Rural Business History

Three Presentations:

Douglas McCalla, University Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph

Rural Enterprise and Canadian Business History

Until the end of the nineteenth century, a clear majority of people in Canada lived in rural areas. Yet business history has had a mainly urban focus – leading businesses were mainly based in cities. Rural people, when they appear in Canadian business history, tend to be producers or customers rather than active participants in actual businesses. If there has been a systematic account of rural business as such, I am not aware of it. Hence this essay, an attempt at an overview for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Simon Berge, University of Winnipeg

Canadian Rural Business History – Co-Operatives

Co-operatives in Canada have a unique history in the development of Canadian Society. The presentation will outline the development of co-operatives in Canada highlighting their growth in the various regions in Canada.  Dr. Berge completed his Doctorate at the University of Guelph studying co-operatives as an alternative distribution system for local food and community development. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from McMaster University.

Joshua MacFadyen, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Measures of Sustainability: Nutrient, Energy, and Information Flows in Canadian Agri-forestry, 1870-2010

This presentation considers some of the recent approaches to sustainable farm systems research and presents energy profiles of a Canadian case-study (Prince Edward Island), and it compares the last 150 years of energy production and efficiency in Canadian agri-forestry with trends across Europe and North America.  Josh’s monograph Flax Americana: A History of the Fibre and Oil that Covered a Continent is forthcoming at McGill-Queens University Press.