News & Events

Canada’s migrant agricultural workers deserve full and equal rights. Here’s why

By Janet McLaughlin.

Earlier this year, a quiet decision by Loblaw to remove French’s brand ketchup from its shelves was met by an unexpected firestorm of protest from angry consumers. In the weeks following, the brand rose from relative obscurity into superhero status over its local tomato origins. Over the course of 24 hours, Canadians told Loblaw loud and clear that they wanted local Leamington, Ont., tomatoes in the popular condiment gracing their barbequed eats this summer. A surprised Loblaw management team quickly reversed its decision.

Supporting local agriculture makes sense. Buying food produced close to home generates positive ripple effects for local economies, lowers greenhouse gas emissions and promotes Ontario’s food sovereignty and security. The great irony is that often our much-celebrated local food system relies on imported labour, under conditions in which exploitation can be ripe for the picking. I’ve been doing research and health-based community work with migrant farm workers for over a decade. Travelling alongside workers between their Ontario workplaces and their homes in Mexico and Jamaica, I have been continually shocked and saddened by the long-term challenges they face as they spend their adult lives living between two countries.

Continue reading “Canada’s migrant agricultural workers deserve full and equal rights. Here’s why”

FLEdGE Workshop, September 9-11, 2015

September 9, 2015. Welcome note by the Director of Balsillie School of International Affairs, Dr. John Ravenhill; Presentations by Andrew Spring (PhD Candidate, Wilfrid Laurier University); Dr. Mary Beckie (Associate Professor, University of Alberta); Jessie Radies (Northlands); Paul Cabaj (Alberta Cooperative Energy) & Brent Mansfield (Co-Chair, BC Food Systems Network)

Byomkesh Talukder Successfully Defends Thesis

Byomkesh Talukder successfully defended his thesis, “Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) for Agricultural Sustainability Assessment”.

Congratulations to Byomkesh & his committee.

Agroecology Knowledge Exchange Workshop: Building a South-North Partnership By: Wilfrid Laurier University, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

This workshop will bring together leaders in agroecology research and practice from Cuba, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica, as well as Ontario.  It will be an opportunity to share stories of innovation, learn some practical skills, and build relationships across boundaries and cultures. The workshop will celebrate diversity, and its goal is to help build the capacity of everyone involved to engage in agroecology as a means of increasing the resilience of our agroecosystems and communities. It is being organized by the Wilfrid Laurier University Centre for Sustainable Food Systems through its FLEdGE (Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged) project.

To Register……

DAY 1: Monday, August 15 – Sharing Stories of Agroecological Innovation

Time: 8am – 5pm

Location: Room 142, Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb St. W., Waterloo, ON

Presenters on Day 1 will include:

  • Angel Leyva Galán, Biodiversity and agroecostystem evaluation specialist, National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (Department of Sustainable Agroecosystem Management), Cuba
  • Marvin Gómez, Participatory Plant Breeding specialist, USC Canada Seeds of Survival, based in Honduras
  • Laura Gómez Tovar, Participatory organic certification and rural development specialist, University of Chapingo (Agroecology Department), Mexico
  • Gabriela Soto, Organic agriculture and sustainability specialist, Sustainable Assessment Committee, based in Costa Rica
  • Sarah Hargreaves, Farmer-Led Research Program specialist, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario
  • Thorsten Arnold, Ecological farming-research-networking specialist, Grey-Bruce Centre for Agroecology

There will also be time for group conversation, networking and an expert panel discussion.

DAY 2: Tuesday, August 16 – Learning in the Field

Time: 8am – 5pm

Location: Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre, 5812 6 Line, Hillsburgh, ON

In addition to a farm tour and overview of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, activities will include field-based learning on the following topics:

  • Participatory Agroecosystem/Biodiversity Evaluation
  • Participatory Organic Certification and low-input strategies for producing beneficial micro-organisms
  • Participatory Plant Breeding and seed security

DAY 3: Wednesday, August 17: Farm Tours

Time: 8am – 7pm

Locations: Fertile Ground CSA, 1560 Carmel-Koch Rd., St. Agatha, ON (MORNING) andZócalo Organics, 5881 3 Line, Hillsburgh, ON (AFTERNOON)

Day 3 will include:

  • Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (EFAO) Farmer-led Research Field Tour and Recognition Event hosted by Angie Koch of Fertile Ground CSA
  • A farm tour of Zócalo Organics
  • A planning session for future collaboration
  • A group dinner

*Participants may register for any one, two or all 3 days of the workshop.

*Lunch will be provided on all 3 days. Please contact the workshop organizers if you have any dietary restrictions.

*Group transportation will be provided for the farm visits on Days 2 and 3. Please contact workshop organizers if you DO NOT need a ride.

WHEREWaterloo and surrounding area – Waterloo and surrounding area, Ontario

To Register……