Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

We are gearing up for a new season of AgVision TV and wanted to connect with everyone.

If you have any issues you would like to discuss, please post them here for others to read and debate.

Past shows can be found at www.agvisiontv.com

Thanks,

Kevin

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Hi Everyone: Many of the TV stations have shifted the time and day that the AgVision TV show is broadcasted. Remember that you can find the show on the website www.agvisiontv.com and we have posted the new times and day on the website.

Here is the link to the new times. Our new season of shows will start soon.

http://agvisiontv.farms.com/ontvschedule.aspx

Thanks,

Kevin Stewart
I would like to see some information on how to market directly to consumers and who is making this work.

We all need to look at new business opportunities.....growing commodities for large processors has not worked in the meat sector...
Issue: Disconnect in the agricultural community.

"There appears to be a lack of leadership in agriculture" has been the statement I have heard so many times this week. How can an organization lead when there are so many splinter groups off doing "their thing"? So many times in the recent history it has been mentioned that we need to go forward with a common voice (referring to UAP quite often). How can we move forward to a common voice when farmers are taking their own organizations to tribunal hearings and court proceedings?
If the farm organizations and the farm community can go forward with one voice and one "ask", will it help the government put agriculture back on the front burner during Budget releases and campaign trails?
Lack of leadership and communication...

After years of economic good times, many in Ontario are deeply concerned about the future of farming and the social, economic, environmental and political direction of our province.

Kudoos to Joe Dales and the great group at Farms.com for setting up this OntAg Networking website which provides the agricultural community with the tools to communicate. Let's get more members on the OntAg community network and build a ground-up movement of real people who are interested in discussing, taking innovative and planning for effective action on important issues facing our industry.
Hi Kevin:

Is there an opportunity to look at some of the groups pushing a food agenda to the consumer.

Animal rights groups....go vegan...

Movie Producers - Food Inc. who challenge the agriculture industry...

Just some thoughts.

Joe
I'm not a big fan of people who over use apocalyptic terms however leadership is one of the most serious issues facing agriculture. The problems are not unique to farming...many rural and volunteer organizations are facing this. It seldom occurs that great hockey players win the stanley cup without the leadship of a great coach. I believe agriculture in this country has many talented players. At the moment great coaches, men and women with vision who can see the big picture lead the way, are in short supply. The solution is long term. The good news is organizations such as Advanced Ag Leadership and the Presidents Council are stepping up to the plate to address the issue.


Wayne Black said:
Issue: Disconnect in the agricultural community.

"There appears to be a lack of leadership in agriculture" has been the statement I have heard so many times this week. How can an organization lead when there are so many splinter groups off doing "their thing"? So many times in the recent history it has been mentioned that we need to go forward with a common voice (referring to UAP quite often). How can we move forward to a common voice when farmers are taking their own organizations to tribunal hearings and court proceedings?
If the farm organizations and the farm community can go forward with one voice and one "ask", will it help the government put agriculture back on the front burner during Budget releases and campaign trails?
The number of groups opposing animal and production agriculture continues to grow. They are also becoming increasingly vocal. Add the Time magazine article from August 2009 to your list of negative yet high profile media stories attacking food production. It's interesting to me that there are some situations described in these articles where the criticism is valid. This is typically how misinformation spreads quickly and takes on a life of it's own. (Eight years after 9-11 the Canadian government is still trying to dispell the myth that the terrorists entered the US from Canada. That story came from one reporter who tripped and fell with the facts.)
The truth is a half truth is like half a brick, you can throw it twice as far. More food accidents will happen. More negative stories will be printed and aired. It doesn't take a rocket scientists to know this pattern will erode consumer confidence. Exactly what is the cost of doing nothing?
Have a peek at the work of Presidents Council. www.growourfarms.ca
It's a start


Joe Dales said:
Hi Kevin:

Is there an opportunity to look at some of the groups pushing a food agenda to the consumer.

Animal rights groups....go vegan...

Movie Producers - Food Inc. who challenge the agriculture industry...

Just some thoughts.

