Learn forest gardening from the man who wrote the books.

Dave Jacke is our Thursday guest speaker for 2015. Dave is part of the team responsible for introducing temperate climate forest gardening. He will be doing a full day workshop on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Don't miss it! SET YOUR GPS FOR: 50 Stone Rd. East, Guelph University Centre, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1

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  • Edible Forest Gardening Volume 1 and 2 are award winning books and the go to resource for forest gardening.

    Edible Forest Gardening Volume 1 and 2 are award winning books and the go to resource for forest gardening.

  • Dave helped define forest gardening and opened up many new ways of thinking about how ecosystems function.

    Dave helped define forest gardening and opened up many new ways of thinking about how ecosystems function.

2015 Workshops at the GOC

2015 Workshops at the GOC

Come and see over 40 workshops over four days about Crops, Livestock, Urban Ag, Pollination/Horticulture/BioDiversity, Permaculture, and Biodynamic agriculture.
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Register for the Conference

Register for the Conference

Opens November 1, 2014. Register early to get the best prices to attend the conference.
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Exhibitors at the Conference

Exhibitors at the Conference

Find out who will be showcasing their wares, from heritage organic seeds, to market garden machinery, to finding land to start farming. It's all here under one roof.
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Volunteer for the GOC

Volunteer for the GOC

Want to learn more about the GOC behind the scenes? Want to rub shoulders with the leaders in organics, want to get in free? Volunteering will do all that and so much more.
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Live fast, die young: Soil microbes in a warmer world

Conifer peatlands in Minnesota

Conifer peatlands in Minnesota

Warmer temperatures shorten the lifespan of soil microbes and this may affect soil carbon storage, according to a new NSF-funded study published inNature Climate Change this week.

A research team led by graduate student researcher Shannon Hagertyand Paul Dijkstra, biological sciences associate research professor, measured two key characteristics of soil microbes that determine their role in the soil carbon cycle: how efficiently they use carbon to grow and how long they live. “Higher temperatures make microbes grow faster, but they also die faster,” said Hagerty, who conducted the research as part of her master’s degree and was lead author on the study.

Soil microbes consume organic carbon compounds in soil, use some of it to make more microbes and release the rest to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The efficiency with which microbes use their food to make new microbes affects how much carbon remains in soil, and how much is released back to the atmosphere. The accepted idea before this study was that microbes would become less efficient at warmer temperatures.

The scientists incubated soil from a peatland and a forest in Minnesota at different temperatures and measured the efficiency with which microbes grew. They used a new method to measure microbial efficiency: they added small amounts of sugar and tracked how individual atoms in this sugar were turned into carbon dioxide.

“Microbes process sugars in similar ways as we do,” says Paul Dijkstra. “We know very well how these processes work in laboratory studies, and can predict which carbon atoms in sugar molecules end up as carbon dioxide, and which are used to build new microbes. We applied this knowledge to the microbes living in soil.”

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Fundamentals of Seed Production

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Field Day: Fundamentals of Seed Production

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Time: 1:00pm – 4:00 pm

Location: Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming

Cost: Pay what you can :)

Come tour the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming, to learn how to grow and plan for seed production into a market gardenMartha Gay Scroggins will lead the workshop to teach the fundamentals of seed-saving in market gardens and share strategies on how to efficiently plan for seeds in your market garden operation.

Please register for this field day by contacting Aabir Dey at aabir.dey@everdale.org or at 519-855-4859 Ext. 103.

5 Tips for Buying Organic Food

 

Sarah Dobec, Holistic Nutritionist at the Big Carrot suggests making small changes slowly.  “Pick a few items to purchase organically, and increase your purchases over time.”

Sarah Dobec, Holistic Nutritionist at the Big Carrot suggests making small changes slowly. “Pick a few items to purchase organically, and increase your purchases over time.”

You know organic is the way to go but matching your intentions with actual purchases shouldn’t be a challenge.

With the help of Sarah Dobec, Holistic Nutritionist at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market in Toronto we’ve put together some tips to help you increase your organic food purchases.

Tip #1 – Plan

Make a list of meals you want to have over the next week. Note which ingredients you will need to purchase and decide which ingredients will be organic.

Having this list in hand while shopping will help you stay focused and keep you from making unnecessary impulse purchases.

Planning also helps avoid impulse purchases and food waste. As Sarah notes, “Canadians throw out up to 40% of their weekly groceries because of poor planning. Wasting less is an easy way to save money and make your organic dollars go further.”

Tip #2 – Make one change at a time.

It would be terrific if you could switch to a full organic diet overnight, but this is difficult for most people. Sarah suggests making small changes slowly. “Pick a few items to purchase organically, and increase your purchases over time.”

Potential starting points include:

  • Buy a specific organic item every other week. This is a good starting point for more expensive items such as milk, butter or cereal.
  • Commit to spending a specific amount of money each week on organics. What would work for you? $10 per week? $25 per week?
  • Pick 1-2 items on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and buy them organic.
  • Resolve to purchase a specific type of meat organically such as sausages or hamburgers. Stay strong even when you see ‘door crasher’ sales on the conventional equivalent.

Tip #3 – Build family support & don’t push ahead alone.

Having a list of the organic products you want to purchase in hand while shopping will help you stay focused and keep you from making unnecessary impulse purchases.

Having a list of the organic products you want to purchase in hand while shopping will help you stay focused and keep you from making unnecessary impulse purchases.

Organic purchases may be seen as too expensive or unnecessary by family members. How do you get everyone in your household on board?

Sarah suggests watching movies together. “Movies and videos help everyone get educated about the benefits of organic,” she says. Some of Sarah’s favourites include:

Tip #4 – Schedule Extra Time for Shopping

Purchasing organic is easier than ever. Co-ops, farmers markets, CSA’s, Online ordering services, specialty retailers like the Big Carrot and mainstream grocery stores are all places where you can find organics.

However, you may need extra time to search out items in different sections of your current store, or investigate a new source. Remember to schedule these trips into your calendar and allow yourself extra time to compare options and ask questions.

Tip #5 – Keep Going!

Once you have started, think about what is working and what’s not. Monitor what languishes in your fridge and freezer. Are family members more excited about some items versus others?

Challenge yourself to try new items! Increase your weekly spending by 10% or a specific dollar amount.

Have a tip?

Help us continue the conversation! Visit our Facebook page to add your own tips for buying organic. We’d love to hear from you.

Looking for more information?

Discover and taste test organic products at the FREE expo that is part of the Guelph Organic Conference taking place January 29th to February 1st, 2015. Don’t miss “Organic Certification Demystified – How To Read Organic Labels & What They Mean” on Sunday February 1st presented by Kelly Monaghan of Ash Street Organics and Maureen Kirkpatrick of The Big Carrot. This is just one of over 40 informative workshops at the conference.

Photos by Laura Berman