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AgVisionTV.com: The Problems with Canada's Food System: Margaret Webb Wants Changes.

AgVisionTV.com The Problems with Canada's Food System

Author Margaret Webb says things have to change in our current food system, or this country is going to face major problems in the future.

You can watch this show by clicking on the following link and visiting the AgVisionTv.com site.


http://agvisiontv.farms.com/default.aspx?vid=vid_1292009145649976
We are interested in what you think about what Margaret thinks and do you agree or disagree.

Thanks,

Kevin

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That interview was geared towards the urban mentality as does her writing.

Margaret Webb had a series printed in the major papers last fall along the lines of the recent interview. When I questioned her ability to submit recommendations without any mention of farmers' Sovereign rights, she responded with "I am quite fascinated with the historical details you share and, no, I did not have time to dig into this research during this very short series. But I am a history nut and certainly want to do so, so I appreciate your direction on this." Obviously, she still has not found the time or inclination.

The interview opens with the caption, "Instead of an unofficial "cheap food" policy, we can create an official "good food" policy. If we built this food hell, then we can also fix it."

The Crown introduced the "Cheap Bread Policy" in the British Colonies in the 18th century to force men off the farms and into factories. The price of bread was legally and legislatively suppressed to subsidize labour which in turn developed and strengthened the manufacturing of finished goods. The Crown had/has the legal right to determine the price of produce under ancient Excise laws. And as we know, Excise is an absolute right to property in Ontario. The Government of Canada did not build the "food hell', the Crown still has the final rights to all things "OF" the soil. Until the Crown releases the farmers of their obligations to the soil and give us the absolute rights to property, we are at the mercy of the Crown.

She mentions "Farmers create fantastic healthy foods".

Let’s set a few things clear. Plants and animals are NOT FOOD. They are organic organisms or living creatures that have the POTENTIAL to become food. Humans can also be a potential food source depending on the ingestor. Farmers DO NOT CREATE FOOD. Farmers are a class of people with skills that work in conjunction with natural resources. That is also the definition of agriculture. Margaret Webb does not understand that agriculture is about "persons" and “natural resources”. Agriculture is neither an industry nor a zoning.

Ms. Webb continuously confuses agri-business with agriculture, trying to intertwine the two concepts, leading people to believe they are one and the same.

She states, “Where does the supply come from? Our food supply starts in the field.” And further, “What kind of farmer do we need? What kind of crops do we need to produce?”

Farmers in Ontario were given Sovereign franchises. Farmers have Sovereign licenses to produce ANY legal agricultural product that is indigenous to this province.(wheat was placed in trust, I understand, therefore can be viewed as indigenous) for personal use.

How dare she question our rights to production!

A cow in the field is NOT food. It is a living creature. When the cow leaves the farm gate (marketing)……it usually falls into the agri-business category. It may or may not end up as food and for the most part, it is out of farmers’ control. That is where commerce comes in……and Ms. Webb conveniently ignores the constitutionality of marketing “regulated” agricultural products.

Lastly she states “consumers are demanding local foods”. While that statement is unsupported, it could possibility be the case but….. price usually dictates the consumers’ final choice.

Commerce sets in motion consumer habits.

But throughout the whole discussion, Ms. Webb completely misses one of the most critical components to the “food” debate. Ultimately each individual has the responsibility to ensure they have the proper nutrition to survive. If people choose to abdicate that duty so to pursue other economic rewards, that is their right.

