Agriculture experts for a sustainable world




  Early Agricultural Advice.

Indigenous agriculture has a long history with the most recent archaeological evidence suggesting it has been practiced in the Americas for at least 10,000 years, almost the same length of time as in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. Production of domesticated crops such as potatoes, squash, beans and corn from South and Central America progressed northward and cold tolerant varieties were being developed by Indigenous peoples in the northeast by 200 BCE.


Pre-contact Indigenous people in what is now New Brunswick (the Mi’gmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Peskotomuhkatiyik) were hunter-gatherer societies and well adapted to the natural world. They employed intricate systems of seasonal movement to hunt, fish, gather and grow foods and medicines. The seasonal cycles generally consisted of moving downriver in spring to fish and gather and plant crops and to hold annual gatherings, travelling to saltwater in summer to harvest seafood and berries, returning to harvest planted crops and prepare for winter before dispersing in smaller family groups to winter hunting grounds inland and upriver. While some of the crops cultivated and harvested would be familiar in a contemporary agricultural context (maize, beans, squash) these Peoples also cultivated and managed fields and natural stands of species native to the region such as groundnuts, berries, butternuts, and fiddleheads.



  The establishment of the Institute did not come easy for its promoters. They had to overcome resistance to the provision of compulsory membership to the national Institute (AIC); the qualifying of many Agriculturists who did not have “sufficient credentials” to belong to a professional institute; the fact that scientific and generalist professionals would belong to the same organization; etc. A positive vote was finally recorded and the Act to incorporate the New Brunswick Institute of Agrologists was assented on April 4, 1960. The first president was J.C. (Bill) Bennett, the director of the Livestock Branch with the NB Dept. of Agriculture. The principle activities of the early years were focused on enhancing communications among members in order to exchange experiences and to build esprit de corps. Seminars, information sessions debates on timely issues, newsletters, and “escape weekends”, were arranged and well attended. For some time there was also a little series of “Maritime Conventions”, whereby provinces would take turn hosting the annual event.