Beyond Factory Farming Newsletter
Newsletter
 
March 2009
alfalfa
In This Issue
BFF Launches New Website
Tune Into Our Conference Podcasts
Hog Documentary Released
BFF Invades the Briarpatch
Rare Breeds AGM Moves to Manitoba
Keep Your Meat Fit to Eat
Listeriosis Inquiry
Chicken Soup Like Mom Makes It
We've Got a New Website!

computermouseLong overdue but finally online- earlier this year Beyond Factory Farming launched our completely redesigned website. Our cluttered and clunky former home is now retired and in its place our renovated web digs boast a host of fresh content and features all presented in a clean, attractive, easy to navigate format.

Here are just a few of the additions and improvements we've made to the site:
  • Our very own sustainable dictionary packed with clear and simple definitions of many of the terms, acronyms, and lingo common to agriculture and the sustainable food movement.
  • brand new platform and look
  • an RSS feed
  • a monthly reader poll
  • updated multimedia content
  • and many, many new and revised pages...
Please take a minute to explore the new site and don't hesitate to let us know what you think- email any comments or suggestions here.
 
Listen in on our 2008 conference

Podcasts of our 2008 Conference Safe Food, Healthy Communities:Building a food system that works - for people, animals and the environment are now available on our website.

The purpose of our conference was to deepen understanding of livestock issues in Canada, identify and examine key issues in Ontario and Canada, and sketch out a road map for transition to socially responsible livestock production.

Click here for more information or to listen to all or any of the nine

At The Trough debuts to rave reviews

baby pig
At the Trough - a 52-minute documentary featuring stories that expose the destructive nature of the global economy and, in particular, the corporate hog industry in Manitoba.

The film reveals how citizens fought back to regain control of their communities and livelihoods by offering solutions to counter the industrial agricultural mode.
So far the reception at early screenings of the film has been very positive.

Here is a small sampling of what people have had to say so far:

"We absolutely loved the film. Congratulations...first class, professional...very educational and motivating towards action and change"

"Lots of levels of emotive information, fear and self-interest to spark concern and maybe action. Great beginning, great ending. Lots of great stuff in between and as a farmer who depends on animals acting in a natural manner the happiness of the pigs was obvious."

Hard copies of the documentary can be ordered from Glen Koroluk (glen@beyondfactoryfarming.org).
BFF article appears in Briarpatch food issue

briarpatch From the world's breadbasket to the empire's fuel tank: How the agrofuels lobby is reshaping prairie agriculture is the title of an article penned by BFF's Cathy Holtslander, Glen Koroluk, and Ian Lordon for Briarpatch Magazine's first issue of 2009- entirely devoted to food politics.

Beyond Factory Farming`s contribution to the food issue was a healthy helping of analysis into the agrofuels industry, how it has reshaped prairie agriculture in recent years, and what the future holds.

The piece is but one cog in an outstanding collection of informative articles that appear in the issue including others that tackle emerging food activism initiatives, the dangers of genetically modified foods, the Fifth International Conference of La Via Campesina in Maputo, Mozambique and several others.

The issue can be viewed online at briarpatch.com. Check it out, and why not subscribe while you're there.
Rare Breeds Canada ventures out of Ontario for AGM

rare breeds This year, for the first time ever, Rare Breeds Canada will hold its Annual General Meeting outside of Ontario.

The national organization which aims to preserve heritage breeds of farm animals from extinction will host its AGM in Brandon, Manitoba on April 4 and will coincide with the Manitoba Royal Winter Fair. For further details, click here.
Do you know how to properly store meat?  Here are some tips:
 
Beef When you purchase fresh meat, it should always be stored int he refrigerator in a sealed container at 4 degrees celcius until it is prepared for cooking.  If you vacuum seal your fresh meat it will keep fresh for several days in the fridge.  If freshness is ever in question, smell the meat and if there is any off smell discard the product.
 
If frozen, keep meat in the fridge to thaw overnight, or in a sink full of cold water - do not leave it sitting on the counter at room temperature.  Leave the meat inits sealed vacuum package if possible to prevent the introduction of bacteria.  If marinating before cooking, ensure the meat is stored in the fridge in an sealed container and that the marinade is discarded after use.
 
For meat that is to be stored frozen, ensure it is put into an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and prolong storage life.  Some people think that brown paper/butcher's wrap is a better environmental choice over vacuum packaging but unfortunately over the past several years most butcher's wrap has been coated with a thin layer of plastic, not wax, to prevent leakage and prolong storage life.  Butcher's wrap will not prevent freezer burn as it is not airtight so it may shorten the storage life of products.
 
Ensure that your meat is stored in a place where the temperature doesn't fluctuate very much - a deep freeze is preferable ove a fridge-freezer.  If using a fridge-freezer only buy smaller quantities of meat and store it for a short time to maximize freshness as the frost thaw cycle caused by frequent opening will draw moisture out of the meat and decrease its flavour and freshness.
 
When freezing meat, date all packages that way, you know how long products have been in the freezer.  Here are some guidelines on how long to store meat and poultry.
 
