Page 50 - RealDirtENG2017new
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The original water recycling program
There are many misleading reports about the amount of water that goes into producing food. Cattle, for example, do use water – but they also return much of it, and it certainly does not require many thousands of litres of water to make one burger patty.81 Water undergoes cycles, and only a small fraction of water consumed is retained in the body. As with any biological organism, most of the water consumed by cattle continues to cycle through the environment, and it doesn’t make sense to consider it lost forever. Whether for agricultural purposes or our day-to-day lives, sustainable water use means not taxing water sources beyond their capacity to replenish. It’s a matter of sustainability, or using water in balance with the environment.
Water, water everywhere ...or not
Irrigating vegetables
Michelle Longman
Some crops — usually fruits and vegetables, but occasionally others — require irrigation to ensure that they have enough water to grow properly. Today’s irrigation systems come in a variety of forms, and help to ensure that water
isn’t wasted. Sprinkler and surface drip systems are common, and some farmers use a system called sub-surface drip irrigation, by which water lines are buried in the soil and release water directly onto a plant’s root system, so that no water is lost to evaporation or run-off. In greenhouses, water used for irrigation is collected and reused, ensuring sustainable use of this important resource.
Even though Canada is home to 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water, its availability and quality are important
issues, especially as the climate continues to change; thus, sustainable production practices become more and more important.
Sometimes the land used to grow crops does not drain well, meaning that crops have a higher likelihood of being damaged by standing water. To avoid this effect, farmers install underground tile systems to help drain surplus water from their  elds. This method not only improves crop quality and yield, but also reduces soil erosion, and stops algae-promoting nutrients from running off surfaces into lakes and rivers. In some provinces, farmers must apply for a government- issued permit to use water, to ensure that they are using it in an environmentally- responsible and sustainable way.
The Real Dirt on Farming
Reta Regelink
A beekeeper checks his hives.
The buzz about bees
Honey bees, bumblebees, and many wild pollinators play a critical role in the production of fruits, vegetables, and other crops. They pollinate blossoms on plants, turning them into fruit such as blueberries, for example, or vegetables such as pumpkins. Canada also produced approximately 43.2 million kilograms of honey in 2015.82
The centre of every beehive is the queen bee, surrounded by a cluster of worker bees tending to her every whim. Annually, about 150,000 queen bees are imported into Canada from Hawaii, because they are available earlier in the year. The queens travel to their new homes in boxes, each with  ve attendant bees. While in transit, they eat from little candy plugs that provide nutrition. Canada also imports queen bees from Australia and other countries.

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