Tag Archives: potatoes

How can Canada “outlaw” a potato?

This excerpt is from The Tyee where the story, by Joanne Will, was titled “The Potato Underground”:

Mug shot of the outlaw potato in question.

“When Jerry LeBourdais learned that big agribusiness couldn’t handle the Cariboo potato, he knew he’d found a variety that he wanted to support. The name didn’t hurt either. If there was a potato out there named “Cariboo,” it had a natural home on the back-to-the-land commune near Williams Lake that LeBourdais had founded.

All he needed was some seed. It sounded simple enough.

“Jerry wanted to get a hold of some, and asked me where,” recalls John Ryser, a prize-winning seed potato farmer who lives south of Prince George. Ryser told him it wouldn’t be easy, because the potato had been decertified for seed production in 1976. By the time LeBourdais came calling in 1983, the Cariboo spud had been banned for seven years and Ryser had given up growing the variety.

“I kept the Cariboo going for years,” says Ryser. “The big cheeses de-listed it because it would hang on to the vines.” Government officials may prohibit varieties for reasons ranging from disease susceptibility to a tendency to snarl farm equipment; industrial potato farmers want plants that harvest easily with machinery. “Once a variety is de-listed, if you grow it, they’ll cancel your seed grower’s licence.” Continue reading

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Outlaw potato farmers of Manitoba

While other jurisdictions are known for their outlaw dairy farmers who insist on supplying people with raw milk, Manitoba, it seems, has “outlaw potato farmers”. What is the world coming to, when a farmer can’t even grow and sell something as basic as potatoes, of all things, without the sanction of some trade organization? And yet, perhaps this is just the micro-scale manifestation of governments giving their power away to the likes of GATT, NAFTA, WTO, and other trans-national unelected power brokers. So here’s a glimpse into the life of  one Manitoba potato farmer who was turned into an outlaw by a change of marketing regulations in the middle of the growing season [what were they thinking?]. Thanks for this story to Crampton’s Market (in Winnipeg, Manitoba), and to Beverley and Lois (who told us about it) — “Bad News for Manitoba Potato Eaters…. and Growers“:

Once again, its the little guy who gets shafted in this supply management power play. Photo from Suderman Brothers Farms, one of Manitobas larger potato growers.

Once again, it's the little guy who gets shafted in this supply management "power play". Pic from Suderman Bros. Farms, one of Manitoba's big potato growers.

“We were supposed to receive 2 more deliveries of those beautiful small new crop potatoes this week. That was before Peak of the Market served my farmer with a cease and desist order. The farmer ignored the papers served to him at first. Then Peak of the Market lawyers showed up at his door with fines unless he stopped marketing his potato crop. This left him with the choice of harvesting the crop to give away to foodbanks, or to destroy the potato crop. The purported fine was for lot of money so my potato farmer destroyed some of his fields by tilling them up, and harvested the remainder of the crop, delivering it to a hutterite colony nearby.

So right you you are probably wondering what the FRICK is going on!! I’ll bet that you all thought that Peak of the Market supported small Manitoba farmers, that is what is implied in their TV commercials. Here’s the scoop. Continue reading

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