Future Planning
Chinese scientists have developed a nanomaterial to control potato sprouts and reduce the poisonous substance in potatoes, providing a new method for potato storage.

Stored potatoes usually sprout rapidly, at the same time producing a significant amount of solanine, a toxic substance which endangers human health. Potato sprouts can be controlled using various techniques such as temperature control, irradiation and use of chemical inhibitors.

Scientists from Hefei Institute of Physical Science under Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a new nanomaterial called hydrophobic nano silica that can be used to inhibit the growth of potato sprouts. When potatoes are immersed in the solution of the material, a hydrophobic coating is created on the surface of the potatoes, effectively inhibiting potato sprouts and decreasing solanine. | READ MORE
Published in Research
Lynden-area vegetable grower Ken Forth will receive an honorary degree from the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics. Forth is being recognized for the profound impact he has had on the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry and on the lives of thousands of families across Mexico and the Caribbean over the course of his farming career.

For 49 years, Forth has been directly involved with the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), and were it not for his work on labour issues on behalf of Canadian growers from coast to coast, Canadians would be hard-pressed to find fresh, locally grown produce on their store shelves.

The program has also directly improved the standard of living of thousands of seasonal workers, allowing them to educate their children, and buy and operate their own farms and businesses in their home countries.

“This is a tremendous and very unexpected honour,” says Forth. “This kind of work doesn’t happen alone – I’ve been fortunate to have the help and support of many great people over the years, from fellow growers to farm organization staff, and none of this would have been possible without them.”

It’s through his involvement with many provincial and national organizations and committees that Forth represents the industry’s interests on everything from NAFTA and SAWP to minimum wage, labour regulations and unionization of agricultural workers.

Forth has served on the board of Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS), the organization that administers SAWP, for more than 25 years, and assumed his current role as president more than a decade ago.

He’s a past president of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA), and is the long-serving chair of the labour and trade committees at both organizations. Forth also volunteers his time with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resources Council, and is the chair of the Labour Issues Coordinating Committee that represents the interests of Ontario farm employers.

“Our fruit and vegetable industry in Canada would not be what it is today without Ken’s tireless dedication to labour issues,” says OFVGA chair Jan VanderHout. “This work takes a lot of time on the road and away from farm and family and it’s almost always behind the scenes, but Ken has had an impact on every single grower in this country and we appreciate his service to our industry.”

Forth was nominated for the honorary degree by University of Guelph associate professor Dr. Sara Mann, whose current research includes examining employment issues in the agricultural and rural sectors. He will formally receive his degree at a ceremony at the University of Guelph next spring.
Published in Profiles
Canada's AgGrowth coalition and our members believe it is critical to continue the Business Risk Management (BRM) review with a comprehensive mandate, and encourage the Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) Agriculture Ministers to extend the review process without delay.

In summer of 2017, the FPT Agriculture Ministers initiated a review of the BRM programming in response to concerns that BRM programming did not meet farmer's needs. The review is not complete, and more work needs to be done to achieve a complete picture of gaps in the BRM suite and identify solutions.

"We urge Canada's Agriculture Ministers to extend the BRM review process under the guidance of a new steering committee, including more participation from our farming organizations." said Mark Brock, chair, AgGrowth Coalition. "This will help ensure that BRM programing is more effective at managing risk for producers on the farm."

The External Advisory Panel, established to advise on the BRM review, will be submitting recommendations to the FPT Ministers this July in Vancouver. AgGrowth encourages the FPT Ministers to support their work to find solutions for farmers. The AgGrowth Coalition supports the work of the External Advisory Panel (EAP).

"The Canadian agri-food sector has great potential - it is a strategic national asset," said Jeff Nielson, vice chair, AgGrowth Coalition. "There are many opportunities for growth, but they come at a time with increased volatility and risk. Canadian farmers need a suite of BRM programs that they can use to effectively manage risk so they seize these opportunities."

