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We buy our meat from the Hillhurst Farmer’s Market, directly from a young ranch couple. they are very knowledgeable about capturing carbon with their grassland management practices. The meat has an excellent taste and it is great knowing how their actions are taking carbon from the air and using it in the soil, every year.
We also buy garlic from a young urban farmer who does not cultivate (very rare) and uses manure to add fertility to their soil.
If all food producers used the same practices as these two young food producers, we could make a big dent in carbon emissions while at the same time taking massive amounts of carbon from the air each year to be used underground in soil based processes.
Our society has not even begun to understand how powerful carbon capture and healthy eating could be.
Do you buy food that is produced while capturing carbon?
Calgary is the most unsustainable city in Canada and 5th in emissions out of 50 cities in the world. what started out as the City of Trees in 1907 has now become the capital of urban sprawl in Canada, with the largest area in it’s boundaries. Tree canopy in a city has huge benefits to the people on the street, to businesses along the way and to urban quality of life. Calgary aspires to 16% tree cover but is currently stuck around 8%. Where we live is an older area with around 50% tree cover. The sprawl neighbourhoods along the south have as little as 3%.
We love being in Calgary and Alberta and have lives all over the place including Vancouver, Toronto, New York City.
Just because things are nice here does not mean ignoring the areas that could be improved.
Are there ways to bring green biodiversity to concrete and asphalt city streets?
I see a lot of school yards in Calgary covered with grass but very little other kinds of vegetation. would it not be beneficial to add carbon capture (deep rooted) plants to all the schools? There was a whole conference on this decades ago in Calgary. What ever came of all these good ideas?
Research shows that people feel better when surrounded by green growing plants. Young people are feeling anxious now about the climate crisis and lack of action. Could planting shrubs and flowers, indigenous plants and native grasses help youth feel better while at school? Could greening schools be an antidote to climate anxiety?
Would this be a first step towards greening of cities, one neighbourhood community at a time?
Should the impact of farming practices on the surrounding ecology also be considered as part of what makes a food healthy? Certified organic food is assumed by consumers to be pesticide free, even though this is not the stated goal and the standards make no guarantee about the quality of the food produced. Still all the research seems to indicate that organic certification does produce food with less residues that do not show up in humans as a residue. We buy certified organic food because of the assumed health benefits.
My decades working directly with ranchers and farmers has shown me we do not focus enough on the surrounding impacts of food production, but maybe we should. could we apply the lessons from the organic culture and apply them to carbon capture in food production? Can we add carbon capture to the desirable qualities of healthy food?
It took years of study to understand this simple truth healthy eating = healthy food = healthy soil.
Healthy Soil = Carbon Capture
I did not realize for ages how capturing carbon in the soil leads to nutrient dense food.
Healthy eating, as pointed out in an article by Frank Stronach in the financial post, is a key to lowering skyrocketing healthcare spending.
Ranchers all know the importance of high quality feed for livestock health. Why is this fact missed for human growth and development? This web site has gone to great lengths to outline the links between healthy eating and healthy food and healthy soil. Very few people seem to be acting on these simple truths. We want to help people with their efforts under the overall theme of capturing carbon to help mitigate the climate crisis.
Does this make sense to you?
Food security makes more sense when you look at it by individual food item. Alberta or AB, has over 100% beef food security since there are 4.5 million people but over 5 million cattle. BC has 100% food security in milk since not much is imported. Vegetables and Fruits has only 13% food security, in BC, as most is imported from California or Mexico. AB is even worse off, but has great potential to increase production. Could AB help BC with food?
Livestock are very sensitive to changes in the nutrient density of their food. I learned this in technical school (BCIT). Working with ranchers, selling feed and doing organic inspections, got me noticing what supplements they were using, like Zinc. If the soil could not produce enough zinc for livestock growth and development, was it good for human food? Decades of increasing amounts of chemical fertilizer on food producing land has dramatically lowered the nutrient density of supermarket food (see Davis 2009 study in Hort Science).
Low nutrient density food is not good for human health, as present trends indicate. What else, besides nutrient density, makes food healthy?
We take eating for granted – unless we cannot afford food. Life experience and food literacy influence healthy eating. Much of my understanding of food and how it supports human growth, came from working with ranchers. Livestock have daily rations geared to the life stage of the animal. A key part of this is the nutrient density of the feed. This is missing when people think about what to eat.
Nutrient density is part of food literacy. What else does healthy eating require? Can we eat to support carbon capture farming and ranching?
Jane, your point about the resilience of short supply chains is good. The challenge is to synchronize a bunch of small operations to produce like one big biological machine. This is called supply chain management. That is what we are interested in doing. The venture capitalists I pitched to in the New Ventures BC business competition called this ” like trying to herd cats “, funny and perceptive. How do you get a lot of small and young farmers to work together as an organic, carbon capture production unit?
The pros internationally have supply chain managers. It’s not an easy job to learn and you sort of have to have the experience… We can provide these services to farmers and help get consumers engaged with regional food production efforts. Building a regional vegetable and fruit supply network has lots of moving parts that need to be co-ordinated. That is what YYC Growers has been doing in the Calgary region.
Are these small young farmers following the latest carbon capture ecological practices on their farms? Does this make any difference to the nutrient density of the food (consumer issue) or farm profit (farmer issue)? WE can help answer these and other questions.
Food is a great way to have a positive impact on the climate crisis And a great way to have community owned economic development. Right now, much of food production is a climate change problem. Can we use consumer demand to change that?
Yes, growers get more for their food products when they sell directly to consumers. The downside is that it takes up a lot of time away from farming and much of it they do not get paid for. You like the convenience of getting local food delivered and that is very helpful. Is this profitable? I am not sure.
We consumers might have a chance to invest in the young farmers besides just buying their food. They might be a better place to put savings then in a bank. I really like what YYC Growers are doing here in Calgary. It would be good to talk with them more on how we can work together.