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Growing a greener tomato
Greenhouses in particular are looking for sustainable new sources of energy, as it takes a lot of heat, water, and electricity to grow vegetables under glass in Canada. Natural gas-powered generators create electricity, but also carbon dioxide (CO2) and heat. Through a process called co-generation, C02 from engine exhaust is puri ed and used as fertilizer in the greenhouse, and heat is captured in thermal storage tanks and used to heat the greenhouse.
A stomach that produces electricity?
Some farms have their own electricity- producing bio-digesters (also called anaerobic digesters). These large tanks act as stomachs, where organic inputs (livestock manure and bedding, fruit and vegetable peels and scraps, or food processing waste) are fermented to generate natural gas. That gas powers a generator, which produces electricity for the grid.
Growing  elds of fuel
Ethanol is a clean, renewable fuel made from plants (mostly corn) which
is blended into gasoline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol is just one of many ways that plants and plant residues are being used for more than just feeding people and animals. Another is biodiesel, a diesel fuel substitute
that can be made from soybean oil and blended with normal diesel, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions. And a new market opportunity is being created for corn stover – the leaves, stalks, and other parts of the plant left over after
corn kernels have been harvested – by turning it into sugar that will help in the manufacture of bio-based chemicals and biofuels.
Laurel Neufeld
Farm animals and the environment
About 30 per cent of Canada’s agricultural land is too hilly, rocky, cold or wet to grow crops. But it can support grazing livestock. Animals convert grasses and otherwise indigestible plant matter into nutrient and protein-rich food, while returning organic matter (manure) to the soil. It’s the original recycling program – and an important part of managing a sustainable environment.
In countries without extra grain, animal feed tends to consist mostly of grasses and forages, or other suitable plants. Some animals can consume grass; pest or weather- damaged grains; crop remains such as corn stalks, leaves and straw; and byproducts from food processing, such as unusable grains (or parts of grains) left over from the production of things like breakfast cereal.
Pro le
Cordy Cox & Clint Ellis
As beef cattle ranchers from central British Columbia, Cordy Cox & Clint Ellis have to be resourceful.
Wild res can be an annual occurrence in central B. C., and when those  res pose a risk to their animals and businesses, ranchers in the area are usually prepared to handle them. The 2017 summer season, however, brought  res of unprecedented size and number. The  res ravaged pasturelands the ranchers rely on to feed their cattle. They also destroyed endless miles of fencing, as well as ranch outbuildings and equipment. With communications and transportation lines virtually cut off from the remote areas in which many ranchers operate, it was very dif cult for them to acquire the supplies necessary to keep their animals – and their homes – safe.
Cordy, Clint and many other ranchers came together during the wild re crisis to help each other. Part of that involved helping their provincial cattle association develop a protocol with the local authorities where ranchers could move in and out of evacuation zones. In doing so, many ranchers were able to get the food and fuel they needed to save their animals and homes, and help keep the wild res at bay in the process.
“Ranchers know the land, the winds, where the cattle are and who owns them,” says Cordy.
“The community really became its own  re- ghting force”.
The Real Dirt on Farming 47
Cordy Cox & Clint Ellis

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