Local Food News — Canada

Farm-to-table social networking site Soil Mate links consumers and farmers

In a nod to social networking sites that make love connections between people, the new site Soil Mate is hoping to kindle passion between consumers and their local food producers. “What we’re finding is a massive adoption rate when farmers find us … we actually have a 95 per cent signup rate. The issue is just actually getting the system in front of them. I wouldn’t say it’s a no-brainer. Farmers have options, right? Directories have been shoved down their throats for years. It’s just no one’s really created a good directory. They can be a little bit jaded on it. “Once you start to explain the concept of Soil Mate and how it’s different from literally every other system out there and how it’s helpful and how it doesn’t have much of an impact on them from a time perspective. We did focus groups as well so we actually had farmers help us develop it, so we knew they’d actually use it and update it and all that sort of stuff.” Huffpost Living story. Website.


Feeding Cities: Rural-Urban Connections and the Future of Family Farming

The conference, held in Toronto on June 23-24, 2014, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University. Videos, presentations, and photos of the conference are now available. Website.


Special Issue on Cooperatives and Alternative Food Systems Initiatives

The special issue of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development on Cooperatives and Alternative Food Systems Initiatives was published last week. In order to promote the issue and the journal and to better extend the content to practitioners/communities, all of the articles are available for free in the month of July. The scope of the issue is international, but the majority of the papers draw from Canadian case studies and/or are from Canadian authors. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development.


A Survey of Urban Agriculture Organizations and Businesses in the US and Canada

This report summarizes the results of an online survey, conducted during February and March 2013, of 251 groups involved with urban agriculture (UA) projects in approximately 84 cities in the US and Canada. This is only a preliminary report. As such, we present descriptive statistics rather than a interpretive analysis of the survey responses. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that these results are not necessarily representative of all urban agriculture businesses and organizations across North America. Nevertheless, these results point to certain trends and patterns that offer rich opportunities for further inquiry. UrbanFood.org preliminary report.


Have you eaten at Mad Chef Cafe? You ‘gotta’!

Owner/chef Kevin Munroe and partner Shelley Bouchard are hoping that by this time next week, not only the Comox Valley, but the entire country knows you gotta eat at the Mad Chef Cafe. After filming for two days in December, the Food Network Canada show ‘You Gotta Eat Here!’ featuring the restaurant is scheduled to air June 27 at 6:30 p.m., and the restaurant’s duo will celebrate their television debut in style. Comox Vallety Record story.


Local food list links Sask. consumers, producers

SaskFoodFind.com aims to connect consumers with producers of locally grown food. The website, launched at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in June, is a creation of Simply Agriculture Solutions Inc. Executive director Tamara Weir-Shields said the idea is to act as a hub where producers can register as suppliers. The only requirement is that the food is produced in Saskatchewan. Western Producer story.


Councillor wants more action on local food production

There could be potential for more local food production in the city, and one councillor hopes provincial representatives will come to Cranbrook to clear the confusion surrounding the regulations. Davis noted that there are many regulations governing the production and sale of locally grown products. “Some of these are very restrictive,” he said. He said the reason he brought the notice of motion forward is because he feels  there is a lack of agricultural production and sale in the local area. Cranbrook Daily Townsman story.


Building Resilience in a Changing Climate & Healthy Food Economy

This is a Canada-wide initiative to help agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture build resilience by minimizing the impacts and costs of extreme weather events – Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) planning. In addition, risk reduction for food production and food security can also be achieved by implementing various sustainable food production and consumption systems, and producing both healthy food and climate-friendly food. A first step in this initiative is to better understand the impacts of a changing climate on food production. Climate Change Adaptation Community of Practice website.


Water quality and wildlife habitat focus of funds

Wetland maintenance and improvements, plus other steps to improve water quality and preserve wildlife habitat are the focus of new funding announced in Manitoba. The province’s conservation districts will receive $750,000 this year to work with farmers on projects that will improve water quality, support climate change adaptation and preserve wildlife habitat. Ron Kostyshyn, Manitoba’s minister of agriculture, food and rural development says the funds are a long-term investment in the health of the environment and will have measurable effects on the natural landscape. FCC Express story.




Finally, Farm Tools for Her

Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, know a lot about tools. They both left careers in public health and nonprofit consulting to farm about 20 years ago, and it was through that experience that they began to see some gaps in the world of agricultural production — gender gaps, that is. “At the farmers markets, we got together with other women producers or couples farming, and the topic of tools constantly came up,” says Adams. Women farmers said they felt they were too weak to work with certain tools and regularly expressed frustration with everything from roto-tillers to tractor hitches. Modern Farmer story.


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