farming

Farming in Canada’s North

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This week on Terra Informa we discuss sustainable agriculture and what its like farming in the north. How much sun do they get?!

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Download program log here.

Photo by: Le Refuge Farms

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Growing together: fish and plants

CDC_South_Aquaponics_Raft_Tank_1_2010-07-17.jpg

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it! This week, we’re bringing you an archive piece.

Have you ever wondered what the heck aquaponics is? Is it the same as hydroponics and isn’t that just some kind of high tech way to grow pot? As it turns out, while there is definitely a relation to hydroponics, but it’s nothing to do with Mary Jane, although aquaponic systems do seem like a smoking good idea.

A unique form of agriculture with aquatic growing systems that combine fish and plants into one symbiotic environment, aquaculture technology is sustainable, incredibly water efficient, and super cool. Stay tuned to learn all about it with us, as Charly Blais and Andrea Gallivan chat with Edmonton-based designer and entrepreneur Jonathan Luckhurst of Sea to Sky Aquaponics whos main focus has been bringing aquaponics to students across Canada.

Download Episode Here

Download Program Log Here

Photo by: Bryghtknyght in Brooks, Alberta

Growing super plants with fish!

CDC_South_Aquaponics_Raft_Tank_1_2010-07-17.jpg

Have you ever wondered what the heck aquaponics is? Is it the same as hydroponics and isn’t that just some kind of high tech way to grow pot? As it turns out, while there is definitely a relation to hydroponics, but it’s nothing to do with Mary Jane, although aquaponic systems do seem like a smoking good idea.

A unique form of agriculture with aquatic growing systems that combine fish and plants into one symbiotic environment, aquaculture technology is sustainable, incredibly water efficient, and super cool. Stay tuned to learn all about it with us, as Charly Blais and Andrea Gallivan chat with Edmonton-based designer and entrepreneur Jonathan Luckhurst of Sea to Sky Aquaponics whos main focus has been bringing aquaponics to students across Canada.

Download Episode Here

Download Program Log Here

Photo by: Bryghtknyght in Brooks, Alberta

New Faces in Farming

Man in t-shirt pauses from work to smile for the camera. Standing amid field of green maize.

With many farmers pushing past retirement, a new generation of 20-somethings and 30-somethings is leaving college behind and jumping into farming. They’re bringing liberal arts degrees, live-tweeting, dance music and brunch-cravings with them—alongside a fresh enthusiasm for alternative farming models. We’re learning what the next generation of hipster-farmers is up to on this week’s Terra Informa.

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Stories of Oil and Organics

Man with scarf gestures with his hands emphatically. Book cover inset.

Mika Minio-Paluello works his magic at the University of Alberta. Photo credit: Trevor Chow-Fraser

On Terra Informa this week, we will dive into a raw milk story following Richard Griebel and Kathy Charpentier in Castor, Alberta. Next, we will transfer to Bloomfield to listen to Michelle Lutz’s story of her organic farming with a hospital in Michigan! Finally, we will travel with Mika Minio-Paluello to explore a special oil road, along with stories of repressive governments, secret police, Canadian attack helicopters, and more.

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Farm Workers’ Rights, Hurricane Sandy and Community Solar Power

This week, Terra Informa is all about power: Hear from Canadian and Latin American migrant agricultural workers trying to raise their power on Canada’s farms, Terra Informa veteran David Kaczan on Hurricane Sandy’s power, and a community solar power co-op starting up in Ontario.

Waves break on the shore behind a house.

Hurricane Sandy washes up on the shore at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina [Photo credit: County of Dare]

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Food Secure Canada panel on migrant workers’ rights

For the last two weeks, community organizers from Latin America and Canada have been on a speaking tour to raise awareness of the struggles for migrant workers’ rights. Terra Informa correspondent Annie Banks recorded the tour’s concluding panel at the Food Secure Canada conference in Edmonton, Alberta, on Treaty 6 Territories. It was called “Breaking the Silent Harvest: Experiences of Agricultural Migrant Workers in Canada.” Annie spoke with Jose Sicajau and Juan Luis Carbajal.

