Wall Street legend aims to strike pay dirt in Ontario
Seth Klarman is considered one of the world’s money managing impresarios, a superb value investor whose record of outsized returns has given him cult status on Wall Street. What interests him now might be a surprise: rocks and spuds in a rural Ontario backwater. While typical hedge funds flip stocks, commodities, and complex financial derivatives, Mr. Klarman’s Baupost Group has taken a position that is more down to earth, literally. It’s invested in Highland Companies, Ontario’s largest potato grower, which recently proposed developing a mega quarry on part of its sprawling spud lands. Globe and Mail story.
How to gardening book addresses gender divide
The radical — and often hilarious — differences in how women and men view the great green world seldom get a second glance in gardening books. Instead, authors tend to presume that, male or female, we gardeners are all basically alike. But we aren’t. Not by a long shot. That’s why a new Canadian book called No Guff Vegetable Gardening caught my eye. The authors, Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs aren’t married to one another and even live in different cities. She’s gardening columnist for the Calgary Herald. He runs the website VegetableGardenCoach.com and an e-zine called Homegrown in Toronto. Yet they are pointedly accurate about the gender differences that can trigger fist fights out there among the radishes and rutabagas — and as a result, this is a funny and entertaining book. Toronto Star book review. Facebook page.
Wannabe farmers see dollar signs in the dirt
Treading the muddy earth in leopard-print rubber boots, Audrey McDonald seems about as far away from the traditional image of a Canadian farmer as you could get, despite the surname. But Ms. McDonald, a part-time rehabilitation therapist who lives in Etobicoke, doesn’t see it that way. “My grandmother in Jamaica was a four-foot-ten-inch farmer, and so am I,” she joked. Ms. McDonald is one of the latest incubator farmers supported by FarmStart, a non-profit organization that encourages new generations of young farmers. She’s also an example of what may well become a viable and significant link in Canada’s food-production chain – if not the future face of Canadian agriculture. Globe and Mail story.
New summer food truck event fuels hopes for a Toronto street food revolution
Steeltown might have beaten us to the food truck race, but three special events starting this summer are laying the groundwork for a decent street food culture in Toronto. Starting this July, Food Truck Eats will host food trucks and street food stalls featuring some top Toronto chefs in a bid to free up chefs from the substantial legal and health concerns associated with street-side operations. We caught up with Suresh Doss, the event’s organizer and the publisher of Spotlight Toronto, for the details. Doss told us that his inspiration for the event stemmed from his travels to cities that have a vibrant street food culture, like Miami, as well as the developing scene in Niagara, Prince Edward County and Stratford. Toronto Life story.
Monforte’s local cheese renaissance
The story of Ruth Klahsen and her dairy are well-known in Ontario’s local food world. Montforte Dairy has a loyal – and growing – following of fans devoted to the agricultural values it espouses and the cheeses it produces. So devoted, in fact, that they have raised about half a million dollars as members of a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) project to help Montforte find a new home when an expired lease on its previous location in Millbank left the dairy suddenly homeless. Food and Farming Canada blog.
Eat Local, Taste Global
New Ontarians who crave their native country’s fruits and vegetables are frustrated by high-priced imports, or by problems that arise trying to grow the foods themselves. And University of Guelph researchers say Canadian farmers are missing a $60-million-a-month opportunity in the GTA alone by not growing these crops. To help fill that gap, Guelph researchers are launching a program called Ethno-Cultural Vegetables Ontario (ECVO) that will create awareness about the benefits of locally produced ethnocultural vegetables and help farmers learn how to grow them. University of Guelph post.
Vote ON Food and Farming
This is the year of elections! After a municipal and a federal election, Sustain Ontario is now gearing up to raise awareness around food and farming for the Ontario Provincial Elections on October 6th. We are developing a “Vote ON Food and Farming” campaign that will help educate candidates and the broader public on how they can help fix our broken food system. We are looking for regional food champions to join us in raising awareness around food in their riding. Sustain Ontario post.
A new way to discover what rural Ontario thinks
Some of us live in it, some live beside it, some seldom see it. But as we become more aware of all things local, it’s inevitable our focus will turn there. What goes on in rural Ontario — food production, recreation, environmental and conservation activities, tourism, transportation — is vital to the province. Ontario is continually looking for ways to make the rural part of the province better understood, and develop policies that help deepen its sustainability. That’s where the Guelph-based Rural Ontario Institute comes in. It’s a still-new organization whose time has arrived, with a mandate to catalyze dialogue, collaboration and action on issues facing rural Ontario. Born out of an amalgamation a year ago of The Centre for Rural Leadership and The Ontario Rural Council, it emphasizes and delivers leadership training and development, among other things. Guelph Mercury opinion.
Looking for local, sustainable, and healthy food: An interview with Wayne Roberts
The Toronto Food Policy Council is one of the oldest and most influential food policy councils in the world. It was started by the Toronto Board of Health in 1991, and has been housed within the public health department ever since. This made three very bold statements about food policy. First, there is this big thing called food: not just nutrition or safety, but food as a whole. Second, the health of the population, not just the agricultural and agri-food sector should be at the center of public policy around food. Third, food policy is part of the mandate and responsibility of city governments, not just “higher” levels of government. Worldwatch Institute blog.
Bain: Gone fishing in a downtown pool
Here’s an urban fish tale for you: You can catch a rainbow trout in a downtown Toronto pool this week for just $3. Someone will gut it, rinse it and put it in a plastic bag so you can take it home and eat it. Or, if you have another $4, someone will cook it for you and serve it with rice and salad or coleslaw. The Gone Fishin’ project has been a wildly popular event at the Scadding Court Community Centre for nine years. Fifteen school groups landed coveted slots to come during the day this week. The public can come in the late afternoon and evening until Friday, and all day Saturday. Fishing rods and bait are provided. Toronto Star article.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
How Kraft’s Face-Scanning Tech Will Tell You What You Like to Eat
After a harried day in the office, meal planning may be the last thing on your mind. It might be evident on your face, though. That’s the premise behind an interactive technology Kraft and Intel recently introduced called the “Meal Planning Solution.” The kiosk-like display, which is likely to show up in at least one retail location this year, is meant to help weary shoppers find new recipes during last-minute grocery trips. Mashable post.