Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday February 3, 2013 12:00 - 2:00pm REAP-Canada's Annual General Meeting (AGM) - UC 332

Come meet the staff behind REAP-Canada and learn about the exciting projects we have been working on over the last year in Canada and West Africa. REAP-Canada is an independent, non-profit organization that has been working since 1986 with farmers, scientists, and the private sector to improve the sustainability of farming systems and develop ecological ways of producing food, fibre and fuel from farms both in Canada and abroad. This event is open to all REAP-Canada members and the general public. Non-members may purchase a REAP-Canada annual individual or organizational membership for $25 or $100 respectively either online or at the event. See you there!

REAP-Canada Presenting at ETHOS Conference

REAP Canada is pleased to announce that Roger Samson and Rebecca Chin will be presenting "The Noflay Stove: An Advanced, Low-Cost Clay Brick Stove" at the annual ETHOS conference being held January 25-27, 2013 in Kirkland, Washington. This conference provides an outstanding opportunity for practitioners, researchers, students and others to share their advances in developing, testing, disseminating and monitoring appropriate cooking and heating technologies around the world.

ETHOS is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to facilitate research and the development of appropriate technology by forming collaborative North-South Partnerships between universities, research laboratories, engineers and non-governmental organizations in foreign countries.

Monday, October 22, 2012

REAP-Canada's work appears in Farming Matters Magazine.

Farming Matters is an online magazine that informs readers about sustainable, small-scale farming. It offers discussions, background to the news, opinions, research findings, and practical examples of how sustainable, small-scale farming contributes to providing food security, social justice, a healthy environment and development. In the September 2012 edition on farmers organizations, REAP-Canada's Agro-Ecological Village (AEV) approach was highlighted in their "Learning About..." section. Follow this link to read the article: Organizing Communities for Agroecoloy. Or, read the whole magazine by following this link.

Monday, October 01, 2012

REAP Switchgrass Breeding Efforts - Funded by CDAQ

Two members from the Conseil pour le Developpement de l'Agriculture du Quebec (CDAQ) joined up with 5 REAP-Canada staff members and our partners at Norac Farms in Valleyfield, Quebec to tour the switchgrass fields that were a great success this year! The project is part of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) and its focus is on the genetic improvement of switchgrass growing on marginal land in order to enhance its commercial viability. It is designed to develop six new lines of switchgrass with better performance in marginal lands and adaptation to the shorter growing seasons in Eastern Canada.  The goals include improving seedling vigor, and overall establishment during the first year as well as to increase productivity and reduce crop lodging.  In the end, the selected lines will be available for further testing by research stations and will be multiplied by switchgrass seed producers. The tour included a short introduction to switchgrass and the breeding program, a tour of 3 different switchgrass sites, and discussion on the success of the third year of growth within each population. All in all, it was a great day of exploring and learning about this incredibly resource efficient species that has the potential to, as the director of REAP-Canada, Roger Samson put it: "help farmers grow a green prosperity for future generations!"


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

AEV featured by Canadian Geographic!

Canadian Geographic has recently launched their 'Canada and Overseas Development' thematic on the Canadian Atlas Online ( In this thematic module, REAP-Canada and its Agro-Ecological Village (AEV) Development Approach has been featured prominently under "CIDA's Partners" in a online animated video. The thematic is a online learning resource targeted at secondary school students. Check it out here: AEV on Canadian Geographic

Monday, April 30, 2012

Introducing the 'No-Fly' Clay Stove

REAP-Canada has recently completed the Cookstoves Lowering Emissions in the West African Region (CLEAR) project with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) in Canada. Through the CLEAR project REAP was able to further develop an innovative clay brick based cooking system called the 'No-Fly' Stove. The name ‘No-Fly’ is a local expression, understood across many local dialects as ‘no problem’ and generally insinuating that the user is enjoying themselves. The overall objective in designing the 'No-Fly' stove was to create a low priced stove made from local materials that could reduce fuelwood consumption and indoor air pollution while also improving cooking convenience and safety. 
During the CLEAR project, REAP worked with local masons and communities to produce the clay bricks for 2500 stoves at the village-level, building on existing local production initiatives of fired and sun-dried pressed clay bricks. More details on the stove design and project details will be available on our website soon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

REAP presents at a Food Security / Sovereignty event at UofT

Meredith Kushnir from REAP-Canada presented at a speaker series event put on by Dig In! Campus Agriculture and the Hart House Farm Committee at the University of Toronto. Mrs. Kushnir talked about the complex challenges of food sovereignty and security in The Gambia and Senegal and shared REAP's experiences and AEV approach to addressing these challenges. Click here to go to the Dig In! website and to view the presentation.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012 REAP-Canada AGM

