New project aims to grow “local, sustainable food economy”
The provincial government announced that it is joining with Food Matters Manitoba to implement a pilot project geared at helping break down barriers to buying locally grown food by government and non-government institutional purchasers. The province has invested $81,000 in the Local Sustainable Food Procurement Pilot Program. The first phase, developed by Local Food Plus in partnership with Food Matters Manitoba, will provide government with an understanding of how barriers to buying sustainable local foods influence current purchasing practices. The second and final phase of the LSFP will offer support to both farmers and purchasers. Farmers will be educated on Local Food Plus certification regarding overall farm processes and organic certification. Purchasers will receive guidance on how to source local sustainable items to add to their pantries and menus. Westman Journal story.
Buying local strategy for Quebec
Francois Gendron has just announced that before the end of this year, Quebec will move forward with a ‘buy local’ strategy targeted at hospitals and government institutions. Gendron, who is not pleased with the European Union free-trade deal as it will hurt Quebec fine-cheese makers, claims to be putting the final touches on the buy local strategy to strengthen the agriculture sector in Quebec. La Terre de chez nous story (in Frnech).
Premium farm products demand likely to increase: economist
Consumer interest in local food and better nutrition is likely to increase the demand for premium products from the farm, such as functional foods, omega-3 eggs and gluten-free items, says a food price forecaster. Sylvain Charlebois, a University of Guelph economist, says in his annual food price index that prices are expected to rise marginally next year. Meat, grain and vegetable prices could rise up to two per cent, with increases in fruit and nut prices closer to one per cent. Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.
A Festival of Good Food Ideas
Well over 300 community food activists/organizations gathered over good food to share challenges, successes and outstanding accomplishments in building an equitable, local and healthy food system. This event took plate at l’Espace La Fontaine, the non-profit bistro & gallery in the heart of Parc La Fontaine. The diversity of actors present allowed for the creation of new ties between key actors of the movement working towards a healthy, just, accessible and sustainable food system for all across the country. Food Secure Canada post.
Growing chorus calls for a national food strategy
At a time when Canadians waste an estimated $27 billion of food every year, but 70 per cent of preschoolers in Nunavut don’t always have enough to eat, a growing chorus is calling for a national strategy on food. That could include everything from a year-round nutrition program in every school – something most other developed countries have – to ramping up Canadian agriculture to make the country a world powerhouse. The ideas are from the Conference Board of Canada, which created a Centre for Food in Canada four years ago and is set to release its own national food strategy next year. Michael Bloom of the Conference Board was among panellists at a Carleton University sponsored conference Tuesday discussing whether Canada needs a national food policy. The Province story.
Local & Sustainable Food Systems Network 2nd annual meeting
More than 60 people converged on Montreal for the second annual meeting of the Local Sustainable Food Systems Network. The event launched with a farm tour in Les Cèdres, on the banks of the St Lawrence River. Nineteen hardy souls braved the wind and frosty weather to listen to Daniel Brisebois of Ferme Tourne-Sol and Loïc Dewavrin of Ferme Longpres tell the stories of their respective farms. The innovative and communal models of each farm, combined with their commitment to ecological farming and regional food systems helped to frame and ground the next three days of meetings. Food Secure Canada post.
Fad or Trend? A Closer Look at Integrating “Local” Into Your Farm
If you’re still wondering if local food is a fad, and whether you should build a local food component into your crop and livestock production, take heed of the latest consumer food price outlook from the University of Guelph. The outlook, produced annually by a team led by Prof. Sylvain Charlebois, shows consumer interest in local food could be a bright spot for 2014. Charlebois says local food, along with better nutrition, is likely to increase the demand for premium products from the farm, such as functional foods, omega-3 eggs and gluten-free items. And increased demand could mean better profits. Real Agriculture story.
If the border closed: Food, farming, forests and fish at the Detroit-Windsor line
Amid the uproar of 350 enthusiastic local food advocates at Sustain Ontario’s Bring Food Home Conference, it was impossible to miss the massive river that is the borderline, separating Windsor from Detroit. For foodies, Detroit represents a city abandoned by those in power that has risen from the economic ashes through community driven food initiatives. They are now a premier leader of urban agriculture, anti-racism in food systems and self-reliance in urban food. Rabble post.
Farm Family of the Year
Cisca and Arie Van Winden of Napierville are 2013’s Farm Family of the Year, an award presented by the Fondation de la famille terrienne founded by the UPA. This award is given to a Quebec farming family who, from generation to generation, have shown how to preserve and inspire their own agricultural values. From just a passion for land in 1958, today the Van Windens cultivate more than 425 hectares of land, producing annually 6 million head of lettuce, 500 tonnes of French shallots and 2,000 tonnes of carrots. During high season, this family employs 150 workers, 20 of which are family members. NewsWire story (in French).
Alberta Farmers Markets Are Only an App Away
The Alberta Farmers Markets Association (AFMA) launched a new app on November 8, 2013. The app, which is a free download, lists all of the AFMA member markets and is fully functional with iPhone, Android and Blackberry technology. “A mobile app was seen as a flexible, easy and widely accessible way to get information to as many Albertans as possible,” says Maria Iacobelli, project coordinator with AFMA. “The app provides so much information, from GPS location of the markets so you can find the closest market no matter where you are, to opening days and times details. The app is a handy comprehensive market listing, and the mobility of the technology makes it easy to find the information you need, no matter where you are.” Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development post.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Non-browning Arctic Apple concerns GMO opponents
A new apple that has been genetically modified so it won’t turn brown is sparking a battle between some environmentalists and the Okanagan company that developed it. The Arctic Apple doesn’t oxidize — or turn brown — because its developers have figured out how to silence the genes that produce the browning enzyme. It was developed by Summerland grower Neal Carter, who’s pushing for approval of the apple variety. He says the apple will do great things for the industry by preserving more fruit throughout the production system. But Tony Beck with the Society for GE Free B.C. says he’s concerned about the genetically modified apple. CBC News story.