Beginning this fall, the Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG) will explore nationhood and Canada’s Indigeneity with an exhibition funded by nearly $200,000 from the federal government.
“150 Acts: Art, Activism, Impact” will draw on the gallery’s collection and work by contemporary Indigenous artists to tell Indigenous stories through paintings, sculpture, drawings, textiles, installations and multimedia, says AGG director Shauna McCabe.
The AGG is run under a partnership among the University of Guelph, the City of Guelph and the Upper Grand District School Board.
The AGG has received $197,000 from the Canadian Heritage Department to develop the project. The exhibition will open Sept. 14 and run until March 2018.
Besides works that will fill the gallery’s main floor, the project will include online outreach, performance events, and educational programs for kids and the general public, says McCabe.
Many of the artworks will come from the gallery’s collection of Indigenous art, including its extensive and longstanding collection of works by Inuit artists. The remainder, including multimedia and video and audio works, will be borrowed from contemporary artists and institutions from across Canada.
McCabe says the exhibition is intended to prompt discussion and reflection about Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations during the country’s 150th anniversary.
That’s a common theme among galleries and museums across Canada – including the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario — also opening exhibitions and dedicating gallery space to Indigenous art during Canada 150 and following publication of the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.
“Creative expression has a unique capacity to change perception by expanding our insight into other experiences,” says McCabe.
“Every cultural institution has a responsibility to carefully examine our relationship to Indigenous communities and histories at this moment, and to provide a platform that is shaped by the perspectives, voices and aesthetics of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.”
Many of the AGG works on display during the exhibition will explore human relationships with nature and the landscape, including paintings by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Norval Morrisseau, as well as drawings by Jessie Oonark and Shuvinai Ashoona.
The show will include wall hangings by Inuit artists Marion Tuu’luq and Victoria Mamnguqsualuk, wooden masks by Victor Reece, a tea pot carved from stone and bone by sculptor Michael Massie, and mixed media pieces by Carl Beam.
Tensions between traditional and contemporary practices are captured in Arthur Renwick’s Totem, Café juxtaposing a totem pole with a diner sign, and in a soapstone sculpture by David Ruben Piqtoukun, depicting an Inuit figure flanked by both a dogsled and a snowmobile. The gallery will also borrow contemporary works including pieces by interdisciplinary artists Maureen Gruben, Bonnie Devine and Neal McLeod.
The debate over whether artificial sweeteners are safe and healthy is the subject of a recent Toronto Star article featuring Human Health and Nutritional Sciences professor David Ma. The story looked at a recent study that found an association between artificial sweeteners and long-term weight gain, increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Ma discussed how this study looked at the extreme intake of sweeteners and more studies are needed to gather accurate data. Ma is director of the Guelph Family Health Study and president of the Canadian Nutrition Society. He studies how certain foods can affect health and the risk of disease.
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The 2017 World Dwarf Games will be held Aug. 4 to 12 at the University of Guelph.
More than 400 athletes from 19 countries are expected to take part, making it the most popular dwarf games in the event’s 24-year history.
Held every four years, the games are the largest sporting event exclusively for athletes with dwarfism. People of all ages and abilities compete, from elite athletes (including several Paralympians) to TV and movie stars to first-time competitors. Four divisions include “Futures” for children under age six and “Masters” for people over age 35.
“The games bring children, young adults, men and women with dwarfism together from around the world to participate in sporting events in the spirit of competition, international co-operation and goodwill, regardless of athletic ability,” said organizer Heather Anderson.
Anderson, who has a 19-year-old son with dwarfism, headed a group of Ontario volunteers who submitted Canada’s bid to host the 2017 games, along with support from Little People of Ontario.
Previous Dwarf Games were held in the United States, England, Ireland and France. The last Canadian games were held in 2001 in Toronto.
Athletes compete as part of a country team or as a member of a mixed-country team, with people of similar stature. Athletes are organized by dwarfism classification, based on body proportions. There are more than 200 different kinds of dwarfism.
Sporting events are: archery, badminton, basketball, marksmanship, swimming, powerlifting, track and field, kurling (form of curling), floor hockey, boccia, table tennis, soccer and volleyball.
