Locavore News — Ontario

More combines are welcome to be part of world record and good cause

Almost 100 combines have registered to help harvest 160 acres of soybeans this fall. The soybeans were planted this spring with high hopes. Five farmers from the Listowel area – Richard Van Donkersgoed, Peter Rastorfer, Mike Koetsier, John Tollenaar and Randy Drenth — hope to set a world record and raise $200,000 to donate to Canadian Foodgrains Bank. So far things are on track. According to Rastorfer, the soybeans are looking good and the group is well on their way to reaching their goal with nearly 100 combines signed on to harvest the crop sometime in the third week of September. Listowel Banner story.


Strength and hope starts with hunger relief

Farmers too help alleviate world hunger in many ways. Next month, Ontario farmers will jump on 100 combines to try harvesting 160 acres of soybeans in world record time – that is, under 10 minutes – through an initiative called Harvest for Hunger. It’s a fundraiser for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to battle global hunger. With support from Syngenta Canada, they’re trying to raise $200,000 for global hunger relief projects through Harvest for Hunger. Guelph Mercury column by Owen Roberts.


It’s OK to make mistakes, local celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy says

Kennedy was acknowledged with the Order of Canada late last year, largely for the contributions that he has made to Canadian food. He is a big proponent of the local food movement and is often described as a food activist. “When you engage in local food procurement principals, wherever you are in Canada, or anywhere else in the world, you’re engaging community,” Kennedy said. “As a society, globally, we are moving away from the global model of food production and more of an emphasis on communities supporting themselves.” The Toronto Observer story.


Ontario researchers, farmers trial ethno-cultural vegetables

Work has begun on field trials, market research and consumer taste tests of new ethno-cultural vegetable crops being grown in Ontario. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) and researchers at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) have teamed up to explore the market potential of vegetable crops popular with South Asian and Afro-Caribbean consumers and how successfully these produce varieties can be grown and marketed in Ontario. Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association news release.


Edible Flowers

Edible flowers have been enjoyed since prehistoric times. Hindus used them in religious rituals. Chinese people made good use of all parts of daylily plants. The Romans loved using calendula, violets, roses and mallow during their lavish banquets. Elizabethan England enjoyed the elegance of roses, pinks and calendula. Spaniards promoted the generous use of squash blossoms (which they gained knowledge of from indigenous people in the Americas) and saffron, derived from the crocus sativa flower. Victorian England adored elegant presentations of violets, borage and nasturtiums. Early uses of the flowers were for medicinal benefit. More recently, they have become used to transform ordinary food into dazzling presentations. Edible Toronto story.


FreshFest in Elgin County

Last night was an amazing night hosted by Savour Elgin at CASO Train station in St Thomas. Our low ticket price included a complementary wine glass to take home as well as 14 tickets to use at the various vendors throughout the lovely restored historic train station. We were able to sample many local inspired dishes created by some of the best chefs in the area. We were also treated to a beer and cheese sampling from The Railway City Brewing Co and Monfore Dairy. In addition to the excellent food there was a number of local wineries and beverage producer BlackFly. Mackenna Roth post on Farms.com.


Planning for Food Systems in Ontario – A Call to Action

The growing demand for local food is testament to the desire of many to become more connected to their sources of food.  Food systems have long been linked to planning and are a key consideration for complete and healthy communities.  Involving community planners in planning for food systems can result in healthier outcomes for Ontarians.  Planners are in a unique position to identify problems and challenges within the food system and to lead and foster the development of solutions. Ontario Professional Planners Institute news release.


Creating New Options for Preserving our Top Farmland

Farmland preservation is a key component in keeping a strong and vigorous agricultural sector. And with Ontario having one of the biggest agriculture and food clusters in North America, it only makes sense that our citizens be proactive in ensuring that we do our best to preserve and maintain our best farmland. The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario has a long history of advocating for farmland preservation. We’ve taken up the fight to keep our best farmland in a number of battles, including power line developments, highway proposals, land use planning sessions and arguments about municipal housing severances. We’ve been at the forefront of those saying that our best farmland needs to be preserved for farming, not held in trust until some other competing use comes along. CFFO commentary by John  Clement.


A critic’s guide to Niagara wineries

On windy days, Niagara’s best new winery can be a challenge to locate. The tiny barn tucked away on a rural road is marked only by a red sandwich-board sign at the end of a long dirt driveway. I bypassed it several times, eventually pulling into a nearby farm. “It’s across the way,” a man cordially assured. “There’s a sign out front.” Sure enough, there was the rickety sandwich board, lying sadly in the grass, waiting for a reporter to stand it back up. Globe and Mail story.


Statement from Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson Regarding Highland Companies Proposed Quarry in Dufferin County

“After careful consideration, the Minister of Natural Resources and I have agreed to bring forward a regulation making Highland Companies subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. As a result the company will be required to undertake a comprehensive Environmental Assessment for the proposed quarry in Melancthon Township. Ontario Government news release.




‘Ingredients’ bland as rice cakes

With Food, Inc. and its published cousin Fast Food Nation already behind us, Ingredients — a rosy roundup of life on the organic farm (and the restaurateurs who love them) — is so blandly presented with blanket statements wrapped in elevator music, it is a meal that wouldn’t quell the appetite of anybody except the most fervent believer. Yes, it’s visually yummy. And few would argue with the movie’s basic premise that produce and meat fresh off the vine and hoof are tastier and better for you than, say, tomatoes that have been shipped in from Mexico. Toronto Sun review.


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