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Riverglen Biodynamic Farm news archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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Mike Shreiner to Speak About Food Security in Ottawa


Greetings, Ottawa West – Nepean Greens!

On Tuesday, the Eighteenth of March the leader of the Green Party of Ontario, Mike Schreiner, will be giving a talk on food security near the University of Ottawa campus. The event is being organised by the uOttawa Greens, and will commence at 7.30 p.m. in the basement of the Royal Oak Pub at 161 Laurier Avenue East. Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend. Individuals are encouraged to bring questions about food security, farming, and water conservation for Mike to answer. This is a great opportunity for party members as well as prospective supporters to meet the Green Party leader, learn about the politics of food, and familiarise themselves with Green Party policy in anticipation of a provincial election in the spring. For further details please visit the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/535908526524705 or contact me. I look forward to seeing on the 18 March at 7.30 p.m.!

Best Regards,

Melanie RansomPresident, Ottawa West – Nepean Greens

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This is a single weblog entry, posted on March 12th, 2014. Comment here »


Eco Farm Day 2014

CORNWALL, ON, January 23, 2014 – The organic sector continues to grow steadily, with sales reaching nearly $3 billion in 2012. Recent news reports about pesticide residues found in organic produce have sparked a wider conversation about what organic agriculture has to offer to safety-conscious consumers seeking healthy food for their families.  This conversation is welcomed by those in the organic industry as an opportunity to highlight the real and proven reasons to choose organic food at the grocery store.  It is also a call to action – it is more important than ever for farmers to produce the healthy organic food that consumers continue to demand.
Canadian Organic Growers, Ottawa – St. Lawrence – Outaouais Chapter (COG OSO) presents Eco Farm Day 2014, the annual farming conference dedicated to enabling farmers to achieve agricultural, environmental and economic success on their farms using organic methods.  This year’s theme is titled “Getting to the Roots: Successful Organic Farming” and is designed to provide useful and practical information for experienced organic producers as well as those interested in applying organic methods on their farms.  The program will include researchers, farmers, and the audience in interactive sessions on livestock, field crop, and market farm production.
COG OSO is excited to be working this year with other regional organizations that are sponsoring portions of the program:

–       Organic Meadow is presenting forage specialist Guy Forand, an expert in profitable forage production for field crop rotations, and Dr. Susan Beal, a holistic veterinarian who will discuss organic herd health management.

–          From the University of Guelph’s Alfred Campus, we welcome Drs. Renée Bergeron and Eva Vasseur on organic animal welfare, and Dr. Peter Kevan on promoting pollinators for organic field crops.

–        Ecological Farmers of Ontario are assembling a market grower panel on the planning tools and methods available for improving profitability; panelists include Jean-Martin Fortier (Les Jardins de la Grelinette), Ian Stutt (Patchwork Gardens), and Tim Noxon (Vicki’s Veggies).

         The Organic Council of Ontario is presenting Jodi Koberinski on communicating the health benefits of organic food to the public.

        The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is presenting a session on the considerations for growing heritage grain varieties.

Other program highlights include:

     Matt Holmes of the Canadian Organic Trade Association on the organic market outlook and a response to recent press on organics and pesticide residues

     An in-depth session with Jean-Martin Fortier, author of “le jardinier-maraîcher” on building a successful market farming business on small acreage using bio-intensive methods.

     Ken Taylor on choosing and developing perennial genetics for agroforestry

     A screening of the new National Film Board documentary Island Green, which examines the push to transition Prince Edward Island completely organic.

Eco Farm Day is an excellent networking opportunity, with a trade show exhibiting associations, farm inputs and equipment, marketing companies, and farm produce.  Our program is designed to provide opportunity to interact with presenters, panelists, and other audience members.
This year’s event will take place on February 22, 2014, at the Ramada Inn on Brookdale Ave in Cornwall, ON.  Doors will open at 8 AM and the program will run from 9 AM until 4 PM.  The registration fee for the event, including an organic lunch, is $50 by February 10th, or $60 at the door.  A $10 discount is available with membership in Canadian Organic Growers or Organic Meadow.
For more information and program details as they are confirmed, visit the Eco Farm Day 2014 website at www.ecofarmday.ca.
About Canadian Organic Growers, Ottawa – St. Lawrence – Outaouais (COG OSO): Our mission is to lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources.  Over the last 30 years we have been delivering programs and services for farmers, gardeners, educators, and folks who care about healthy food and healthy environments.  We continue to develop these resources and invite everyone to benefit!
COG OSO’s membership base extends from the St. Lawrence River to the Outaouais in Western Quebec, and encompasses all of the Ottawa Valley.
As a regional chapter of a registered national charity, COG OSO focuses its work on providing primarily educational services.  We are not a trade association, nor are we a lobby organization, although we certainly are glad to get involved and contribute to public discussions around healthy food production systems.  For example, COG was one of the many organizations involved in advising the federal government on the development of the Canadian Organic Standards.
Visit www.cog.ca/ottawa/ for more information about our organization.
Contact Information:
Simon Neufeld, Conference Chair
613-244-4000 ext. 4
Bill Barkley, Trade Show organizer


