Understanding Sustainable Food and Farming in Ontario
In this presentation and panel discussion, attendees had the opportunity to hear first-hand from a panel of local Ontario farmers. ONCommon Ground, a collaboration of farm organizations representing livestock, field crop, fruit, and vegetable farmers, shared an overview of the sustainable farming practices happening in Ontario. Attendees learned about on-farm environmental programs, research, and animal care initiatives. Across sectors, the farmers emphasized their common goal of growing healthy, safe, high-quality and sustainable food.
About the presenters:
Apple growing may not be a family tradition for Cathy McKay, but with 30 years of experience under her belt, she certainly qualifies as a professional. After graduating from the agriculture program at the University of Guelph, Cathy worked for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) where she was responsible for scouting apple orchards. She discovered then that she has a passion for growing apples. Cathy and her husband, Marvin Stevenson, own Nature’s Bounty with 100 acres of land devoted to apple trees (35 acres of mixed varieties), pumpkins, alfalfa hay and sheep. Part of their operation is a pick-your-own orchard with retail store. They also host many school tours in the fall – passing along the passion for apples to area students.
Sandra Vos is a sole female owner–operator of a cow calf beef farm in Brant County. She bought an 80 acre property after working in the health care field for over twenty five years. Sandra currently raises pastured grass fed beef, focuses on increasing the biodiversity of the soil, forages, and wildlife through rotational planned grazing practices. When she is not chasing calves, she volunteers for a number of farm and other organizations, such as Bountiful Brant – Buy Local Buy Fresh Map and Energy + Inc Board. She is married and they have three launched children who require plane tickets to return home.
Kathryn Doan is a first generation turkey and crop farmer from Norwich, Ontario. She, her husband and four girls farm Tom turkeys for further processing as well as grow corn, soybeans and wheat on rotation. Kathryn is also the Director for AgCareers.com Globally & CareersinFood.com Canada, leading online career sites for the agriculture & food industries. She is a graduate of the University of Guelph and is an OAC Alumnus. Originally from Blackstock ON, Kathryn was raised on a dairy farm. She is involved as a volunteer for many local community & provincial organizations including being Chairperson of the Outdoor Enhancement Committee at Emily Stowe PS, and as Vice Chairperson of AgScape leading Agriculture & Food Education in the classroom.