Latest articles


Piles of Trash left on the walkway in New York

Feeding the planet is challenging, dealing with its waste is even harder

Earth is becoming an urban planet and that raises a host of issues 
we’ve never had to deal with before

The migration of rural persons to cities hit a historical milestone in 2008 when urban residents outnumbered those in rural areas. The result has been congestion in cities that were ill prepared for this growth and an intense pressure on rural areas to produce more food with less people. The United Nations claims six out […] Read more


If it is happening in research, it is happening here in Alberta

The list of research centres is long and varied — and all of them 
are part of our competitive advantage


Alberta is a hive of exciting and interesting research activity that is a benefit to agriculture and society. From bees to bovines, we employ world-class scientists who work with enthusiastic producer groups. Livestock (under the federal definition) includes bees, and the National Bee Diagnostic Centre is in Alberta, a partnership between the Grande Prairie Regional […] Read more



Choosing to laugh along the way can, umm, lighten the load

Inspired by a return to school, columnist Brenda Schoepp decides 
there are a few other things she wants to change in her life


As I write this, it is week four of my master of arts in global leadership program at a university near Victoria, British Columbia. After 40 years of being out of school, I can honestly say that I have met my challenge. So tired by day’s end, I collapse on my foam bed. Not one […] Read more


Will agriculture and food processing finally take centre stage?

A new report says these two sectors are key to Canada’s future prosperity — 
and that recognition is a welcome development


A recent report from the Advisory Council on Economic Growth highlighted agriculture and food processing as keys to economic growth in Canada. The advisory council called on Ottawa to create a growth strategy for what it calls “agfood,” which it defines as everything from “field to fork.” Its report says that could generate another US$30 […] Read more



We take them for granted, but how would we manage without them?

Travelling in poor countries makes you appreciate a pair of good boots, 
and the generous spirit of those who can only dream of such luxuries


When I was a child mother would call out to us, ‘Leave your boots at the door!’ — and we would topple upon each other, kicking off the seemingly unimportant footwear, unaware of the value or the privilege of those boots. Even in the leanest of years, some kind of footwear was always provided, despite […] Read more


New technologies are creating new ways to grow fresh produce

Vertical farming operations are popping up everywhere and this new technology can complement traditional agriculture


We were in Holland and our group stood in amazement at the growing capabilities of Koppert Cress. Owner Rob Baan, a policeman’s son turned world entrepreneur, was emphatic that neither soil nor light is needed to grow food — only heat. And all of those components could be provided by technology, 
he said. In a […] Read more



Barbecue Buffalo Chicken Wings as an Appetizer

Chicken industry takes wing on some very creative marketing

Lowly chicken wings used to be a big problem for processors, 
now they are a huge and growing source of profits

If there is one thing that North Americans love to eat — it is chicken wings. During the Super Bowl game alone, one billion wings are consumed along with an ocean of beer. Canadians are right in there chowing down on the once tossed tidbit, and continue to eat a few birds each year themselves. […] Read more


Here are some emerging trends that we need to pay attention to

The development of meat alternatives, stores without checkouts, 
and Career Farmer Barbie are all important


When one of the largest meat-processing companies in the world announces focused research into the development of alternative proteins, I’m paying attention. Tyson’s allocation of US$150 million to a venture capital fund to research meat alternatives allows us a glimpse into the future of traditional meat and poultry protein sources. The idea is not new […] Read more



The meaning of sustainability depends on your point of view

When you talk about sustainable agriculture, you need to look 
not just at the farm but what is happening all around it


Redefining sustainability
 Battered about like a mariner’s ship at sea, the “sustainable” world is getting frayed at the edges. It leaks the slow leak, one that was built in agriculture on the idealism of creating a pathway to consumers but rested on that assurance without producer reward. Certainly, the journey is worth examining as we […] Read more


In times of hardship, take time to consider all of your riches

The love of your children, support of family and friends, 
and faith are priceless treasures to be cherished

I am admiring the picture on the cover of Alexander McCall Smith’s book The Full Cupboard of Life. His fictitious stories from Botswana are an easy and humorous read. The cupboard referred to is typical; containing four plates and four cups, two bowls, a couple of pots, a little cooking oil, and a teapot. That’s […] Read more