News/Events - May 2013

Upcoming Pollinator Workshop: The Place to Bee

Susan Chan will be speaking about pollinator habitat conservation at this fundraiser next Saturday, June 8 at 3pm. For more details, contact Jess Foote of Lunar Rhythm Gardens (905-986-9612). Old-timey music by farm band, The Sandy Pockets (!

Practical Farmers of Ontario District Meeting, May 30

The Practical Farmers of Ontario (PFO) are hosting their first district meeting for Durham, Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough on May 30, 2013. The meeting will start at 7:30 at the Haydon Community Hall (503 Concession Road 8, Haydon, ON). Refreshments will be served.

Kathy Simpson (Agricultural & Rural Economic Development Advisor with OMAF) will be on hand to discuss the various programs and resources available to help grow farm businesses in Ontario.

The PFO is a diverse group of over 200 producers of field crops, beef, dairy, hog, lamb, poultry and organic fruit and vegetables from across Ontario. Their purpose is to promote, protect and provide a voice for Ontario Family Farms and people who wish to support family farms.

For more information,contact Julie Jones: — (705) 277-2382 

OMAF Launches New Blog for Specialty Crop Production in Ontario

Recently the Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture launched the new blog, ONspecialty Crops that expands upon the Ginseng and Speciality Crop Report that has been released regularly by the ministry since 2011.

This change recognizes and accommodates the wide range of speciality crops (low-acreage or niche crops that are generally new to a region) now being grown across Ontario.

The list of specialty crops being grown in the province continues to expand and currently includes ethnic vegetables, hops, sweet potatoes, specialty fruits like haskaps and sea buckthorn, culinary and medicinal herbs, and plants for industrial uses, including biomass crops and fibre hemp.

Updates and tips will be posted to the new blog regularly throughout the growing season. Topics will include crop production, monitoring and management of insects, diseases and weeds, and answers to frequently asked questions about specialty crops.

To browse the blog, head on over to To subscribe for regular email notifications, scroll halfway down the page and click the “Sign Me Up” button in the right-hand pane.

Upcoming Workshop: Farmland Ownership 101

Farms at Work is proud to unveil a brand new pilot workshop in farmland ownership. Designed as an introduction to the basic elements of owning farmland, this workshop is intended for first-time farm owners, and those looking to make their first farmland purchase.

Developed and presented by Pat Learmonth, Director of Farms at Work, and with the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Farmland Ownership 101 will guide participants through  key considerations  including: managing wells and septic systems; taxes (income and property); finding suitable farmer tenants and drafting leases; key laws and regulations affecting farmland; and the basics of farmland stewardship (caring for soil, water and trees).

Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are now owned by non-farmers who use the properties for recreational purposes or are looking for a rural lifestyle. Many of these first-time farm owners have expressed their need for information and support. Farms at Work has designed this full-day workshop with an emphasis on the importance of keeping farmland healthy and active for farming and food production.

The workshop will be held in Millbrook on Saturday June 1, 2013, from 9:30am – 3:00pm. Pre-registration is required by May 27th and seats are limited. Tickets are $100 each, or $150 for two partners, and they include lunch.

Contact Jay Adam of Farms at Work for more details:, (705) 743-7671

To register, head on over to:

European Union Set to Ban Harmful Pesticides

Great news for bees and other pollinators!

Europe has voted to ban the use of three of the most harmful neonicotinoid pesticides, used widely in crop and cereal production across the world. This after EU scientists say they have found direct links to use of the chemicals and the dramatic decline in bee populations in the last several years. Below are links to a few of the many articles covering the story that are available online.