Listen to the full-length story:

More information: Students Against Migrant ExploitationJust work? A special Inter Pares campaign in solidarity for migrant workers’ rights, Project Counselling ServiceEntrenching Exploitation: Second Rept of AFL Temporary Foreign Worker Advocate (Alberta Federation of Labour)

Hurricane Sandy Report from North Carolina

Long-time listeners may have missed the gentle rumble of David Kaczan’s voice. He was a correspondent on our show for a long time, but he’s since moved on to pursue a PhD in environmental economics in Durham, North Carolina. When Hurricane Sandy just pummelled the East Coast, we couldn’t resist calling him up to get his take on the response in the US.

More information: Businessweek, Charlotte Observer, ChapelBoro

Northumberland Power Co-op

Using the power of community to power communities. A group of residents in Northumberland County, Ontario has come together to found a community power co-operative that will own and manage solar panels on area rooftops. They hope their initiative will increase the supply of renewable energy in the power grid and bring investment to the local economy. We reached the cooperative’s secretary, Rich Tyssen, in Cobourg, ON.

More information: APPrO Magazine, Financial PostGuelph MercuryGrist Magazine, Northumberland Today

What’s Happening

Film Screening: The Carbon Rush
On November 6, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto is featuring The Carbon Rush—a gripping documentary that takes a hard look at the business of carbon trading through the eyes of those directly affected by it. This event is brought to you by Cinema Politica at The Bloor and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. The film’s director, Amy Miller will be attending. The show starts at 6:45 PM.
More information: Cinema Politica

Seed and Food Events
The Unitarian Service Committee of Canada is teaming up with event organizers across the across the country to bring you for hands-on seed and food events:

2012 ECOSGN Seed Symposium
On November 9-11, the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network will host a symposium at Montreal’s Centennial Center. Enjoy courses and workshops on seed growing and cleaning, a talk on seed security, and a field trip to an organic farm.
More information: Seeds of Diversity

BC Seeds Gathering
Also on November 9-11, BC Seeds is hosting a conference at Kwantlen University in Richmond. Join seed growers, savers, and activists in deciding how to improve the quality and quantity of locally grown seed. You can even bring you seeds to clean and test different cleaning equipment.
More information: BC Seeds

Harvest and Hunger: Who Controls Our Food?
The Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation is hosting the Harvest and Hunger conference on November 9th and 10th. Learn about Saskatchewan’s connection to the global food system, and what’s being done to create fairer, more sustainable food systems. This event will take place at the Mayfair United Church.
More information: Eventbrite, SCIC

Edmonton’s Agricultural Lands, Weeds, and Talking to Canadians

On this week’s show, Terra Informa takes you outside. First, we’ll take you along for a tour of Edmonton’s urban farmlands. Then we’ll find out the answer to the age old question: what is a weed? Finally we take to the streets to test the environmental knowledge of the common Canadian.

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Farming in the City Tours

We all know that potatoes have eyes and corn have ears, but did you know that some of Alberta’s most fertile farmland falls within Edmonton city limits? On a Sunday in late August, we boarded a school-bus for the Farming in the City Tour. The tour of local farms was organized by Live Local and the Greater Edmonton Alliance. Terra Informa’s Kathryn Lennon meets producers, samples produce, and finds out what will be lost if this land is not preserved. Sit back as we take you along for the ride!

More on this story: Edmonton Journal, Mastermaq, Greater Edmonton Alliance, Live Local, Friends of Famers, City of Edmonton

Ecobabble – Weeds
Since we’re talking about farming today, on this week’s Ecobabble, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips asks: what is a weed? He spoke to former University of Alberta Plant Sciences professor Dr. William Vanden Born to find out.
Featured music: Another Girl (instrumental) by duckett

Creative Commons License Another Girl (instrumental) by duckett is licensed under a Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Man on the Street

Hey hey, common Canadian! How Terra Informed are you? How keen is your green vocabulary? Are you up-to-date on your green buzz words and eco facts? We wanted to find out. So, two of our intrepid Terra Informers hit the streets to see what you know. From the Strathcona Farmers Market in Edmonton, Alberta, here’s Hamdi Iaaswi and Mel Skrypnyk.

