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Local Food 101

Have you ever wondered why certain foods are labelled Organic and others Natural.  What is the difference between Grass Fed Beef and Corn Fed Beef?  Should you buy the Free Range Eggs or those from Free Run Hens?  Are there Nutritional advantages of one over the other?  And who makes the decisions concerning Certification and Labelling in Canada?  If you have asked any of these questions, then this section is for you! 

Based on some of the most commonly-asked questions about our food, Foodlink has compiled Local Food 101 to help you navigate through the confusion that surrounds food and agriculture terminology today. 

Choose topics to explore from the categories listed below.  This list will grow over time.  Should there be a term that's not here that you'd like to see covered, please let us know.  We'll do our homework to help get you the facts on your food!

Cover Crops

Cover crops play an important role in maintaining soil quality and productivity by covering the soil and protecting it from wind and water erosion on otherwise fallow fields. Flowering plants can attract beneficial insects, especially pollinating insects. When tilled under or left to compost, cover crops such as clover, rye, or oilseed radish increase the organic matter in the soil and stimulate its biological activity. Furthermore, returning the crop to the soil reduces the amount of soil compaction and increases water retention.

Cover crops can increase soil fertility through several different means. Legume cover crops can fix nitrogen for a subsequent crop. Some cover crop species are credited with making more phosphorous available to other crops through the action of the roots. Deep-rooted cover crops (like alfalfa) can bring nutrients up from deep in the soil profile.

Some cover crops are grown for their ability to reduce pest populations. Marigold and pearl millet are known to prevent nematode growth, while certain mustards can act as natural fumigants for subsequent crops.