If people choose to abdicate the sovereign benefits of domestic agricultural production and marketing then release the farmers of their sovereign obligations of domestic agricultural supply.
I took the opportunity to watch the video with Margaret Webb. Although I am not familiar with her or her work she seems to speak for the local farm movement. I can tell that the journalist interviewing her has a bias towards large coorporate structure farms. He comes across as believing that the price of food is King and do whatever it takes. Food nutrition has come down considerably in the last 40 years due to this type of mentality. The idea that you can chemically treat food production and get the same health results is proven to be a failure. The only reason why some in the industry choose not to accept a wholistic, scientific approach is because they have invested so much time, energy and money into an industrial agribusiness frame work that to umwind such a faulty sytem will damage allot of egos and dwindle allot of bank accounts. Yes farming is a business and yes in order for a farmer to be sustainable he/she has to receive an appropriate return on his time and investement. But on many farms peek efficiency has already been reached. Many organic or almost organic farmers take the approach that the quality of the end product is what's important. They will use the most efficient methods available to ensure that the price is competitive for the best produce without sacrifcing the health of the consumer. I see agri research stations still researching ideas of how to make food cheaper rather than better and more nutritious at the expense of the environment, good soil management, and healthy, vibrant agricultural communities.
Agriculture is not only about the dollars. the lifestyle is inseparable from the business. Another individual (Joanne) commented that agribusiness is not agriculture. I agree with this statement. Although the two entities have a relationship they are distinct in their function. Society can do without agribusiness since humans can't go without food but it cannot exist without agriculture.
FYI, Margaret Webb is a features writer for a number of publications including the Toronto Star. Here's a link to one of her recent articles, Where They Grow Our Junk Food.
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/708661--where-they-grow...

She is also a teacher and and author of “Apples to Oysters”

The interviewer btw has a job to ask hard questions, especially when sweeping generalizations are made about the industry. Some people think the interviewer sided too much with the guest and didn't ask quesions that were tough enough.
Kevin

David Kopriva said:
I took the opportunity to watch the video with Margaret Webb. Although I am not familiar with her or her work she seems to speak for the local farm movement. I can tell that the journalist interviewing her has a bias towards large coorporate structure farms. He comes across as believing that the price of food is King and do whatever it takes. Food nutrition has come down considerably in the last 40 years due to this type of mentality. The idea that you can chemically treat food production and get the same health results is proven to be a failure. The only reason why some in the industry choose not to accept a wholistic, scientific approach is because they have invested so much time, energy and money into an industrial agribusiness frame work that to umwind such a faulty sytem will damage allot of egos and dwindle allot of bank accounts. Yes farming is a business and yes in order for a farmer to be sustainable he/she has to receive an appropriate return on his time and investement. But on many farms peek efficiency has already been reached. Many organic or almost organic farmers take the approach that the quality of the end product is what's important. They will use the most efficient methods available to ensure that the price is competitive for the best produce without sacrifcing the health of the consumer. I see agri research stations still researching ideas of how to make food cheaper rather than better and more nutritious at the expense of the environment, good soil management, and healthy, vibrant agricultural communities.
Agriculture is not only about the dollars. the lifestyle is inseparable from the business. Another individual (Joanne) commented that agribusiness is not agriculture. I agree with this statement. Although the two entities have a relationship they are distinct in their function. Society can do without agribusiness since humans can't go without food but it cannot exist without agriculture.
With due respect to the interviewer of the recent conversation with Author Margaret Webb; please continue to ask the tough questions. Cheers
I don't see how Ms. Webb is questioning your rights to production. Nor do I interpret that she is calling cows food. I believe you are missing the very valid points she is making. We all need to question our current farming practices. There are many farmers, scientists, investigative journalists, nutritionists, food activists and advocates who believe our current practices are not sustainable, are becoming increasingly unsafe and unhealthy. Because food production, processing and distribution is driven by the bottom line - agriculture has become agribusiness. She has not confused the two. Food policy and the giant food companies have.

Joann said:
That interview was geared towards the urban mentality as does her writing.

Margaret Webb had a series printed in the major papers last fall along the lines of the recent interview. When I questioned her ability to submit recommendations without any mention of farmers' Sovereign rights, she responded with "I am quite fascinated with the historical details you share and, no, I did not have time to dig into this research during this very short series. But I am a history nut and certainly want to do so, so I appreciate your direction on this." Obviously, she still has not found the time or inclination.

The interview opens with the caption, "Instead of an unofficial "cheap food" policy, we can create an official "good food" policy. If we built this food hell, then we can also fix it."