AgGrowth Coalition was established by farmers to advocate for a comprehensive reform of risk management programming. The agriculture sector wants to continue to work in partnership with governments across the country to establish the right policies and programs to better reflect modern farming needs in Canada.
Published in Federal
Canada's agriculture and agri-food system contributes $110 billion to Canada's economy, with more than $64.6 billion in exports.

Agriculture risk management is important to the sector – it helps stabilize farmers' incomes, strengthens farm businesses, and encourages growth in the agricultural sector.

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, governments continue to support the development of new risk management tools that reflect the changing nature of the business.

Building on the successes of Growing Forward 2, the AgriRisk Initiatives Program has been renewed under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay announced that the $55 million program will encourage partnerships between agriculture industry stakeholders, researchers, and federal, provincial and territorial governments to proactively explore and develop new risk management products and services for the agricultural sector.

Funding is available under two components: Research and Development and Administrative Capacity Building.

In response to recommendations received from the BRM Review Expert Panel, priority will be given to proposals for industry-led projects to develop new and innovative business risk management tools.

"Canada's hard-working farmers constantly face volatility and unpredictability in their business. Our Government is launching this renewed AgriRisk program to help protect our hardworking farmers from the risks they face so they can continue to grow the economy and create good, well-paying jobs. This announcement responds to what we heard from the external advisory panel on business risk management," said Minister MacAulay
Published in Federal
Ontario’s horticultural industry has launched a digital campaign to demonstrate public support for a long-running program that allows growers affected by a chronic labour shortage to hire workers from Mexico and the Caribbean on a seasonal basis.

The Fairness for Growers campaign uses a web portal to provide information about the benefits of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP) and to help consumers to directly email their Members of Parliament, voicing support for the program and the importance of continued access to fresh, local food.

The campaign was initiated in May. As of June, 1,400 Canadians had used the portal to send letters of support for SAWP to their MPs.

The labour program was established in 1966 to respond to a severe shortage of domestic agricultural workers. It continues to serve the same role 52 years later, enabling Ontario farmers to stay in business.

This year, more than 18,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean are expected to fill vacancies on a seasonal basis — up to a maximum of eight months — at approximately 1,450 Ontario farms.

But the federal government may change that. Federal regulators who oversee the program are implementing more and more regulations, and some growers are concerned about the program’s future.

These changes could threaten the livelihoods of thousands of farmers, making it harder for local growers to get the workers they need and operate effectively.

They could also significantly reduce access to local fruits and vegetables on store shelves, put Canadian jobs at risk and hurt thousands of seasonal workers who want these jobs to provide a better standard of living for the families.

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program is a “Canadians first” program, which means supplementary seasonal farm labour is hired from partner countries only if farmers cannot find Canadians willing to take the same jobs.

It’s estimated that at least two jobs for Canadians are created in the agri-food industry for every seasonal worker employed through SAWP at Ontario farms.

Without the program most Ontario farmers simply couldn’t continue to grow fruits and vegetables. Some would move into less labour-intensive crops, while others would abandon agriculture altogether.

Recent labour market research by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council cited the program as a key reason Ontario’s horticulture industry is able to generate $5.4 billion in economic activity and approximately 34,280 jobs.

A severe shortage of domestic workers is costing Canadian farms approximately $1.5 billion per year and hurting Canada’s overall economic competitiveness, according to research by the Conference Board of Canada.

For more information, visit www.fairnessforgrowers.ca

Published in Provinces
CanadaGAP, an internationally recognized food safety program for fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, has successfully achieved recognition against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Version 7.1 benchmarking requirements.

The recognition encompasses three CanadaGAP certification options: B, C, and D (for repacking and wholesaling).

Heather Gale, executive director, comments that "CanadaGAP appreciates the rigour of the GFSI benchmarking process. GFSI recognition of CanadaGAP provides the fruit and vegetable industry the option to implement a made-in-Canada program that meets GFSI's high standard and satisfies the food safety requirements of customers in domestic and international markets."

Jack Bates, chair of the board for CanadaGAP, adds that "GFSI recognition will allow CanadaGAP-certified companies to remain competitive and maintain access to customers who require certification to a GFSI-recognized food safety program."

