2014 Guelph Organic Conference | Terry Daynard’s Blog | Comments about Agriculture, Food and the Bioeconomy @TerryDaynard

Comments on the 2014 Guelph Organic Conference

I attended the Guelph Organic Conference at the University of Guelph on Saturday February 1, 2014. Jodi Koberinski, executive director of the Organic Council of Ontario, asked for my observations on the conference. Here are some:

1.       Based on the large attendance (500+) and large number of exhibitors (170) this event must be judged a major success. If the weather had not been so nasty on the Saturday of the conference, the attendance would undoubtedly have been even higher.

2.       In some ways it resembles the Ontario Plowing Match with many exhibitors selling/promoting just about anything and everything. However, the speaking program is much more important at the Guelph Organic Conference.

3.       Both the audience and the exhibitors were highly diverse and included: profit-oriented farmers (a distinct minority, I believe), farm suppliers and farm produce buyers, organic food wholesalers and retailers, organic farm certifiers, book and publication marketers, educational/research institutions, advocacy and farm groups, some snake oil and trinket sales people, students, and a large number of gardeners and homeowners. My guess is that gardeners, homeowners and the exhibitors themselves represented the largest percentage of the conference attendees.

4.       I could only attend a few of the speaker presentations since several of these occurred simultaneously. I am relying on written summaries of presentations I did not attend for some of my observations. In my opinion, the presentations ranged from outstanding to really weird – at least from a perspective of someone like me with a science and farm background. At one extreme was Essex County organic farmer, Roger Rivest, presenting excellent information on how to control pests (chiefly weeds) in organic farming. On the other hand, there was an organic consultant recommending phosphate soil fertility levels which were extremely (irresponsibly high in my view, 100 ppm phosphate if I heard him right) and telling the audience that 1) the sugar from GM sugar beets is less healthy than that from non-GM beets (100% sucrose in both cases) and 2) they should promote unpasteurized milk.

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Beekeeper Speaks Out against Anti-Pesticide Campaigns and Hobby BeeKeepers from Ontario |

Finally, while the Ontario Beekeepers Association has been allying itself with mindless environmental groups it forgot about the members it is supposed to represent. As such, the Independent Commercial Beekeepers has now formed in ON and is well on it’s way to becoming the true voice of beekeepers in that province.

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Wrong Again Lunatics | Gideon Forman | Cathy Vakil | Nuclear Energy | TalkNuclear

Just the Facts, Ma’am. Just the Facts.

April 25, 2013 – 10:45

You’d think the facts would persuade people like the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) . But that appears not to be the case.

Gideon Forman, their executive director, apparently told health authorities in Haliburton region that kids living near nuclear energy facilities face higher risks of leukemia.  Forman, who is not a medical doctor, cited the widely discredited German study Kinderkrebs in der umgebung von Kernkraftwerken (KiKK), published in 2008. (The title translates to “Childhood Cancer in the Environment of Nuclear Power Plants.”)

Here’s the problem. It’s just not true.

In fact, several follow-up studies have reviewed the KiKK work. Every one of them concluded that the kids’ leukemia risk could NOT be blamed on the nearby nuclear energy facility.

Even CAPE acknowledges in its own literature that the German study proved nothing: “The authors state that the reason for the elevated risk is unexplained, as the levels of radioactive emissions from these facilities are considered too low to explain the increase in childhood leukemia.” (Source:  Cathy Vakil and Linda Harvey, Human Health Implications of the Nuclear Energy Industry, p. 62)

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Premier Looks to Federal Government for Science Based Decision |Ontario Bee Health Working Group Final Report | March 2014 |

Wynne said the province will "continue to look to the federal government, the regulator of pesticides in Canada, to provide evidence-based direction on a national approach to neonicotinoid use."

Although large bee die-offs have been observed in Ontario apiaries, they are not occurring uniformly across all operations or areas of the province - many beekeeping operations have not been affected and have been able to maintain strong and healthy bee colonies as evidenced by hive strength and honey production

Why didn't the Province of Ontario look to the Federal Government when they decided to ban Lawn Pesticides??

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