Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA)

Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA)

March 12, 2009 16:04 ET

Media Advisory: Canadian Biosphere Reserves Seeks Collaboration With Agriculture

ALLISTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2009) - Jeff Wilson, a well-known, prolific Wellington County farmer who operates Birkbank Farms told delegates at a recent conference of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) in Alliston that a co-operative effort is required by all of society to recognize that the things we take for granted: water, air, land, and food are finite resources and in need of protection.

"At some point in time, we need to be conscious that our efforts today will greatly impact that of my own daughter's future," said Wilson, the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his passion for agriculture and a published researcher. "This is about capturing marketplace opportunities from the buy local movement, conservation and environmental efforts being done by farmers and society, and articulating to a cynical public that issues such as climate change are real, impacting agriculture throughout the world, and will - sooner than later - adversely affect our food supply."

Wilson was the keynote speaker of a CBRA group international in its composition, with representatives from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Germany whose own nations are trying to interlink environment, health, safety, and well-being of their ever-changing biospheres with the realities of urban pressures and climatic change.

"We appreciated Jeff's distinct and knowledgeable perspective which he shared with us in a very animated way," said CBRA President Richard Murzin. "Agriculture is a large segment of the geography of most biospheres. The function of a UNESCO biosphere reserve is to improve life for all its citizens. I am very optimistic at the potential of collaboration with agriculture in Ontario and across Canada."

Biosphere reserves have already had success in areas like Saskatchewan, Lac St. Pierre in Quebec, and Ontario's Long Point. Each of those areas found a means of benefiting farmers through initiatives such as the promotion of local food, and branding and development of overseas markets. The biosphere is all of the land, water and atmosphere that support life. A biosphere reserve is an international designation of recognition from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) for an area in the world which is deemed to demonstrate a "balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere." By this is meant that collaborative efforts among people in the designated area serve to promote the sustainability of local economies and communities, as well as the conservation of the land or water resources.

A biosphere reserve designation gives an area international recognition for the important ecological and cultural values in an area. It also provides a mechanism, based on local commitment and local ability, to apply sound stewardship to the use of resources in an area to support present and future generations. These are values that we all share and are known to be important to farmers.

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