Farming Smarter aims to sustain our land, water, soil, and farmers for the benefit of everyone.
Farming Smarter is growing stewardship
Farming Smarter makes a commitment to foster sustainable farming practices. For example, wherever they can, they will partner, research, inform, and support cost effective projects that are good for the land, air, water and crops.
Currently working in Southern Alberta, their Innovative Projects include:
Deep banding immobile nutrients
High value specialty crops
Precision planting canola
Cover crops across Prairie Canada
Alternative flee beetle management without neonicotinoids. What is a flee beetle? And why do they matter? Here's what the FS site has to say: Flea beetles are one of the major canola pests in Alberta. Currently neonicotinoid-based seed treatments are often used to protect canola seedlings from flea beetle damage. PMRA's recommendation to phase out the use of neonicotinoids has caused concern for growers. Without these seed treatments different control mechanisms must be considered by growers. These may be alternate seed treatment, increased seeding rates, or foliar insecticides. These activities may have negative environmental consequences. Furthermore, they may be less effective than current strategies and they will incur increased production costs
Curious? Check out their summer events:
Farming Smarter invites you to a summer of field school and "plot hops." You may also want to explore their farm days and conference options.
Many people don’t realize that F.S. is a registered Canadian charity. They are a non-profit association funded by grants, sponsorship, and donations. Above all, money donated to them stays in southern Alberta and funds locally directed agriculture focused research.
Your donation to this work, for example, could help them do your most critical agricultural research.
In short, if this resonates with your own values and concerns, we can help!
This one-of-a-kind charity provides a free service of grief counselling to dying children and to children whose parent or sibling is dying. Caregivers, medical professionals, families and children can receive training to deal with grief, dying and the healing process.
Services at the centre
The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre provides free counselling services to children and youth who have experienced (or are currently experiencing) a terminal illness and/or death, personally or in their immediate family.
Bereavement Program provides counselling support after a death to normalize grief, encourage emotional expression, provide helpful coping strategies, and support enduring bonds.
Youth Support Program for bereaved youth is for kids between the ages of 13 and 18. The program creates a supportive environment. Grieving adolescents have the opportunity to connect with same-aged peers through art, music, drama, and sport.
Family Support Program focuses on supporting families who have experienced the death of a family member.
Camp Erin Toronto is a 3-day bereavement camp program in Muskoka for children and youth aged 6-17. Camp Erin is free and is open to any child who has experienced the death of an immediate family member or custodial caregiver.
Where your giving goes
Dr. Jay Children's Grief Centre does not receive any government funding, and our gifts are critical. Their counseling program is in high demand and their need of ongoing funding is high.
Through the generosity of people like you, their work has made a difference in the lives of countless children, youth and families who are living with terminal illness, traumatic loss and grief. Your gift to the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre helps to ensure that grieving families have access to the innovative and specialized support they need. They also mean that this support can be accessed when they need it most.
A unique giving opportunity
If this cause speaks to you, but you aren't in a position to donate a vehicle at this time, consider ECHOAGE. If you're planning a birthday party, wedding, or some such event, you can invite your guests to make a donation to the grief centre when they respond to your invitation. You'll find this link right on the charity donation page on their website.
Your donation-ready vehicle will make a difference, too! Click below and we'll get you started on your donation process.
"Road trip!" This has been the go-to vacation mode for our family of five. We recently donated our faithful old Buick Rendezvous through the Donate a Car Canada program, but didn't want to let it go without a little nod to some of the adventures it accompanied us on.
USA, here we come!
I hadn't realized, until I started scrolling through old road trip pictures, how far and wide our '09 Rendezvous actually took us. Not only did it get us down to the New Mexico Whitesands, it also explored parts of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington State with us.
It's pretty likely that our three teenagers were less enthusiastic than their parents were about these treks. Ok. It's a lot likely. There was just so much bribery and cajoling and compromising. I mean, how are you supposed to keep 5 people happy? All at once? When you're travelling hundreds and hundreds of kilometers each road trip? I don't think we ever really figured that out, and I couldn't find very many pictures of smiling teenage boys in my file. But the SUV sure served us well!
Giant array = giant dismay
'Not sure what the "Very Large Array" is? Yeah. I wasn't either. It's this:
Yup. A big field full of dishes. My hubby had seen them in a movie and was pretty stoked about detouring to "just drive by" on our way North and out of New Mexico.
One thing we know for sure about road tripping as a family is that I should, 100%, never-ever-never navigate. I mean, I can read the map and do a reasonable GPS-voice impersonation, but do not (do not!) listen to me if I decide to follow my "gut."
Because 3 out of 3 boys were totally not into visiting the Very Big Array, I was determined to souse out the quickest path to and from that field. The map showed two options: main highway, and a secondary route. It looked highway-ish. My gut said, Definitely follow that highway-ish red line on the map - it's so.much.shorter. than the real highway. My gut was wrong. Really so completely wrong.
To be fair, our frame of references for "rough road ahead," and "Beware: rocks on road," road signs are Rocky Mountain signs that simply note that a beautifully winding mountain highway might get a little seasonally dodgy.
Fair warning: if you come across these signs in New Mexico it means the road is made entirely of giant stab-y, tire-piercing stones. That actually pierce your tires. And leave you stranded between apparently abandoned homes along a completely abandoned road in a wholly abandoned desert.
The short cut red line that led to the Very Big Array was not a short cut. Especially not once we'd emptied the entire contents from the vehicle in order to get at and mount the spare tire, and then (after re-packing all of our belongings) limped our way 80 more miles to the array, and then on to the main highway. The array itself? Yeah, it's probably 15 minutes off the main highway. We added hours and hours to our travel time by taking the short cut.
