Raymond Loo of Springfield, Prince Edward Island is one of three recipients of the 2011 Canadian Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust.
Since 1996, his Springwillow Farms has been a certified organic farm growing fruit, garden vegetables, grains, forages and livestock.
In 2005, the sixth generation farmer set out to market organically produced Island products in Japan. Currently the resulting operation, Annespei Farm, markets products from 24 PEI farmers. Crops exported include black currants, non GMO and organic canola seed and oil, organic soy beans, organic buckwheat, organic rhubarb and other fruit. Visitors to Loo’s farm are often surprised to see fields of dandelions – the roots of which are used by the Japanese in the production of a specific coffee.
Loo has been working very hard to develop the organic industry on PEI. He feels strongly that the Island could one day be fully organic and become a world-renowned producer of high quality products. He is the past-president of the Certified Organic Producers COOP, a founding director of the Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network, a board member of the PEI Agrifood Alliance and Vice Chair of the PEI ADAPT Council.
With his Nuffield Scholarship, Loo hopes further develop his value chain as well as share his experience and learn from other farmers involved in similar initiatives.
The other recipients were Leona Dargis from Alberta and Kelvin Meadows from Saskatchewan.
Nuffield Canada President Barry Cudmore is pleased with the research planned by all three scholars. “Leona, Kelvin and Raymond are looking at important issues in relation to the need for competitive and long-term human resources practices, the deciphering of the regulations associated with food exports and the development of value chain initiatives. We look forward to the innovative ideas they bring forth as a result of their international travels.”
Nuffield Farming Scholarships are awarded to enthusiastic individuals, between the ages of 25 and 45, wishing to explore topics of their choice in agriculture, land management, horticulture or the food chain. They provide individuals with the unique opportunity to:
· develop a global perspective on food and agriculture
· achieve personal development through study and travel
· stand back from their day-to-day occupation and study a topic of real interest to them
· access the world's best in food and farming
· deliver benefits to Canadian farmers and growers, and to the industry as a whole
The scholarships also help these leaders to expand their knowledge and network with top individuals around the world, to promote advancement and leadership in agriculture. A key part of the scholarship is the opportunity for the recipients to study a topic of great personal interest to themselves by carrying out an extensive research and global study tour.
Applications for the 2012 Scholarship are due April 30, 2011. For more information on Nuffield Canada including application forms, visit www.nuffield.ca.