Locavore News — Ontario

 

Growing new produce for new Canadians

Canada’s demographics are changing and that change presents a new opportunity to Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA) and researchers at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) have teamed up to explore the market potential of vegetable crops popular with South Asian and Afro-Caribbean consumers and how to successfully grow and market these new vegetables in Ontario. Agricultural Adaptation Council post. Video.

Feast of the Farms at Pembroke Sno Spree

Local food lovers will have a unique opportunity to meet and talk with local food producers, as they prepare and serve up their favourite recipes in a varied tasting menu using local ingredients. Participants at this casual mix and mingle event will also have the opportunity to enjoy local craft beer and Ontario wines from the cash bar, as they enjoy the delicious local food. The Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative is a collaborative of local farmers, market gardeners, producers and consumers who envision a local, sustainable food system that is economically viable for producers and provides fresh, health food and products to consumers. Renfrew Mercury story.

SCORing locally produced food for public institutions

SCOR is a regional economic development agency representing five nearby counties — Brant, Elgin, Middlesex, Norfolk and Oxford. It was incorporated in 2010 to represent the counties’ economic interests and lobby for resources following the decline of the tobacco industry, Hall explained. One of the organization’s latest ventures, the Food Hub project, aims to facilitate access to Ontario’s public sector for local food producers and processors. Strathroy Age Dispatch story.

“The market gardener” Ontario Book Tour with Jean-Martin Fortier

Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, just north of the American border. Despite growing on 1.5 acres of land, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Hélène manage to feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands. The secret of their success reside on low-tech, high-yield methods of production they’ve developed by continuously focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process. FarmStart announcement.

Minister Goodyear Meets with Food and Beverage Stakeholders in Toronto

FedDev Ontario Minister of State Gary Goodyear was in Toronto today to highlight Agency funding opportunities available for local food and beverage processors. More than $530 million is available through FedDev Ontario’s new Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives, aimed at retaining, attracting and growing businesses in southern Ontario to increase the region’s global competitiveness. In addition, funding is available through the $200-million Advanced Manufacturing Fund in Ontario. Digital Journal story.

Successful Headwaters Food Summit and Local Trade Fair

The 2nd Annual Headwaters Food Summit and Local Trade Fair presented by the Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance, attracted over 100 participants to the Royal Ambassador Event Centre in Caledon on November 25th, 2013. The day started with an update on the progress made by HFFA over the past 18 months highlighted by the Education, Access and Literacy Working Group Co-Chair announcement of Primrose Elementary School winning the OntarioFresh.ca Farm to School Challenge. HFFA also unveiled their new logo and tagline “for food. for farming. for our future.”, created by local ad firm, Sprout Advertising and Design. Keynote speaker, Dr. Ralph Martin, Loblaw Research Chair of Sustainable Food Production at the University of Guelph inspired the crowd with facts and stories offering local solutions to global issues. Headwaters Community in Action post.

CultivateTO

Cultivate Toronto is a non-profit organization with the goal of turning urban backyards into a sustainable source of fresh, organic food for its inhabitants. Fuelled by a passion for healthy living, local organic produce, and environmental responsibility, we hope to spark a new revolution in sustainable urban living by providing the freshest, tastiest, urban-grown produce to GTA residents. We hope to improve access to local organic food, foster leadership and education, and engage and connect the community in the rediscovery of local food. Our backyard Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) program is an innovative adaptation of the increasingly popular CSA model for alternative agriculture, and part of a greater movement towards access to safe, local food. Website.

Nutritional Analysis and Labels Now Offered

Are you a local producer who would like to augment your income by offering prepared products in addition to your produce or meat? The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network offers nutritional labeling and nutritional analysis to regional producers, processors, and food businesses. Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network website.

 

Leveraging the power of the Environmental Farm Plan

“Our starting point was that the EFP is an existing and trusted initiative that can be used to verify or validate environmentally-sustainable farm practices to retailers and consumers,” Rudy explains. “Indicators related to these practices could include nutrient efficiency, soil quality, water quality and quantity, land use, biodiversity, air quality, and pesticide use.” A report finished in June 2013 outlines the committee’s initial discussions. “There is much to be sorted out as we move forward,” says Rudy, “but progress will be steady. We need to do things like compare the EFP with existing sustainability certification schemes and figure out how to both respect the confidentiality of EFPs but also find a way that information in EFPs can be used for verification.” Agricultural Adaptation Council post.

Ontario Farmland Trust: Farmland Forever Campaign Launched Ahead of 10 Year Anniversary

Farmland is a finite resource, which is constantly facing pressures from urban sprawl and aggregate extraction. These factors put a strain on prime agricultural lands, while demand to produce more food, fibre, and fuel increases. This reality is especially true in the province of Ontario, where only five per cent of the land base can be cultivated for agricultural purposes. A group based out of the University of Guelph recognized the importance of farmland preservation ten years ago, when the Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT), a non-profit charitable organization began to promote the permanent protection of farmland. Farms.com story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Understanding the Perspective of Food Retailers

The business of food retailing is undergoing significant changes. There is significant consolidation happening, new entrants like Whole Foods, the growth of WalMart and all of this is happening while the consumer market is not growing overall. Just like farming technology is allowing food retailers to lower costs and gain more insight into its operations through the collection and analysis of data.  Food retailers have always been very interested in what the consumer wants but now the focus on big data is providing real answers on trends. Real Agriculture interview with John Scott, Food Industry Consultant.

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