Scope of GFSI Recognition
CanadaGAP has been GFSI-recognized for certification options B and C since 2010. Option D (for repacking and wholesaling) was originally recognized by GFSI in 2016. Re-benchmarking is required each time GFSI updates its benchmarking requirements.

Recognition of the three CanadaGAP certification options has once again been granted for the following GFSI scopes:
  • BI - Farming of Plants
  • D - Pre-process Handling of Plant Products (includes packing/repacking and related activities such as cooling, trimming, grading, washing, storage, etc.).
Published in Food Safety
Loblaw Companies Limited has announced that by 2025 it will spend $150 million more each year with Canadian farmers buying local, fresh produce that otherwise would have been imported from around the world.

Given the short Canadian growing season and unique climate conditions, customers are used to eating produce sourced from international growers, often picked before their prime and then trucked thousands of kilometres. As part of the pledge, Loblaw will work directly with local farmers to implement innovative growing methods or plant non-traditional crops, extending the growing season and bringing the "Grown in Canada" label to what were typically imported fruits and vegetables.

"For decades, we have worked with local farmers to feed our national appetite for Canadian-grown food," said Galen G. Weston, chairman and CEO, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We are applying new resources to accelerate that work, helping Canadian farmers find new opportunities to provide global products and year-round freshness, grown right here at home."

Loblaw sources more Canadian produce than any other grocer, working with about 300 domestic growers. In season, nearly half of all produce in Loblaw's various stores – including Loblaws, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills and others – is Canadian-grown. However, the Canadian growing season is traditionally only a few months, and farmers have focused primarily on a well-established range of crops.

Over the past few years, Loblaw has worked with Canadian farmers to grow a greater variety of products, including multicultural goods not traditionally grown in Canada. As a result, customers can now find bok choy, long eggplant, methi leaf, napa cabbage and okra bearing Grown in Ontario and Grown in Quebec labels. These crops are traditionally grown in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Central America.

Loblaw is also working with Canadian indoor farmers and greenhouses to ensure a steady supply of fresh produce that would otherwise be out-of-season or imported from warmer climates for much of the year.

Through its President's Choice brand, the company has developed relationships with various greenhouse operations to source Canadian-grown berries from January through December. Additionally, in Newfoundland, where fresh produce often travels long distances to store shelves, the company has introduced a pilot program with a vertical farm operation, bringing unprecedented fresh greens to the region.

"This effort is a large and logical extension of commitments we've been making for decades," said Frank Pagliaro, who leads the produce procurement for Loblaw. "We're investing in Canadian innovation, supporting local farmers, extending shelf life to offer fresher goods, serving new tastes, and helping the environment by reducing food waste and the carbon footprint generated by international shipments. And, our customer love every one of these details."
Published in Companies
Canada's wine sector is growing, with the industry generating revenues of $1.2 billion in 2016 and employing over 5,600 people. Wine makers and grape growers across the country are working hard to ensure their businesses are able to thrive in Canada's climate, and innovate as the industry grows.

Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, recently announced an investment of up to $8.4 million to the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's AgriScience Clusters.

This is the first time grape and wine producing organizations from across the country have come together, as the CGCN, to develop a national research cluster.

This research investment, which includes up to an additional $3.7 million from industry contributions, will help growers better protect their crops, test new vine varieties, and analyze growing practices in Canadian vineyards that are better for the environment.

Minister MacAulay also congratulated the Canadian Vintners Association on completing a $1.5 million project under Growing Forward 2's AgriMarketing program.

This funding helped the Canadian wine industry enhance Canada's international reputation as a top cool climate wine producer through market development and trade advocacy activities, and helped launch the Wines of Canada brand.

Minister MacAulay also announced an additional investment of $1.5 million over three years to the Canadian Vintner's Association under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's AgriMarketing program. The funding will assist the industry in activities such as participation in trade shows, missions, and promotions in traditional markets, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and China, as well as CVA's participation at international trade advocacy events.

