Farmtastic Food and Amazing Animals


This week on Terra Informa, we discuss what makes an animal a pet and what makes them food, what makes a free range egg, and opportunities abroad beyond simply propagating the English language.

Download episode here.

Farm and the Country

Many young people in the English-speaking world choose to travel abroad and teach English in a foreign country. However, the enriching experience of extended cultural travel does not have to be restricted to the realm of teaching English. Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic sat down with young Edmontonian Nicholas Mickelsen to discuss a program that enabled him to spend almost a year on an organic farm in Europe as a WWOOFer with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms network.

Pet vs Food

About this time back in 2013 Terra Informer Nicole Wiart talked to Alberta Micro Pigs’ Angela Hardy and Irvings Farm Fresh’s Nicola Irving. The two of them both raise and breed pigs in the Edmonton area, one for food… the other for pets. Throughout the interviews, Nicole noticed strange similarities between both women and the way they viewed the pigs, despite raising, breeding, and feeding them for incredibly different purposes.

Ecobabble: What does it mean to be a free range egg?

Scrambled, poached, sunny side up. Whether they came before the chicken, or the chicken before them, eggs are a breakfast staple. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart brings us an EcoBabble – where she enlists some local farmers to try to break down the term “free range.” It’s just one of the many terms that you can find on a carton of eggs – but as you’ll soon find out, defining free range is not as simple as it sounds.

Download program log here.

Photo by: Zach Baranowski Flickr here.


Catastrophes and Cures

This week on Terra Informa, we’re bouncing across Canada and around the world. We’re taking a trip across Canada with WWOOFer David Laing to learn about his experiences volunteering on organic farms. We’re also heading over to Iran to learn about the slow death of the vital Lake Urmia and what it means for the region. Also, Dr. Jessamyn Manson of the University of Alberta sheds some light on why bee populations face such an intense population decline.

Download this week’s episode


Globally, bees have been facing a massive dieoff. Scientists haven’t yet been able to pin down the exact cause.

WWOOFing in Canada

As some viewers may recall, Terra Informa’s Miro Radovic sat down with a young Canadian who WWOOFed in Denmark. To gain further insight into opportunities closer to home he sat down with another WWOOFer in Canada, David Laing.
The Buzz About the Bees

The good news is people are starting to pay attention to the declining bee populations. The bad news is that the severe decline of these essential pollinators is a dynamic issues that researchers are still trying to untangle.  The buzz is that pesticides might play a large role in the bee death seen around the world in the past few years.  Terra Informa’s Jessica Kozlowski speaks with Dr. Jessamyn Manson, a professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta educated in bumblebees, pollinator-plant interactions, and nectar chemistry.  Dr. Manson gives her professional opinion on just what factors could be behind the declining bee populations.  Also, she gives helpful insight into the issue of pesticide bans.  No situation is without hope though, as Dr. Manson gives many helpful tips for Canadians on how they can assist their local bee populations to be healthy and happy.

Iran’s Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia is one of the largest salt lakes in the world. Located in Iran, between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, it is a breeding ground for flamingos and one of the largest habitats of a salt-water shrimp. Lake Urmia is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve, and a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. It plays a crucial role in the economic, ecological and social health of the region. Currently, the lake is in danger of drying up. More than just an environmental problem, the deterioration of the lake could impact the 13 million inhabitants of the region. Terra Informa correspondent Kathryn Lennon talks to some members of Azerbaijanji communities in Edmonton and Vancouver to hear their concerns.

More on this story: Campaign to Save Lake UrmiaLake Urmia appeal by the Association for Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP)

What’s Happening

The Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton is organising their Environment Week Celebration. They’re hosting an event on Saturday, June 1st between noon and 4pm, to help people learn how to lessen their impact on the environment. This would be a great learning experience as fun activity for kids and adults alike! You can purchase tickets online at muttarttickets.edmonton.ca or at the door.

More information on where they are located and other events taking place at the Muttart, visit www.edmonton.ca/Muttart.

Cities that develop food and urban agriculture policies also establish food councils. Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Kamloops and Calgary are good Canadian examples. This year, Edmonton will make that list too! The Edmonton Food Council’s role as a committee of the Administration is to, “advise on matters of food and urban agriculture and to take an active role in supporting the implementation of the Strategy.” Providing advice, undertaking research and evaluation, coordination, engagement and education will be the core jobs on the Edmonton Food Council. Once established, meetings are expected to be held monthly and will be open to the public. All are welcome to attend.

To nominate someone or yourself as a potential member of the Edmonton Food Council, please review the terms of reference, complete the nomination form and submit it to hani.quan@edmonton.ca by June 10, 2013 and for more information, visit www.edmonton.ca

The Canada Green Building Council’s National Conference and Expo is taking place in Vancouver from June 4-6. As Canada’s largest green building event each year, the CaGBC National Conference boasts expert content and speakers, along with a 100+ booth expo floor and networking events and attracting delegates from across the building industry and the country.

This year’s theme is Building Lasting Change, focusing on how buildings and communities should be approached and planned with sustainable longevity. This theme will be addressed through a strong line-up of over 90 expert speakers, with sessions organized into five comprehensive streams, as well as a Master Speaker Series. In addition to main conference sessions, participants can also attend one of five pre-Conference mobile workshops  on June 4, which will highlight some of Vancouver’s most inspiring sustainable sites.

To learn more about the expo, visit www.cagbc.org