Eco Farm Day 2013 Speakers

Plenary Session

Maude Barlow
Water – Emerging Issues for the Organic Producer
Maude Barlow
Council of Canadians

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 16 books, including the international best seller Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

Ralph Martin
Managing too much or too little water at inconvenient times
Ralph Martin
University of Guelph
115A Waterloo Ave
Guelph, ON, N1H 3H6
519-824-4120 ex.52460, Fax: 519-763-8933

Ralph C. Martin grew up on a beef and hog farm in Wallenstein, ON. He learned what is essential about agriculture from his grandfather, before he died when Ralph was seven. After 4-H, his formal education includes a B.A. and an M.Sc. in Biology from Carleton University and a Ph.D. in Plant Science from McGill University.  His love of teaching grew unexpectedly when he began teaching at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, in 1990, and realized how students teach him too.  In 2001, he founded the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada to coordinate university research and education pertaining to organic systems, across Canada. In 2011, he was appointed as Professor and the Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production at the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph.

In the last century, farmers have generally worked with predictable weather patterns. As average carbon dioxide (equivalent) concentrations increase and as average global temperatures rise, local precipitation and temperature patterns are expected to become more variable. Farmers can build in some resilience as they improve soil organic matter levels to buffer droughts and floods. However, more consideration is warranted to develop appropriate balances of crops and livestock, annual and perennial crops (including trees) and soil building rotations and several cash crop options per year.  Designing for complexity and resilience may compromise potential yields in any given normal year. What is the role of farmers, other businesses in the value chain, governments and consumers as we adjust to wonky weather?

Ken TaylorA – Permaculture Agroforestry and the Fight for Water
Ken Taylor
Green Barn Nursery

Ken was born in Danville, Quebec and worked the family farm until the age of 16 when a scholarship “coerced” him off the farm and culminated with a doctorate degree in biochemistry (PhD McGill 73). Degree in hand, his passion for farming returned with the purchase of 70 acres of vacant land on Ile Perrot. Trying to establish a viable farm required many years of “off farm income”, 35 years at John Abbott College teaching and developing a wide diversity of chemistry related courses including winemaking, food biochemistry, consumer and environmental chemistry.

Workshop – Permaculture Agroforestry and the Fight for Water
With a unique scientific background in biochemistry (effect of chemicals on human health) and years of practical experience in organic farming, Ken has become a very outspoken advocate of the sustainable organic food movement. A much televised NFB film “Organic Prophecies” has aired many of his passionate views on the subject. His different perspective on the local food movement has been exposed in a diversity of media; Harrowsmith, Canadian Organic Growers, Small Farm Journal, Canadian Living, REAP, Plant Talk, The Gazette, La Presse and most recently on the Food Network show Ricardo and Friends.

B – From Brown Water to Blue Water – natural systems to recycle farm effluents
Chris Kinsley & Anna Crolla
Alfred Campus, U of Guelph
31, rue St-Paul; CP 580
Alfred, ON K0B 1A0
613-679-2218, Fax: 613-679-2415

Chris KinsleyChris Kinsley is a Professor and Senior Researcher at the University of Guelph-Campus d’Alfred and Manager of the Ontario Rural Wastewater Centre.  His major research areas are decentralised wastewater treatment and farm waste management.  Mr. Kinsley has worked extensively with the onsite wastewater industry and agricultural sectors to develop solutions to common wastewater issues with a focus on adapting constructed wetland technologies.  Mr. Kinsley is a Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario and has been working at the University of Guelph since 1998.

Anna CrollaAnna Crolla is a Professor and Senior Researcher with the Ontario Rural Wastewater Centre at the University of Guelph-Campus d’Alfred.  Anna has several years of experience in on-farm waste management, technology evaluation and wastewater quality assessment.  In collaboration with Chris Kinsley, Anna is involved in several research projects investigating the use of co-substrates to optimize biogas production, assessing environmental impacts associated with the land application of manure and investigating the use of cost-effective technologies, including constructed wetlands, for the treatment of farm runoffs.

Workshop – From Brown Water to Blue Water – natural systems to recycle farm effluents
This seminar will discuss the application and design of constructed wetlands and vegetated filters to treat common farm wastewaters including:  manure pile runoff, milking centre washwaters, vegetable processing washwaters as well as household grey water and black water systems.  Opportunities for treated effluent reuse will be presented.  Additionally, a 2012 study on agricultural stream

Roger RivestC – Controlling Weeds in Organic Cropping Systems
Roger Rivest
Keystone Grains
4280 HWY 17; RR #1
Staples, ON N0P 2J0

Mr. Rivest owns Rivest Farms (Essex) Ltd. He is an  Assoc. EFO Board Member, Member of GOG and a marketer for Keystone Grain. ( Grain Marketing) and owns  Roger Rivest Marketing Ltd. (sales of organic liquid, & granular fertilizers, seed inoculants, cover crops).
Mr. Rivest has farmed 700 acres conventionally since 1973, raised 150 sow farrow to finish.  He has been certified since 1990, growing corn soybeans, spelt and oats SRWW, started marketing grains for organic growers in 2000 and has toured organic farms all over NA.