"Today's announcement and investment in the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network for Canada's grape growing industry comes after many years of hard work and collaboration. The Grape Growers of Ontario are pleased to be working alongside our partners in Nova Scotia, Quebec, British Columbia and with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to create a domestic supply of clean rootstock which is critical to the future of Canada's grape growing industry," said Matthias Oppenlaender, chair, Grape Growers of Ontario.

Today's announcement is part of the Minister's cross country 'Growing Canadian Agriculture' tour which started in Quebec last week and ends in B.C. on July 17.

The Minister is meeting with farmers, processors and industry leaders, as well as participate in rural agricultural events, to highlight strategic federal agricultural investments and programs - including those recently launched under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership—and how they will help to build an even stronger and more innovative sector for Canada.

"I'm thrilled to be launching Canada's first-ever grape and wine cluster. Our domestic grape and wine sector has had a positive impact on Canada's economy, and it continues to grow. Today's announcement will help increase the market share of Canadian wines by supporting research that improves wine quality and vineyard management practices, addresses challenges faced by the sector, and build upon Canada's international reputation as a top cool-climate wine producer," said Minister MacAulay.


Published in Federal
It is well known that vegetables are good for people but they could also be the key to making stronger and greener buildings.
Published in Vegetables
The Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation (CABEF) is proud to announce the winners of their annual scholarships. Each of these exceptional students will receive $2,500 for post-secondary agricultural education.

The 2018 winners are:
  • Adriana Van Tryp, Burdett, Alta.
  • Laura Carruthers, Frenchman Butte, Sask.
  • Pete Giesbrecht, Winkler, Man.
  • Owen Ricker, Dunnville, Ont.
  • Jeremy Chevalley, Moose Creek Ont.
  • Émilie Carrier, Princeville, Que.
  • Justin Kampman, Abbotsford, B.C.
Each year, CABEF awards scholarships of $2,500 to Canadian students entering their first year at an accredited agriculture college or university. CABEF is a charity foundation that encourages students to pursue their passion for agriculture and to bring their new ideas and talent to the industry.

Scholarship winners are evaluated on a combination of leadership attributes, academic standing and their response to the essay question, "What do you consider to be the three main opportunities for the Canadian agriculture industry and which one inspires you the most?"

“We are proud to support the future of the Canadian agriculture industry by providing these scholarships,” said Jenn Norrie, chair of the board for CABEF. “With the high-quality applications received from students across the country, the future of Canadian agriculture is bright.”

For further information about CABEF’s work, visit cabef.org.
Published in Provinces
The North American Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association Inc. (NAFDMA) has announced the selection of Corey Connors as its new executive director.

This appointment comes after Charlie Touchette, who provided NAFDMA with association management services for nearly 20 years, formally concluded his tenure effective May 1, 2018. The selection of Connors was made after an extensive national search overseen by the NAFDMA Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to formally announce Corey’s appointment,” said Tom Tweite, President of NAFDMA.

Connors joins NAFDMA with over 17 years of leadership experience in the agriculture, retail and attractions industries. Most recently, he served as chief staff executive of the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA).

Prior to NCNLA, he served in advocacy roles for several prominent national and international trade groups including the Society of American Florists (SAF), the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). Connors holds a Master of Arts in Political Management from the George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clarion University.

“It is a genuine privilege and honor to serve this dynamic, growing industry,” said Connors. “Agritourism and farm direct marketing provide an unparalleled opportunity for consumers to reconnect to the family farm, creating unique experiences and rare opportunities to make precious memories.” He continued, “Our charge is clear: NAFDMA must provide cutting-edge tools and resources that support our community of innovators who seek to grow farm profitability while providing immeasurable benefits to their hometown.”

Connors begins his tenure at NAFDMA under a new operating structure, with the organization previously hiring on two additional direct employees last fall. This positions the association to have a stronger pulse on industry trends and will provide the opportunity to launch new member-focused programs and services. The first employees hired by NAFDMA include Membership Development and Services Manager, Lisa Dean and Education and Operations Manager, Jeff Winston.

