Robert Dixon


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  • in reply to: Food Security #2978
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    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?

    in reply to: Healthy Food #2977
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    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?

    in reply to: Healthy Eating #2976
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    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?

    in reply to: Food Security #2717
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    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?

    in reply to: Food Security #2716
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    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.

    in reply to: Food Security #2439
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    A short thought on answering the last question. It would probably take thousands of small vegetable farmers using carbon capture practices to produce any kind of vegetable food security in the Kamloops to Calgary linked region. Right now there are just hundreds so, there is room for improvement.

    in reply to: Healthy Eating #2390
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    Jennifer makes a really good point – we have so much information that knowing where to start healthy eating is confusing. The idea of vegetables and fruit as a base then add the other food groups on top of that is really helpfull for me, as well. The idea of 4 vegetable and 2 fruit everyday is very simple, very effective and not very expensive. The next challenge is how is the food produced? There are endless points but it is good to keep things kitchen-friendly and close to what actually helps people in their daily lives.

    in reply to: Healthy Eating #2387
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    Good points jane. What we choose to eat is conditioned by our experience around food. Going through the Great Depression certainly imprinted everyone. Your grandma’s instincts served her well! I really like your idea of a way to get needed fresh vegetables to people who lack good food storage. Students and others have a hard time cooking and storing food. What if you could get some fresh sprouts or salad greens at the same place you get your morning coffee? True, not as yummy as coffee and doughnuts – coffee and pea sprouts … I think the supermarkets are afraid of liability issues giving older food to people. What do others think?

    in reply to: Healthy Food #2386
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    Healthy food, beyond what the science says about daily servings, is a personal choice. What you eat every day depends on your food literacy and what you learned about eating growing up in your family. Your body type also influences your response to different foods.

    I personally found the ancient science of eating according to your body-type or dosha very helpful for our family. Deepak Chopra in his book Quantum Healing provides detailed questions on your eating habits so you can determine your own dosha and combination of the pure types. This is all based on the Ayruvedic science of eating that has been part of India for millenium.
    THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT ADVICE.

    Using the body-type as a guide to what foods to eat has been useful. Most of the food I eat is good for my body type combination. Of course this all took years to figure out and do on a daily basis. It is ok to eat foods that do not agree with your dosha, just do not indulge too much.

    Observe the effect food has on your body, your mood and your ability to get things done. Healthy food has many definitions and we discussed some of this in our blog posts. Right now you do not have to do anything except look at the food your are eating now and see how you react to them. Do you feel happy and satisfied or stuffed and bloated with gas pains after eating food. Do you have the energy to do the work you need to do?

    Are you eating for your body-type? Is healthy food within easy reach for everyone in your family? How can you tell if your GUT-Microbes are happy with your healthy food choices?

    in reply to: Healthy Eating #2382
    Robert Dixon
    Keymaster

    Why is vegetable consumption falling, even though everyone knows 5-a-day is key to healthy eating? What will it take to get enough daily servings into people to start receiving a health benefit?

    The 2006 BC Food Self Reliance report (see copy in Consumer Reading Room section of this web site) notes that people in BC were eating 2.9 vegetable servings and 1.9 fruit for a combined 4.8 daily servings of this vital food group.

    At that time, 3.75 vegetable and 3.75 fruit daily servings for all adult Canadians was recommended for a combined total of 7.5. The latest word from the experts is eat between 7 – 1o combined servings daily. I was shocked to read a study saying consumption had fallen to 4.3 combined daily servings of vegetables and fruits.

    Who cares what people eat?! A 2017 study by the Vanier Institute of the Family quoted a report that calculated the cost to the Canadian economy of not eating enough vegetables and fruits. It was $ 4.39 BILLION a year. That is a lot of economic activity to lose.

    Global public health research shows a real health benefit starts at 5-a-day combined vegetable and fruit servings. Few in BC were getting this benefit in 2006 and across the country things have just gotten worse. Is there a link between soaring provincial health care spending and the collapse in the amount and type of vegetables that people eat each day?

    Could there be a connection between how food tastes and how much of it people will eat? Does availability have an impact? What if the supply of good tasting vegetables grown using carbon-capture practice increased? Would people eat more of it if more was available?

    These are the billion dollar questions the Kamloops to Calgary region of farmers and consumers need to answer.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 11 total)