REAP-Canada's Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Sunday, January 29th, 2012, 1:00pm – 2:00pm
@ Guelph Organic Conference, University of Guelph, UC 335

Come meet the staff behind REAP-Canada and learn about the exciting projects we have been working on over the last year. This event is open to all REAP members. Non-members may purchase a REAP-Canada annual individual or organizational membership for $25 or $100 respectively either online or at the event (

Also, prior to the AGM at 11:45 am, in the same room (UC335), REAP-Canada will host an 'International Networking' - open to all organizations and/or individuals who have a interest in agriculture + international development. We look forward to seeing you there!

REAP MTS video demonstrates the grass fuel option

REAP-Canada recently created a short video that demonstrates the Mayon Turbo Stove efficiently burning chopped grass. Perennial grasses are abundant in many fuel-deficit regions in the world and could be used as an alternative fuel source to agricultural waste and wood. Check out the video below! (both English and French versions available)

[English] The grass fuel option for household cookstoves
[French] Herbe comme combustible renouvlable pour poêles domestiques

Friday, November 18, 2011

REAP-Canada Hosts Chinese Delegation

Fifteen delegates from the China Alliance for Clean Stoves (CACS) joined up with four REAP-Canada staff to tour various facilities in Southern Ontario this week. Sites on the two-day itinerary included: Hills Pelletworks in Chatsworth, Ontario; The Fyre Place and Patio Shop in Owen Sound; Nott Farms Ltd./Switch Energy Corporation in Clinton, Ontario; Fleming Feed Mill, Clinton, Ontario, and a lecture from Crispin Pembertonn-Pigett from New Dawn Engineering on small-scale pellet stoves. Overall, the tour was very successful. To read more about the CACS, visit their website.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Roger Samson: Feature Speaker at Upcoming Biomass Conference

Roger Samson will be a feature speaker at an upcoming conference called 'Harnessing Biomass: Support for Northern Ontario Bioeconomy Initiative" in North Bay, ON. His presentation will be on growing herbaceous biomass crops for fiber and energy markets in the afternoon on Tuesday November 22, 2011.

Workshop/Registration Details:

HARNESSING BIOMASS II: Support for Northern Ontario Bioeconomy Initiatives
Clarion Resort
Pinewood Park, North Bay, ON
November 22 & 23, 2011
Cost is $50 per day and includes coffee, lunch and workshop materials.
For more information please visit:

Friday, October 21, 2011

AEV highlighted on CKUT Radio

On October 18, 2011, Erik Delaquis participated in a radio interview for CKUT’s program called ‘Health on Earth’. The episode explores the linkages between food security, health and community development. Erik spoke specifically about REAP's Agroecological Village (AEV) approach and how it addresses food security in Gambia and Senegal. The program also featured an interview with Mr. Daniel Gustafason, the director of the Liaison Office at the FAO, and Dr. Festus Murithi, the assistant director of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. Click here to listen to the archived episode.

Friday, September 16, 2011

MAPAQ Project Presentation by Erik Delaquis: Switchgrass in Quebec

In 2010, REAP-Canada partnered up with McGill Univesity for a MAPAQ funded project entitled "Improving switchgrass biomass yield and quality". The project aims to assess switchgrass and big bluestem cultivar yield performance in Quebec and to examine the impact of soil quality on biomass fuel quality. Erik Delaquis, a REAP-Canada research associate and current MSc student at McGill University, recently gave a presentation to MAPAQ on the current status of the project. To view this presentation in English [click here] or en Francais [cliquez ici].

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

'Tales from Green REAPers' Intern Blog Launched!

We are very proud to announce the launching of the REAP-Canada intern blog. Thanks to our current IYIP intern extraordinaire, Danielle Denis-Lalonde, the blog is up and running and ready for public viewing! This blog is an ongoing collection of articles submitted by past and present REAP-Canada interns ("Green REAPers") each of whom have spent up to 6 months working on ecological agriculture and renewable energy projects in developing countries. The principal goal of this site is to share these narratives and in doing so, promote public awareness and knowledge of the experiences of Canadians in international development. On the blog, you'll find their tales of challenges and triumphs as they immerse themselves into the local communities and culture.