“Interacting with motivated farm operators and entrepreneurs is rewarding. It is truly my pleasure to service our members,” said Dean.

“Having worked for this industry over the past five years, I’m excited to elevate the educational offerings that NAFDMA provides to each of its members,” said Winston.
Published in Associations
Second Harvest is working with Value Chain Management International (VCMI) on a ground-breaking food loss and waste (FLW) project, funded by the Walmart Foundation.

A world first, the project is researching FLW from a whole Canadian chain perspective – from primary production to consumer.

The project encompasses Canada’s food and beverage industry (including fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, grains and oilseeds, sugars and syrups, beverages and seafood). The purpose of the study is to establish a framework and metrics that businesses operating in the farming, processing, retail and foodservice sectors can use to 1) understand where losses are likely to occur and 2) identify ways to improve their performance and profitability by reducing losses and waste.

The team will achieve this by collecting data that will allow an accurate estimate of FLW occurring at discrete points along the value chain and evaluating the comparative impact of root causes. The project will also estimate losses that occur during the redistribution of rescued and donated food, for example in foodbanks.

Key outcomes of the project:
  • It will calculate the total amount of food available for human consumption in Canada.
  • Through conducting pioneering primary research, it will identify where, how and why waste occurs along the chain.
  • It will identify potential root-cause solutions to reduce the percentage of Canadian food sent to landfill – by proposing improved redistribution, reuse and recycling practices.
  • It will identify greater opportunities for food to be recovered and distributed to people who are food insecure.
  • It will culminate in the production and dissemination of a manual of scalable and sustainable solutions for addressing and preventing food waste.
800 to 1,000 survey respondents to be targeted across the entire value chain – Canada wide.

Second Harvest and VCMI are targeting 800 to 1,000 respondents from across the entire value chain to gain insights from farmers, food and beverage processors, retailers, foodservice operators, institutions and food redistributors across Canada (regardless of their size).

If you fall in this category of participants, and would like to take part in the short, completely confidential survey, please access the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018FLWSurvey

The project will be completed by the end of 2018.

“We are thrilled to be working with Second Harvest on this revolutionary food loss and waste project,” said Martin Gooch, CEO of VCMI. “Prior studies relied on existing data, largely not gathered for calculating food loss and waste; we are collecting and analyzing data that will achieve this. The project outcomes will have important implications for businesses, industry, researchers and government.”
Published in Research
Some people regard frozen vegetables as a disappointing alternative when fresh veggies are not available. But that is likely to change with new methods of preparing food for cold storage.

Dr. Tony Savard and his team from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s St-Hyacinthe Research Development Centre re-examined the usual way of treating vegetables -blanching - which refers to briefly heat-treating the vegetables before freezing.

While this method is helpful for ensuring food safety and preventing freezer burn, it also affects the taste and texture which some people don’t like even when nutritional value is retained.

The team worked with Bonduelle Amérique as part of the Canadian Food Innovator research cluster, to come up with a fresh alternative for processing vegetables for freezing: partially drying them using low doses of microwaves combined with a vacuum process. Doing so avoided the breakdown of vegetable tissue that happens with freezing and thawing. This innovative method preserves the natural flavour and even improves it in certain cases, while still ensuring food safety. Furthermore, the texture of the vegetables is maintained.

"New markets are possible if we can improve the taste of frozen vegetables and maintain high standards of food safety," says Savard.

Whether or not a consumer picks a frozen option likely depends on their previous experience with frozen foods. And with healthy choices being so popular among Canadians, creating frozen foods that are both healthy and tasty is important. As such, Savard and his team will continue exploring new options for preserving the veggies that we love to eat.

Ultimately, if new methods of food preservation can be developed then new markets will also be opened. The domestic market for preserved fruits and vegetables is valued at $7.5 billion. The export market is also strong, worth over $3 billion in 2015, according to Statistics Canada. That same year saw almost $6.5 billion in total revenue. There are more than 17,000 Canadians employed in the sector, contributing in different ways to produce great food options. With so much economic activity generated it is important to identify what food areas can be improved upon.