We paused at the array. It seemed only fitting to pay it some kind of respect given all we'd sacrificed to get to it. And then nursed our poor Buick and its broken foot to the highway, praying to the tire gods that the spare would hold until we could get to any kind of civilization to buy a replacement tire for our shredded original.
The spare did not hold. It wheezed out a protesting gasp a few miles down the highway. And we were stuck. In the States. In New Mexico.
So, I went and stood in the middle of the highway. All 5'2" of mom Me. I hailed a passing truck (with a beautiful human and her dog and her threats of, "Do you know how lucky you are? No one ever stops for hitch hikers in New Mexico!") and got dropped off at a suspect looking town up the highway. The broken down shack of a garage that called itself the tire place happened to have two gentleman on the yard. I (don't judge me) pleaded our case and (I said don't judge me!) jumped in the truck with one of them and another spare tire, praying a) the spare would fit the Buick, and b) that I'd live to see that happen.
On the road again
I lived! And the spare fit. And it got us all the way to the next nearest city (none of the towns en route had anything close to a tire shop...but they definitely had some interesting places that looked like they were probably "We're totally a tire shop!" fronts for much scarier businesses...). There? We found that sanctum we all know as WalMart. And we just happened (we could do another blog on "Road Trip Coincidence: Miracle? Or plain dumb luck?") to roll up with enough time in the day for them to swap our small town spare for a less-small-town proper tire. Very big array? Very big adventure, I'd say! And I'm sure my kids would totally agree. Offered enough bribes.
Giving up the Rendezvous was no small thing for us. Canon Beach, Oregon, Seattle, Vancouver, Everywhere Alberta. Coeur d'alene, Idaho. Oh. Yeah. Coeur d'alene. Don't get me started on that short cut.
Do you have a beloved old vehicle that needs to go? Give us a call!
Signs of Spring are everywhere. Between a few little cold snaps, I've spotted gophers, flies, motorcyclists, and the ultimate sign: our first robin!
Rabbits and streetsweepers
As I sit (on the deck...in the sunshine) rambling on, a street sweeper is taking his initial swipe at our gravel-strewn street. The family of wild rabbits that makes their home under the neighbors' deck is scampering wildly around the yard. And the neighbor's dog is going nuts over those same bunnies.
The mama skunk that has been prowling the hood (I tracked her for miles in the freshly fallen snow the other day) has happily claimed pretty much everyone's front porch in her mafia-like landgrab. Who's going to argue with her? She and I had an encounter on our walking path just the other day. There's only one way in and one way out of this particular stretch of green space. I was attempting to make my way out. She wanted in. I froze. She froze. And we both, wordlessly and simultaneously, gave each other a very wide berth.
Signs of spring...in the garage
Just about now we all start feeling a little Marie Kondo need to find some joy-through-purging, scrubbing, and expunging. I've gone through closets and cupboards and basement corners. How we accumulate so.much.stuff in such little time I do not know. But we do. And every year it's gotta' go.
The garage is always the last place to get any attention, right? In fact, it's the spot I purge everything out into! The floor is caked in everything from mud to salt to some reluctant-to-go ice. There are tires for multiple vehicles, bins full of goodness-knows-what, and a "work bench" where zero work occurs, and lots of work-ish bits and bobs build up.
Get that clunker out of the way
If maneuvering around a project car is making the garage clean-up crazy-making, consider donating? Many of us have tired old vehicles just taking up space in the garage, or on the driveway. We had good intentions to fix 'em, but is it worth it? We've hem'd and haw'd, weighing the cost of fixing against the value of the vehicle. If it's costing you more to keep it, it may be that its re-sale or recycle value would be more meaningful to your charity of choice than the sentimental value of the car to you?
Whatever the signs of spring in your back yard or garage, some warm sun and the beginnings of green and growing things are sure to give us all a boost in the month ahead. Here's to a successful clean up, and lots of time to enjoy the wake-up weeks of the world around us.
Youth at risk are one of Canada's most vulnerable populations and they need our ongoing care. Several of our charities are doing boots-on-the-ground work. Their staff are advocating for, feeding, and housing kids. They are friends of this sector of our human family.
Canadian youth at risk can find themselves in trouble on all sides. Their place in society is not a given. There can be heartache at home, at school, and in broader society. When donating your car, consider giving to a local charity that is working with these kids to keep them safe. Be part of helping them get healthy, find community, and pursue purpose.
Youth at risk are served from two Covenant House locations: Vancouver, BC, and Toronto, Ontario. The work of CH in both locations provides whole-person help. They seek to protect and safeguard our kids with love and respect. Helping teens find shelter and safety are key. Caring for mental and spiritual health are part of the package.
RaY | Resource Assistance for Youth
Winnipeg's hurting youth (largely an indigenous peoples' population) are served by a locally based and operated outreach. Through years of endeavor, they have zero'd in on mission. They are a "proactive provider of prevention, intervention, outreach and support services." How do they do this? In so many ways, including a thrift shop and a job training program.
Alberta-grown, with locations in Calgary and Edmonton, Streelight is one of YU's high energy endeavors:
Streetlight is just one of YU's many outreaches. Working on school campuses, building friendships, and providing job support all come in to the picture. They have an auto repair training program, too!
Do these works jive with where you see your donation dollars heading? Re-visit our charities list for more organizations like these three. Youth at risk are a hurting population in every Canadian province. Find out where you can help near where you live!