Dig Deep Archive

Committed to producing and consuming local food

Unlocking the growth of Ontario’s local food sector

by Jim Algie

Systemic barriers remain to the full development of Ontario’s local food potential, several observers say.

Barriers highlighted during a series of recent Better Farming interviews include: challenges of access to capital, lack of co-ordinated distribution and the centralized purchasing habits of large, institutional food buyers such as hospitals.

Open source + open mind = endless opportunities

DIY precision ag projects can improve operation efficiency. Asking questions and starting small can help get producers started.

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Producers can take lead roles in digitizing and automating their operations, thanks to the introduction of open source software into the ag industry and the sophistication of electronic devices.

Committed to producing local food

Weighing the data on direct marketing in Ontario

by Jim Algie

Among all Canadian provinces, Ontario had the largest number of farms reporting direct marketing, the 2016 census of agriculture said.

A total of 7,474 Ontario farms sold directly to consumers through such methods as farm gate stands, farmers markets and you-pick enterprises, Statistics Canada’s June 2017 “Growing Opportunity Through Innovation in Agriculture” article said.

Financing Ontario’s agri-food growth

Non-profit fund launches to support local food sector

by Jim Algie

A new capital pool for Ontario’s local food producers and related businesses seeks to solve at least one financial challenge facing entrepreneurs in the sector, said Sally Miller, Local Food and Farm Co-ops project manager.

Seeking the authority to manage waste

Communities creatively repurpose closed landfill sites

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

Once rural landfills reach their capacities, communities can collaborate to repurpose these sites.

“Some places have successfully used landfills to create new local features, like parks,” Dr. Dianne Saxe, the environmental commissioner of Ontario, told Better Farming.

Dumping dirt: Excess soil turns up on farmland

Chatsworth Township producer encouraged municipality to pass site alteration bylaw

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Many rural Ontario municipalities have struggled to deal with soil dumping operations. In the process, some residents have diligently tackled this problem and encouraged change in their regions.

Pat Cardoza, a beef farmer in Holland Centre, is one such individual.

Sensing your soil’s potential

Image detection systems could enable producers to reduce chemical usage by up to 90 per cent

By: Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Better Farming

Producers could use sensor-based precision herbicide applications as another tool to fight hard-to-control weeds in their fields.

Canada’s cannabis race blossoms

Ontario horticulturist agrees to rent land to a cannabis producer

By Nicholas Van Allen
Writer
Better Farming

WeedMD’s management built the company’s Strathroy facility with the help of Jerry Zakaria, CEO of Perfect Pick Farms.

Zakaria owns 98 acres of land and rents five of them to WeedMD. Soon, this rental arrangement will grow to 12 acres as part of WeedMD’s expansion into cannabis extraction. WeedMD also has an option to buy the other 86 acres.

Laying the groundwork for better soil

Agronomist discusses how farmers can adopt soil best management practices

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer
Better Farming

As stakeholders consider ways to implement Ontario’s soil health strategy, a Certified Crop Adviser from Middlesex County provides grounded tips on how producers can adopt new soil management practices on their farms.