The Economics of Local Food – September 19
Ontario is home to some of the lushest farmland in Canada. Yet, even when local produce is in season, imported tomatoes and cucumbers dominate store shelves. Nationally, we import over 50 per cent of our vegetables and 95 percent of our fruit. How can locally grown food become more accessible and affordable? Join us Monday, September 19 for a talk about the economics of eating local, featuring two guest speakers: farmers’ market manager Cookie Roscoe, and Carolyn Young, program coordinator at Sustain Ontario. Details.
Drive-Thru Access to Local Food
Fresh City, an award winning farm and online farmers’ market, announced a new partnership with Penguin Pick-Up, a network of convenient pick-up locations for online purchases. The partnership will make local, organic food more accessible for the millions of GTA residents who live within a few minutes’ drive of a Penguin Pick-Up. Fresh City, a certified B Corp, farms in Toronto’s Downsview Park and sources directly from over 80 farmers and makers across Ontario. Founded in 2011, they are the largest organic meal delivery company in Canada and deliver produce, groceries, recipe kits, salad jars and smoothies directly to homes and offices. Montreal Gazette story.
Locally grown okra could soon be an option in Canada
It’s no secret that there’s a growing ethnic population of Canadians who have preferences for foods from their home countries. That fact brings with it unique opportunities for farmers to produce crops that haven’t traditionally been grown locally. Okra is one such crop. Over six million kilograms of okra is imported into Canada every year and the demand climbs annually. India is the top producer of the world’s okra, growing more than 70 per cent of the global crop. Other big producers are Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan. AgInnovation story.
Buy more food locally: OFA
The president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture is calling on shoppers to buy more local food as an unusually severe drought continues to plague much of southern Ontario. “Please ask for Ontario products and support your own first. There’s a heck of a lot less for farmers to sell this year,” president Don McCabe, a Lambton County cash-crop farmer, told The Intelligencer. Belleville Intelligencer story.
Is local food good for farmers?
Canada’s social sciences council is investing $2.4 million in local food research. Alison Blay-Palmer has been studying and promoting local food systems for nearly 20 years, and her enthusiasm for the topic is greater than ever. Blay-Palmer is director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., where she explores the big questions around sustainability. Those big questions include social justice, a factor rarely considered in mainstream ag research. For her, looking into economics means not only farm incomes, but also migrant labour, access to affordable food, and what she calls food “re-localization,” or “closing the loop” — to retain as much money as possible in the community. Country Guide story.
Why the neighbours are buying fresh food at Vos’ Independent in Port Perry
It’s no mystery why Ontario consumers are becoming increasingly hungry for locally grown, fresh food, or why customers of Vos’ Independent in Port Perry appreciate being able to select fruits and vegetables harvested from Durham Region farms. But the roots of the “eat local” movement are deeper. Vos’ Independent customers also want to support Durham Region farmers, says store owner Terry Vos, who keeps his produce section laden with local bounty as much as he can. “We’re a rural area, an agricultural area, so I do my best.” Durham Region post.
NERDs work on local food issues
The NHCT challenge was all of that, namely: how might we ensure that everyone has equitable access to nutritious food in our local area, based on the environmental sustainability of, and opportunities provided by, the North Hastings land base. In other words, the students had to develop new approaches to ensuring that everyone in this area has enough nutritious and affordable locally-grown food. Adding their assistance to the students were representatives from the Metis Nation, the area Stewardship Council, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Bancroft This Week story.
Over 2,000 visitors dined on Ontario-produced fare during the 2016 Breakfast on the Farm event near Woodstock
But Ontario maple syrup, local mushrooms and fresh-grown strawberries were just a few of the farm-fresh items on the menu at the free event designed to raise awareness about agriculture and the farming experience. Hosted by Evert, Jan and Eric Veldhuizen at Veldale Farms, located on Pattullo Avenue just south of Woodstock, the event also included a tour of the dairy farm’s tie-stall and free-stall barns, as well as 34 different agriculture-related exhibitions from across Ontario. Woodstock Sentinel Review story.
ClearWater working farm in Georgina will provide jobs, food
This includes the installation of the basic infrastructure to make the property usable for commercial purposes under the Ontario Water Centre’s (OWC) lease with the town for nine acres of the former Reed Farm/Sedore property. A $2.5-million capital campaign was launched more than one year ago to help fund work on the site. The OWC must raise at least $1 million in capital for the purpose of improving and operating the farm by August 2017. York Region post.
Agricultural land more than just dirt
Of increasing concern is the invasion of non-farm rural development, such as the human waste storage facility being proposed in Lincoln and the biodiversity offsetting project in Niagara Falls. Such initiatives that buy-out local agriculture land and attempt to petition government to change zoning to permit industrial operations are unethical to our current and future agriculture responsibilities. Initiatives like these place Niagara’s agriculture and environmental future in serious jeopardy. St Catharines Standard voices.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
How to start backyard farming: An exclusive expert guide
Julie Pierre’s idea was simple, but brilliant. Find a few neighbors with empty backyards, and start growing food. Give each homeowner fresh produce, in exchange for the use of their space. Sell the rest to people who are passionate about local food. It’s community-supported agriculture, with a twist: The farm is in suburban backyards. Pierre established Our Yards Farm in the spring of 2015, and she has since turned backyard farming into a booming business. ALFREA blog.