Lamb and Beef steaks and roasts - up to one year
Ground beef                               - up to four months
Pork                                          - up to eight months
Whole poultry                             - up to one year
Poultry parts and whole ducks      - up to six months
Leftover meat                             - up to two or three months
 
You may want to purchase fresh meat all year long but remember that this may not be possible when dealing with local, pasture-raised beef and poultry as they butcher according to their production cycles.  The best time to buy meat is generally when the animals are fat/finished fresh off of the grass/pasture.  This is when they are the most healthy and the most nutrient dense.  This is usually early summer (chickens), late summer (ducks, lambs, and pigs), or fall (turkeys, beef, and wild game).  The best thing to do if possible, is to develop a relationship with the sustainable farm family from whom you will be purchasing your meat - in other words, get to know your farmer.
                       -Thank you to TK Ranch Natural Meats in Alberta for supplying information.


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Beyond Factory Farming is a national organization promoting socially responsible livestock production in Canada. We help communities dealing with problems caused by factory farms and factory farm proposals. As an alternative to industrial livestock operations, we promote livestock production that is safe, fair and healthy for the environment, farmers, workers, animals, neighbours, communities and consumers.

For more information about Beyond Factory Farming or any of the contents from this newsletter, please email Lisa or Ian, or visit our website.
Two listeriosis inquiries and not one change in food safety
coldcuts
At the height of the listeriosis outbreak in Maple Leaf Foods products last year Conservative Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz offered a poignant example of his government's cavalier attitude towards food safety by cracking wise about "death by a thousand cold cuts".
 
When the outbreak was finally contained hundreds of thousands of cold cuts were recalled, at least 20 people were dead, Maple Leaf was out $25-million to settle legal claims against it and nobody was laughing. In fact, the only joke was Canada's embarrassingly inadequate food safety standards (and weakened meat inspection capacity) that the outbreak brought to light.
 
Four days before last fall's federal election Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to launch a full investigation into the outbreak that would report its findings no later than March 15. Four months passed without a word until finally, on the eve of U.S. President Barrack Obama's inauguration day, the Harper government quietly announced former Edmonton health care executive Sheila Weatherill would conduct an arms length investigation of the affair and file a report to Ritz in July- four months later than he promised.
 
It's hardly a case of better late than never. Weatherill is already a friend to the Conservative government- a member of the Prime Minister's advisory committee charged with revitalizing the public service. Its mandate includes: "Branding the public service as a trusted and innovative institution of national importance". If her investigation concludes food safety failures contributed to the outbreak, it will surely tarnish the brand...
 
But the terms of Weatherill's investigation will likely spare her from any worry in that respect. She is forbidden to speak to the media until after she files her report and was not given the power to hold hearings or subpoena witnesses to testify before her. Any information she gathers will be obtained voluntarily and behind closed doors. If she happens to defy the odds and report something even slightly damning, the July 20th deadline ensures it will surface when Parliament is on summer break and the media and public are least interested. But just in case the report might aim some egg at the face of government, Ritz is under no obligation to make her findings public. Well, he can always entertain us with his wit.
 
For those genuinely concerned about improving food safety some hope emerged last month when the House of Commons' standing committee on agriculture and agri-foods announced it planned to conduct its own parallel investigation of the outbreak. The committee has the power to call witnesses and can even conduct hearings in camera to protect those testifying from recrimination should they implicate their employers in any wrongdoing. The committee, which does include six Conservative MPs, voted unanimously in favour of conducting the investigation.
 
The committee struck a seven-member sub committee to conduct the probe which will review government policies that give industry a greater role in policing itself where food safety and inspection are concerned. Committee member and Liberal agriculture critic Wayne Easter is on record saying the committee plans to use its powers to subpoena documents related to the outbreak that the government is refusing to release to reporters through Access to Information legislation. (To track the Food Safety sub committee`s progress, visit the website.)
 
Until the committee convincingly succeeds in identifying and correcting the flaws in the food safety and inspection system consumers should at least take a buyer beware attitude to meat produced by it. All the more reason then to buy your meat from small local producers whose methods and products you can trust. (For more on the listeria outbreak see beyondfactoryfarming.org. )

 
For meat that is safe, local, and sustainably raised :
We are excited to announce that we are populating the Eat Well Guide with Canadian content! 
The Eat Well Guide® is a free online directory of thousands of family farms, restaurants, and other outlets for fresh, locally grown food in the US and Canada. Originally a database of sustainably-raised meat and dairy producers, its listings have expanded to include farmers' markets, CSA programs, partner organizations, water-conscious ratings and vegetarian eateries. Visitors can search by location, keyword or category to find good food, download customized guides, or plan a trip with the innovative mapping tool Eat Well Everywhere.
If you are a farmer who would like to join the directory or know of someone you would like to see on the listing, contact us at info@beyondfactoryfarming.org or clikc on the eat well guide symbol.
 

EWG logo

Mother's Free Range Chicken Soup

chicken soupRecipe can be made with whole or half of a chicken, purchased from your local farmer.

Cover the bird with water in a large pot.  If whole, place breast up in pot.  If half, place bone side down.  If the legs stick out, that is o.k.

Bring to a rapid boil, then turn down heat and simmer until the leg and wing easily pull away (or 170 degrees on a meat thermometer).

Remove the carcass from the liquid (which will be your stock), allow the bird to cool before pulling the meat off.  Reserve the carcass for more stock making.

Chop 2 large carrots, 2 celery stalks and 1/4 - 1/2 of a large onion.  Add veggies to the stock and simmer until carrots are tender.

Peal the meat and place it back in the soup.  Turn the heat back to high, once boiling, add preferred amount of egg noodles and turn the heat back to low.  Simmer until noodles are cooked.

Serve on cold days or when you are feeling a bit under the weather.