Landshare Canada brings together people who have a passion for home-grown food, connecting those who have land to share with those who need land for cultivating food. The concept of Landshare began in the UK, launched through the River Cottage television program in 2009, and has since grown into a thriving community of more than 60,000 growers, sharers and helpers across the country. Now that Landshare is here in Canada, we welcome you to come and take part in this fantastic initiative. Website.
Canada’s Largest City Overlooks Local Food Production
As Canadians celebrate our nation’s 144th birthday this weekend, it’s an appropriate time to consider what it means for each of us to be Canadian. As farmers, it doesn’t matter what day of the year it is, we are never more proud than when our fellow Canadians enjoy the produce and food grown right here at home. This Canada Day long weekend farmers everywhere are especially grateful for Canadian consumers choosing to feed their families with locally-grown food. Unfortunately not everyone shares that same pride and social responsibility. In fact, a City of Toronto committee recently refused to adopt a policy that would direct City staff to buy local food, when appropriate, instead of imported food that may come from thousands of miles away. A final decision on the policy will go to Toronto City Council in two weeks for further debate. Commentary by Bette Jean Crews, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture posted on Farms.com
Quebec to refocus its agrifood policy on the food
Quebec’s first draft of a comprehensive public policy on agrifood proposes what the government calls a “major” cultural change by focusing the policy on the food and, by extension, the consumer. The document’s various policy proposals aim to support agrifood in the context of consumer concerns, such as sustainable development, reduced pesticide use and increased awareness of locally-produced foods. The draft document follows one of the key general recommendations of the controversial 2008 report from the Commission on the future of agriculture and agri-food, which was led by former senior provincial bureaucrat Jean Pronovost and set up by Premier Jean Charest in 2006. Pronovost’s report had proposed forming new dialogues within the ag sector and “civil society” in general, based on consumers’ emerging demands. Country Guide story.
Students grow interest in local food
St. Anne Academic Centre students would like to bring vegetable shopping to a community garden near you. Using a self-sustaining ecosystem as a model, the group has been testing hydroponics systems in the classroom growing their own herbs and vegetables. Through this venture they hope to inspire environmental awareness and encourage urban farming practices as well as tackle food inflation. Calgary Herald story.
Seeds of self-sufficiency
Not exactly what a passerby would expect to see on a quiet, treelined street minutes from downtown Montreal (I can’t say exactly where; more about that later). But it’s what urban agriculture enthusiasts across North America would like to see – micro-farms where city dwellers could produce fruits, vegetables, eggs and honey, milk from goats, and meat from rabbits. Montreal Gazette story.
City initiative promotes locally grown food
The City of Edmonton is embarking on a new urban agriculture and food strategy. Councillor Dave Loken, who is heading up the initiative on behalf of council, said it includes creating a local economy for home grown food. “Food that can be sold to restaurants, can be sold to farmer’s markets or per household to feed the family that sort of thing,” he said. Loken said the initiative might also include creating gardens on rooftops, in backyards or even at City Hall. Edmonton iNews 880AM story.
Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada
This document reflects a growing wave of concern amongst regular people across Canada about the future of food. It is the result of 3500 talking about food at over 250 kitchen table talks. It contains our ideas about how to make Canada’s food system fair, healthy and ecological. Summary. People’s Food Policy Project website.
Growing the Local Bounty: Reports from Farmlands in Flux, Ontario and BC
Reporters Colleen Kimmett, Jeff Nield and Justin Langille journey through the greenbelts outside Vancouver and Toronto to gauge the health of local food systems and find out from growers, processors and distributors what’s working to make local food truly sustainable. The Tyee series.
Food Miles: What does it mean for farmers?
The use of the term “food miles” is growing in popular media – but what does it mean for Canadian farmers? The majority of western Canadian food is exported – with some years as high as 80%. Saskatchewan’s high volume of production is the most dependent on the export market, the least reliant on the US market, which means a greater percentage of the harvest goes off-shore compared to the rest of the country. Saskatchewan foods travel across the globe to almost every country in the world. Is this sustainable? How do we know?
The term “food miles” was first used by a UK report in 1994 to highlight the environmental and social impacts caused by the increasing distances that food was travelling. It has been widely adopted by local food movements and actively used to promote the widespread growth of initiatives such as farmers’ markets. Al Scholz post on Canadian Farm business Management council website.
Food Policy encounters of a third Kind: How the Toronto Food Policy Council Socializes for Sustain-ability
Whenever a conversation turns to global warming and the environment, someone is bound to bring up the need for sustainability, at which point someone will inevitably talk up the need for innovation. everyone will invariably nod agreement, not because they always know which innovation will do the trick, but because they assume that innovation refers to technology or know-how that someone else will invent to solve some other person’s environmental abuse problem – not something different or innovative they will change in themselves, the way they live, or the everyday institutions they come in contact with. I want to turn such conversations in a different direction. Wayne Roberts’s chapter on the role of food policy councils in Imagining Sustainable Food Systems.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Valuing Food: The Economic Contribution of Canada’s Food Sector
Canada’s food sector makes an enormous contribution to our national economy. We have a well-developed agriculture and agri-food system, and Canadians are better fed than ever before. The food economy consists of all stages involved in the food value chain, from the production of food through to its preparation and ingestion. In all, the food sector is responsible for more than 9 per cent of GDP and 2.3 million jobs, roughly 13 per cent of all employment in Canada. This report considers the underlying forces shaping food supply and demand, analyzes Canada’s current food economy footprint, and looks at our engagement in the global food economy. It concludes with a summary of major findings and their implications. Conference Board of Canada report (78 –pages, June 2011).