The findings emerged from a "research cluster" organized between government and industry. Bringing together expertise from the public and private sectors has generated positive results like this new preservation method. Best of all, it’s helping Canadians find something both healthy and delicious to eat.

Key discoveries:
  • Soggy onions and peppers no more! New preservation method improves natural flavour and maintains texture during freezing and thawing.
  • Food processing industry will have new tools to preserve vegetables, which may open new markets.
Published in Vegetables
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently released a report that details the important contribution rural municipalities make and outlines the unique challenges they face.

The comprehensive report titled Rural Challenges, national opportunity – Shaping the future of rural Canada includes recommendations encouraging the federal government to tackle these challenges head-on and raise Canadians’ quality of life nationwide.

“When it comes to providing the infrastructure necessary to support a strong economy and high quality of life, rural governments are faced with two key problems—the challenge of serving dispersed communities and the limits of their fiscal and administrative capacity,” said FCM’s rural forum chair, Ray Orb.

The report provides recommendations to address the realities rural municipalities face. Key recommendations of this report include:
  • Applying a ‘rural lens’ to all federal policies and programs aimed at empowering smaller communities to better support local needs
  • Designing future rural infrastructure programs that provide long-term predictable funding with flexibility to account for rural realities
  • Committing long-term predictable resources to expanding broadband internet access in rural, northern and remote communities
“This report tells the story of the significant contribution rural municipalities make to the nation’s economy, but it also highlights the fiscal squeeze they face due to low population densities and the exodus of younger generations,” added Orb. “But as a key driver of economic growth, we know that investing in rural Canada means building a better country for everyone.”

FCM is leading the way in advocating for new tools that empower rural communities to build tomorrow’s Canada and has secured unprecedented federal investment in recent years. The full report is available here.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of municipal governments, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of the Canadian population.
Published in Associations
The Canadian Horticultural Council presented before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO) to discuss Part 5, as it relates to farming, of Bill C-74 (a bill intended to pass into law certain elements of Budget 2018).

Key points conveyed
CHC took advantage of its appearance before the senate committee to reiterate its key messages regarding carbon pricing, notably:
  • The government should recognize that greenhouse vegetable growers deliberately create, capture and assimilate CO2 for crop fertilization.
  • The government should issue a national exemption from its carbon pricing policy to cover all fuel used for agricultural activities, including greenhouses, thereby minimizing the impacts of interprovincial competitiveness.
  • The government should create a national relief mechanism, as the current carbon tax creates a competitive disadvantage between growers within a single province, across Canada, and on the international stage.
  • The government should use CHC’s revised definition of primary agriculture across all departments and in Bill C-74, as the current definition does not reflect the full range of farming activities and machinery used in Canadian primary agriculture (see suggested definition below).
  • Many greenhouse growers invest their own money into adapting and implementing new energy efficiencies, even before government funding becomes available. The Senators discussed with CHC the opportunity for these efforts to be recognised financially, retroactively.
  • Carbon pricing cannot simply be passed onto consumers due to the global nature of the produce market.
CHC will be following up directly with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance regarding Bill C-74 to emphasize our main asks.
Published in Federal

Potato is the third most important crop in human nutrition, after wheat and rice. Knowing and improving its agronomic, nutritional and industrial aspects is essential and in this task a group of researchers specialized in biotechnology of the INTA Balcarce is focused.

Recently, with a trajectory more than 7 years in gene editing technologies, they were able to confirm that the DNA sequence had been modified, while they hope to corroborate the shutdown of the gene that causes enzymatic browning in potatoes ( Solanum tuberosum L. ).

When applying this technique, the team led by Feingold focused on a polyphenol oxidase gene, whose enzyme causes browning in tubers when they are cut and exposed to air. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.

Published in Research
CanadaGAP is now accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the Board of Directors for CanAgPlus, the corporation that owns and operates the CanadaGAP Program.

