Local Outranks Organic For Most Canadians
More Canadians appear interested in buying local than organic. And it’s a big gap. A Farmers Feed Cities survey shows 86 per cent would prefer to buy local – only 29 per cent are interested in buying organic. Blackburn Agri-Media story.
Trends show appetite for ethnic foods, healthier fare
John Scott has seen quite the evolution in foods bound for Canadian supermarket shelves over the years. Scott is president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, organizers of the country’s largest grocery industry conference and trade show — a marquee event which has also had its share of changes. “The trade show 10 years ago was just full of prepared meats, deli products and that kind of thing. ‘Who has the best pepperoni?”‘ he recalled in a recent interview. “You saw very, very few ethnic products in those days — totally different type of offering from today,” he added. CP24 story.
Doors open wide for farmers to educate consumers, report shows
Canadians are extremely interested in where their food comes from and how it’s produced, says a new report. In its new Informed Food Philosophy Study released Monday to coincide with Ontario Agriculture Week, Farmers Feed Cities, an agriculture awareness organization, showed 97 per cent of Canadians say food choices — local, organic, imported, free run, conventional and genetically modified, among them — are important to them. This bodes well for efforts to educate consumers by farmers, food processors and organizations such as Farmers Feed Cities, says Jenny Van Rooy, campaign co-ordinator. Owen Roberts post on FCC Express
Want safer food? Go local
There is, however, another way to build a safer food system: shorten the supply chain. Or, in the words of the good food movement, go local. We have created an industrial food system that is a vast web of inter-actions between countless actors that has spiralled out of our control, as outbreaks like these prove. Without clear data documenting that large-scale centralized food production is safer than local food distribution, we argue that, at the very least, the benefits of industrial food are offset by this inherent potential for large, geographically dispersed, difficult to identify, and hard-to-control outbreaks. Ottawa Citizen opinion.
We can nurture a more local economy through purchasing choices
Demand for local, fresh food is growing. For the health of our economy and our environment, we would do well to support other parts of our local economy, too. There are many reasons why people are buying more local food. For some it is a matter of taste and freshness. If you’ve ever compared the taste of Ontario strawberries with that of any import you already know this. Others buy local food because it’s healthier. There are more nutrients in fruits and vegetables picked immediately before being taken to the market. Others choose local food to reduce the pollution created by trucking or flying products from a continent away. A Region of Waterloo study found that imported food typically treks an astonishing 4,500 kilometres before it gets to our kitchen counter. I prefer local food because I feel, in the long-run, I can place more trust in the environmental choices made by farmers who depend on the same water and resource base as their neighbours. Kitchener-Waterloo Record opinion.
Barriers to new entrants
Is lack of investment capital holding back the next great idea? Access to the right financing may have left many new entrants at the starting block. However, it’s not only access to capital, but also access to the right financial structure that’s important. The ability to achieve business cash flow and gain business equity are the secret of success for many businesses. The ability to start a venture, create value chain relationships, to build out a new market and innovate OFTEN requires financial support. Is innovation and innovators in the agricultural sector being blocked by capital access issues? Denise Faguy post on Farms.com.
Calgary Food System Assessment and Action Plan
Since 2009, The Office of Sustainability at The City of Calgary has been working with stakeholders from across Calgary to get a clearer understanding of our local and regional food system and the roles of everyone involved in it. A food assessment is a great starting point which would allow all stakeholders to better understand each other’s contributions, connections and where priorities for improved sustainability exist. City of Calgary post
Fresh: Edmonton’s Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy
Edmonton has an opportunity in which to consider the role of food and urban agriculture in its economy and in the lives of its citizens. We have a long history of food production and we are a major urban centre with some world class players in the food sector. Edmonton also has an emerging food culture —from small local producers at farmers markets to successful large commercial farms, from food trucks offering diverse and delicious meals to unique high-end restaurants. Yet how often do we really stop to consider where our food comes from and the degree to which local knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm can further build our local food and urban agriculture system?Report. (3.5 MB PDF)
New suburbs aren’t more important than Edmonton’s best farmland
Edmonton city council has never once protected a plot of prime farmland from suburban development. That is about to change, but exactly how much land will be preserved is the subject of a fierce fight. It pits private rights against the public good, a multinational property company against a community group, neighbour against neighbour. Fortunes both small and large are on the line. In January, city council will be asked to decide whether or not six sq. kilometres (600 hectares) of prime farmland in a fertile belt northeast of the city along the North Saskatchewan River should be preserved as farmland. Edmonton Journal story.
Powering Up! Food for the Future
Food Secure Canada’s 7th biennial Assembly, is coming up November 1-4 in Edmonton! Assembly 2012
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
FAO Launches Data Portal to Help Increase Sustainable Food Production
In anticipation of the impending challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) recently developed the Global Agro-ecological Zones (GAEZ) Portal. This new online data platform allows users to identify the geographical areas with the greatest potential to significantly increase yields in food production without depleting natural resources. Food + Tech Connect post.