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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finally, a suspect in bee decline... The Varroa Mite

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Finally, a suspect in bee decline

Mites in carcasses cited by University of Guelph entomologist


Full story here.

In a report to be published in the journal Apidologie, Guzman identifies what killed them: the varroa mite, a crab-like parasite the size of a pen dot.

Abetted by poor bee populations and low food reserves for the winter, Guzman says, the bee bloodsucker is without question why colonies in Ontario, at least, are dwindling so fast.

Ed Nowek of Planet Bee apiaries in Vernon, B.C., ventures the same conclusion for his side of the country. "I've never seen it so hard to keep bees alive than in the past four to five years," he says of his 30-year run in the business."

Though the mite isn't new, beekeepers say what's most disconcerting is the probable cause behind its sudden explosion: a built-up resistance to the chemicals used to kill them. For the same reasons some hospital patients succumb to antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA, varroa has become the superbug of Canada's bees.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Calgary Urban Farm Meeting @Crowsnest Room, McDougall Centre - 455 6ST SW @1pm on 26Jan10

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Calgary Food Assistance Organizations:

The Calgary Urban Farm Meeting @Crowsnest Room, McDougall Centre - 455 6ST SW @1pm on 26Jan10.

Please advise who will be attending from your organization.

Please call if you have any questions... 403.383.3420

As promised, project premise attached.

Respectfully,

Paul Hughes
Chair, Calgary Food Policy Council

Premise:
Calgary Urban Farm Project for Food Assistance Orgs & SAGA

Calgary Food Policy Council: Enabling Food Assistance Orgs (FAO) through the Calgary Urban Farm (CUF)
1. Food Assistance Orgs have food demands every day/month/year.
2. Demand has increased significantly.
3. Very dependent on industrial food system.
4. Many food drives this year. People asked to donate every year.
5. We are still giving people fish. We are not teaching people how to fish and we are not reconceptualizing the entire fishing industry, which is the focus of this project.
6. A one time investment that will give us a return every year? Planting the seeds of systemic and profound social change.
7. Reconceptualize our approach to food procurement. Presently, these orgs rcv donations (money/food) and buy, prepare and/or distribute to clients. We propose to grow the food in partnership with these orgs and provide yield to same. We suggest green infrastructure. The CUF & SAGA: Sustainable Agriculture Academy in Calgary. Focus is on staples that thrive in Calgary hardiness growing zone.
8. Sponsored CSA for your client. Expand knowledge base of clients. Expand reach of Community Gardens & teaching people to fish concepts
9. Generates revenue from subscribed CSA's. Revenue can go to purchasing other food stuffs outside of CUF production and allow CUF to function as a social enterprise .
10. Employee pool comes from unemployed, food insecure and those experienced with and/or specializing in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (SUA).
11. CUF would function as a partnership between the FAO's & CFPC and any other organizations that understand how this revolutionizes food security in Calgary. There is substantial urban/peri-urban land available to farm, with yields going to these programs. Development of a local food system that benefits the most vulnerable.
12. Request to Alberta Government and Premier's Office to rename TUC to TUF-C Transportation, Utility & Food Corridor

SAGA or The Sustainable AGriculture Academy

The design I suggest incorporates the most innovative and efficient ideas in Sustainable Urban Agriculture (SUA). It is a model for the many advances taking root in the 21st century small scale farming sector. I call the concept SAGA or The Sustainable AGriculture Academy. The vision is to work with the city, local business and the provincial government to create an urban ag institute in Calgary. Think of SAGA as the ag equivalent to SAIT or ACAD.

Alberta Farmer's Market: FT3, Taste of Alberta & Buy Local

Read more! February 18, 2010 @7pm @Red & White Club, Calgary
Tickets: $30

Click on image to enlarge...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Schmidt Victory Hard Won, Important for Free Enterprise

Read more! Courtesy of Kimberly Hartke:

21Jan10
Schmidt Victory Hard Won, Important for Free Enterprise

Today, a hard won victory in the battle for food freedom and farmer's rights was won. Michael Schmidt, a Canadian dairy farmer is now cleared on all 20 counts of "selling" raw dairy in violation of Canada Health regulations. He is now free to continue operating his cow boarding program. I believe this signals health regulators in all of North America (this problem is happening here in the U.S. also) that their current campaign against raw dairy farms and their customers is without merit and an overstepping of their bounds and duties.

Background on the case here.

Verdict and sentence announced today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Organizational Structure: Calgary Food Policy Council

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Organizational Structure: Calgary Food Policy Council

The organizational structure of the Calgary & Region Food Policy Council reflects our commitment to an inclusive, responsive, transparent & collaborative council.

The liaisons reflect the reality of our present food system and the role of the Calgary Food Policy Council in creating an open governance environment where all stakeholders can participate in the design of progressive food policy for Calgary.

