A united front for farmland preservation
Ontario loses approximately 100 acres of farmland every day, and our best, most productive soils are going the fastest. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) recently signed a letter of support for Ontario Farmland Trust’s (OFT) new strategic plan and Farmland Forever fundraising campaign. This new strategic initiative will help advance the work of this charitable organization to establish conservation easements on Ontario farmland. Ontario Federation of Agriculture commentary
Environmental Farm Plan May Become Part of Sustainability Information
There’s talk in some quarters of using the Environmental Farm Plan to identify the sustainability practices the food and bioeconomy sectors are looking for. It’s the topic of a new report from the George Morris Centre. Their study found that some of the information on environmental sustainability being sought by food processors, retailers and food service operators is already in the EFP paperwork. One suggestion is that the EFP itself would remain confidential with producers but they could voluntarily complete an addendum specific to a market or buyers requirements , as required. Blackburn AgriMedia story.
Crowd sourcing site locates urban edibles on the branch
If you’re in the mood for cherries or other fresh fruit, you might not need to go to the store. In fact, you might not even have to leave your front yard, thanks to a new website that allows you to input an address and find nearby trees producing edible fruits, nuts, leaves and roots. Search a location, click on a tree and Falling Fruit will tell you species and type of edible produce and offer a link to more detailed, tree-specific information. Toronto Star story.
New crops in local soils raising high hopes
Lavender, hazelnuts and sweet potatoes are not crops we commonly associate with this province. Yet they’re starting to emerge in Ontario’s south coast area, the fertile sand plains in Norfolk, Brant, Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford counties where tobacco used to reign supreme. As the decline of the tobacco industry continued over the last decade, agricultural and economic development leaders in the area began grappling with key questions governing the future of their region, which is a key producer of many Ontario foods, including fruits and vegetables. Food and Farming Canada post.
Ontario Edible Education Network
Building on our short Food Education survey, we are undergoing a more in-depth action planning process to better understand the needs of individuals and groups working in this area and to develop future actions for the network relating to 6 priority areas. The input we receive will guide the future direction of our network and hopefully inform your work (we plan to make the information we learn publicly available). Website.
The Dirt On Cave-Aged Cheese
Part II of the story of mould unavoidably concerns caring for mould. The what, where, and how of this process is called Affinage, and the practice has its fair share of skeptics. At Fifth Town, affinage takes place in our subterranean caves, the only ones in Canada currently. Actual caves have been used for centuries to ripen cheese because they are consistently cool and humid. The romance of cheese caves has less to do with this practical fact and more to do with the mysteries of “Terroir” that cave-aging has traditionally highlighted. Before modern cheese aging methods, the flavour characteristics of cave-aged cheese would have reflected everything the cave-aging process had to offer; from the material the cheese was shelved on to the moulds naturally present in the surrounding environment. Good Food Revolution post.
Festival To Showcase Perth Food
Globally inspired, locally grown. That’s the theme of this year’s Savour Stratford Culinary Festival coming up in September. It showcases locally sourced ingredients and the best of Perth county internationally-inspired cuisine. The Festival invites visitors to roam the outdoor farmers’ and artisans’ markets sampling local fare in both Stratford’s Market Square and the city’s heritage Garden District. One of the highlites of the event will be the Savour Stratford Sunday Tasting garden party. Blackburn AgriMedia story.
Fruit thieves strike in Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard
There’s some good news, and some bad news from Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard this month. The good news is that four years after planting our first fruit trees, we have our very first harvest. The bad news? Well, it’s that an unknown woman was witnessed stripping all the cherries off our three cherry trees. She walked away with two bags full of cherries leaving none for anyone else to eat. Community Orchard post.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse to Headline 2013 Greenbelt Harvest Picnic
September Seventh Entertainment Limited is proud to present Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Whitehorse, Trixie Whitley, Rocco DeLuca and more live at the 2013 Greenbelt Harvest Picnic on Saturday August 31st at Christie Lake Conservation Area in Dundas, Ontario. Gates open at 11AM and show starts at 12PM. The event serves to celebrate the importance of the Greenbelt, local farmers, art, the outdoors and the eat-local movement. Harvest Picnic press release.
Local food made easy
If you build it, they will come. That’s the thinking behind a new marketing program being used by Gordon Food Service (GFS), Ontario’s largest family-owned food service distributor – expanding and promoting their offering of Ontario food products by making it easy for their customers to identify and buy local food. Earlier this year, the company was the recipient of a grant from the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund, a partnership between the Greenbelt Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that aims to increase the amount of Ontario foods purchased through municipal, school, university and hospital food service settings. Food and Farming Canada post.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
The Serious Challenge of Our Time
Now, a hundred and fifty years later another high law of morality confronts us, a moral law not practiced because of all of us who exercise our legal authority. That high law of morality in our time calls on us to protect our planet’s ecosphere, that miraculous skin surrounding the earth within which we are embedded: our soils, our waters, our forests, our prairies, our oceans, our agricultural fields, and now our atmosphere. Yes, there are too many of us, but our consumption is rapacious. And so, the high calling to protect our ecosphere has little legal standing. It is legal to rip the tops off mountains, get the coal and burn it. It is legal to drill for oil and natural gas—from the Gulf to the Arctic—and burn it. It is legal to engage in fracking that threatens ground water to get natural gas and burn it. It is legal for all of us to purchase unnecessary products made with extracted materials and fossil energy. So, it is legal to bring on climate change, erratic weather and more. It is legal to be responsible for a loss of four-fifths as much sea ice as we had in 1980. It is legal to have our soils erode and toxic chemicals applied, legal to allow our rural communities to decline and watch so much of our cultural seed stock disappear. We are now forced to address the legality of ecological exploitation if we are to achieve the high law of morality to protect our ecosphere. Text of Wes Jackson’s Commencement Address at University of Kansas.