Workshop – Controlling Weeds in Organic Cropping Systems
Mr. Rigest will be presenting photo’s and will discuss equipment & techniques, timing for wedding, cover crops, rotations, for field crops & vegetables.

Andrew HammermeisterD – Research results from the Organic Science Cluster
Andrew Hammermeister PhD, PAg
Director, Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada
Assistant Professor, Plant and Animal Sciences
Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University
P.O. Box 550, Truro, NS B2N 5E3
Ph: 902-893-8037, Fax: 902-896-7095

Dr. Andy Hammermeister is the Director of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) in the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University. The OACC conducts and facilitates research and education in organic agriculture right across Canada. Andy grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan but has been working with the OACC for 10 years on projects ranging from soil amendments to quality characteristics of organic black currants. He presently manages Canada’s Organic Science Cluster which involves 80+ researchers working on 28 research projects across Canada.

Workshop – Research results from the Organic Science Cluster
The last 10 years have marked an incredible growth and change in the organic sector. Consumers, researcher and policymakers have changed their perception of organic agriculture from one of pure philosophy to a model of a regulated and internationally recognized system of production with principles of sustainability at its core and is driven by consumer demand. Now more than ever organic agriculture needs science to support its credibility, meet consumer expectations, and optimize production. Discover the most intriguing results from the work of the last science cluster, and get the latest news on plans for the next 5 years of research in Organic Science Cluster II (the sequel) where over 100 research ideas have been submitted.

Edythe FalconerE – Barrels of Wisdom: Water Management in the Home and Market Gardens
Edythe Falconer
Master Gardener

Edythe was born in Saskatchewan where her family owned a mixed farming operation. Subsequently she spent 34 years in the field of elementary education, with a seven year hiatus when her children were young. Retirement began in 1995 when she and her husband moved onto property 45 minutes west of Ottawa. She joined Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton in 1999 and Friends of the Central Experimental Farm in 2005. In the Fall of 2009 Edythe and Roy moved back into central Ottawa.

Workshop – Barrels of Wisdom: Water Management in the Home and Market Gardens
Supported by history, statistics and personal experience, this presentation will share ideas and strategies for managing and conserving water in any gardening operation. A set of guidelines for implementing change will be provided along with photo illustrations of some of the processes. There are many movements relevant to the practice of restorative horticulture/agriculture and these will be discussed as needed with a special emphasis on water management.

Robert DobsonF – Innovative Techniques for Water Management on the Farm
Robert Dobson
Dobson’s Grass-Fed Beef
RR#5 Cobden, ON K0J 1K0

Robert is the fifth generation to farm the original homestead in the Upper Ottawa Valley. He established a beef farm operation in the early 1970’s and continues to this day. The past nine years he has produced and direct-marketed grass-fed beef in Ottawa and throughout the Ottawa Valley. In 1995 Robert received the Ontario Cattlemen’s Environmental Stewardship Award.

Robert and his family hope that many more generations can keep farming this land. He believes that it is only through our continuing efforts to be good stewards of the land that our farm and our way of life will be sustainable well into the future. On our farm we believe that our well being is directly related to the environmental health of the farm. The cattle never set foot into any of the creeks or ponds on the farm. The Dobson family have planted over 25,000 trees and shrubs between fields and along waterways over the past 30 years. This creates natural shelter belts and buffer strips encouraging both plant and wildlife habitats to thrive. We use solar and gravity powered watering systems to protect our warer quality. The farm’s many environmental innovations have attracted thousands of visitors from many different countries. Many farmers from Ontario and Quebec have also toured the farm.

Workshop – Innovative Techniques for Water Management on the Farm
Robert will share with you numerous environmental projects that not only contribute to water quality and enhanced wildlife habitat, but also to the health of the cattle and the marketing of his beef.

