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Monday, November 4, 2019

Innovation In Agriculture Showcased

Hanover | by Robyn Garvey  

Changing the way we farm food was the focus of a local symposium.

Joe Shouldice  

Innovation and agriculture were the topics of a panel discussion at Grey County's recent AG 4.0.3 World Food 2050: Where do we go from here? symposium.

New York graphic designer turned Owen Sound cricket farmer Joe Shouldice is challenging Western society to consider the multiple benefits of eating crickets.

When compared to conventional farming, he says there is a lot to be said about cricket harvesting.

For equal amounts of protein compared to a cow he says crickets only use 2% of the water an eighth of the land and emit just 1% of the methane making it a very environmentally sustainable agricultural product.

Crickets are not only protein rich but he says they also boast high levels of B12, calcium and potassium and offers twice the amount of iron of spinach.

The biggest hurdle says Shouldice is getting society to accept the consumption of crickets, but through education and taste testing he believes this can all be overcome.

Overcoming obstacles is something fellow presenter Marie-Catherine Marsot has thrived at.

From homicide investigator to Meaford cheese maker, Marsot shared her story of innovation, perseverance and hard work.

The 2017 Meaford Dragons winner used her $4,000 winnings to kick start what has become a very successful cheese making business.

So popular is her cheese that the owner of The Frauxmagerie is now preparing to step up production from an $8,000  to a $40,000 cheese production company a month.

Along with her signature cheeses, Marsot has branched out and created plant based cheeses as well to address a growing desire among consumer for this type of product.

Urban farmer Steven Bourne of Ripple Farms also shared his innovative agricultural practice.

Bourne, who uses aquaponics recently teamed up with Cedar-Crest Trout Farms of Allan Park where he is utilizing fish waste to grow his greens which he sells to restaurants in Toronto.

Bourne plans to adapt his practice of using fish waste as fertilizer to cannabis farming in the near future. (Location not yet announced.)

All three presenters say you have to be innovative, hard working, able to read the market, network and be willing to ask for help in order to move forward.

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