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The next deadline for The Nib is February 2, 2020

Submission of Information to be Included:  Please send any information you wish to have included in an edition of the Nib to secretarytreasurer@ecfwa.ca. Eligible information includes: Niblets (updates on personal accomplishments of members - ie. new job, marriage, child, etc.), summary of ECFWA affiliated event, job postings, upcoming ECFWA affiliated event, other relevant upcoming professional development opportunities, etc.

The most recent edition of the Nib is printed in its entirety below. 
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ECFWA - The Nib - December 2019
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The Nib - December 2019

In this edition

Prez says
2019 CFWF conference recap
CFWF award winners
ECFWA social
Upcoming events
Meet your ECFWA board
Welcome to new members


Prez says 
Rachel Telford, ECFWA President

It’s been a busy few months in agriculture. In addition to the start of harvest, September was filled with meetings and events, including Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show where ECFWA members gathered for a social and the CFWF annual national conference in British Columbia (read more about the conference in Mary Feldskov’s report below). October was highlighted by the federal election which kept many of our members, both journalists and communications professionals, busy reporting on or lobbying for important agricultural issues.
November was marked by the CN Rail strike that triggered a propane shortage in Ontario and Quebec and delayed grain shipments across the country.
The next few months will be just as busy, I’m sure, especially as we head into the Christmas season and all that entails. For me, that includes a trip to the tree farm to select the perfect tree for our house – a yearly tradition that has been known to be as quick as five minutes and as long as three hours! It’s amazing to see the hundreds of trees at different growth stages in the different fields and see the irrigation pipes used to ensure the trees survive through a dry summer. This year's harvest field was planted in 2013!
Agriculture takes many forms and ECFWA members play an important role in keeping the lines of communication open between farmers, agri-business professionals, and consumers. There is never a shortage of stories to tell in agriculture during any season.

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Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide

2019 CFWF Conference

submitted by Mary Feldskov

When an Ontarian thinks about agriculture, they probably picture wide open spaces, quaint rural communities, big machinery and vast fields of crops.

For ECFWA members attending the 2019 CFWF conference, they got a much different perspective of Canadian agriculture, with tours and conference sessions giving insight into what it is like to grow food in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia when you’re surrounded by mountains, the Pacific Ocean and one of Canada’s largest urban areas.

The conference kicked off with a truly west-coast experience, a sunset dinner cruise along the Fraser River on the legendary Paddlewheeler Riverboat. A highlight of the cruise included catching a few glimpses of sea lions perched upon the log booms — which posed a challenge for the photographers among the group as they tried to get the perfect shot of an iconic Canadian landscape.
Three tours gave CFWF members the opportunity to learn more about B.C. agriculture and expand upon the theme: Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide. While one group headed out to tour the “Gateway to the Pacific” with highlighted stops at the Alliance Grain Terminal and the Port of Vancouver, a second bus took participants on a “Growing Green” tour that took in greenhouses and cannabis-growing operation. I opted for the “Agrarian and Riparian” tour that took us on a tour of urban farms in the Greater Vancouver area.
Stops included a cranberry farm — surrounded by high rise condos and densely populated housing developments, the May family grows cranberries on 164 acres of land in the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR). At the time of the conference, harvest had not yet started, and the not quite-ripe berries presented as fairly unremarkable — but owner Cory May noted that once the bogs are flooded in October, their urban neighbours are drawn to the farm’s grounds by the bright red pools of floating cranberries, making it a popular place for a hike through the paths and the search for the perfect Instagram photo.
The tour also took us to one of the remaining Chinese market gardens in the Lower Mainland. While Chinese families have been growing produce in the Fraser Valley since the mid 19th century, the number of farms dramatically decreased over the past few decades as the area became more urban and the land rezoned to other purposes. Today, Josephine and Pauline operate Hop on Farms, an eight-acre parcel of land in the ALR that was started by their grandfather in 1951. Like the May’s, Hop on Farms is located in an area surrounded by urban housing, commercial and industrial developments. They make the most of their small parcel of land — there is nowhere for them to expand to, and they are limited by the rules of the ALR as to what they can do there — so they continue to grow produce, bedding plants in their hoop houses and operate a retail market.
Perhaps the most interesting stop on our tour was City Beet Farm, a Community Shared Agriculture venture (CSA) that operates within the city limits of Vancouver. The owners of the CSA measure the size of their plots in square feet rather than acres ­— they grow their produce using the front yards of city property owners, who receive a share of the harvest in exchange for the use of their land. Operators Elana Evans and Maddy Clerk, both first-generation farmers originally from Ontario, have 15 community partners and grow enough produce to supply 80 CSA boxes weekly during the season, as well weekly pop-up shops at local community coffee shops. Though they are small-scale farmers, both women have big dreams, and they have acquired a larger plot of land outside the city limits where they grow more land-intensive crops like potatoes and sweet corn.