CanAgPlus relies on volunteer leaders to guide decision making and oversee management of CanadaGAP. Participation on the Board of Directors affords volunteer leaders the opportunity for personal growth and satisfaction in moving the program forward and improving food safety in the fresh produce industry.

CanAgPlus directors are elected by members (i.e., those who are enrolled in the CanadaGAP Program) at the Annual General Meeting, which will take place in December 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario.

See http://www.canadagap.ca/events/annual-general-meeting/ for further information.

Composition of the Board of Directors
CanAgPlus is currently seeking nominations for four directors to the Board. The Board is comprised of eight directors in total, serving two-year rotating terms to ensure some continuity in membership.

Nominations
A recommended slate of nominees will be prepared in advance of the AGM for circulation to members, and presented for vote at the AGM. In accordance with provisions in the corporate by-law, and subject to applicable rules of order during meetings of members, nominations may also be made by ordinary resolution at the AGM.

Criteria for Directors
Candidates are expected to have a strong interest in the delivery, integrity and objectives of the CanadaGAP Program. Criteria for service on the Board of Directors include:
  • Exhibit ability to communicate interpersonally, provide facilitative leadership, and enforce group discipline on board processes.
  • Strong understanding and experience with the appropriate roles, group processes and corporate bylaws and policies that form systems of corporate governance.
  • Demonstrated judgment and integrity in an oversight role
Consideration will be given to volunteers with experience serving on a not-for-profit Board or governance committee or senior level experience working with other Boards. Experience and skills in the following areas will be considered assets:
  • Good working knowledge of CanadaGAP - its functioning, goals, evolution, etc.
  • Familiarity with administrative and management processes, rather than technical knowledge
  • Personnel management experience
  • Financial management experience
  • Knowledge of international food safety context
Directors need NOT be CanadaGAP program participants.

Term of Office
Directors will serve a two-year term. The Board meets twice a year in person, and holds conference calls as needed.

How to Apply
Those interested in serving on the Board of Directors must complete and submit the application form by August 31, 2018. Self-nominations are acceptable.

General Operating By-law No. 1
The by-law is available for download at: https://www.canadagap.ca/history/members-only/

If you are not a member of CanAgPlus, but interested in serving on the Board, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 613-829-4711 to obtain a copy of the by-law.

For more information
Visit www.canadagap.ca for further information about CanadaGAP and its governance.
Published in Food Safety
The Okanagan's Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is celebrating its commitment to renewable energy by declaring Tuesday, May 15, 2018 "Solar Day" at the winery.

The winery will be hosting local media and guests, with a glass of Burrowing Owl's first wine release of 2018, the 2017 Pinot Gris. Follow the story at #SolarDay.

Burrowing Owl has long been dedicated to sustainable winemaking, and it's leading the way once again with the installation of five large solar systems on its estate properties.

The winery's investments into alternative energy over the past dozen years include the following:
  • In 2006, the winery installed its first solar panels, producing the equivalent of 53,000 kWh annually in the form of hot water
  • In 2016, the winery's staff house in Osoyoos became a "NET ZERO" building with addition of 116 solar panels
  • A cellar expansion completed in 2017 with a roof blanketed by 70 solar panels. The electricity provided by the panels will offset approximately 12.9 tons of CO2 emissions per year
  • A 2017 visitor parking structure designed to provide shade and rain protection, topped by 106 solar panels that will offset 27 tons of CO2 every year.
  • 2017 - Our 45,000 sq. ft Oliver warehouse with a south-facing roof covered by 160 panels to capture solar energy, offsetting 30 tons of carbon annually and producing 60,000 kWh annually.
That's enough energy to provide heat and air conditioning for this large building, giving it a carbon footprint of "NET ZERO".

In addition, the winery has also installed eight new electric vehicle charging stations, which visitors and staff may use at no cost. For more information, visit: https://www.burrowingowlwine.ca/
Published in Profiles
There’s a dramatic shift in consumer preference to more locally sourced, sustainably grown foods, with sales expected to top $20.2 billion by 2019.