Monday, June 06, 2011

REAP-Canada awarded grant by Stoneyfield's Profit for the Planet:

REAP-Canada was recently amongst only five 2011 grant recipients of Stonyfield Organic "Profit for the Planet" Initiative with our project "Native Perennial Grasses: New Crops for Organic Farming in the Northeast". For this project, REAP will develop six new lines of switchgrass and big bluestem with improved adaptability and seedling vigour and promote it's use as both an organic animal bedding and for commercial energy applications like greenhouse heating. To read Stonyfield's press release, click here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Un vrai rencontre Sénégalaise!

From left to right: Margaret Graves (REAP-Canada Intern), Abdoul Aziz Gueye (Director, Senegal Government Tourist Office), Brenna Walsh (Friend of REAP) and Mariam Sy Diawara (President, Maison de l'Afrique)

This past Friday, REAP-Canada was represented at Maison de l’Afrique-Mandingo’s Senegalese week in Montreal.

Maison de l’Afrique is a cultural space that specializes in all things African! They focus on facilitating communication and sharing among the African community and the Québécois society of which they are a part, using workshops, art shows and other media. Maison de l’Afrique also supports new immigrants, tourism to a broad range of African countries, and the NGO community working in Africa. Since REAP has been working in Senegal for more than two years now, it was a good opportunity to revisit Senegalese culture and network with others interested in the country’s wellbeing.

At “Rencontres Québec-Sénégal”, there was Senegalese food and drink, networking/ engagement time for NGO’s working in Senegal, Senegalese music (even a chance to sing along!), and an inspiring presentation about cycling in Senegal. Other organizations in attendance were Caravane and Mer et Monde. The festivities continued the following, and final day of Senegal week, with dancing, drumming and yet more Senegalese food.

If this is any indication of the quality of Maison de l’Afrique’s events, they are certainly worth attending, and we hope that another Senegalese week will be on the near horizon.

Environment Canada Commissions Report: Review of the Effects of Energy Crops in Canada on Water Use and Quality

REAP-Canada staff have been working hard on a report for Environment Canada. The report uncovered some crucial findings, including the potential of some biomass energy crops to deplete groundwater reserves. “Hydrologically effective rainfall” is a key concept in the review, aiming to find out how much rain actually gets past the canopy and root systems of the crop to successfully recharge groundwater. The review also calls into question the reported yields in some research papers which have been based on small-plot trials. Crops in small plots can gain extra water from the surrounding, crop-free areas, an advantage that large acreages lack. Stay tuned for the full-text version of the review!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Each year, REAP-Canada offers young Canadians an opportunity to gain exposure in the fields of sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and international development through the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) International Youth Internship Program (IYIP). The IYIP program officially started for REAP in April 2010 and is expected to go until March 2013. So far, 10 outstanding interns have joined the REAP-Canada team and have made lasting contributions in Canada and overseas.

Here are our first four interns: Leanne Robinson, Catherine Bourgault, Margaret Graves and Eileen Jones. In the above picture, Catherine, Leanne and Eileen pose with REAP's executive director Roger Samson. Below, they are enjoying Christmas in Senegal! These four remarkable ladies have successfully completed their internships. Over the course of their internships, they each made significant lasting contributions to our ongoing efforts in designing and distributing sustainable household stoves, in farmer-t0-farmer trainings on topics such as organic soil fertility and pest management, an also on staff computer literacy training!

Roger Samson chosen as Canadian Expert Resource for UNDP initiative!

REAP-Canada's executive director, Roger Samson, was chosen as a Canadian Expert Resource for the UNDP's Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program in Southern Sudan. The DDR program is an integral part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Government of southern Sudan. To find out more about the UNDP's DDR program, visit:
This past fall, 2010, Roger Samson traveled to southern Sudan as part of a team of sectoral experts. The objective is to create linkages with sustainable economic recovery activities and generate innovative options for up-scaling or broadening agri-based options for ex-combatants and women associated with armed forces choosing agriculture as their reintegration option. Southern Sudan remains a predominantly agrarian-based economy. As such, it is expected that a significant portion on participants in the reintegration program will select agriculture, agri-business or livestock options for their reintegration packages.
Over the next eighteen months, Mr. Samson will provide technical advice and training to the implementing partners on the delivery of economic reintegration support in the agriculture sector. The three main activities will be: capacity building on project implementation and management; adaptation and refinement of start up kit content; and, the development of a comprehensive farmer training program.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

REAP-Canada Participates in a Dynamic Biomass Discussion

On Thursday January 27th, 2011, Roger Samson was the guest speaker at the First Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Biomass Producers Group (OBPG), held at the lovely Mohawk Inn in Campbellville, Ontario.