U of G was selected as the host because of Guelph’s central location and the University’s reputation for being a caring, open community, Anderson said.
She is looking for volunteers from U of G and the greater Guelph community to help at the Games, including refereeing events and helping with logistics. “We have some students helping through the Canada summer jobs program and a couple of paid sports technicians, but for the most part, this is a volunteer, family-run event; we need all the help we can get,” Anderson said.
For volunteer information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The athletes will stay in U of G’s residences. Up to 600 family members and support staff will also attend the games, and will stay in off-campus lodgings.
“We are excited to be hosting this event, and hope to create an exciting event and athlete village on campus,” said Frank Cain, U of G’s assistant facility manager and business development officer.
Sporting events will use the new Guelph Gryphon Athletic Centre, the University’s outdoor sporting fields, and Alumni Stadium and the Field House.
An opening ceremony will be held Friday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. in Alumni Stadium.
Admission is free and the games are open to the public. Spectators are asked to be respectful of the athletes and of dwarf culture. (this will link to etiquette links on the Games page).
A University of Guelph graduate student researching how to improve driver training is one of the winners at an international symposium.
Danielle Filio received the 2017 Honda Outstanding Student Paper runner-up award. The award was given at the 9th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, held in late June in Vermont.
Sponsored by Honda Motor Company, the award includes a certificate and cash prize.
Filio compared wrap-around screens to head-mounted display (HMD) technology. She found that perception-response time was significantly longer for drivers when using the HMD technology than with wrap-around screens.
“Further advancements in HMD technology are needed before they can provide an adequate alternative to wrap-around screens when analyzing driver response scenarios,” said Filio.
The biological engineering master’s student is currently conducting research in the U of G DRIVE Lab, where she works with engineering professor Michele Oliver and psychology professor Lana Trick.
“We are extremely pleased with the high-quality of work displayed by Danielle,” said Oliver.
“She is the third student since 2003 from the DRIVE Lab to be recognized for her work at the driving assessment conference. Each have come from different colleges, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of driving research at U of G.”
The University of Guelph’s animal cancer clinic and an Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) professor have each received an award from Canada’s veterinary association.
OVC’s Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer has been named Practice of the Year and population medicine professor Stephen LeBlanc received the Merck Veterinary Award for his work in farm animal health and production, it was announced July 14 by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).
The Animal Cancer Centre was recognized for its exemplary care for patients suffering from cancer, and for its efforts to find new strategies and treatment options to treat cancer in companion animals.
“This is an internationally recognized, comprehensive veterinary cancer centre with the goal of compassionately treating companion animals with cancer while advancing the understanding of cancer and improving treatment options to benefit both animal and human patients,” said CVMA president Troy Bourque.
LeBlanc studies the diagnosis and control of metabolic, inflammatory and reproductive diseases of dairy cattle.
He has conducted field validation of precision technologies, and has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers with researchers and students.
“We are thrilled with the recognition received by both the Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer and Professor LeBlanc,” said OVC dean Jeff Wichtel.
“It is a testament to the dedication and quality of work by the students, staff, faculty and researchers that the centre received this honour.” Congratulating LeBlanc for his award, Wichtel said the professor is “a proud alumnus of U of G with an established record of research and innovation in advancing the health of dairy cattle.”
Also honoured were:
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An Arrell Food Institute scholar grabbed recent media attention with stories by CTV News and CBC News on her work aimed at transforming Canada’s beef industry. Master’s student Nasrin Husseini discussed her research focused on combating beef cattle ailments, such as bovine respiratory disease, which costs North American beef producers more than $700 million a year.
Husseini is the the first woman to graduate from veterinary school in Afghanistan after Taliban rule ended and is one of five inaugural recipients of a $50,000 annual scholarship from the Arrell Food Institute. She will be studying the possibility of using High Immune Response technology, developed by U of G pathobiology professor Bonnie Mallard, in beef feedlots.
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A new study by David Fisher, a post-doctoral researcher, and integrative biology professor Andrew McAdam was featured in Popular Science July 13.
The researchers discovered that squirrels born earlier in the year have better survival rates—probably because they have their pick of new real estate. The study is among the first to show multilevel natural selection, which occurs when traits of a group such as a herd or flock influence the success of individuals, Fisher said.