This is a single weblog entry, posted on February 12th, 2014. Comment here »


Support Michael Schmidt on his day in court February 5th

Embattled dairy farmer, Michael Schmidt, of Glencolton Farm, returns to court tomorrow, February 5th, in his decades-long struggle to legitimize his cow-boarding program. At the Ontario Court of Appeal hearing on Wednesday, February 5, 2014, Schmidt and his attorneys seek to overturn convictions involving the distribution and sale of raw milk.

Many supporters are expected to fill the courtroom at 130 Queen St. West, at 10:30 am [Osgoode Hall, Toronto, Ontario]. If you can, please attend and show solidarity with Michael.

The upcoming court ruling is expected to determine the legality of Schmidt’s innovative cow-share program, which the court deemed legal in 2010, a decision subsequently overturned in 2011. The cow-share model is intended to grant Ontario’s non-farmers the same access to raw milk as farmers legally enjoy, through a private co-ownership structure.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation represents Schmidt. In a recent article, attorney Derek From says “The CCF will be making two major arguments on his behalf. First, on a proper interpretation of the current laws, cow-shares are not illegal in Ontario. Second, the Constitution of Canada should protect the right of consumers to take responsibility for their own health. ”

The government of Ontario has been trying to stop Mr. Schmidt from serving the needs of his raw dairy patrons for nearly 20 years. The typical raw milk consumer seeks unprocessed milk because of serious health concerns. They are often willing to go to great lengths, including procuring ownership interest in a cow. In Glencolton Farm’s cow share program there are 150 families with a total of just over 600 people and there has never been a case of illness.

Federal and provincial government bodies insist that raw milk poses an unreasonable risk of foodborne illness to consumers, and must therefore be banned. Schmidt’s successful program proves that raw milk can be safely produced, and that prohibition is a disproportionate government response to a controllable risk. Raw milk sales are legal across the European Union, and in about half of American states.

Consumers who depend on raw milk for their families are a distinct minority. “Those with special dietary needs deserve the same right as other Canadians to choose the food that goes into their bodies. Cow share owners do not aspire to overthrow or compete with supply management or suggest that raw milk be sold in stores,” explains Margo McIntosh, spokesperson for the Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy Group

The Canadian Consumer Raw Milk Advocacy Group has collected 1088 signatures from Ontario raw milk consumers demanding change. The sale of unpasteurized milk is federally prohibited under Canada’s Food and Drug Act, but provincial governments have the authority to permit cow-share programs, which are legal in numerous U.S. states.


This is a single weblog entry, posted on February 5th, 2014. 1 Comment »


Canada Goes Rogue

by Elizabeth May – MP for Sannich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada

I am frequently asked how I maintain a positive attitude when confronted by Stephen Harper’s destructive agenda—dismembering our environmental laws and policies. Honestly, I can respond that most days I am encouraged by the ability of one MP to make a difference. That was not the case last week as, sitting late in the House for votes, news came over my Blackberry that the Cabinet had decided to withdraw from the United Nations Convention to Combat Drought and Desertification (UNCCD). It had the effect of a swift kick in the gut. I had to fight back tears for a day or so … just like when I read Bill C-38. I felt devastated.

I remember the struggle to develop a treaty to combat drought and encroaching deserts. Canada was one of the few countries in the lead to negotiate the treaty. I was not intimately involved, but I knew people who were. When it was signed in 1994, I was elated. Along with the conventions on climate and biodiversity, the treaty to combat drought addressed a global and pressing concern. It was clearly related to climate change, but was more regionally specific. And, although desertification is not a current threat to Canada, certainly drought is.

There had been no inkling or rumour that Stephen Harper wanted to exit another global environmental law. Given that the only treaty from which Canada has ever withdrawn, since 1867, was Kyoto, the cavalier way in which this news leaked out—posted on a Foreign Affairs website and noticed by Canadian Press— added to the shock. That we gave no notice to the secretariat for the Convention was further evidence of our contempt for both the United Nations and the threat posed by climate induced drought and desertification.

