Locavore News — Ontario

Congratulations to the 2013 Award Winners!

The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Ontario Culinary Tourism Awards. It was a difficult choice in 2013, but after careful consideration, our 2013 panel of judges have spoken. Winners.

NWO FoodEx Crowdsourcing Contest!

We are launching a crowdsourcing contest and inviting submissions from high school, university and college students to design a local food distribution system for Northwestern Ontario – it is called NWO FoodEx. Please see website (foodinnovation.ca) which describes the contest and how it fits into the larger project. We also have a Facebook group, which provides a forum to ask questions, and a link to our handout which has the full details of the contest. Nourishing Communities, Sustainable Local Food Systems Research Group post.

Ag sector seeks rebound opportunities for Heinz plant

The hunt is underway for a new food processing presence in Leamington, Ont., after Heinz announced it’s closing its 140-year-old ketchup-production plant there. The plant, which also produces baby food and other condiments, will be closed in June, eliminating 740 jobs. Besides taking a toll on the community — Heinz is the town’s biggest employer — the closure also affects about 50 southwestern Ontario tomato farmers who have contracts to deliver their harvests there. “The planned closure of the plant leaves little time for impacted producers whose livelihood depends on more than 5,500 acres of processing tomatoes grown within 100 kilometres of the Leamington plant,” says Mark Wales, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.

FEAST ON — Certified Taste of Ontario

Coming January 2014! Feast ON is a brand new pan-provincial program designed to help you experience restaurants of all shapes and sizes that champion Ontario food & drink. For locals and travellers alike, FEAST ON is a criteria-based program that recognizes businesses committed to showcasing Ontario’s unique tastes of place. Website.

Pilot uses local food for school fundraisers

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is handling the procurement and distribution of fruits and vegetables for a new pilot project where students at participating schools can sell these items to raise money for their schools. The pilot is being offered to 379 elementary and secondary schools at 10 different school boards in Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford counties, the City of London, and the districts of Cochrane in Timmins and Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie. Better Farming story.

Local Restaurant ‘Rino’s Kitchen’ Launches Locavore Cookbook

If you’re into eating locally-sourced food and cooking with local ingredients, vegetables, meat and more, a local restaurant has launched a definitive guide to eating in Windsor-Essex. Rino’s Kitchen: Cooking Local in Windsor & Essex County, which hit store shelves in October, is a journey by local chef Rino Bortolin to be the first and only guide to cooking regional foods. The book, broken down by season of the year, takes readers through 85 recipes and 218 pages of preparing local dishes. Learn to prepare locally grown balsamic and Parmesan roasted asparagus, roasted butternut squash soup, hearty beef stew, stuffed apples, ribs from merchants such as the Butcher of Kingsville, and much more. WindsoriteDOTca post.

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference – Innovation Driving Local Food, Dec. 2 & 3

Local food businesses have been innovative in running their operations, adapting practices and looking for partners to be successful in this rapidly growing sector. The Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference will provide a great opportunity to share information, learn about success stories and gather information on innovative local food businesses, projects and best practices. This year’s conference will take place on December 2 and 3, 2013 at the Ambassador Hotel and Conference Centre in Kingston. Website.

Food forests can feed themselves too

Ben Caesar is convinced that you can supply your orchard trees with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and produce fruit without applying any compost or fertilizer to the soil. Ditto for food forests. The owner of Fiddlehead Nursery in Kimberley, Ontario – purveyor of selectively chosen edible perennials – applies permaculture principles, research and a bit of math to determine the how, what, where and why of interplanting trees, shrubs and herbaceous groundcovers to minimize competition and maximize co-operation. Ben Caesar’s presentation – “Sustainable Fertility Design: Creating nutrient budgets for forest gardens & orchards” – Sunday, February 2, 2014 at the Guelph Organic Conference.

Major Grant from Weston Family Parks Challenge to Support Black Creek Community Farm

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is providing $400,000 over the next three years to the Black Creek Community Farm project. The funds will be used to restore woodlands, create a food forest and gardens, and provide community programming. “The farm is an exciting project that transforms a previously hidden piece of land into an incredible natural asset for the Jane-­Finch neighbourhood and the residents of Toronto,” said Camilla Dalgish, Director of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. “We are delighted to support this innovative partnership between the TRCA and Everdale that will transform this site and revitalize the community’s connection to nature.” Weston Foundation media release.

The case of the disappearing farmland

Hectic residential and commercial development on the perimeter of Guelph in recent years has dug up, paved over and built up hundreds of hectares of good farmland. “In essence, when you look at the numbers, the aggregate companies are not the ones that gobble up Class 1 farmland,” said farmland protection activist Carl Cosack. “It is really development and urban sprawl.” Ontario Farmland Trust is an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of farmland in the province. Committed to improving provincial policy on farmland protection and bringing awareness to the urgent need to protect Ontario’s best farmland, it works with farmers, rural landowners, community groups and municipalities to permanently protect land for agriculture. Guelph Mercury story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

The FEAST ON Manifesto

•To procure Ontario food and drink whenever possible.

•To track and trace Ontario food and drink purchases as close to the point of origin as possible.

•To identify the provenance of Ontario food and drink on the menu.

•To develop Ontario’s culinary identity by celebrating regional tastes and championing local, seasonal ingredients.

•To educate the public about Ontario food and drink and to bring further awareness to its strong agricultural sectors. FEAST On website.

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