John SlackG – Soil Geology – Drought, Drainage, Water Retention
John Slack
CEO, Director of Boreal Agrominerals
#206, 57 Mill Street North
City of Brampton, Ontario
Canada L6X 1S9
Phone: 905-456-5436, Fax: 905-456-7180
Cell: 647-539-8046

Boreal Agrominerals is a private company that explores for, tests, develops and produces organic approved agrominerals and soil amendment products. John is an organic farmer and soil science lecturer.  In addition to his extensive mine development and exploration experience John has conducted detailed evaluations of the soil landscapes of Southern Ontario, Rainy River District, Nipissing District, Eastern Ontario, Ottawa Valley, Great Northern Clay Plain, Northern Michigan and Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Workshop – Soil Geology – Drought, Drainage, Water Retention
The Ottawa Valley is divided into two main drainage systems the St Lawrence and the Ottawa.  Slow, shallow low gradient streams characterize the tributary systems that drain into these two major rivers.  The Ottawa Embayment is a very large relatively flat capture basin for annual precipitation.  Sluggish drainage patterns will ensure large volumes of this annual precipitation will stay within the valley.  If climatic trends continue drought will affect large tracts of arable land in North America. Eastern Ontario problem drainage may prove to be a major advantage.

For organic agriculture to work successfully within a region there are a number of very key factors that must be present.  These factors hinge on systems complexity, where water plays a critical role.  Very diverse ecosystems are more likely to withstand erratic weather conditions, pathogen encounters and will also provide an abundance of local resources.  These key factors make the Ottawa Embayment one of the most prospective regions for the development of organic agriculture.

Gordon Scott CampbellH – Environmental Law – Rights and Duties for the Organic Producer
Gordon Scott Campbell
Barrister & Solicitor

Gordon Scott Campbell is an environmental lawyer who has practiced throughout Canada and appeared on environmental cases up to the level of the Supreme Court of Canada. He has served as a Federal Crown environmental prosecutor and as legal counsel to Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. He is author of the books The Investigator’s Legal Handbook (Carswell, 2006) and Le manuel juridique de l’enquêteur (Yvon Blais, 2010), as well as being co-editor of RegQuest: Regulatory Offences and Compliance Newsletter (Carswell). Now in private practice, he especially enjoys providing legal services to those involved in progressive and innovative farming.

Workshop – Environmental Law – Rights and Duties for the Organic Producer
Gordon Scott Campbell’s workshop will explore the respective legal rights and duties of organic, transitional and conventional farmers of field crops, market gardens and livestock. The workshop will examine the provincial and federal legislative frameworks which govern farmers, the ways the courts have interpreted the rights and duties of farmers in pursuing their vocations, and will particularly highlight legal means available to resolve conflict between organic and non-organic producers.

Vladimir VasilenkoI – LED-lights for Greenhouse and Food Storage Technologies
Vladimir Vasilenko, Ph.D.
President, Department Director of Research and Development, Purifying Illumination, Inc.
17891 McPhail Rd.,
Martintown, ON K0C 1S0
Skype: vegelitech

John LounsberryJohn Lounsberry
Graduate Electronic Engineering Technology RCC
Optical Networks Ryerson, Toronto
Presently works for CIE as agricultural Application Engineer
Designing and programming spectrometry Analysis for Laboratory food quality
Vice President of Purifying Illumination, Inc.
Director of Engineering and Production

Worked directly with Dr. Vladimir Vasilenko to take his initial research and turn it into a practical working illumination devices.

Workshop – LED-lights for Greenhouse and Food Storage Technologies
Our Present models can be used in many operations:
!/ Hydroponic vegetable growing operation. Very low power consumption and accelerated growth in production.
2/ Medical applications for pain and mussel and joint relief, with out the use of drugs.
3/ Extending shelf life for vegetables, fruits and Cut flowers in store front operation.
4/ Control of micro contamination growth.

The invention: “Purifying Illlumination” (PURILL) which uses near infrared light (NIR) in combination with other parts of the spectrum (like white, red and blue light) is related to process that maintains the healthful qualities of various food, fresh produce and longer shelf life of cut flowers. It is a gentle process that retains higher levels of various natural nutrients, enzymes and vitamins. Special types of PURILL LED-lights are designed to ensure an optimal growth of plants in hydroponics.When compared to existing thermal heat pasteurisation or UV-light sterilization, the invention delivers healthier, more nutritious food with longer shelf life at a lower cost. “Purifying Illlumination” technology employs LEDs (light- emitting diodes) and could be used for different purposes in antifungal and antibacterial facilities for fruit, vegetable, seed and plant treatment. Purifying Illumination”or PURILL is the family of lighting systems designed and patented by Dr. Vladimir Vasilenko. This invention can be easily employed by supermarkets, grocery and flower stores, transportation facilities, food warehouses and grow houses.

LED-lighting shelf life technologies, seed enhancement technologies, organic fertilizers and soil amendments, soil remediation and water purification, etc. Dr. Vasilenko has 28 publications, 5 patent applications, 2 granted patents and has participated at 9 symposia and conferences including First World Conference on Organic Seed supported by FAO of the United Nations (Rome, Italy, 2004). He has been awarded six grants and premia in the United Kingdom, France, USA, China, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada.