Three University of Guelph professors were invited to share their expertise with the House of Commons standing committee on agriculture and agri-food this spring. Their testimony is the subject of a special newsletter issued this week by U of G’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics.
The committee is studying the effects of debt in the agricultural sector and looking for research and insight to help shape agri-food policy.
Prof. Brady Deaton spoke about contemporary issues facing young and start-up farmers seeking to begin or expand farm operations, and the associated topic of generational transfer of farms. Deaton, who holds the McCain Family Chair in Food Security, previously testified before the standing Senate committee on agriculture and forestry about farmland ownership and food security.
Prof. Alan Ker discussed managing risk and efficacy in government programs. He is director of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Food and Agricultural Policy, and is president of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.
Prof. Al Weersink discussed debt and farm expansion and transfer. He studies effectiveness of agri-environmental policies. He has been featured in a variety of outlets including TVO’s The Agenda, and recently was named one of the inaugural University Leadership Chairs for research excellence.
The University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus will soon be home to one of the most advanced swine learning facilities in Canada.
The 6,600-square-foot Swine Education Centre will open this fall at Ridgetown, offering training and education for agriculture and veterinary technology students and industry producers.
The $500,000 project is funded mostly by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, with Ontario Pork contributing 20 per cent of the budget.
“It will feature state-of-the-art technology with a precision sow feeding system and a high-tech data recording system,” said Ridgetown Campus director Ken McEwan.
“Each semester, agriculture diploma students will have a significant number of experiential learning opportunities in the new facility, learning about the day-to-day operations and most recent production practices.”
The facility will house up to 150 animals. It will be used by about 300 students each year for studying courses such as livestock systems, animal science, pork production and animal health.
The centre will accommodate up to 30 learners at a time in a bio-secure viewing area.
“We are grateful to our partners in government and at Ontario Pork for their exceptional contributions to this important project,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), at the launch event.
“This centre will help students learn the most recent innovations in pork production and animal welfare while providing insights and expertise to innovative and hard-working farmers and pork producers.”
The facility will also offer education on leading swine production practices for the general public.
The new facility has been constructed to meet codes set by the National Farm Animal Care Council and standards of the U of G Animal Care Committee.
“The Ontario government is proud to have funded the new Ridgetown Swine Education Centre as part of our commitment to increase jobs and exports with Ontario’s agriculture sector,” said Guelph MPP Liz Sandals, who attended the launch.
“The centre will provide agriculture and veterinary technician students and pork producers with the most current training on efficient swine production techniques and state-of-the-art animal welfare practices.”
Those young squirrels now scampering around your neighbourhood were born in this year’s earliest litters and are more likely to survive than squirrels born later and still curled up in their nests, according to a new University of Guelph study.
That’s because when it comes to survival in the squirrel world, the first out of the nest is best, said David Fisher, a post-doctoral researcher and lead author of the study conducted on squirrels in Yukon.
“We found being born earlier than the other litters in your neighbourhood was a key factor in survival,” said Fisher, who worked on the study with U of G integrative biology Prof. Andrew McAdam. “This is because if you are born before your neighbours, you can leave your nest first and find a vacant spot to store your food for the winter.”
Published recently in the international journal Evolution, the study examined what traits are most important when it comes to the survival of North American red squirrels. The researchers compared birth dates and growth rates of individual baby squirrels living in the same area as well as to baby squirrels living outside the social neighbourhood.
The study involved more than 2,500 squirrels and is part of the Kluane Red Squirrel Project, a long-term field experiment in Yukon investigating the importance of food abundance to the ecology and evolution of red squirrels. Established in 1987, the project brings together scientists from several universities, including the University of Guelph, to monitor behavior and reproduction of 7,000 of squirrels.
Baby red squirrels, whose life cycle is similar to the Eastern gray squirrel common to Ontario, are typically born between March and May each year and spend just over two months in the nest. Sometimes the mother gives her territory to one of her offspring, usually a daughter, but the rest of the litter is expected to venture out to find their own place, said Fisher.
