Introduction to News From Elsewhere (updated)

Submitted by Andrew Simard on 2020-Sep-17 Thu 16:30
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Hello!

And welcome to the News From Elsewhere section of the 500 Foods website.

As part of the Fall-2020 website overhaul, this is one of the new sections that has been added.  This is a curated collection of news stories covering topics most likely to be of interest to the 500 Foods community. News stories are added as we encounter them, usually about a dozen or so each day. Fewer on weekends because there are fewer news releases published.

Sources

The news stories you find here are selected out of the hundreds of stories that we review each day from dozens of RSS feeds from around the world. Many such news stories are sourced from websites like HortiDaily and FreshPlaza that have themselves become industry mainstays. But we also glean news stories from many other sources, including government websites, individual growers and suppliers, and so on. The list of sources continues to grow and evolve, and we're always on the lookout for additional sources.

Feel free to pass along any sources you think may be of interest to the community, preferably using RSS links or Twitter feeds.  If you have an individual story that you feel is newsworthy, please email it to scoop@500foods.com and we'll review it right away.  If you're interested in moderating this kind of content or otherwise getting involved more directly, please first register for an account on the site and then get in touch via concierge@500foods.com with the details.

Selections

The topical scope of news stories coming our way tends to be very broad, often covering all of agriculuture and well beyond into manufacturing, automation and technology in general. Or news stories in regions well beyond our (Canadian) borders. With this in mind, the news stories that we select to include on our site generally cover a few specific areas. Growing fresh produce in shipping containers is the general focus of 500 Foods, so this tends to be the focus around which news stories might be selected.

  • Food Safety and Recalls. If there are recalls posted (say by the CFIA or the FDA) that are generally related to fresh produce or to very common food products, and are of a nature that is of interest to the general public, then they'll be included. Fresh peaches recalled in Canada after salmonella outbreak in U.S., for example. Other recalls, like mislabelled products or allergens or things of that nature, while undoubtedly important to many, would likely not be included.
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Sometimes defined as "anything involving growing indoors" is a main topic of interest, so any news stories that showcase advances in learning, in products or services, or in successes or failures in this arena are good candidates for inclusion. Vertical Farming stories fall under this category. As do most greenhoouse-related stories. Stories involving shipping containers get a lot of attention as well, naturally. Big fan of shipping containers.
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Pests and diseases can significantly impact crop viability and thus food systems in general. These stories are often included as they are often far-reaching in terms of their scope and application. Not so much the occurence of problems but rather the solutions to them or preventative measures that have been developed.
  • Packing, Packaging and Automation. Packing in this context is the act of taking produce from its growing state and moving it through harvest, cleaning, grading and so on until it is ready for retail sale (or consumption). This is a key area often for automation as this is where a large portion of labour costs in any farming operation is expended. Packaging refers generally to the actual material involved (vexar bags and so on). These topics tend to overlap and interrelate with one another but they are generally all of interest. A new logo or marketing colour scheme may not be of as much interest, however.
  • Distribution and Trade. News stories that describe challenges or accomplishments related to distributing food are often of interest as this is a major component of every food sytem everywhere. But it is a small subset of global shipping overall which tends to generally work pretty well. So often these tend to be stories about preserving the cold chain for produce shipments. And lots of little stories about how such an efficient system of distribution tends to attract attention from those wanting to ship agricultural products that are not fresh produce! Trade announcements tend to be skipped over, particularly national agreements between countries that don't include Canada. Similarly, pricing information (moves up and down) tend to not be included.
  • Investments, Personnel and Project Announcements. These tend to not be included as there are so very many such announcements and they generally get plenty of exposure all on their own. Sometimes projects that are particularly innovative will be included, even from other fields or industries. Some fusion energy announcements, for example, were included.
  • General Interest. Naturally, there are many stories that we run across that aren't specific to one topic or another but may be of interest generally. A world record tomato for example. Has no practical application really, but is still fun to see.

And Finally...

All of our stories are avaialble by visiting our website, but also by other means as well. People who register on the website can subscribe to a daily email that includes a summary of all the news stories published. RSS feeds are also available. Check out the RSS section of our website for more information.

All of our news stories are also tagged with one or sometimes several different labels that make it easier to find related stories. People who register on the website also have access to a bookmarking feature to help organize news stories and other blog postings. This may be helpful if you're researching a particular industry topic, for example. Registered visitors are also able to participate by posting comments to news stories and other blog posts.

And finally, there are features available for all visitors to make it easy to filter and search across all news stories and blog posts. Using the main search field at the top of the 500 Foods website, you can search for any keyword or tag to find related stories. Each section of the website, including News From Elsewhere, also has a "Filter and Sort" page where you can do a deep dive into any particular topic, searching across the entire archive of news stories that we curate and filtering by more complex criteria.