The tour included other stops including one of Canada’s first organic egg farms, lunch at Avalon Dairy (we couldn’t tour the production facility because of a surprise CFIA inspection), and a tour of the fulfillment centre for SPUD (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery).
While the tours are a highlight of the CFWF conference, the professional development sessions on day three provided a lot of insight into significant issues that affect the agricultural industry — with sessions about mental health and the impact of the ALR on farming in B.C., participants took home many lessons.
And of course, farm writers found some time for some fun and networking over the three days, including the formal banquet with entertainment from Bhangra dancers and the GMOs.
Thank you very much to the B.C. Farm Writers for hosting such a great event, and to ECFWA for sponsoring the bursary program that allowed me to attend. I look forward to seeing all my CFWF colleagues in Windsor for CFWF 2020!

 ECFWA was well represented at the 2019 CFWF conference in New Westminster, B.C. 

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2019 CFWF award winners

Congratulations to ECFWA members for their prize-winning entries

Electronic Media – Video ● The Jack McPherson Award
Bronze: Bernard Tobin, Corn School: Fine tuning the combine to reduce DON levels

News Release ● The Alice Switzer Award
Bronze: Lilian Schaer, Agri-Food Management Institute transferring resources to industry allies Organisation winding down operations

General Periodical ● The Felix Schmaltz Award
Gold: Monica Wagner, Peter Gredig, Owen Roberts and Myrna Stark Leader, Mental Health Publication

Technical Feature ● The Peter Lewington Award
Bronze: Ralph Pearce, DON lessons

Press Editorial ● The O.R. Evans Award
Gold: Sharon Laidlaw, Educating the Public

Press Feature ● The Dick Beamish Award
Bronze: Alice Guthrie, A calling to raise buffalo

Weekly Press Reporting ● The Q.H. Martinson Award
Silver: John Greig, Deep discount questions

Daily Press Reporting ● The C.B. Fairbairn Award
Silver: Kelsey Johnson, The cows are coming home: two prison farms to reopen in Kingston

Read about all the winners in the CFWF press release.

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ECFWA social

ECFWA members gathered in Woodstock during the 2019 Canada's Outdoor Farm Show. Watch for upcoming socials hosted throughout the province during the winter farm show season!


put this on your calendar imageUpcoming events

June 24-29: IFAJ Congress, Denmark.

September 24-27, 2020: CFWF Conference hosted by ECFWA in Windsor, ON.

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Meet your ECFWA board of directors

Suzanne Atkinson
Second vice-president
CSuzanneontact Suzanne: 

Sposibo! That’s the phonetic equivalent of ‘Thank you,’- in Russian.

Second VP Suzanne Atkinson thinks Sposibo often, when she thinks of ECFWA. That’s because a CFWF bursary helped her attend Motor Rally- a dairy industry car rally in Russia. From there she helped organize a similar tour for 50 Russian dairymen to experience our Canadian dairy industry.

As an ECFWA executive member she’s made it her mission to help grow our numbers so that other ag communicators can experience the benefits of membership.

Suzanne has been a regular contributor to Ontario Farmer for 25 years and with her husband and family operates a 50 cow dairy south of Peterborough.

Read the profiles of all the ECFWA board members on our website.

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Welcome to our new members!

April Stewart
Linda Vogel

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Andrew Campbell

From Sharon Grose:
I have a new job title - “grandma.”  My oldest son Nicholas and his wife Samantha blessed us with our first grandchild this fall.  She is named Ruth after Walt’s Mom-we’ve nicknamed her Roo.  Walt and I are thrilled to be grandparents.

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The Nib is a distribution for members, by members of the Eastern Canada Farm Writers' Association.

Newsletter comments, additions, or suggestions are welcome. 
Contact: Mary Feldskov, secretarytreasurer@ecfwa.ca

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