Young squirrels usually travel no farther than 100 metres from home. Their chance of survival beyond the next four months or so is only 25 per cent and this is largely dependent on whether they find a vacant territory.
One of the reasons for such low survival is that real estate is hard to come by, particularly in years when many other squirrels are living nearby, said Fisher.
“Since squirrels store their food underground, their survival depends on finding vacant or new territories to do this. Young squirrels can’t oust adult squirrels from their territories so early-born litters have an advantage because they are able to begin searching for vacant or new territories first.”
Birth date is a heritable trait and this study shows an early birth date helps red squirrels living in densely populated neighbourhoods. However, Fisher said he hasn’t yet seen an overall trend toward earlier births.
“When we expect to see evolution, but no evolution occurs, this is called evolutionary stasis,” he said, adding that the researchers continue to seek an explanation.
This study is one of the first to show multilevel natural selection which is when traits of a group, such as a herd or flock, influence the success of individuals, said Fisher.
“In this case, we looked at the social neighbourhood of a squirrel, even though squirrels certainly don’t live or move in groups. From a conservation and management perspective, this means that when studying animals that may not live in obvious groups, we need to still consider traits within things like social neighbourhoods because these traits can alter how an animal responds to selection pressure. “
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The University of Guelph is helping lead a Canadian university movement to promote health and well-being on campuses.
U of G is one of 10 universities in Canada to formally adopt the Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health-Promoting Universities and Colleges. The charter calls on post-secondary institutions to ensure health and well-being in all aspects of campus culture, policies and practices.
The charter resulted from the 2015 International Conference on Health-Promoting Universities and Colleges held at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus.
Universities in Canada and around the world are recognizing the importance of a framework for developing a healthful atmosphere in which to live, work and learn, said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs).
“This charter covers all aspects of what a vibrant post-secondary institution should provide, including physical health and mental well-being,” she said.
“We want to embed health into all aspects of campus culture, across the administration, operations and academic mandates. We also plan to lead health promotion action and collaboration locally and globally.”
She said the charter ties into current U of G initiatives, including a renewed focus on mental health discussions and awareness, and the new Wellness@Work plan being led by Don O’Leary, vice-president (finance, administration and risk).
The charter calls for universities and colleges to develop action plans, including creating supportive campus environments, encouraging personal development and re-orienting campus services.
“We want to promote the idea that health and wellness is not just the focus of a singular department; rather, we want to embed an understanding and commitment to health and well-being across all disciplines and departments,” said O’Leary.
“We want to advance research, teaching and training for health promotion, while also developing effective relationships and collaborations both on and off campus.”
The charter was created along with international partners, including the Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
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Members of United Steelworkers Local 4120, which represents about 850 administrative, clerical and technical employees, and the University of Guelph have ratified the renewal collective agreement that was tentatively agreed to on June 20, 2017.
During the five days of negotiations, talks were open, respectful and constructive, with the parties committed to addressing several key priorities for both sides.
“Both bargaining teams should be commended for their hard work, focus and dedication in reaching a renewal agreement,” states Martha Harley, associate vice-president (human resources).
An article by Prof. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, was published in the National Post July 7.
The article looks at how Canada will feed its population in 2167. It originally appeared in The Conversation Canada, where it was part of a special feature marking the sesquicentennial of Confederation. Academic authors were asked to imagine what Canada will be like in 150 years.
Fraser speculates future Canadians will eat far less livestock and will consume a range of alternative proteins – including insects.
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It is a long and complicated path from evading Taliban threats in Afghanistan to transforming Canada’s beef industry, but that’s the route being traced by a former refugee named as one of the first Arrell Food Institute scholars at the University of Guelph.
Nasrin Husseini is among the inaugural group of five U of G graduate students who will receive the new scholarships, worth $50,000 per year.
This past March, the Arrell Family Foundation announced a $20-million donation to the University of Guelph for new research chairs and scholarships, international food innovation awards and a prestigious annual conference.
Each of the inaugural scholars from Sri Lanka, Russia, Afghanistan and Canada aims to help transform the global food industry.
“The generosity of the Arrell Family Foundation has given U of G the ability to recruit an unbelievably high calibre of students,” says Evan Fraser, director of the institute.
