October 18, 2017 – Birds, butterflies and especially bees have found a welcoming home at Antony John’s farm near Guelph, Ontario, named “Soiled Reputation“. John’s dedication to biodiversity and creating habitats for pollinators can be seen in every aspect of his farm, and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) and Pollinator Partnership are happy to announce that he is the winner of the 2017 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award.
The award recognizes the contributions of Canadian farmers in protecting and creating environments where pollinators can thrive.
John has also been active in spreading awareness of pollinator health and encouraging practices to support biodiversity. He hosts both private and public farm tours, and also hosted a television show on the FoodTV channel for several years. In addition to carrots and leeks, his fields and greenhouses yield at least 50 different organic vegetables used primarily for gourmet salad mixes. The farm supplies produce to restaurants, markets and homes, both locally and in the Greater Toronto Area.
It is difficult to single out a single project that earned the award for John, as the entire Soiled Reputation farm is based around one main crop, which he would tell you is “biodiversity”. Aspects of the farm that help attract pollinators include:
- huge flower gardens and plantings interspersed through crops to provide pollen and nectar
- 30-foot buffer strips seeded with legumes that are allowed to flower around a 40-acre field
- a two-acre meadow that is home to over 20 beehives
“Pollinators are an essential component to any farming ecosystem,” said CFA President Ron Bonnett. “The innovation that Antony John has shown is an inspiration for many growers looking to enhance pollinator habitats. His projects are incredible examples of how farmers can work to both improve their business and their land’s biodiversity.”
Over $2 billion of Canadian produce sold annually is reliant on pollinators, including staples like apples, berries, squash, melons and much more. These species are integral to the continued health of both the environment and agriculture sector, and Canadian farmers like Antony John are integral to ensuring that our environment will be healthy for generations to come.
About the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
The mission of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is to encourage the health of resident and migratory pollinating animals in North America. NAPPC partners gather from throughout the North American continent and beyond to: Raise public awareness and education and promote constructive dialogue about pollinators’ importance to agriculture, ecosystem health, and food supplies; encourage collaborative, working partnerships among participants and with federal, state and local government entities and strengthening the network of associated organizations working on behalf of pollinators; promote conservation, protection and restoration of pollinator habitat; and document and support scientific, economic and policy research – creating the first-ever, international data bank (library) of pollinator information.
About Pollinator Partnership
The Pollinator Partnership (P2) is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the health of pollinators, which are critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign), National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides. www.pollinatorpartnership.org
About the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Founded in 1935 to provide Canada’s farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country’s largest general farm organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations, national and inter-provincial commodity organizations. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families. www.cfa-fca.ca
About the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
The CFGA is the national voice for producers whose livelihoods are dependent upon forage/grassland production. It is committed to promoting sustainable management and addressing production issues and trade barriers. www.canadianfga.ca
Canadian Forage and Grassland Association
Environment Committee Co-Chair