The presentation highlighted the emerging fibre market for warm-season grasses and the barriers in place against the further development of the biomass energy sector. Mr. Samson’s well-received presentation followed introductory comments by Urs Eggimann of Eggimann Consulting Inc.

Another presenter, Don Nott, gave a producer’s angle on growing biomass crops. Mr. Nott had some very exciting news for the group, which ended the meeting on a high note!

The evening was a successful REAP-Canada outing, fitting in nicely en route to the 30th Annual Guelph Organic Conference.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Organic Meadow and REAP-Canada: Solidarity Visit to Gain Ground in the Gambia and Senegal

At the most beautiful vista in the country, overlooking the River Gambia, the Organic Meadow crew: Maria Biemond, Shelly Juurlink, Peter Biemond, and Anita Tucker, with REAP-Canada intern Margaret Graves, GGIGS Livestock Officer Abdoulie Loum, NATC driver Mamoud Panneh, GGIGS Project Officer Sulayman Darboe, GGIGS Community Organizers Hadijatou and Baboucarr Ceesay, and other AVISU staff members.

For two weeks in September, Organic Meadow Co-operative farmers visited the Gambia to learn from and support farmers in the West African country. Peter and Maria Biemond, Linton McCoy and Shelly Juurlink represented Organic Meadow, and Anita Tucker, a Research Associate in Animal Science at the University of Guelph, came along to offer her expertise. The project was spearheaded by Ms. Juurlink, who, as a former REAP intern, and an active contributor to REAP, has a lasting commitment to the Gambian situation.

Upon arrival, the group were fortunate to experience some traditional Gambian music, the beautiful beach at Bijilo, and indispensible language and cultural training from Baboucarr Jallow, REAP’s regular Wolof-language trainer.

Once moving upcountry, they welcomed by REAP’s long-time Gambian partner, the Njawara Agricultural Training Centre (NATC), using the Centre as a base for 10 days. A few projects of interest were investigated, including REAP’s Gaining Ground in Gambia and Senegal (GGIGS), Concern Universal’s Gambia is Good (GIG), and a Senegalese women’s dairy cooperative.

The focus of the trip, however, was to encourage dialogue among the farmers – Canadian and Gambian. With this purpose in mind, tours and village meetings were organized in various places along the North Bank of the Gambia, including a visit to another of REAP’s partners, Agency for Village Support (AVISU), in the village of Kaur.

After a lively sendoff from Njawara, it was back to the city, as the Gambia’s National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) took on hosting duties, and the Canadians had a brisk tour of the more developed agricultural endeavors of the Kombo area.

It was an activity-intensive trip with plenty of food for thought. The farmers had an essential few days of downtime on the beach after returning to the coast, to digest, brainstorm and debate. And relax, of course!

REAP would like to thank the Organic Meadow group for their support and input. Peter, Maria and Linton also participated in REAP’s Development & Food Security workshop at the Guelph Organic Conference at the end of January, offering them another chance to share what they learned while overseas – and in the “re-entry period” since returning to Canada.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

REAP-Canada's Annual General Meeting (AGM)

January 30th, 2010 1:00pm – 2:00pm at the Guelph Organic Conference
University of Guelph, UC 334

Come meet the staff behind REAP-Canada and learn about the exciting projects we have been working on over the last year.

This event is open to all REAP members. Non-members may purchase a REAP-Canada annual individual or organizational membership for $25 or $100 respectively either online or at the event (

We look forward to seeing you this week!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

REAP-Canada Highlighted in two New Articles

Roger Samson and REAP Canada was recently featured in a commentary for The Bioscience Resource Project. The article entitled "The Real Burning Question: Are Liquid Fuels the Best USe of Non-Woody Biomass" discusses the issues surrounding the use of non-woody biomass for liquid biofuels and how liquid biofuels is not be the best use of this type of resource.

Similarly published "Renewable Energy and Green Heat" a summary on switchgrass pellets and their use for thermal heating as well as greenhouse gas offsetting benifits.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Biopellet Plant Possibility in Eastern Ontario

An article published in the Cornwall Standard-Freehold highlights work REAP-Canada prepared for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Communities Future Development Corporation to assess the possibility of establishing a warm season grass pellet industry in Eastern Ontario.

