We really can’t believe our eyes. It’s this surreal world of Toronto’s first rooftop aviary. Planes swoop down to land at the Toronto Islands airport. Sailing ships, big and small, shimmer along a very placid Lake Ontario. We are completely surrounded by the biggest of the best skyscrapers in downtown Toronto. The gargoyles of the Royal York Hotel stare down at us. Yet, our sense of smell betrays our location—as we’re atop the rooftop garden and beehives of one of Toronto’s oldest and most prestigious hotels. The sweet scent of flowers, vegetables, fine herbs, and honey fills the air. The Epoch Times story.
High school’s new garden draws community
From Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua planting a couple of vegetables last Friday to community members calling in to say they’ll help weed, water and harvest this summer, a new garden at Toronto District Christian High (TDCH) has been yielding a crop of community connections since the idea for it was planted. This is what’s been most exciting about the new garden for Grade 12 student Amy Frankruyter. Whether connecting with Seeds for Change, which has funded and provided expertise around growing the garden, or co-ordinating with students who have come forward to share their ideas for the plot, “to be able to be there and help bring it all together was really neat,” Frankruyter adds. “That was the most interesting and exciting part for me.” Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools post.
Ontario Restaurants To Be Named Local Food Ambassadors
They’re calling it a local food ambassador program. The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance plans to use the program to help recognize local restaurant industry leaders who are committed to sourcing local food and promoting the farmers they work with. The Alliance says it hopes the program will make those restaurants which champion Ontario food more accessible for locals and travellers alike. Blackburn News story.
Planting Progress in Ottawa
An Ottawa chef and restauranteur is planting fresh food education in the hearts and tummies of the city’s youth. Beckta’s passion for serving the guests of his restaurants, Play Food & Wine, Gezellig and Beckta, was recognized at the symposium with a $1,000 cash prize, but his passion for serving the community reaches further. He has invested the prize money in the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, for which he is a board member, and is taking on a tasty project. “We’re planting a large organic garden with dozens of different vegetables and fruits for the kids to learn about local, organic and sustainable cooking,” said Beckta. Ontario Culinary Tourism post.
Food & Water First
Food & Water First is a movement dedicated to protecting Ontario’s Class 1 farmland and source water regions. We are rural and urban citizens who understand that our province’s rare agricultural soils and water resources provide us with a great bounty that must be preserved. We encourage the Ontario government to adopt a Food & Water First policy so our vital agricultural sector and source water regions are given priority in land-use planning. Website
Most locavores don’t reject benefits of specialization
The column by Andrew Potter really has me worried. I have been interested in locally produced food even before the locavore movement officially began. However, I take it that when I go out to a farm this year to buy asparagus I will be sent into a field with a cutting knife. Windsor Star soapbox.
Hospitality Services’ push to keep it local paying off
More than 43 per cent of Hospitality Services’ annual food purchases have been deemed ‘local,’ according to a recent survey of food purchases conducted by the Toronto-based Local Food Plus. In dollars and cents, that means nearly $2.3 million of a $5.3 million annual food budget would be spent with local producers. Conducted to establish a baseline for the organization to build future sustainability efforts, Hospitality Services staff didn’t know what to expect going in. But the findings turned out to be a pleasant surprise, said Anne Zok, Hospitality Services nutrition manager. Western (University) News story.
Local food on the table
Education is the key to making local food successful, a pair of visiting Progressive Conservative MPPs heard Thursday afternoon in Kingston. Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman, the critic for agriculture, food and rural affairs and Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark led the discussion at a roundtable meeting that attracted area farmers, restaurant owners and food distribution company representatives. Thursday’s meeting was one of a series of roundtables that included meetings in Windsor, London, Woodstock, Ottawa and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. “We don’t have a shortage of local food. We have a shortage of consumers of local food,” Hardeman said. The comments made at the meeting are to be used to help the Progressive Conservatives craft amendments to the Local Food Act legislation designed to help promote the local production of food in Ontario. Kingston Whig-Standard story.
‘Urban foraging’ trend inspires scavenging foodies
Toronto diners are scavenging in forests, parks, yards and even back alleys for edible treats as part of a new food trend that some chefs are also embracing. It’s called “urban foraging” and it has foodies picking through parts of the city like hunter-gatherers for ingredients to add to their next meal. “We never thought it was that strange,” said Jonathan Forbes, with Forbes Wild Food, a red-hot business that caters to Canadians’ appetites for fresh, locally picked whole foods. The company supplies wild fruits, vegetables and mushrooms to remote regions across the country. To Forbes, the business was a natural extension of something he’d grown up doing, picking and chowing down on berries outside his childhood home. Back then, he just called it snacking in the backyard. CBC story.
Local Food Systems – International Perspectives
As the development of the local food movement in Ontario is not happening in isolation, the trends and the lessons of local/regional food initiatives around the world are worthy of consideration. The purpose of this review is to provide a brief overview of research and initiatives in other parts of the world, which may be useful for identifying patterns of successful models for local food hubs. Focusing on European Union countries, with an additional, less comprehensive turn to Australia and New Zealand, this overview is a cursory scan of scholarly and “gray” (government and community) literature on food hubs and regional food systems. Nourishing Communities: Sustainable Food Systems Research Group A Review.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
A Greedy Man In A hungry World
So when I read British restaurant critic Jay Rayner’s article in the Guardian, Why worrying about food miles is missing the point, I felt I had to respond, a matter of defending Our Way of Life™. Rayner left a long and thoughtful comment on the post which included:
“This is just a small extract from a book. I do not argue in that book that people in Britain should get all their food from New Zealand. At all. I argue for regionalism – in my country we need to be buying British for lots of reasons – but mostly for an acute approach to the metrics…. For obvious reasons I would urge anybody interested in this stuff to read the whole book which is, so you have it, called A Greedy Man In A hungry World.” TreeHugger book review.