In Question Period the next day, Ralph Goodale (former Liberal finance minister and now only the MP for Wascana) posed an excellent question in which he linked other recent Harper administration decisions reducing the Prairies’ preparedness for drought. He charged ‘Maniacal front-line cuts have killed PFRA (the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration), which had world-class Canadian brainpower on soil and water conservation. Conservatives vandalized community pastures, the prairie tree farm and Experimental Lakes Area. Now Canada is the only country in the world sneaking out the back door on the UN Convention Against Drought.’

I was grateful Goodale noted cuts to programmes put in place after the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, as I have been trying to draw attention to them. What Harper has against hedgerows and water conservation in the Prairies is certainly a mystery that has angered Prairie farmers. The Prime Minister’s response was spun to create the impression that the convention on drought and desertification was akin to a poorly run charity, in which aid dollars were poorly spent: ‘This organization spends less than 20% of the funds that we send are actually spent on programming. (sic) The rest goes to various bureaucratic measures. That is not an effective way to spend taxpayer money.’

‘This organization?’ The Prime Minister is speaking of a treaty, within which every other country on earth is making some level of contribution, financial and otherwise. How much were we spending? An astonishingly low pittance… $290,000/year. Admittedly that is a nice amount of money if you are collecting for a new school gymnasium, but it is chump change in the federal budget. We approve more than that routinely by unanimous consent for Parliamentary committee travel. Equated with those things the Prime Minister thinks are a good use of taxpayer funds, things like renting Pandas at $1 million/year, the drought treaty was a bargain.

Canada’s diplomatic corps is shocked. Former Ambassador to the United Nations, former Deputy Minister of National Defence and victim of a terrorist kidnapping in Mali, Robert Fowler, sent an email to the media. Calling our withdrawal from the treaty ‘a departure from global citizenship,’ here’s what he said:

‘It (the Harper administration) has taken climate-change denial, the abandonment of collective efforts to manage global crises and disregard the pain and suffering of the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa (among many others) to quite a different level.’

Responding to Foreign Minister John Baird’s defence that Canada won’t ‘go along to get along,’ Fowler continued:

‘No, by jingo, we’re not going to go along to get along! Such vainglorious nose-thumbing at the international community’s efforts to tame a very present threat to hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest and most desperate is nothing short of incomprehensible.’

Another former Ambassador to the United Nations, Paul Heinbecker, agreed that the move was both inexplicable and bound to confirm to the international community that Canada cared nothing for climate action, nor for the fate of Africa.

The UN itself was shocked. Noting that Canada will now be the only nation on earth not part of the convention, it, in typically understated diplomat-speak, called Canada’s decision ‘regrettable.’

It turns out our notice of intent was sent on January 14. The treaty requires only a 90-day period for full withdrawal so we exit the treaty on April 14, right in the middle of an important scientific review of the threat of desertification and drought, running April 9-19. ‘The next gathering of the scientific conference … is expected to deliver a major breakthrough by presenting the first ever cost-benefit analysis of desertification and sustainable land management,’ an UNCCD statement had commented, of the review and of Canada’s withdrawal.

‘Canada played crucial roles in both processes. Crucially, these processes have also moved the actions taken by parties to a result-based management approach where performance and impact are not only measured using indicators, but also assessed and monitored every two years.’

The rumours in Ottawa is that all our multilateral commitments are under review. I have heard well-connected folks express fear that we may withdraw from the United Nations Environment Programme and UNESCO. To block further erosion of our role in the world, we need to ensure that the reaction to this cutting and running from the problems of the world will not disappear as a one-day headline.

This is a single weblog entry, posted on April 15th, 2013. Comment here »


Take a Sip for Fair Trade


Cordially invites you to

Take a Sip for

Fair Trade

Saturday May 11th, 2013

From 7:00pm to 11:00pm

The Cube Gallery

1285 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, Ontario


This will be the Fair Trade event of the season, bringing together

Fair Trade (chocolate & wine) and local foods (cheese & beer)

to showcase the best of Ottawa and beyond. The evening will include

friends, special guests, city councillors and representatives

from various organizations throughout Ottawa. We are proud to have inspiring guest speakers, including Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre, and Jennifer Williams from Cocoa Camino. There will also be fantastic musical entertainment, a silent auction and more!

This fundraiser supports Fair Trade Ottawa

with various community outreach events and campaigns throughout the year and will go directly

towards helping Ottawa become a Fair Trade city.


Tickets are $30, which includes a specialty Fair Trade cocktail.

Tickets can be purchased online at:

This is a single weblog entry, posted on April 8th, 2013. Comment here »