Canadian Bio Pellet Inc. in Ingleside, the Forman family, James de Pater of Hendrick Seeds and Glen Swerdfiger of DES Environmental are planning to build a mill to turn switchgrass and other organic products into biological pellets fit to be burned for energy production by the fall. The company will be called Switchgreen. The full article is available online here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Roger Samson: Feature Speaker at Growing Grass for Fuel Pellets Workshop

Roger Samson will be a feature speaker at an upcoming workshop in Nova Scotia on growing energy grasses for fuel pellets. The one day event will outline plans for a strong and healthy grass pellet fuel industry in Nova Scotia, and will offer information on production, and combustion.

Workshop/Registration Details
Growing Grass for Fuel Pellets
Thursday April, 23rd 2009-10am-3pm
Holiday Inn, Prince Street., Truro NS

Registration: (902)-896-0277 or by email r.hutchinson at agrapoint dot ca

Roger Samson: Speaker at International Energy Farming Conference

Roger Samson, Executive Director of REAP-Canada was invited to speak at the International Energy Farming Conference in Papenburg, Germany held on March 10-12, 2009.

This was the third congress and addressed the challenges around the need for action with regard to the implementation of climate protection objectives and concerning increasing demands
on the use of raw materials and energy. One of the objectives of the Energy Farming Congress was to present and discuss possible solutions through sustainably produced biomass and efficient bio-energy technology.

Roger gave a presentation on "Developing energy crops for thermal applications: Optimizing fuel quality, energy security and GHG mitigation". The presentation was based on a recent publication from Springer Science.

The full reference for the publication is: Samson R., C. Ho Lem, S. Bailey-Stamler, and J. Dooper. 2008. Chapter 16 “Developing Energy Crops for Thermal Applications: Optimizing Fuel Quality, Energy Security and GHG Mitigation.” 52pp. In D. Pimentel (ed.) Biofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems: Benefits and Risks. Springer Science, Berlin, Germany.

This book is available from Springer Publishers or online at

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Farm Co-operative for Switchgrass Growers

A recent article in Small Farm Canada magazine by Steven Biggs describes a pelletizing plant being built in St. Armand by Bio-Combustible International Inc. The article highlights the work done by REAP-Canada and the potential of switchgrass as a feedstock for pellet fuel.

CBC Maritime Noon Interview-They call it "Energy Grass"

REAP Canada was an invited speaker at this years Annual PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Meeting in Charlottetown this past February. Stephanie Bailey Stamler gave a seminar on "Growing Bioenergy Opportunities in Canada" where she discussed growing energy grasses, in particular switchgrass for bioenergy. She was interviewed for CBC radio's Maritime Noon program by Maggie Brown. To listen to the interview click here.

Alternatives Journal Publication-Better Bioenergy

REAP-Canada has a featured article in the latest edition of the Alternative Journal entitled "Better Bioenergy". The article analyzed how effective current bioenergy polices are in Canada and if there is a better way forward. The study found that to be effective, Canada's bioenergy policies need to consider the full lifecycle environmental and economic performance of various technologies. A more effective policy would be for Canada to implemented a policy parity, where different bioenergy options were be subsidized based on their environmental and economic performance. This would move Canada beyond the food-vs-fuel debate, paving the way for the best bioenergy options to emerge.

Stephanie Bailey Stamler, a co-author on the study, was interviewed for the Alternative Journal's monthly Podcast where she discussed the findings of the article. To hear the podcast click here.

For further information on the article click here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Great Lakes Grass Energy Symposium Final Program

January 22nd, 2009 1:00pm-5:00pm UC103 at the Guelph Organic Conference:

The speakers for our upcoming symposium have been finalized. There is still time to register for this exciting educational exchange on the grass energy industry. The symposium will begin with presentations from grass energy specialists covering grass production, harvest, densification and combustion. The day will end with updates from energy grass growers and a wonderful opportunity for question and answers.

Featured Speakers:
1:05-1:35 Dr. Paul Salon- Plant Materials Center USDA NRCS, Big Flats NY
1:35-2:05 Mr. Roger Samson-Executive Director, REAP-Canada, Montreal QC
2:05-2:35 Dr. Martin Roberge- Project Engineer, Case New Holland, Saskatoon SK
2:35-3:05 Dr. Fernando Preto- CanmetENERGY, NRCAN, Ottawa ON
3:05-3:20 Coffee Break
3:20-3:45 Mr. Rick Minke-Ekofuel Technologies, Walkerton, ON

Grower Experience Exchange Panel
3:45-4:00 Calvin Ernst- Founder, Ernst Conservation Seeds, Meadville PA
4:00-4:15 Don Nott- Nott Farms, Clinton ON
4:15-4:30 Ingrid Marini- Rural Association for Clean Energy, St. Armand QC
4:30-5:00 Question Period

Registration is online or at the door (