News

Experts Call for Mackenzie River Management Plan

Climate change is threatening the Mackenzie River Basin, an area that’s been dubbed the “Amazon of the North.”The basin, which stretches across BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, as well as the Northwest and Yukon Territories, plays a vital role in maintaining climate stability by storing greenhouse gas in the ice and plant life. On September 5th-7th, the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy was held in Vancouver to advise the federal, as well as the provincial and territorial governments in the region, to create a transjurisdictional agreement that will manage resources, wildlife, and pollution for the basin as a whole.

More on this story: Reuters, Metro, Gordon Foundation

Government Releases New Coal Emission Rules

On September 5th the Canadian Federal Government finalized regulations for greenhouse gas emissions from the coal-fired electricity sector. Effective July 1st, 2015, the new regulations will cap CO2 emissions of coal plants at 420 tonnes per gigawatt hour instead of the the 375 tonne limit proposed in August 2011. Also affected is the lifespan of coal plants, which has been bumped up from 45 to 50 years. Units commissioned before 1975 must be shutdown by that time or 2019, which ever comes first. Those commissioned between 1975-1986 are allowed until 2029.

More on this story: Reuters, CBC

Investigation Concludes Small Earthquakes Caused by Fracking

An energy regulator from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has reported that numerous small earthquakes in Northeastern British Columbia have been caused by hydraulic fracking, a process used to extract natural gas from shale rock. The report stated that “The investigation has concluded that the events observed within remote and isolated areas of the Horn River Basin between 2009 and 2011 were caused by fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing in proximity to pre-existing faults.”

More on this story: Winnipeg Free Press, Globe and Mail, CBC News

Tar Sands Blockade Protests Texas Keystone Pipeline

In the Northeast Texas town Saltillo, a group of concerned landowners and climate justice organizers blocked equipment being used to construct TransCanada’s Gulf Coast Extension, formerly the Keystone XL pipelines. The action is part of ongoing actions by members of the Tar Sands Blockade, a group using peaceful and sustained civil disobedience to protest the construction of the Keystone XL pipelines.

More on this story: CBS19 TV, Beaumont Enterprise, The People’s Record

Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct

The Japanese river otter has been declared extinct in a report by the Japanese Environment Ministry, the first mammal to be declared extinct since the ministry started collecting data in 1991. Over-hunting and habitat pollution and destruction are named as causes of the river otter’s extinction.

More on this story: Japan Times, Mongabay News, News on Japan

What’s Happening

Terra Nova Sharing Farm Vegetable Harvest

On Saturday, September 15, The Lower Mainland Green Team invites volunteers to help harvest the Terra Nova sharing farm located in Northwest corner of Richmond, BC. Volunteers are asked to bring gardening gloves, as well as waterproof jackets and footwear; tools and instructions will be provided. The vegetables harvested from this event will be donated to the Richmond Food Bank.

More information: Meetup, The Sharing Farm Society

McIntyre Creek Clean-Up and the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up

The McIntyre Creek Clean-Up is a part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up and will take place on Sept 16th, from 10 am to 2 pm, at McIntyre Creek on Kwanlin Dun First Nation’s traditional territories, near Whitehorse in the Yukon Territories. A BBQ lunch will be provided by Yukon Electrical and anyone interested in participating is encouraged to bring their own gloves, garbage bags will be provided.

For more information, contact Friends of McIntyre Creek: 668-5678 or ycswild@ycs.yk.ca or visit Yukon Conservation

Community Gardens & Disease from Fish Farms

In the coming weeks lawyers at the Cohen Commission will be cross-examining witnesses on the themes of aquaculture and disease. Ian Mackenzie spoke to one witness — Catherine Stewart of the Living Oceans Society — to learn more about the issues that her organization hopes to address at the inquiry and some of the underlying concerns that salmon farms may be linked to wild salmon declines.

All across the country people are getting their hands dirty. Vacant lots, old rail right-of-ways, and unused corners of city land are getting a make over as community gardens reclaim the lost space. These days just about every major city in the country has a garden, and they’re so popular that many are struggling just to find room for all their new members. What’s all the fuss about? Tune in today to find out.

Download this week’s show.

Photo by PlaceMatters.