthetic or require anaesthetic be given

...Support the Canadian Medical Association's call to require veterinary prescriptions for all agriculture antibiotic use

...Work with industry and farmers to end the worst confinement systems (battery cages, sow stalls, veal crates, etc.)

...Redirect farm subsidies to support family farmers and to encourage more humane and sustainable farming practices

...Regulate industrial livestock operations like other major polluting industries

...Pass a new federal law requiring labelling that would identify production methods to help Canadian consumers choose free-range, local and antibiotic free meat, milk and eggs

About What's On Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture:

Two years in the making, What's On Your Plate? is the first comprehensive Canadian examination of the impacts of industrial animal agriculture. The report includes contributions from leading Canadian academics in the fields of animal husbandry, environmental science, agricultural economics, bioethics, microbiology, water quality and toxicology and a foreword from Dr. Thomas S. Axworthy.

About the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA):

The World Society for the Protection of Animals seeks to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended. Active in more than 50 countries, we work directly with animals and with the people and organizations that can ensure animals are treated with respect and compassion. For more information, visit us at; follow us on Twitter or 'Like' us on Facebook.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating Celebrates Earth Day with the Launch of Because Water Matters Website

New website will educate Canadians about the crucial role
plumbing plays in water conservation and our day-to-day lives

TORONTO, April 19, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - This Sunday marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day: a day when we celebrate our planet by focusing on the environmental awareness and conservation that will shape a more sustainable future.

However, it's been over four decades since the first Earth Day and, surprisingly, many Canadian are still misinformed about the huge impact simple plumbing changes can have with respect to water conservation. As an example, a recent survey by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH), a not-for-profit trade association representing Canada's manufacturers and wholesaler distributors of plumbing and hydronic heating products, revealed:

...Half of Canadians would select a shower head with high-pressure over one with high-efficiency;

...Nearly 4 in 10 Canadians still leave the water running while brushing their teeth;

...Most Canadians underestimate the annual water savings gained switching to a high-efficiency toilet by more than 17,000 L per annum.

That's why CIPH is launching Because Water Matters, a website created to: educate Canadians about the crucial role plumbing plays in water conservation; and highlight trends and technology in the plumbing industry.

"Most Canadians know what changes they need to make to be more water efficient in the home," says Ralph Suppa, president and general manager of CIPH, "but our survey uncovered a gap between principle and practice. At CIPH, we surmise several reasons for this trend: in the case of high-efficiency plumbing products such as showerheads and toilets, there's often a misconception that the sustainable choice has performance tradeoffs. Another misconception lies in the public underestimating the amount of water than can be saved by efficient plumbing products. Most simple plumbing changes can literally save tens of thousands of litres each year."

Because Water Matters contains facts and figures about water usage, in addition to tips and trivia to get Canadians thinking about plumbing and wise-water behavioural changes. The site will also feature CIPH-produced videos showcasing technology and trends in the plumbing industry. The first video, developed for Earth Week, is online now and can be viewed by clicking here.

"Our goal is to shatter misconceptions and bridge the gap between principle and practice when it comes to sustainable water use in Canada," adds Ralph. "Water has always been of paramount importance to our members and through Because Water Matters, we can share their passion for all things plumbing with Canadians and make a real difference for the environment."

To learn more about Because Water Matters, visit and follow the CIPH Twitter stream (@CIPHNews) for website updates and other plumbing news.

About the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating:

The Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating is a not-for-profit trade association. Founded in 1933, the Institute is a vibrant organization committed to providing members with the tools for success in today's competitive environment. More than 260 companies are members of this influential Canadian industry association. They are the manufacturers, wholesaler distributors, master distributors, manufacturers' agents and allied companies who manufacture and distribute plumbing, hydronic heating, industrial, waterworks and other mechanical products. CIPH wholesaler distributors operate more than 700 warehouses and showrooms across Canada. Total industry sales exceed $5 billion annually. For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Canada on track to install more than 1,500 MW of new wind energy capacity in a record setting 2012

50,000 MW of new wind energy capacity projected to be built in North America in the next five years and emerging markets are playing a growing role in driving the fast-growing wind energy sector worldwide

OTTAWA, April 17, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canada will enjoy another record year for wind energy development in 2012 with the addition of approximately 1,500 MW of new installed capacity, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). The projection was highlighted in the five-year industry forecast published today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) at Europe's largest wind energy conference in Copenhagen.

Canada's wind energy industry enjoyed a record year in 2011 with approximately 1,267 MW of new wind energy capacity representing an investment of $3.1 billion and creating 13,000 person-years of employment. Canada was in 6th place globally in terms of new installed wind energy capacity in 2011 and currently has 5,403 MW of total installed capacity - enough to power more than 1.2 million homes. Canada's wind energy industry is now on track to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015 - providing new opportunities for Canadian manufacturers and bringing significant levels of new investment, jobs and economic benefits to rural communities and landowners across the country.

"Canada, and in particular Ontario, has emerged as a very competitive destination for wind energy investment globally. This industry represents billions of dollars in new investments across the manufacturing and construction sectors. Wind energy is playing a growing role in delivering clean, safe and affordable energy as provinces look to build stronger electricity systems. Maintaining this growth and momentum will require continued commitments to aggressive targets for wind energy development and a stable policy framework," said Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA.

In North America, just over 50,000 MW is expected to be installed in 2012-2016, bringing its total to just over 100,000 MW of wind energy at the end of the period. GWEC expects a strong 2012 for North America as both Canada and Mexico project well over 1,000 MW of wind energy capacity to be installed - complementing another strong year for the US which began the year with more than 8,000 MW under construction. The global wind energy industry will install more than 46,000 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2012. Overall, GWEC projects average annual market growth rates of about 8 per cent for the next five years. Total new installations for the 2012-2016 period are expected to reach 255,000 MW. A significant portion of this growth will be driven by China, India and Brazil, with important contributions also coming from new markets in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The top 10 global leaders for new installed capacity in 2011: PR China (17,631 MW), USA (6,810 MW), India (3,019 MW), Germany (2,086 MW), UK (1,293 MW), Canada (1,267 MW), Spain (1,050 MW), Italy (950 MW), France (830 MW), Sweden (763 MW).

Click here for Canada's installed capacity.

Click here for GWEC's 2011 annual report.

About CanWEA

CanWEA is the voice of Canada's wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 420 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada's leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country's electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 - Powering Canada's Future is available at