The Crown introduced the "Cheap Bread Policy" in the British Colonies in the 18th century to force men off the farms and into factories. The price of bread was legally and legislatively suppressed to subsidize labour which in turn developed and strengthened the manufacturing of finished goods. The Crown had/has the legal right to determine the price of produce under ancient Excise laws. And as we know, Excise is an absolute right to property in Ontario. The Government of Canada did not build the "food hell', the Crown still has the final rights to all things "OF" the soil. Until the Crown releases the farmers of their obligations to the soil and give us the absolute rights to property, we are at the mercy of the Crown.

She mentions "Farmers create fantastic healthy foods".

Let’s set a few things clear. Plants and animals are NOT FOOD. They are organic organisms or living creatures that have the POTENTIAL to become food. Humans can also be a potential food source depending on the ingestor. Farmers DO NOT CREATE FOOD. Farmers are a class of people with skills that work in conjunction with natural resources. That is also the definition of agriculture. Margaret Webb does not understand that agriculture is about "persons" and “natural resources”. Agriculture is neither an industry nor a zoning.

Ms. Webb continuously confuses agri-business with agriculture, trying to intertwine the two concepts, leading people to believe they are one and the same.

She states, “Where does the supply come from? Our food supply starts in the field.” And further, “What kind of farmer do we need? What kind of crops do we need to produce?”

Farmers in Ontario were given Sovereign franchises. Farmers have Sovereign licenses to produce ANY legal agricultural product that is indigenous to this province.(wheat was placed in trust, I understand, therefore can be viewed as indigenous) for personal use.

How dare she question our rights to production!

A cow in the field is NOT food. It is a living creature. When the cow leaves the farm gate (marketing)……it usually falls into the agri-business category. It may or may not end up as food and for the most part, it is out of farmers’ control. That is where commerce comes in……and Ms. Webb conveniently ignores the constitutionality of marketing “regulated” agricultural products.

Lastly she states “consumers are demanding local foods”. While that statement is unsupported, it could possibility be the case but….. price usually dictates the consumers’ final choice.

Commerce sets in motion consumer habits.

But throughout the whole discussion, Ms. Webb completely misses one of the most critical components to the “food” debate. Ultimately each individual has the responsibility to ensure they have the proper nutrition to survive. If people choose to abdicate that duty so to pursue other economic rewards, that is their right.

If people choose to abdicate the sovereign benefits of domestic agricultural production and marketing then release the farmers of their sovereign obligations of domestic agricultural supply.
"I don't see how Ms. Webb is questioning your rights to production"

Ms. Webb asked in a public venue "What kind of farming do we need in this country? What kind of crops do we need to produce?"

Agriculture is defined as a "class of people that till the soil a/o raises stock. It is about a "person", with skills, working with natural resources.

The land patents farmers received from the Crown are contracts, complete with the Crown Seal. The farmers were given individual rights, duties and obligations directly from the Crown. The Crown gave the farmers "possession of the soil and the climate" as stated by our first Lt. Governor. The land patents are the farmers' Sovereign license to production.

In my possession, I have a copy of a farm deed. The very first lines on the front page states:

To have and to hold unto the said Grantee it heirs and assigns to and for them and their SOLE and ONLY use FOREVER. Subject neverless to the reservations, limitations, provisos and conditions expressed in the original grant thereof from the Crown. The said Grantors' COVENANT (in italics) with the said Grantee that they have the right to convey the said lands to the said Grantee notwithstanding any act of the said Grantors.
AND that the said Grantee shall have quiet possession of the said lands, free from all incumbrances....Signed and SEALED and REGISTERED 1981.

Ms. Webb has publicly encroached on our rights to production when she asked what kind of crops we need to produce. The lands are for the sole use of farmers. She does not have the right to question production unless she is willing to compensate the farmers to stop production of certain commodities.

With the land grants, farmers were given possession of the soil and climate (refer to the first speech of parliament in Upper Canada). Farmers were given immunities with their licenses. If society wants to restrict and so call "improve" agricultural practices, are they willing to pay compensation for the Crown rights and immunities?

