Local Food News — Ontario

Agri-Food Processing ‘Key Part’ Of Ontario’s Economic Future

Food and Beverage Ontario is endorsing recommendations of a recent report on Canada’s processed food trade deficit. The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute report urged the various industry stakeholders to work together to tackle the deficit and become more competitive in the global market. The CAPI report linked the deficit to a decline of investment in the sector. Blackburn News story.

Toronto chef Collin Thornton cooks up win at The Royal

The inaugural Royal International Invitation Chef Challenge served up a big win for a local chef Sunday at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and put a bright spotlight on fresh, local food. Chef Collin Thornton from the Fairmont Royal York stepped up to the plate and claimed top spot in a cooking competition against Aphisith Phongsavanh, Assistant Chef de Cuisine at New York’s Waldorf Astoria and Mike Wehrle, Executive Chef, and Dimitri Fayard, Executive Pastry Chef, at Chicago’s The Peninsula Hotels. A large crowd of excited food lovers took in the competition on The Royal’s new Food and Lifestyle Stage. Michael Bonacini, a judge on CTV’s MasterChef Canada, judged the competition, along with Rita DeMontis, Lifestyle and Food Editor for The Toronto Sun and National Food Editor for Sun Media. Ben Mulroney, anchor of ETALK, CTV’s Number 1-rated entertainment show, and award-winning chef and author Ted Reader co-hosted the event. Canada News Wire post. 

Craft beer industry settles into northeastern Ontario

The craft beer business in northeastern Ontario is gaining a full head of steam as new operations open and existing microbreweries expand. With the demise of Northern Breweries in 2006, beer production largely stopped in northeastern Ontario, but the growing popularity of craft beer is putting the region back on the brewing map. Stack Brewing in Sudbury opened in 2012 and recently purchased a new brewing system to expand its production. CBC News Sudbury story

A cash boost for Ontario Pork’s branding program

Ontario Pork’s ongoing marketing and promotional work got a huge boost Thursday after the provincial government announced funding of up to $2 million for the organization to expand its efforts. Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal made the funding announcement at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He says in a press release the funding for Ontario Pork supports the province’s local food strategy and is helping to make more local food available in Ontario’s schools, cafeterias, markets, grocery stores and restaurants. Since 2003, the provincial government has invested more than $140 million to support sales of Ontario foods. Better Farming story.

Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

Ontario’s food systems are in crises. Poor nutrition and access to healthy food are important risk factors in the alarming health, economic and social burden of chronic disease in Ontario, while simultaneously farmers and food systems workers are not able to make an adequate income. A comprehensive food and nutrition strategy is needed to address these challenges and to develop healthy, diverse and resilient food systems in Ontario that will contribute to an equitable and prosperous economy. The Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy provides the framework to improve the wholistic health and well-being of people in Ontario, reduce the financial burden of chronic disease, and strengthen the economic viability and resiliency of Ontario’s food systems. Strategy.

Bayfield Farmers Market Met First Year Goals

It sounds like the Bayfield’s Farmers Market will be running next year. Market Manager Joan Brady is quite pleased with the community Response to their first year of operation. Vendors set up every Friday on Clangregor Square, from the May 24 weekend to the weekend after Thanksgiving. Brady Explains she had two specific goals when she started the market; that it be producer-based, and that it be community-oriented. She says both of those goals were met. Blackburn News story.

OSCIA survey reveals surprising relationship between farmers and species at risk

In 2013, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) conducted a survey of producers to get a read on attitudes towards species at risk. The process yielded some surprising results; more than half of participants (69%) acknowledged that SAR loss is an issue in Ontario. “First is that they do care about species at risk and are willing to take action where reasonable and practical. Secondly, and it’s no surprise to us, is the result that 86 percent of those surveyed felt the public is unaware of how the presence of SAR effects farming operations. Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association release.

Farmers Want Support, Recognition to Protect Species at Risk

Ontario farmers may be among the best allies for the province’s species at risk, but they say they need financial and moral support to keep it up. Results of a new survey from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, which administers the Species At Risk Farm Incentive Program on behalf of the province, shows most of the 250 respondents think the lion’s share of environmental conservation responsibility falls on them. And more than 90 per cent think the public is unaware of how species at risk affects farmers. FCC Express story.

2014 Mandate letter: Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Promoting, encouraging and investing in innovative local food projects that celebrate the rich diversity of foods produced and made in Ontario, and which feed local economies and help communities grow. Creating and implementing the new Farms Forever Program. The program will help preserve the productive capacity of agricultural land close to major urban centres, support the local sourcing of food, strengthen Ontario’s agri-food sector and support young farmers. Continuing to work with partner ministers and the agricultural sector to decrease nutrient run-off, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and make our agricultural sector as resilient as possible to climate change. Strengthening pollinator health. Premier’s letter.

Local Food Symposium, February 3 and 4, 2015

Held at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the Lake, the symposium will consist of two full days with site-visits, round table discussions, and keynote speakers. Bringing people together from across the agriculture and food value chain, it will be a great opportunity to learn about some of the interesting and innovative ways more local food is being served in public sector institutions, as well as to discuss some of the challenges we all face and the potential solutions. Website.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

A feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged. Website. YouTube trailer.

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