“Not only do these students’ studies cover a range of fields, and not only are they academically exceptional, but they have all had significant leadership roles in communities beyond academia.”
This year’s scholars, including Katya Kudashkina, Kathleen Johnson, Amberley Ruetz and Karthika Sriskantharajah, will study distinct fields from data science to nutrition.
Husseini was a child when she moved with her family to Iran to escape the ongoing war in Afghanistan. As a refugee, she was banned by the Iranian government from attending university. Only when the family returned to Afghanistan could she attend post-secondary education.
Her father pushed her to excel at her chosen studies.
“Having a man like my dad in my life when all men in my country were against education was just like winning the lottery,” she says.
“I got into veterinary school in Afghanistan when it was a huge deal for a girl to be a veterinarian. Every day, people would tell me to switch to another field, a field more proper for women, but I was not the type to give up.”
Husseini became the first woman to graduate from the veterinary medicine program after the Taliban period, finishing top of her class in 2010.
She taught English and computer skills to women, although occasional Taliban threats led her at times to cease teaching or to remove her business sign from the door.
After studies at Green River College in Washington State, she moved to Toronto for work. She visited U of G to see a friend, and grew interested in High Immune Response (HIR) technology developed by animal biosciences professor Bonnie Mallard.
“I loved the fact that she was a woman but still very successful and brave; I needed a good role model,” says Husseini.
“I am passionate about food animal agriculture and learning how to safely and sustainably feed the world. I want to make valuable contributions to food production agriculture by improving the health, well-being and production of food-producing species using natural, sustainable and disease prevention approaches.”
Husseini plans to adapt the HIR technology for use in Canadian beef feedlots to combat economically important ailments such as bovine respiratory disease, which costs North American beef producers more than $700 million a year.
The scholarship will help cover her research and expenses as she waits for her parents and sisters to join her in Guelph.
“I really appreciate the Arrell Food Institute for this scholarship,” Husseini says.
“They not only are helping a student through her master’s program, but they are also supporting a refugee girl to reach to her goals and find her dreams.”
Food institute scholarships will support master’s students for up to two years and PhD students for up to four years. Besides Husseini, this year’s scholars hail from Canada and abroad, as follows:
Originally from Embro, Ont., an hour’s drive southwest of Guelph, Kathleen Johnson will work with the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research at U of G.
“My research will focus on understanding the flow and fate of agricultural and industrial contaminants in the fractured bedrock aquifer beneath the city of Guelph,” she says.
“This research will improve our understanding of the source and fate of the contaminants in these aquifers. Second, this knowledge will allow us to better prepare and ultimately manage agricultural operations to limit or mitigate contaminant occurrence, which will lead to improved water quality for growing food in a safe and sustainable manner in the future.”
She believes food production will be sustainable only within the limits of local and global water systems.
“Food research is not just about being able to produce enough food for our population but also ensuring everyone has access to affordable, high-quality food,” Johnson says.
“Going forward, we need to shape our food systems to reduce inequalities and be more sustainable. More research is needed before this can become a reality.”
Katya Kudashkina was raised on a farm in Siberia, Russia, and studied engineering in St. Petersburg. After moving to Canada eight years ago, she completed a degree in computer science and an MBA at the University of Toronto.
“I want to participate in a new future for agriculture that employs advanced data science to enhance crop yields and increase food production productivity for humankind,” she says.
Two years ago, Kudashkina founded UDIO AgTech, a Canadian startup that applies machine learning to improve farm irrigation. She plans to use “deep learning” techniques to develop a cost-effective, representative and scalable method to remotely measure soil organic carbon levels.
Amberley Ruetz will begin her PhD in geography at the University of Guelph. As a former consultant to the Ontario Student Nutrition Program for two years, she supported the expansion of an innovative local food delivery model for student nutrition programs.
“My research will explore the impact of this new model on local economies, and how they might evolve to expand the scope and sustainability of local food production and procurement in Canada,” says Ruetz.
“I’m excited to have been selected as an Arrell Scholar to conduct this research to ensure that future generations are well fed, that diets are nutritious and equitable, and that agriculture is sustainable.”
