Select Page

Month: February 2010

Blogging dispatches from Haiti

My daughter Kate’s significant other, Kitchener-Waterloo Record features reporter Greg Mercer, is in Haiti documenting the work of a group of doctors and nurses from St. Mary’s General Hospital. They’re helping at the Hopital Universitaire La Paix in Delmas, one of many hospitals in Port au Prince that have been overwhelmed with injured patients since the January 12 earthquake. Follow his blog here. Greg photographed a Haitian health care worker (below) assigning records to emergency...

Read More

Canadian food showcased at the Olympics

Renowned Elora food guru Anita Stewart MC’d a Canadian food showcase for the media yesterday in Vancouver, featuring dishes cooked by some of Canada’s top chefs.  Menu items included wheat, beef, pork, eggs, canola oil, maple syrup, lentils, soybeans and ice wine. Introducing visiting media to Canadian food is important — we export about 45 per cent of what we produce, to 195 countries. Those exports account for nearly $43-billion worth of trade. Federal agriculture and agri-food minister Gerry Ritz joined the culinary group for the photo below, supplied courtesy of his department. Anita is in the back row, second from the...

Read More

Brains: A defense against invasive species

All the individual and mechanical efforts to stop or control invasive species won’t amount to much unless they’re accompanied by a coordinated scientific effort.  Intelligence can’t stop either the sudden or anticipated arrival of all invasive species, but it can certainly help prepare for some of them. My favourite example is the way Ontario joined other North American scientists and administrators to stem the effects of Asian soybean rust. Now, the Ontario government has put resources into fighting mostly terrestrial invasive species, through support for a research chair at Algoma University’s terrestrial lab, specializing in invasive species.  The chair holder, Pedro Antunes, is a former neighbour of mine from Guelph, who went to Germany to pursue his career. It’s great to have him and his family back in Canada, working on the challenges and opportunities that are an inevitable part of global agriculture and trade. Pedro’s appointment, and what it means for agriculture, is the subject of my Urban Cowboy column today in the Guelph Mercury. Below is a photo of Pedro from a former...

Read More

Pick science, not pies, to make your point

Science can get us closer to solutions to problems than throwing pies. As Canada (and the rest of the world) discovered last week after a pie throwing incident in Burlington, Ontario, one pie in the face simply leads to another. It doesn’t promote dialogue, it doesn’t advance the understanding of issues, it just alienates people. In agriculture, at least, I’m seeing more evidence of science moving the public opinion needle, which is the topic of my Urban Cowboy column today in the Guelph Mercury. The Mercury has two other agriculture and food stories today — one story about a University of Guelph professor’s efforts to help re-establish Haitian farming, and another story about a push for a national food policy driven by organic agriculture (pegged to the annual organic conference held on the weekend at the University of Guelph). The photo below, from The National Post, depicts the counter pie in the face in St. John’s. The character on the right is a local...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Urban Cowboy

Raising awareness and promoting dialogue about current food and agriculture issues.


Owen Roberts – journalist, columnist, educator – provides an urban perspective on agri-food issues.

Recent Tweets