Paul SlompJ – Intensive Rotational Grazing
Paul Slomp
Grazing Days

Paul Slomp is the farmer behind Grazing Days, a grass-fed beef operation that directly markets the meat of 40 cattle to about 250 families in Ottawa. Paul grew up in a family that practices Holistic Resource Management on a grass-based dairy farm in Alberta and learnt everything he knows about grazing from his father, by reading literature about grazing, and by practicing. Paul has a degree in Civil Engineering, but has been immersed in food and agriculture since his graduation, with smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, as a food policy analyst on a municipal food policy project in Ottawa, and currently on the board and executive of the National Farmers Union.

Workshop – Intensive Rotational Grazing
Paul’s session on intensive rotational grazing will cover some of the basic practical and theoretical things that you need to consider if you are thinking about grazing livestock. This session is geared towards people who are interested in exploring the grazing of livestock and people who have some experience with grazing, but would like to learn more about intensive rotational grazing.

Anne VerhallenK – Pushing the Envelope with Cover Crops
Anne Verhallen

Anne graduated from the University of Guelph in 1985 with a B.Sc.(Agr.), majoring in Soil Science. She joined OMAFRA in 1988 as a Soil Conservation Advisor, working in the counties of Essex and Kent. Most of her work at that time focused on soil conservation and soil management in field and horticultural crops. Currently, Anne works in the area of horticultural soil management with project interests in cover crops, compaction, crop rotation, fertility, irrigation scheduling, organic production and soil health.

Workshop – Pushing the Envelope with Cover Crops
Are you getting all you can from your cover crops? There is renewed interest in cover crops – new ways to use them and different management approaches. From cover crop species and establishment to pests and new ways to manage cover crops, we will look at pushing the envelope for cover crops in Ontario.

Chris WeissflogL – Building a Home for a Zero Carbon Lifestyle
Chris Weissflog
EcoGen Energy Inc.
Kemptville, ON

Chris is an environmentally minded entrepreneur with a technical and business management background.  He founded EcoGen Energy in 2006, driven by the need to find ways to help people and businesses reduce their carbon footprint.  Since 2006 he has been deeply involved with solar water heating, integrated solar / hydronic heating applications, and grid-tied solar electric systems.  His current work brings these clean energy technologies together with an ultra-efficient envelope that not only generates more heat and power than it consumes, but also uses some of that energy to assist with home-scale agriculture.  If this isn’t ambitious enough, his goal is to make a home that is not only carbon neutral but helps to pay itself off!

Workshop – Building a Home for a Zero Carbon Lifestyle
For those who have tried, getting to a zero carbon lifestyle is exceedingly difficult.  It seems impossible to have transportation, a comfortable home, and even food without a carbon cost.  But what can we do about it now?  Chris will talk about how the work EcoGen Energy has done with renewable energy and HVAC systems is culminating in a home, home-scale agriculture and transportation integrated into a single package.  The presentation will focus on the importance of conservation and efficiency and on the effective integration of active renewable energy systems into a home that is more than a building, but a system built to enable a low or zero carbon lifestyle.

Richard WiswallVibrant Businesses in Organic Farming: Business Skills Training
Richard Wiswall

Richard Wiswall is a farmer and author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook. Richard and his wife Sally Colman own and operate Cate Farm ( in East Montpelier, Vermont, where they grow and sell organic produce, seedlings and medicinal herbs. Richard’s experience from farming full time for the last 30 years, coupled with his thirst for appropriate farm business strategies, gives a hard-to-find authenticity to his workshops. Farmers often learn best from other farmers, and Richard’s easy-going style helps this information sharing.

  • Workshop 1: Farmer Friendly Budgets Made Simple Ever wonder how much it costs to produce a dozen eggs? A feeder pig? Hoophouse greens? Are you making a profit with them given your current sales prices? Longtime organic farmer Richard Wiswall will demystify production costs for various farm ventures and show which ones are making money or not.  This group working session will simplify and enlighten the process of determing profitability for any of your farm endeavors. Beginning and seasoned farmers alike will benefit, and share in some eye opening results.
  • Workshop 2: Office Paper Flows and the Efficient Desk Office Paperflows and the Efficient Desk emphasizes procedures to eliminate otherwise undetected lost profits. The two paper trails- Purchases and Sales- are examined to guarantee no lost sales revenue and achieve maximum tax benefits. Purchases and subsequent bill paying systems are set up for maximum efficiency. The Sales paper trail seems straight forward but pitfalls abound, including leaks from a CSA, Farmers’ Market, and even invoiced sales. Richard performs a humorous office skit to emphasize key points.