Originally from an agricultural village near Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Karthika Sriskantharajah has evaluated effects of climate change on crop cultivation in agro-ecological regions of that country.
During her first master’s degree in biotechnology, she helped develop a cost-effective way to conserve local germplasm of sweet potato using tissue culture techniques.
She worked with international groups such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, and various community groups.
During her PhD at U of G, she will study how to reduce post-harvest losses of tender fruit using hexanal, a natural plant product known to slow spoilage.
“Food research is essential to unlock the potential of agriculture, thus enhancing the livelihoods of marginal communities in developing as well as developed countries,” she says.
“On any given day, close to a billion people go to bed without food. I want to make a dent in those numbers in my career.”
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By Evan Fraser
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The Conversation Canada. 2017 marks the sesquicentennial of Confederation. While the anniversary is a chance to reflect on the past, The Conversation Canada asked academic authors to look down the road a further 150 years. U of G geography professor Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, considers how we will feed ourselves in the future.
Agriculture and food systems will be as unrecognizable to Canadians 150 years from now as modern farming would be to people in 1867, when it was small-scale, dependent on draft animals and extremely local. Emerging trends point to changes that will likely reshape what we eat and how we produce it.
Radical shifts in climate, economics and technology will transform our major food sources over the next 150 years, research suggests.
I have studied global food security for years, and currently focus on how we can sustainably feed the growing population that is expected to reach 9.5 billion by mid-century in the face of rapid climate and economic change.
In 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed that Canada create a national carbon pricing scheme to pay for the effect of our economy and our lifestyles on the environment. This would push food prices higher because agriculture contributes about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The effect of carbon pricing is likely to disproportionately affect livestock producers — in particular beef, which requires significant energy, feed and water.
In 150 years, therefore, it is likely that we will be eating far less livestock and will instead be consuming a range of alternative proteins.New food: Algae, fungus, insect protein
The carbon price and more expensive protein might hurt consumers’ bank accounts in the short term. In the longer term, however, these forces will create new market opportunities for low-energy food products. As a result, food scientists across Canada will explore low-energy protein supplies such as plants, fungi, algae and insects.
Although each of these sources of protein is relatively unknown to general consumers today, I expect an explosion of novel protein products to enter the market within a generation.
Initially, we will likely see plant-based proteins mixed with livestock proteins to reduce the overall carbon footprint of our diets. But as consumers become used to these new ingredients, these products will became a regular part of the Canadian diet.
Edible insects, algae-based protein drinks and lab-grown “meat” will all become common. For example, “the Impossible Burger” that is made with no beef but tastes like a beef burger is making inroads into restaurants across North America.Vertical farming, indoor farming local
Breakthroughs in the early 2000s in LED light technology linked with a better understanding of how different wavelengths of light affect plant growth are allowing us to develop new ways to produce food indoors. These innovations will almost certainly give rise to indoor growing facilities that range in scale from micro “farms” that fit into shipping containers to multi-storey vertical farms.
By 2167, it’s likely that these sorts of facilities will be common across the country. The ability to produce food indoors using LED lights will mean that most Canadian communities will become much more self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables.
While most Canadians enjoy access to safe and secure food, there are major problems in our food system that cannot be addressed by single governmental ministries. For instance, First Nations communities in Canada’s North have rates of food insecurity normally associated with the global South. To address this, Canada’s federal government launched a National Food Policy in the spring.
Also this year, Ottawa announced funding to create a series of “innovation super clusters,” one of which is expected to focus on agriculture and food. The aim is to develop a partnership among industry, government and academia for an innovation hub to catalyze a “digital agri-food revolution” — a Silicon Valley for food.
The anticipated long-term impact of these two initiatives is to ensure that Canada becomes a key player in global food exports, and that our own food system provides safe, sustainable and nutritious food for all Canadians.Global and local food systems
Our agri-food export sectors — already very strong — will grow, creating jobs and wealth. The national food policy, in combination with new technologies that allow us to produce food indoors, will invigorate local food systems.
So Canadians will support local farms even as much of the agri-food industry develops stronger export markets.
These factors will lead to local food networks around major Canadian communities, and mainstream food production that is capital-intensive and export-oriented.