Joe
Some of you will have seen the ad produced by Hellmans regarding the importance of supporting Canadian produced food.
http://adsoftheworld.com/media/tv/hellmann_s_eat_local
We are planning to discuss this approach with Unilever on the AGVISION program this fall


Kevin Stewart said:
The number of groups opposing animal and production agriculture continues to grow. They are also becoming increasingly vocal. Add the Time magazine article from August 2009 to your list of negative yet high profile media stories attacking food production. It's interesting to me that there are some situations described in these articles where the criticism is valid. This is typically how misinformation spreads quickly and takes on a life of it's own. (Eight years after 9-11 the Canadian government is still trying to dispell the myth that the terrorists entered the US from Canada. That story came from one reporter who tripped and fell with the facts.)
The truth is a half truth is like half a brick, you can throw it twice as far. More food accidents will happen. More negative stories will be printed and aired. It doesn't take a rocket scientists to know this pattern will erode consumer confidence. Exactly what is the cost of doing nothing?
Have a peek at the work of Presidents Council. www.growourfarms.ca
It's a start


Joe Dales said:
Hi Kevin:

Is there an opportunity to look at some of the groups pushing a food agenda to the consumer.

Animal rights groups....go vegan...

Movie Producers - Food Inc. who challenge the agriculture industry...

Just some thoughts.

Joe
Canadian diet looks like a dog's breakfast

October 12, 2009

TO STAR http://www.thestar.com/living/food/article/708794--canadian-diet-lo...

Margaret Webb


Before a blood test to assess her cholesterol, Margaret Webb must dig into eggs scrambled with cream, cheddar cheese, white toast, peanut butter, peaches and whipped cream.


The Canadian government has a food disorder, and it's helping to fuel the country's obesity epidemic.

No no one knows that better than Dr. Jean-Pierre Després, director of research in cardiology at Laval University's Heart and Lung Institute in Quebec City, and the first international multidisciplinary chair on cardiometabolic risk.

Després has made a career of studying belly fat or, more specifically, visceral obesity – the fat that gets wedged in the abdomen in places where it can be deadly, such as the liver and heart. You might have a normal weight and only a slight paunch but be, as Després says, a time bomb for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

He's blunt about the cause – toxic foods and our sedentary lifestyle.

Disturbingly, those toxic foods are everyday edibles that reach our plates in part because Canada has no national food policy, no national strategy to ensure its food system actually delivers nutritious food.

Health Canada dutifully publishes the Canada's Food Guide, but, bizarrely, healthy food plays an insignificant role in health-care treatment, according to Després.

The country's new agricultural and agri-food policy, "Growing Forward," focuses on making that sector economically viable, which means producing profitable calories, skewed to meat and dairy as well as crops that go into the most highly processed food, which are least healthy. Feeding Canadians seems a distant concern given that agricultural programs support crop and meat production geared for export but let local vegetable and fruit farming all but die, along with that sector's freezing and canning processors, which could provide local produce through the winter.

Indeed, Canada, which now imports 80 per cent of its fruits and vegetables, cannot even supply the servings recommended by its own Food Guide.

So our homegrown food supply – and the Canadian diet – is beginning to look a lot like a dog's breakfast, packed with meat, dairy and grains, and nearly devoid of fruits and vegetables.

This is a food system that casts citizens as "consumers" and Canadians are paying for it with poor health and lives lost. Two-thirds of health-care costs can now be attributed to chronic diseases associated with unhealthy eating, according to a study released this year by the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), "Building Convergence." The numbers are staggering: $32 billion a year for cancer and cardiovascular disease; $15.6 billion annually for diabetes by 2010.

It's an increasingly sick food system that's twice subsidized – first through agricultural policy and then through health-care budgets.

Yet there is a food fix for this health-care mess. Després believes that the most economical way to treat diet-related diseases is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. And that means prescribing healthy food and physical activity, the only "magic pill" for what ails us.

"We know what needs to be done," he says. "It's not rocket science. But we just don't do it."

Frustrated by government inaction on obesity research, Després developed a prevention model that speaks the money language of food as a commodity. He put a "price tag" on doing something and measured the "return on investment." Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Després' Synergie Project is the first long-term, non-pharmacological study of visceral obesity.