If you were to plant a tomato seed in a container of soil on your balcony, nurture the plant, you are literally practicing agriculture. If you take the tomato and eat it, the tomato has become food for you. If you sold the tomato, trade a/o commerce has taken place and you have agri-business albeit on a small scale. Agriculture is not always about the "bottom line"

Ms. Webb calls for " support for local food systems in farming rather than the unfettered global trade in food we have now". Ms. Webb must be unaware of the British paper called Food 2030. The report dismisses the concept of "food miles" as "not a helpful measure". "Our food security is ensured through strong British agriculture and international trade links with EU and global partners, which support developing economies" A new and "improved" angle directed towards "carbon footprints". Trade and commerce.

While I applaud Ms Webb's attempt to bring the whole discussion of "food security" to the forefront, I believe she really misses some crucial aspects. Agriculture is a very complex topic and is the very foundation of this country. She must, as do ALL OF US, understand where and what our Sovereign rights are first and foremost. Only then can we proceed in a meaningful manner...... and protect our sovereign right to domestic production. We must proceed intelligently or we could run into the possibility of unintentionally foregoing rights we now have entrenched in our constitution.

Agriculture is a Public Trust in Ontario. The marketing of some of our commodities are under "Public Trusts" also. Investigating our Agricultural Public Trusts is a good place to start. Wheat, I understand has been placed in "Trust" in Canada. (Mr. Ritz has not provided that information to date) There are legalities around things in trust.

Arlene Hazzan Green said:
I don't see how Ms. Webb is questioning your rights to production. Nor do I interpret that she is calling cows food. I believe you are missing the very valid points she is making. We all need to question our current farming practices. There are many farmers, scientists, investigative journalists, nutritionists, food activists and advocates who believe our current practices are not sustainable, are becoming increasingly unsafe and unhealthy. Because food production, processing and distribution is driven by the bottom line - agriculture has become agribusiness. She has not confused the two. Food policy and the giant food companies have.
I think Margaret is picking up on the popularity of food to consumers....they want to know more and are open for any information and debate....the food networks are putting on all kinds of new reality shows and stars are getting involved in agriculture...Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and others are going to the farm and sharing the experiences and opinions...

This has a good side but can also be negative if these celebrities don't balance their approach to the real world of agriculture.

The public wants to be entertained and wants information on where their food comes from....we need to be able to provide a balanced story.
Good points...
Imported pork is flooding our grocery shelves...just check it out...Smithfield bacon...Cooks ham....
I don't think the Canadian consumer cares that much as long as it is cheap.
As for your point....there may not be a single pork farmer left in Ontario if things don't change and there would still be lots of pork on the shelves.
Hi Joann:

Good points....cheap adundant food policy has driven the agriculture for decades....only a few policies..for instance supply management...have been set up to protect the farmer's interest. The non supply management producers have to contend with the global supply and demand issues for prices and their productions skills to remain in business...

Webb would have to support policies that protect our producers otherwise our food will be grown and processed in cheaper, less regulated countries...
The consumer destroyed the rest of the Canadian Industry with it's buy cheap habits now it is doing it to food too. Clothing, shoe, car and other part manufacturing have all gone abroad where labour is cheap but food more expensive. In Canada wages are so high in comparison to food.

There are too many civil servants and in the food industry, food corporates trying to regulate the few remaining businesses without really listening to the problems. Regulation and demands are made with good intention but without realizing not every business runs with hundreds of employees assisted by public money (share holders).

Our Prime Minister of Ontario encourages the Canadian Growing Forward Motto with awards of excellence for innovation in Agriculture but every step of growing forward in the food industry is more expensive than innovators can manage. The reason many chose to climb the value chain was because they were no longer able to farm. Most farms are subsidized by the farmer's and often his wife's off farm job and those jobs are often more lucrative. It was climb the chain or quit!

Quitting would mean the next generation would move to the city and probably end up in a well paid job doing exactly what the parents complained about because it is so much easier on that side of the fense.

So, I guess if the consumer will not pay for traceability, SQFI audits, Canadian Food Standards then yes, we will lose our agriculture as a food source. It will die. Food is global and cheap. Sustainability is at the mercy of the consumer and government regulation of not only Canadian Food but Imports.

Turning Agricultural Lands into sources of fuel might also deplete the possibility of ever growing good food again. Soil needs humus and nature to work with it not against. Why do simple things become so complicated?

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