These developments, along with our abundant land and fresh water, our good infrastructure and our likely benefits from climate change due to a longer growing season (unlike the mid-latitude parts of the planet that will lose productivity), point to a likely future: Canada will become even more important for global food production over the next 150 years.
English and Theatre Studies emeritus professor Mary Rubio was interviewed about the journals of L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Rubio spoke with CBC Radio – Kitchener and Ontario Morning July 10 to discuss the just-published journals. She said readers will see Montgomery faced a number of personal, professional and financial struggles. Rubio spent decades researching the famous author and published an award-winning biography, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings. She will also be collaborating with Historica Canada on creating a Heritage Minute TV feature on L.M. Montgomery, to be released in 2018.
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Ontario will soon be home to the most sophisticated sustainable livestock production research centre in Canada, thanks to a new facility planned by the University of Guelph and the provincial and federal governments.
The new $15.5-million Livestock Research and Innovation Centre (LRIC) — Beef Facility is set to open in about 18 months in Elora, Ont. The project involves U of G, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO).
“This new facility will expand and elevate our hub for world-class bovine research in Ontario,” Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president (research) said during a ceremony today. Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food, and Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs attended, along with U of G and industry officials.
“The state-of-the-art centre will be equipped with the latest, leading-edge technologies, and powered by University of Guelph’s research excellence in agri-food. It is an exceptional example of the potency of university-government-industry collaboration.”
Campbell added that the centre will drive fundamental research, helping fuel innovations that enhance livestock health and welfare and strengthen Canada’s economy.
U of G will operate the facility under its partnership with OMAFRA.
Integrated and multidisciplinary, the centre will bring together scientists, students and stakeholders to study animal production and environmental and energy issues.
It will house leading-edge facilities for animal care and welfare, as well as for cow-calf, nutrition, genetics, forage and feedlot research.
Training and education at the centre will address the needs of the beef industry in Ontario and Canada.
The new facility will complement the $25-million Livestock Research Innovation Centre – Dairy Facility that opened in Elora in 2015.
The new centre will replace beef facilities at the Elora Research Station that were built in 1969.
The Ontario government, through ARIO, committed $12.4 million to the project, and the federal government and Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) contributed $3.1 million in total.
“The federal government is proud to partner with the Province of Ontario to support research at a state-of-the-art beef research centre serving all of eastern Canada,” MacAulay said.
“This investment will make the beef industry even stronger and more competitive, supporting jobs and economic growth in Ontario and across Canada.”
Leal added: “Research and innovation are key contributors to helping our agri-food industry continue to grow and thrive – that’s why our government is proud to be partnering with the University of Guelph to create this world-class research hub. This innovative facility will help grow the beef sector and ultimately provide our farmers with the tools they need to succeed. Today’s investment will support the growth of agricultural today and for the farmers of tomorrow – bringing the good things grown in Ontario to consumers around the world.”
It is important to be careful around giant hogweed, plant agriculture professor François Tardif told the Globe and Mail July 6. The article was looking at disease-carrying pests and plants, and what people should know about dealing with them. Tardif said the sap from giant hogweed can lead to burns if the skin is later exposed to UV rays. He recommends having professionals remove the plant if giant hogweed has grown extensively on your property and carrying moist towelettes to wipe the sap away if it gets on your skin.
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A project to preserve the Hill’s thistle in a Canadian national park was profiled by CBC News July 6. The U of G Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation (GRIPP) is working to preserve the endangered plant species by using in vitro technology to grow multiple plants in the lab from just a few source samples. Plant agriculture professor Praveen Saxena, director of GRIPP, said the research team took two seeds and has now grown more than 1,000 plants. Saxena said the model used to save this plant can be applied to preserve other endangered species. He studies plant conservation and test-tube plants.
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Animal Biosciences adjunct professor Laura Graham had her work featured in the Globe and Mail July 6. As part of the “It Happened to Me” section, Graham described her role in collecting elephant sperm to help preserve the genetics of bull elephants, while also having a safety net in the event those elephants are poached. Graham’s research primarily focuses on the reproductive physiology and endocrinology of wildlife species. She works with zoos and wildlife agencies around the world to generate information on the biology of endangered species that can help facilitate their conservation and management.
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