Local Food News — Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Stop the Pickering Airport!

In 1972 the federal government expropriated 18,600 acres (7,500 ha) of prime farmland and pristine watersheds east of Toronto for a Pickering International Airport, claiming urgent need. The airport was never built, still isn’t needed 42 years later, and may never be needed. Yet out of the blue, in 2013, Ottawa announced a (slightly smaller) Pickering Airport scheme. The new plans for an airport and adjacent “economic development” would destroy 13,600 acres (5,500 ha) of best-quality farmland and important wildlife habitat. Change.org petition.

Who Are The Young Agrarians?

Young Agrarians is a grassroots initiative made up of agriculturalists and media conspirators intent on growing food sustainably. Inspired by The Greenhorns to build a network Canada-side to celebrate, connect and recruit young farmers – the Young Agrarians are the movers and shakers of a new agrarian movement: young agriculturalists, farmers, urban farmers, market and community gardeners, community groups and academics, organizations and the public who want to ecologically rebuild, promote and inspire the agriculture of our country. We are using the power of media and the internet, and bringing people together in real time- to build community and grow ‘good, clean, and fair’ food. Website. Muskoka Mixer, October 18-19 registration. Eastern Ontario Mixer, October 25-26 registration.

City Failing to Harvest Potential of Green Roofs

When Toronto first started formulating its green roof bylaw in 2006, the idea of urban agriculture had barely arrived in the city. Bylaw writers focussed their regulations on soaking up storm water and softening the urban heat island effect. Side benefits included conserving energy, cleaning the air, and increasing biodiversity. But it hardly crossed the minds of bylaw writers that green roofs might do double duty as urban farms. But the roof still has to meet the bylaw’s construction rules. The one requiring that plants cover 80 per cent of a green roof by the third year effectively prohibits most food plants, the majority of which live only one season. Toronotist story.

From the Ground Up: Supporting Municipalities to Buy Local

Sustain Ontario, the alliance for healthy food and farming, has received a grant of $50,000 to work alongside the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Bruce County, and Durham Region in establishing local food procurement plans. With over 80 member organizations and businesses and counting, the Sustain Ontario alliance works to transform Ontario’s food systems into one that is healthy, ecological, equitable and financially viable. Sustain Ontario post.

rare’s Springbank Community Garden

Springbank Community Garden is located on rare’s 900+ acre nature reserve in Cambridge Ontario and has more than 100 garden plots available to the community. In addition to individually rented plots they also have Demonstration, Education and Food Bank gardens. Thanks to the federal New Horizons for Seniors grant program, the Food Bank gardens have been made more accessible to senior volunteers by providing more ergonomic tools and proper transportation up to the garden. The Food Bank plots are called the Community Roots Food Bank Garden and have helped to create an even larger sense of community with volunteers from the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank, Conestoga College, local high schools and local church groups. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.

Feeding Halton More Fresh, Local Food

A new project from Halton Fresh Food Box will provide even more opportunities for farms in Halton to bring more local produce to the community with the Feeding Halton project. With support from the Greenbelt Fund and funding from the Ontario government, Halton Fresh Food Box, working with collaborating partners to create Feeding Halton, will look for opportunities within the Region of Halton to create a local food hub. A local food hub will help with the collection, storage, processing, and distribution of local food and products, making them more available to the people of Halton. Collectively, Feeding Halton’s member programs serve more than 40,000 clients each month in the Region. This project builds on work done by the Region to identify what foods are grown locally. Greenbelt Fund release.

Agriculture by the Numbers: Understanding the Greenbelt’s Unique Advantages

The report outlines changes in agriculture over time in the Greenbelt, compared to the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ontario. Using data from Statistics Canada’s 2001, 2006, and 2011 Census of Agriculture, the paper looks at key variables such as number of farms, area farmed, use of farmland, production levels, and farm revenue. Greenbelt report.

New Food For Thought For Bruce County Farmers, October 16

For the two years of its operation, the Bruce Botanical Food Gardens has been test-cropping eggplant and okra to see how it grows in Bruce County, under natural conditions, and using only organic principles. Now it is time to share the experience and open the door to a new marketplace for interested farmers in the region. Dr. Michael Brownbridge of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will be presenting information on their organization’s work on world crop research.  He will share the background of the project, new market opportunities, successes experienced by farmers in the World Food Crop program, various growing techniques and best practices, and how to access a studied marketplace. Details.

Breaking Ground: Halton Food Summit, November 6

Join the Halton Food Council on Thursday, November 6, 8:00 – 1:00 p.m., to hear from a panel of farmers, policymakers, community groups, and grocers as they share their stories about the opportunities and challenges to build a more resilient local food system. Share your story and help shape the future of food in Halton. Together we can create a shared table with room for all! Sustain Ontario post.

Healthy Soil, Water Quality Not Incompatible

A Water Resource Technologist with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority told his board members recently his research demonstrated that healthy soil and water quality are not incompatible. Ross Wilson explains his work on water quality started on the shoreline because that’s where water quality issues show up. But he gradually worked inland along streams and rivers and eventually to fields because that’s water quality issues originate. What he found was that the healthiest fields that produce the best yields also pose the least threats to water quality. Blackburn News story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

#foodcrisis graphic novel sneak peak!

Evan Fraser has been hard at work developing a graphic novel about the global food system.  One of the major inspirations for this story comes from the “food crisis” of 2008-2012 (this is referred to at the start of page 3 in the text box that opens the scene). The trouble began in early 2008 when food prices shot up and around the world angry crowds gathered, protesting an unfair food system that allow some to profit while others go hungry. Protestors raised French baguettes into the air as a symbol of their oppression and the government in Haiti fell. From South America to Southeast Asia people died, cars were burned, marketplaces looted, and armies were called in. Feeding 9 billion post. Sneak peak.

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