The test subjects in the three-year program were 144 men with large abdomens and high triglycerides – two key indicators that they were on a collision course with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Després prescribed what he calls "lifestyle reshaping."

A nutritionist and a kinesiologist met one-on-one with the men monthly to gradually improve their diets and increase physical activity to 160 minutes per week.

That support was "the winning formula," according to kinesiologist Julie Hins. "Each person had his own obstacles. They needed someone behind them to help face those challenges."

Nutritionist Maggie Vallières says virtually all the men were suffering from a diet too high in sugar, fat, salt and processed foods, and not enough fruits and vegetables. That's a typical Canadian diet, as only 36 per cent of us – according to the CAPI study – eat the recommended five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Not only is there a strong correlation between low fruit and vegetable consumption and obesity, but simply eating those recommended servings could also decrease cancers by at least 20 per cent, according to a recent study by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute of Cancer Research.

Vallières worked with the men to transform their diets gradually, so the changes would stick. "They felt healthier. They liked and appreciated more nutritious food."

The price tag on the three-year package is $1,000 to $1,200 per person per year, cheap compared to the cost of treating diabetes alone, $1,000 to $15,000 a year for life.

And the return on investment? After just one year, the men lost, on average, 15 pounds but, more important, shed 30 per cent of their most deadly fat, that visceral belly. Other key markers of risk – such as high triglycerides, blood pressure and HDL cholesterol – all improved significantly. The men who stuck through three years of the program (65 per cent) maintained those improvements after it ended last year.

And then there is the return on investment that can't be measured in dollars. Michel Blanchet, 55, who lost 20 pounds, says the program not only staved off major health problems but gave him a new exuberance for life.

On walks, he enjoys whizzing past wheezing 20-year-olds on hills. "I came out of this program so proud. I am setting goals I never would have set before, to go on long hikes, to sail on the ocean."

Després says the prevention package offers treatment where none exists. "A primary-care doctor tells me that almost 40 per cent of her patients have the big belly syndrome, but she has no tools to address it."

Shifting health care to such prevention models and making a national commitment to healthy eating and fitness could save Canada billions, according to the "Building Convergence" report. It recommends integrating health and agriculture strategy to focus on improving the nutritional quality of Canada's food supply and the Canadian diet.

SunRoot Farm, in East Hants County, N.S., offers a snapshot of what that might look like at the farm level – farmer as health-care worker. The organic operation received funding from social services and community and provincial health departments to deliver subsidized organic vegetables to families who otherwise couldn't afford them.

Corrie Melanson, one of three partners who run the farm, says their client families report losing weight, having more energy and generally feeling better. "We have a lot of folks who are diabetic and they have been able to reduce the amount of insulin they take."

Tying agriculture to such health outcomes has the potential to deliver what Canadians really need: Healthy food as good medicine.

As Després says, "The science of obesity is complicated, but we don't need a complicated plan."
More in the TO Star CRISIS ON THE FARM Part 3 of 8: Growing Doritos
Where they grow our junk food http://www.healthzone.ca/health/news/ontario/article/708661--where-...
Enough Kevin!!! I was bombarded by my urban, TO based inlaws over holiday dinner this past weekend. They even brought the Star articles referred to above. Since it was in the Star it MUST be correct, no? Now they are afraid to eat anything! We sure have our work cut out when this is what 'the economic engine of Canada" reads. No wonder we get the Greenbelt, OSPCA, and oher legislation working to hinder our competitiveness....
Odd how they don't always point out that the author is busy trying to flog her book. In fact, if you didn't make a point of digging, you could easily think this was some form of "unbiased journalism" in the Star.

http://www.communitypress-online.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2114728

Steve Twynstra said:
Enough Kevin!!! I was bombarded by my urban, TO based inlaws over holiday dinner this past weekend. They even brought the Star articles referred to above. Since it was in the Star it MUST be correct, no? Now they are afraid to eat anything! We sure have our work cut out when this is what 'the economic engine of Canada" reads. No wonder we get the Greenbelt, OSPCA, and oher legislation working to hinder our competitiveness....

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