Shared Harvest- growing access to local food and agriculture
FarmFolkCityFolk has launched a new networking site for local food and agriculture called SharedHarvest. From field to table, farmers, food processors, restaurants, grocers, distributors, warehousers, and consumers can list Wanted and Available ads for food and agricultural products and services. There are 22 categories including, Bees and bee products, Dairy, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables, and over 300 individual products and services-with more to be added. In addition, Shared Harvest supports food rescue efforts. Grocers, hotels, restaurants and even backyard gardeners with “too much of a good thing” can post food donations. Registered charities and societies can post want ads. An online calendar also keeps you informed of local food events. SharedHarvest Metro Vancouver. SharedHarvest USA
Food grown close to home is close enough
Have you seen the new grocery store advertising promotion called Grown Close To Home? I have, and I like it. It’s clever. In the store, it’s remarkably simple, distinguished by bold signage emphasizing the words Grown and Home, while minimizing Close and To. My mind’s eye tends to turn these words over and read Home Grown, which may be the campaign creator’s intent. If so, it’s effective at making you think what you’re buying is homegrown, whatever that means. I think this is an attempt to capitalize on consumers’ zeal for local food, without actually using the L word. Owen Roberts opinion in the Guelph Mercury. He teaches agricultural communications at the University of Guelph. Website.
More Canadians want to know where their food comes from
These aspects of the food system have led some Canadians to wonder if control over food should or can be localized, and whether this would strengthen communities and keep residents, including those living in poverty, healthier and better fed. Going local has been heralded as the solution because, in theory, it promotes self-reliance and boosts local economies. The “ethical eating” movement is diverse, just like the people propelling it forward — although most agree something about the food system just isn’t right. Vancouver Sun story. Ottawa Citizen story.
We have land; we need vision
Planning the development of urban agriculture, including market gardens, is a creative and viable alternative to make vacated and desolate space look alive and meaningful. To start, numerous vacant lots can be converted to market gardens that would not only employ people, but provide fresh produce. City administration could manage the development of the inner city urban agriculture operations in the same way the conversion of the City Centre Airport is being planned. The planning could include the hauling of fertile soil from roadways being developed in new areas. Edmonton Journal opinion.
Urban farming startup helps city get growing
With the mantra “food and eating unite us all,” three recent business school graduates decided to do some civic uniting of their own through gardening. The result is a business called Young Urban Farmers, founded by Nancy Huynh, Chris Wong and Jing Loh in spring 2009. The idea includes “sharing our passion for local organic produce by making gardening simple, fun and rewarding for people across the GTA, Ontario and beyond,” their website says. Their method is to do as much or as little as the client wants. A full-service option includes planting, maintenance and harvesting. Customers who want to dig in themselves can choose consultations about what fruits and vegetables will grow best in their garden or on their condo balcony. Open File story.
Why develop a National Food Strategy?
The conclusion from these discussions was that work should continue on developing a long-term, overarching agriculture and food strategy, and that this work needs to be done with all stakeholders at the table. This is an opportunity for federal and provincial governments, consumers, community groups, agri-business and farmers to work together on a strategy that can lead to a healthier, more environmentally sound and economically prosperous Canada. The anticipated timeframe is to hold initial consultations between now and December 2010, and to work on developing consensus and finalizing the strategy by October 2011. This will be a very significant undertaking that will involve discussions at the provincial level, so please stay tuned. BC Agricultural Council August Capsule.
Local food promoted
Alberta agriculture producers and industry now have access to a program to promote local food. Explore Local will help capitalize on the growing demand for locally produced food. The initiative aims to pull together all the different programs currently offered by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and to gather the knowledge and expertise under one umbrella, says Shauna Johnston, manager of Explore Local. According to Johnston, the effort will take advantage of all the work already done by AARD in the areas of farm direct marketing, regional cuisine, farmers’ markets and ag tourism. The broad goal is to foster learning opportunities and provide information, coaching and advocacy. FCC Express story.
Eat, Drink, Get Informed
Centred around local eating, urban farming, food and, well, “beers.” Get it? David Beers. Food and Beers. Pretty good, eh? Aw, c’mon. What’s a fish got to do to get a laugh out of you people? Whether you thought that was funny or not, if you’re interested in local food and farming, you’ll enjoy these events and the exhibit they accompany.
- “A Local Iron Chef” on Sept. 23
- “Can the City Feed Itself?” on Oct. 14
- “How Do We Compare to Other Cities?” on Nov. 25
- “Vancouver’s New Food Writing” on Dec. 8
The Tyee article.
Yes, I can!
When I heard Cowichan Green Community was hosting Preserving the Harvest, a four-session workshop series on canning I put my name on the list. If only to be able to say, you guessed it, “Yes, I can!” Who doesn’t want to know how to can? Granted it’s a dying art. But more and more people are taking to home food preservation these days — out of choice and not so much out of necessity. Canada.com story.
I am a caterer with locavore tendencies based in the beautiful Gulf Islands off Canada’s West Coast. I specialize in gorgeous rustic food with a sharp local & organic edge. Planning a vegan wedding or a film industry party with a green core? Foodisima has your answer. Blog
AND if You Have Time
Why Should a Farmer Be the Least Bit Interested with the Word Local?
Kevin Stewart discusses local food with Elbert van Donkersgoed when he was the Executive Director for the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (December 2006) YouTube video.