The local food market is fertile ground for FreshSpoke, a Canadian tech start-up that caught the attention of Food-X and earned them a place as one of only eight companies at their leading food-tech accelerator based in New York City.

Food-X is the largest global investor in early stage food companies and receives hundreds of applications each cohort.

“We work with a handful of companies that have big ideas and the potential to make a difference in the food industry”, comments Peter Bodenheimer, program director at FOOD-X. “We believe that FreshSpoke’s marketplace platform will revolutionize the way retailers and restaurants procure local food.”

FreshSpoke is tackling the marketing and distribution challenges that have kept most farmers and micro-producers out of the wholesale market.

“Consumers care about local and sustainably grown food and are willing to spend more to get it”, states Marcia Woods, CEO and passionate force behind FreshSpoke, “and the restaurants and retailers that are keeping pace with this trend want a reliable and cost effective procurement solution like FreshSpoke.”

FreshSpoke’s platform handles the order, payment and delivery for farmers, growers as well as food and beverage artisans, and gives wholesale buyers a direct pipeline to fresh, local food, delivered to their door using a shared delivery system.

“Instead of putting more trucks on the road, FreshSpoke leverages the excess capacity that exists in the delivery system”, explains Ms. Woods. “This drives down cost and gives commercial drivers, including producers, the ability to earn extra income delivering local food.”

FreshSpoke has struck a chord as some 300 Canadian wholesale businesses are now registered buyers with access to an online catalogue of over 1,500 products from some 175 local producers. This Spring, FreshSpoke will launch to wholesale buyers and producers in the U.S., beginning in Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan.

The notion of a centralized marketplace for wholesale buyers to procure local food comes as good news for farm to table restaurateur, Scott Bowman of Fowl & Fodder in Toledo, Ohio. “I’m excited about FreshSpoke coming to our region because I need to fill gaps in my local produce sourcing during the off-season, and I’m excited to have a more diverse list of locally available product for my seasonal menu.”

For more information about FreshSpoke, visit their web site at www.freshspoke.com or call 844.483-7374.
Published in Companies

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centre in Kentville, N.S., is undertaking a renovation of a lab workspace of 400-square metres to accommodate new grape and wine research.

A Cambridge Nova Scotia construction company has been awarded a contract to renovate an existing pilot plant space in the research centre. The space will be retrofit and converted into a wine research lab.

The development is part of a multi-dimensional research approach at the Kentville centre in support of Nova Scotia grape growers and vintners.

A new scientist, food-wine chemist Shawna MacKinnon has been hired to run the lab.
There will be areas where grapes grown in the local vineyards will be brought in, evaluated and crushed for use in wine production, processing and bottling.

The new facility will include spaces for the fermentation of white and red wines at a wide range of temperatures and volumes, a wine cellar, and a room where wine, created at the centre, can be tasted, tested and sampled by a panel.

The goal is to improve agricultural productivity and support the Nova Scotia government’s goal of increasing vine acreage from 800 acres to 2,000 acres by 2020.

The renovation and installation work is expected to be completed later this year.

The renovation will build on a $400,000 research project in support of the local grape and wine sector currently underway at the Kentville centre on grape varieties, growing techniques and conditions.

To date 70 sites, about 1,000 acres of N.S. vineyards have been mapped for insect pests and grapevine viruses and bacteria. Soil, topography, and climate are also being assessed to see how these factors affect wine taste, flavour and wine quality. Samples were taken from vineyards throughout the province.

A monitoring system is in place to measure the effect of cold weather on grape vines and wine grape winter hardiness. A two-acre research vineyard has been established to study local and European grape varieties.

This vineyard will be used to further analyze factors that influence vine health, hardiness, and wine quality. Information on grape maturity prior to harvest is being collected. A light-emitting hand-held device is being evaluated for its ability to pinpoint grape ripeness to identify the best harvest time which is a key factor in the production of high quality wines.

Published in Research

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