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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!

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is the practice of planting a different crop in a newly harvested field.  It can be as simple as alternating two different crops, for example corn one year and soy bean the next.  Or, a farmer may have a multi-year plan that rotates several crops and intersperses them with cover crops.   Crop rotation is an integral part of the crop production system, with the greatest benefits being increased yields, disease and pest control, as well as improved soil structure.

Continuous planting of the same crop year after year will result in the buildup of diseases and insects specific to that crop, and cause a reduction in crop yields. When legume crops and cover crops such as clover are used in the rotation, beneficial nitrogen is added to the soil, resulting in healthier succeeding crops.  In general it is best to follow a grass crop with a broadleaf crop and vice versa.