Shrinking Pool of Canadian Farmers Lamented at Guelph forum

January 28th, 2011

MP Frank Valeriote hosted a Food Security Roundtable on Jan. 27th and two other representatives from the Agriculture and Agri-Business Committee in Ottawa attended, MP Carolyn Bennett (a medical doctor and health critic for the Opposition) and MP Wayne Easter (agriculture critic for the Opposition).

The forum was organized by Council of Canadians, Guelph Chapter, because of the collapse of Bill C-474 (re protecting organic farmers from GE contamination of their crops) and shared concerns over the lack of food security policy. The Round-table represented voices from sustainable, ‘buy local’, and organic farming practices who propose a different path from the monocultures of industrial agriculture and genetically engineered solutions in the face of declining fossil fuels. The reports focused on the loss of seed saving ability by independent farmers to the loss of pollinators that contribute to half the food we eat. They stressed the need for better government policy to protect farmers from the damage done from drift and contamination by GE crops and the stressed water problems associated with the use of fossil fuel fertilizers and herbicides. The global negative effects of our food policy were also outlined and solutions proposed. Notes were taken for the all-party Agribusiness committee in Ottawa.
The groups presenting included The National Farmers Union, C-Ban, Guelph Wellington Local Food, Farm Start, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Food Secure Canada, Development and Peace, KAIROS, Wellington Water Watchers, Transition Guelph, and Professor Evan Fraser, U of G ( author – “Empires of Feast and Famine” ), Professor Tony Winson, U of G  (new rural economy and public policy)  and Professor Jennifer Sumner,.OISE & UofG ( sustainable org. agriculture and social economy). Clips from the presentations will be available on the website soon.

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