If there is a Liaison position you are interested in, please contact us @ info@calgaryfoodpolicycouncil.ca

Please nominate, suggest, encourage, identify and nudge friends & associates to become involved. We are not suggesting this list of liaisons is complete. If there are omissions, please advise and we will remedy the oversight.

CFPC Liaisons:
Media
Urban Agriculture
2011 x 2011
Calgary Food Charter
School/Education
Health/Hospital
Youth
City of Calgary
Provincial/Federal Government
Community Garden
PeriUrban
Policy Development
Local Food System
Secretary
Faith-Based
CLUCK/Urban Egg
Permaculture
ABC (Bees)
TUFC Urban Farm
Research & Development-
Calgary Food System Assessment
Community/Non-profit
Retail/Commercial
Chefs
Local Producers
Farmers Market
Food Justice
Treasurer
IT/Web/FB
Videographer

Academic Orgs:
U of Calgary - Dana
MRU - Alana
SAIT
ACAD

Food Assistance Orgs:
Calgary Interfath Food Bank
Calgary Meals On Wheels
Calgary Drop In Centre
Brown Bagging It for Calgary Kids
Mustard Seed
Calgary Dream Centre

Industry & Community Partners:
CivicCamp
CGRN
SlowFood Calgary
CBE
City of Calgary
CREB
GFSA
AHS

Communities:
Cochrane
Canmore
Banff
Airdrie
Okotoks
High River
Strathmore
Chestermere
Didsbury
Carstairs
Olds
Innisfail

CoChairs: Jenelle Kitto & Ngaio Hotte
Chair: Paul Hughes

Any questions, just call or email the CFPC... 403.383.3420 or info [at] calgaryfoodpolicycouncil [dot] ca

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Local Food & Urban Ag Predictions for Calgary

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1. Urban Hens become legal. Many North American urban hen groups are bogged down by the bureaucraZy. To catapult to the core of this issue, consider this article from the Winnipeg Free Press which provides an example of the Universal Human Right to Food option.

"...when up against a "right to grow food" challenge, it is doubtful jurisdictions would be able to defend their bylaws..."

Ergo, there shouldn't be a community in North America, or anyplace on the Planet for that matter, that outlaws growing/raising your own food. If there is, I'm sure many on this list would like to hear about it.

CLUCK: Calgary Liberated Urban Chicken Club goes to court on 01April10 to present a Right to Food challenge against the present bylaw.

2. Permaculture/Community Gardens/Urban Farms see huge increase in numbers. So many great ideas come from the principles of Permaculture and Calgarians can apply the gentle science at home or in their community.

Permaculture: Rob Avis & Adrian Buckley
The 1st Calgary Permaculture Community Group Meeting
January 9, 2010 at 7:00PM
Marlborough Community Centre
636 Marlborough Way NE (near Marlborough Mall)

Community Gardens:
Gael Blackhall & Community Garden Resource NetworkGRN
Maggie Thompson & City of Calgary

3. Long Term Sustainable Urban Ag/Local Food System Green Infrastructure Development (#LFS or #UrbanAG on twitter)
Look for exciting announcements from the City of Calgary & the Alberta Government in 2010.

4. Sustainable Urban Ag Enterprises & Slow Money come to Calgary
The wave of investments in local food systems will connect with the smart money in Calgary.

5. School Gardens & Farms
Schools will embrace the robust learning opportunities associated with growing food.

6. Someone in Airdrie will try growing bananas
See Going Bananas over Urban Agriculture

7. 2011 New Growing Spaces x 2011
More nominations will 'germinate' as we near spring 2011. Vancouver is on track for 2010 spaces & London is fired up for 2012 new plots.

8. More Downtown Gardens in the Heart of Calgary
Many corporations, building managers & businesses are looking at initiating a 2010 downtown community garden for their employees/company.

9. The Calgary Food Charter
The CFPC goal is 100,000 signatures on the Calgary Online Food Charter

10. New Blood & New Leadership @ the Calgary Food Policy Council
I will be stepping down as the Chair of the CFPC to allow for a new generation of leadership & guidance to emerge to take us down the road of progressive food policy. Look for Calgary's best and brightest to step up.

11. City Council will support the concept of a Calgary Food Policy Council and move decisively on supporting a Food Policy for all Calgarians.

These predictions are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce, as 2009 was a breakthrough year for food policy and local food systems. There were many highlights as the CFPC turned 1 year old, hosted the 1st ever Calgary Food Summit and made it onto the Calgary City Council agenda, which wisely passed Calgary's 1st Food Policy Notice of Motion.

The 1st CFPC meeting of 2010 @Bow River Room @Calgary Water Centre @20Jan2010 @1900

So many wonderful and amazing Calgarians participated in a myriad of ways to strengthen our local food system and bring Calgary up to speed, and exceed on innovative food security initiatives.

Buckle up, 2010 promises to grow & yield even more fresh ideas.

Everyone Eats!

Paul Hughes

Fresh Eggs from the Killarney Urban Farm Out, 02Jan10: