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Agriculture

A local history of Thanksgiving

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By Michael Dawe

Another Thanksgiving holiday will soon be upon us. It is one of the most popular annual family holidays- in some cases, second only to Christmas and New Year’s.

The roots of Thanksgiving go back centuries. The celebration of the end of harvest, and hopefully the security of having enough food for the coming winter, is deeply rooted in agricultural societies. The famous Pilgrim Thanksgiving feast in Massachusetts in 1621 is often cited as the origin of many of the traditions of Thanksgiving celebrations.

There are records of Thanksgivings in Nova Scotia going back to the mid-1700’s. After the end of the American Revolution, Loyalist refugees, who flooded across the border into Canada, brought with them many of the American traditions such as turkey, pumpkins and squash. The dates of Canadian Thanksgiving fluctuated over the years, often being held between mid-October and early November. In 1879, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 6.

A tradition of setting the date of Thanksgiving by annual proclamation, by the Governor General, continued for many decades. However, local celebrations continued to be determined by the state of local harvests. Also, Thanksgiving generally had a strong religious component and was often marked on a Sunday with special church services.

Thanksgiving display at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, c. 1920

One of the first recorded Thanksgiving celebrations in Red Deer took place on October 11, 1892 at the conclusion of the first fall fair. A large harvest home supper was held behind the Brumpton Store, on the south side of Ross Street, just west of Gaetz Avenue. Rows of wooden tables and benches were set out for the serving of the meal. Afterwards, the crowd moved to the Methodist Church on Blowers (51) Street for an evening’s entertainment consisting of humorous readings, instrumental music and hearty singing of hymns and popular songs.

Harvest sheaves on Red Deer’s South Hill, c. 1912

The official Thanksgiving Day in 1892 was on Thursday November 10. For several years before that, and several years after, Thanksgiving was on a Thursday, although the dates ranged from mid-October to mid-November. In 1907, Thanksgiving Day fell on the same day as Halloween (i.e. October 31).

Interior St. Luke’s Anglican Church c. 1980

The following year (1908), Thanksgiving was changed to a Monday (November 9). It was felt that by setting the holiday on a Monday instead of a Thursday, families would have a greater opportunity to travel and visit family and friends. The Canadian Pacific Railway encouraged this idea by offering special fare reductions, if a round–trip ticket was purchased.

Cook stove in the Camille J. Lerouge home, c. 1920

The First World War was a searing experience across Canada. Consequently, as the War finally began to draw to a close, there was a widespread movement to have a national day of thanksgiving to celebrate the end of hostilities and the return of peace.

Jars of preserves at the Alberta Ladies College in Red Deer, 1913

Thus, while the official Thanksgiving Day in 1918 was set as Monday, October 14, another Thanksgiving Day was set for the first Sunday after the War came to an official end on November 11. However, because of the terrible Spanish influenza epidemic that was sweeping the country, this day of thanksgiving for peace was postponed to December 1 as a public health measure.

Display of Red Deer vegetables and flowers, 1913

In 1921, the government decided to combine the traditional Thanksgiving Day and the new Armistice (Remembrance) Day. Hence, Monday, November 7 was designated as the combined national holiday. That tradition was continued until 1931, when the Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day holidays were separated again.

Harvest, 1975

Thereafter, Thanksgiving Day was generally proclaimed for the second Monday in October. An exception occurred in 1935, when Thanksgiving was shifted from Monday, October 14, to Thursday, October 24, because of the federal election. Remembrance Day was commemorated on November 11, regardless of what day of the week that was.

Harvest

After 1957, Thanksgiving Day was permanently set by national legislation as the second Monday in October. The annual proclamations by the Federal Government became a thing of the past.

Ag meets Food

Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing

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food photo with title

Canadian Federation of Agriculture Awarded $560,000 for Single Portal Sustainability Sourcing

Green certifications have become increasingly important in the food industry, as consumers look for confirmation that their food is being produced and processed in an environmentally friendly manner. In Canada, there has been a recent movement of concerned consumers looking for more transparency within the food industry. Organizations like Food Secure Canada advocate for a better food system that improves the connection between health, sustainability and agriculture.

In February 2020, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stated that the Canadian Federation of Agriculture would invest in a new sustainability initiative. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the largest farm organization in Canada, representing over 200,000 farms. The organization has played a critical role in advancing environmental sustainability practices within the food industry.

The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI) will work with farmers, manufacturers, food processors and retailers to improve transparency in the Canadian food system. The initiative will promote sustainability through an integrated process that depends on data and collaboration to transform the food industry and improve relations with consumers.

The Canadian Food System

Canada is one of the top five exporters of food in the world. The Canadian agriculture and agri-food system generates over $100 billion in sales annually and employs over 2 million people. The agricultural food system is a significant player in Canada’s economic wealth and stability. However, like other large agricultural exporters — such as the United States — Canada has faced recent scrutiny over their production practices. Many large-scale and industrialized agriculture productions are harmful to the environment and detrimental to human health.

With such a large proportion of Canadian food exported, many domestic consumers distrust the public policies that lack transparency over the industry’s environmental impact and unsafe production practices. With the creation of the Candian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative, the federal government hopes to facilitate improved sustainability throughout the food industry.

The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative

The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative includes a federal investment of $560,000. These funds will go toward the creation of an online forum that advances the analytic capabilities of producers and farmers. By creating a new network around sustainability, the project hopes to track the progress of sustainable practices in the Canadian food industry.

