48 hour “idea lab” to design creative solutions to current Agri-food challenges
Attendees were invited to “pitch” their savvy food idea to the larger group. There were 17 ideas presented. Over the course of the weekend, teams dissected the issues, problem solved, and applied technological and new media solutions. At any given time, a number of business mentors and industry experts were circulating the room to offer guidance and realistic feedback. There was a “winner” of the event — each of the teams presented their ideas to the attending audience, as well as a panel of three judges. Winning team was awarded $1000 cash, and another $1000 in kind support. Adventures in Local Food post.
Students embrace local food
Universities are ground zero of the locavore movement. Students are leading a shift from greasy grub to gourmet fare. Here are scenes from the locavore movement on campus. 2014 Maclean’s University Rankings photo essay.
If you want it done right, cook it yourself
The new thinking in the war on junky cafeteria food: Get students into the kitchen. The lineups are long, the prices unbeatably low and the bounty of fresh and fragrant foods irresistible. Welcome to the Good Food Café, a new high school cafeteria in Toronto that its operator, FoodShare, claims can be a model for all Canadian high schools. The prototype is simple: Create a short menu, mostly vegetables, with mains such as lasagna ($3), sides such as baked beans ($0.50), plus a few desserts, like a pear tart, that feature fruit. Make everything tasty and from scratch. Use a kitchen with stoves and ovens (no deep-fryer or microwave) and buy fresh, quality ingredients. Presto: You have a solution to the serious issue of school nutrition—and an olive branch in the fight between kids who want junk food and the parents and experts who recognize its effects. Macleans story.
$100,000 grant for Trent research lab
A new research laboratory at Trent University that supports the development of sustainable agricultural systems received a $100,000 funding boost on Jan. 8 as the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced the lab as one of more than 250 facilities in 37 universities across Canada to receive funding under the John R. Evans Leaders Fund. The Innovative Sustainable Agriculture Laboratory is the brainchild of Dr. Mehdi Sharifi, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at Trent University. The lab’s infrastructure determines principles and practices that support the development of sustainable agricultural systems with emphasis placed on multi-disciplinary research to understand fundamental agro-ecological processes underlying the functioning of sustainable food production systems. My Kawartha.com story.
Support for local food growing: AARD
The local food movement continues to gain ground, as consumers in urban centres increase their support for homegrown foods, says Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. While interest has peaked over the last few years, Karen Goad, farm direct marketing specialist with Explore Local, doesn’t attribute the movement’s mounting appeal to the idea that people are beginning to take more notice of where their food comes from. “I think people have always been interested in where their food is coming from, I think they are now becoming more engaged in having a relationship with the people that they know are supplying their food,” Goad said. Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune story.
School cafeterias look to local food
A New Brunswick local-food group is revamping what kids are eating in cafeterias at 20 francophone schools. Réseau des cafétérias communautaires runs the project and brings homemade and local food to cafeteria menus. At École Grande-Digue, which is north of Shediac, N.B., cafeteria staff are proud of what they make for the students. “We know exactly what goes into the food,” said Nadine Richard, a cook at the school. “It’s not prepackaged, it’s not a lot of preservatives in it or anything like that. It’s all homemade food.” On the menu Monday was whole wheat spaghetti and homemade meat sauce with beef from a local farm. CBC News story.
Local blogger Phil Wilson perfect spokesman for comfort food
In this week’s Gastropost YEG Mission, local food blogger, Phil Wilson talks comfort food, hamburgers in particular. Well, I happen to know that Phil has an awesome recipe for that most venerable of hamburger-based comfort foods, the meatloaf. That’s because I tasted Phil’s meatloaf in the summer of 2012, when he was one of the competitors in a cooking contest held in conjunction with Taste Alberta and Taste of Edmonton. Edmonton Journal post.
Beer brewing diploma at Kwantlen targets B.C.’s explosion of microbreweries
Kwantlen Polytechnic University is serving up exciting news for beer lovers. The institute is launching a two-year diploma in brewing and brewery operations beginning in September 2014. The first brewing program in B.C will provide students with hands-on experience using the Langley campus’s specially designed brew laboratory. The lab is currently in development, but it will allow the selected 35 students to brew batches from scratch. Vancouver Metro News story.
Five Inspiring Ideas from Food Secure Canada
There’s nothing like a conference to get the wheels in the ol’ brain turning, get re-inspired and be excited to continue on with your work at home. At the end of November, I had the opportunity to do just that. I attended Food Secure Canada’s Annual General Meeting in Montreal, as well as the associated Local, Sustainable Network Meetings and the Festival of Good Food Ideas. For those unfamiliar with this national network, you can read all about Food Secure Canada on their website. Adventures in Local Food post.
ALR could see pot as an added use
Local food producers are generally receptive to the possibility that Agricultural Land Reserve areas might be used for medicinal marijuana production. The Regional District of Nanaimo has announced a public hearing on Thursday to consider proposed amendments to its zoning bylaws to allow for medicinal marijuana production in rural areas. Nanaimo Daily News story.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
What’s Winnipeg’s best local food product?
Winnipeg Sun poll.
Foodgrains projects generate over $1M in relief
A pair of local Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects have wrapped up this year’s efforts and have been able to generate enough funds to provide over a million dollars in relief to battle Third World starvation. The Coaldale-Lethbridge project raised $150,000 while the Picture Butte project generated $98,000 this year. The funds are matched 4:1 by the Canadian government meaning over $1.2 million will be going to the foodgrains bank on behalf of volunteers and donors from this region. Sunny South News story.