Friday, 19 September 2014 20:34

French Minister Stands Up for Agroecology

France's Minister for Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, Stéphane Le Foll, put his support for agroecology in writing this week, in advance of the first International Symposium on Agroecology for Food and Nutrition Security.  For an article in the Huffington Post, Le Foll writes of the importance of investing in our collective future. That investment, he writes, will be through forward thinking adoption of new agricultural practices - through agroecology. "Agroecology is a mind-set, a desire to do better, and a form of optimism and trust in both our natural resources and our intelligence as human beings," Le Foll writes. "Agroecology is not…
Thursday, 18 September 2014 19:41

#FBF: USC Canada Hits the Internet in 1997

November 1997 issue of USC Canada's quarterly volunteer newsletter, 56 Sparks Flashback Friday! Seventeen years ago today, USC Canada's very first website went live. Take a look at a screen capture of our original homepage and some of the feedback we received back then: Taken from the November 1997 issue of USC Canada's quarterly volunteer newsletter, 56 Sparks: "This is the first screen you will see when you log on to USC's web site. You will be able to send e-mail to us with a simple click. Here are some of the comments we've received so far: ...I've been browsing and…
Photo: Seeds of Diversity Calling all people-persons! We are looking for dynamic individuals to host USC Canada information kiosks at a few events coming up: Friends for Peace Day on Sept. 27 in Ottawa Good Life Victoria Marathon Race Expo Run for Biodiversity booth, Oct. 10 and 11   Organic Conference and Expo at the University of Guelph, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, 2015 If you are keen to talk about seeds, small-scale farmers and the work USC Canada does, we would love to hear from you. All you need is enthusiasm... we'll supply you with the rest! Please contact Elodie,…
By Mila Milankovic, guest-blogger for USC Canada Crop Wild Relatives Endangered - Scientists out of the University of Birmingham have developed the most complete database of crop wild relatives (CWR). Research for the CWR inventory shows that 12 per cent of the wild relatives of our crops are endangered due to urbanization, climate change and conflicts.   Map courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust CWR are similar to common food crops but grow naturally under a wide range of environmental conditions. This makes them important genetic resources for crossbreeding with farmer-grown crops to develop more resilient and locally adapted varieties.…
Monday, 15 September 2014 15:37

A "New" Solution Centuries in the Making

While the world looks for ways to feed an increasing population, it seems we could take a cue from century-old traditional breading techniques and farmers' expertise. USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development, is looking at drought-tolerant maize as a strategy to ensure food security for small-holder farming communities in much of sub-Saharan Africa, a significant departure from their previous maize improvement research. Drought-tolerant maize has been farmer-bred for centuries to have a built-in tolerance to water shortages. "Drought-tolerant maize is already a proven technology [and] something that has demonstrated impact and the potential to scale up" says Andrew Levin…
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 00:00

Agroecology: "a new agrarian revolution"

What do you get when you fuse science, traditional agriculture and a movement towards better food systems? Agroecology. A recent Guardian article discusses agroecology, not just as the answer to the above question, but to the question of food security in Brazil. "Agroecology is the only viable option to meet the region's food needs in this age of increasing oil prices and global climate change," says Miguel Altieri, professor of Agroecology at the University of Berkeley and member of Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology. In contrast to the top-down delivery of conventional agricultural science and technology, agroecology uses farmers'…
Monday, 08 September 2014 22:15

$450-Million... That's Gotta Sting

By Mila Milankovic, guest-blogger for USC Canada Photo: kev-shine on Flickr Ontario beekeepers have filed a lawsuit against two major pesticide producers, alleging the neonicotinoid-based products are responsible for mass bee deaths. The lawsuit seeks $450-million in damages. The two beekeeping companies involved say they have lost $2-million in bees and honey production since neonics, a systemic pesticide, came into widespread use in Canada. Neonics, which have been banned in Europe, are under scrutiny in Canada and the Ontario government says it plans to implement regulations around their use. The global bee population has been declining for years. Bees pollinate…
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 21:35

Certified Organic - the Bolivian Way

By Dana Stefov, Program Manager for Latin America Photo: PRODII To become a certified organic farmer in Canada can take years of onerous testing and paperwork, not to mention the hard field work of ridding soils of chemical pesticide and fertilizer residues. And yet, as we all know, every year there is increasing demand for food that is grown naturally, without an industrial load of pesticides or herbicides. With organic certification comes higher value – and better prices for the farmers who grow food this way, as well as strong ecological and environmental standards that will effectively protect priceless natural…
Monday, 30 June 2014 00:00

Advice to Graduates

With graduation season coming to a close, there are a lot of new tidbits of wisdom floating around the web. One of these nuggets of knowledge jumped out at us. Wade Davis, explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society and professor at the University of British Columbia, spoke at York University's convocation. He mentioned something our global programming reminds us of everyday: The other peoples of the world are not failed attempts to be us, failed attempts to be modern. They are unique expressions of the human imagination and heart, unique answers to a fundamental question. What does it mean…
What do an agronomist from Honduras and a seed breeder from Les Cèdres, Que. have to talk about? A lot, apparently. Marvin (right) snaps a photo of one of Dan's crops.Photo: Lise-Anne Léveillé Last month, Marvin Gômez, from USC Canada's Honduran partner, the Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers (FIPAH), visited Dan Brisebois's farm just southwest of Montreal. From community supported agriculture, to impressive garlic, to farmer networks, the conversation was as varied as the seeds Brisebois breeds at the farm (which is to say, quite varied). On differences: Just glancing at a map can give you a pretty…

LottaHitschmanova tbnWhat's in a Name?

We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.


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