The initiative will also help producers and processors work together to certify products with sustainability labels that consumers are looking for. The Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative will rely on data analytics and real-time analysis of food production and processing to find solutions to unsustainable issues. From a consumer standpoint, it will increase trust in the use of food labels and regulate claims regarding the quality of various products.

Sustainability in the Agri-Food Industry

Canada’s agricultural system relies on the production of corn, potatoes, soybeans and commodity grains like wheat. Western parts of Canada have a higher production of beef, while the Eastern side focuses more on poultry. Unlike other top food exporters, Canada has been steadily growing the organic aspect of their production processes at a rate of 20% per year.

However, the percentage of land utilized for organic farming is meager — around 1.8 percent in 2017. Despite this, organic products still valued around $5.4 billion in both domestic and exported goods.

With such an economic reliance on the agricultural industry, the farm community, consumers and other concerned citizens are working together to ensure they manage Canadian soil more responsibly. According to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, solutions like climate change research, bioeconomic strategy and the continuation of research and innovation within the industry will be key to future success.

Improving the Future of Canadian Agriculture

With this new initiative in place, agriculturists can have more confidence in growing organic products. Consumers, too, will be able to put their trust in the food industry, knowing the food they’re purchasing was grown sustainably.

https://www.todayville.com/what-the-usmca-might-mean-for-agriculture-and-biotechnology/

 

’m Emily Folk, and I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Growing up I had a love of animals, and after countless marathons of watching Animal Planet documentaries, I developed a passion for ecology and conservation.  You can read more of my work by clicking this link:   Conservation Folks.

 

 

 

 

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Agriculture

How would you like it if someone came on to your land to build a pipeline?

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How would you like it if someone came on to your land to build a pipeline?

This is one of the questions you’ve no doubt heard in the media lately.  A common question from protestors and their supporters. It’s been posed to media reporters asking protestors why they’re trying to shut down Canada.  It’s been used as a headline for editorials in big newspapers.  If you live in a city or even a small community you’ve never had to deal with a company that wants to build a pipeline on your property.  That seems to make this question a good one.

However I come from a farming community and it occurred to me that I might just know some people who’ve had experience with pipeline companies.   So I decided to message a friend of mine.  He used to be a pretty good hockey player when we were growing up.  He played with a temper.   Years may have passed but I know he’s definitely no push over.  Devon is not the kind of guy who’d let anyone walk all over him.  Even a big pipeline company.

Turns out Devon actually has lots of experience with pipelines.  When he moved onto his acreage 20 years ago there were already 5 lines running under it.  2 more lines have been buried since.  The last one came through just last year.  If you look at the first map you can see a place called Herschel.   Herschel is Devon’s territory.   The map shows where Enbridge Line 3 Replacement cut through his property just last year.  The second map shows just how many lines are following that same route.

When I discovered a new line had been put down in the last year I thought he’d have some fresh memories of how that affected his life.  It was my chance to ask someone who actually knows “How would you like it if someone came on your land to build a pipeline?”

Me: “What happens during construction?”

Devon: “The only inconvenience during pipeline construction for us has been delays on the roads. They haven’t affected our home lives at all.”

Me: “What about animals?  How long before things get back to normal in their world?”

Devon: “Wildlife doesn’t seem bothered at all.”   Then he asked me “What’s normal?” – and he sent me a video taken right in his yard last summer.  

Posted by Devon Brown on Sunday, 9 June 2019

Me: “OK.  The animals appear not to mind.  Does it affect the quality of your land?”

Devon: “We don’t farm the affected land, but Enbridge recovers the top soil and replants whatever vegetation you want.  In our case, grass.”

Me: “What would happen to you if there was a spill on your property?”

Devon: “We have never had a spill, or know of anyone that has.  They have given us contact information, and instruction if we ever encounter what we feel may be a spill.  Several times a week they fly (over) the pipeline inspecting it.

Me: “Are you fairly compensated?”

Devon: “We have been treated very fairly by Enbridge.”

I have to admit I was hoping for even a tiny bit of drama in this back and forth conversation.   Just like you would with any conversation.  So I put my reporter skills to work and decided to finish by asking an “emotional” question.  Certainly there has to be even a little bit of anxiety over having a pipeline carrying flammable material close to your home… right under your own property.  Everyone knows there have been accidents.  So the natural question is..

Me: “Wouldn’t you rather there were no pipelines under your land and close to your home?

Devon: “I was actually disappointed when they told us the line 6 replacement was being routed around our acreage because they felt it would be too close to the house.  I actually have never thought about whether I would rather live where there’s no pipelines.  They’ve never been an issue.”

If I had to conclude this and I do, I would say that it would seem my friend Devon is one of the vast majority of people who pay some type of price for the conveniences of modern society.  In his case it’s doesn’t seem the price is very high.  Maybe he thinks the compensation is actually worth it.  No.  He’s never experienced an accident.  He doesn’t know of anyone who even knows anyone who has.  Like the rest of us, he only knows they’ve happened because he pays attention to the news.  The only real difference is Devon actually has a half dozen pipelines running across his property.  As you can see from the second map above, the energy running through them keeps people in the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada, warm in their homes and mobile in their vehicles.

Here’s what pipelines look like for the vast majority of those who have to live with them.  In Devon’s case, 20 years of living with pipelines and zero problems.  He’s not going to claim nothing could ever happen.  All he can say is that nothing has ever happened.

 

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april, 2020

fri17apr10:00 am9:00 pmFeaturedOur Best to You Spring Handmade Market10:00 am - 9:00 pm Westerner Park, Parkland & Prairie Pavilions, 4847A-19 Street Event Organized By: Signatures Shows Ltd

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