Local Food News — Canada

Small scale food report is food for thought

Public demand to buy food directly from farmers is growing. In Manitoba, the government response has been slow and the regulatory hurdles are discouraging. A release issued by the province in January entitled, “Advancing the small scale, local food sector in Manitoba” is a first step but farmers are asking if it will really make any difference. The report estimates about three percent of Manitoba food is sold directly from a farmer at the farmgate or farmers’ market. It then suggests that this market share could be grown to 10 per cent by 2020. One recommendation in particular has made direct marketing farmers wonder if the consultation was futile. The report recommends that small scale food producers create their own association and use it, not to lobby government, but rather to work inside the other, larger associations. Westman Journal blog.

Advancing the small scale, local food sector in Manitoba: a path forward

According to survey results, a relationship built on implicit trust develops as the small scale food producer interacts directly with the consumer. This accomplishes several things. First, the consumer recognizes there is a significant amount of personal time invested by the producer in the food that is being purchased, fostering a sense of respect for food rather than viewing it as a “throw- away” commodity. This attitude shift helps reduce food wastage. Second, consumers may ask direct questions about how that food was produced, how animals were treated and how crops were grown, adding value to production systems that promote good animal welfare practices and responsible use of chemicals. Small Scale Food Manitoba Working Group report.

Put Your School on the Map!

Farm to Cafeteria Canada seeks your help to shine a spotlight on these activities. We are creating the first national map of the school food activities across Canada. By registering your school’s food activity, you will help inform strategic planning that will enable Farm to Cafeteria Canada to better support these activities nationwide. Farm to Cafeteria Canada website.

P.E.I. to become ‘Canada’s Food Island’

A new branding initiative was launched today by the provincial government to make and promote Prince Edward Island as Canada’s Food Island. Premier Wade MacLauchlan made the announcement today at the Easter Beef Show and Sale. The initiative is intended to grow P.E.I.’s reputation as a producer of internationally-recognized premium culinary products, and establish the Island as the destination for culinary excellence. CBC Prince Edward Island story.

B.C. “flour peddlers” empower South Sudan village

When brothers Chris and Josh Hergesheimer started grinding flour for sale using a handmade bicycle-powered mill on the Sunshine Coast, they never thought the contraption would go from being a curious device at local farmers’ markets to an essential piece of equipment at a South Sudan village. The Hergesheimer brothers recently wrote a book, The Flour Peddler: A Global Journey into Local Food from Canada to South Sudan, to detail their journey. CBC British Columbia story.

HarvestHand building local food community

A recent business graduate from Acadia University, Duncan Ebata describes himself as a food community builder. Duncan Ebata of HarvestHand chats about marketing with Wolfville area farmer Emily teBogt at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market one Saturday recently. He is one of three founders of HarvestHand, which is based in Greenwich near Wolfville, and is dedicated to building software solutions for local food communities. Ebata, web developer Mike Caplan and farmer Patricia Bishop started the new media firm. Now HarvestHand is hiring a new web developer. Daily Business Buzz story.

Crunching their way to nutrition

About 230 students at Immaculate Conception School gathered Thursday afternoon, prior to the start of their March Break, to bite into apples during The Great Big Crunch event. The national event is a fun way to bring staff and students together to make noise for healthy eating and local food systems, said Chris McCarthy, Food For Kids Peterborough and County student nutrition program co-ordinator. Peterborough Examiner story.

Coun. Dwayne MacDonald launches campaign to buy farm equipment

A municipal councillor in Inverness County is asking people to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to growing their own food in Cape Breton. Dwayne MacDonald, the co-founder and chair of the Municipal Food Security Committee, has launched an online campaign to raise $60,000 to buy a tractor, a trailer and a truck to haul equipment to help people start a market garden. “I’ve done a lot of talking over the last few years since I’ve been on council about us encouraging local food production,” said MacDonald. “What we’re missing is the ability for small farms to get started.” CBC Nova Scotia story.

Edmonton’s Northern Lands festival celebrates Canadian wineries

It cost Bhatia six months and plenty of sleep to put together the two-day event, which brought together oenophiles, critics and winemakers from 47 wineries to Edmonton, along with 11 breweries and a pair of distilleries. An international panel of judges awarded prizes in four major and 10 sub-categories. Winemakers challenged for bragging rights in a ping pong tournament. The irony of hosting an all-Canadian wine festival in a province without a winery isn’t lost on Bhatia. But the Edmonton wine seller says there’s an advantage to being neutral territory. Edmonton Journal story.

Local foods in stores’ – and awards – spotlights

Jeff Leal, Ontario minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, presented the 2015 Foodland Ontario Retailer Awards to 69 grocery retailers in a variety of categories from across the province. They were recognized for their creative in-store displays, making it easier for consumers to recognize and buy the good things that grow in Ontario. The annual Foodland Ontario Retailer Awards is the produce industry’s premier competition for excellence in display and promotion, and support of Ontario foods. Greenhouse Canada post.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Poutine nation: Quebecois cuisine is having a moment

But what makes it so palatable to the rest of the country? Modernity has a way of watering down tradition, however, so as Armstrong writes in her book, in the 1970s a group of Montreal chefs, realizing that “traditional dishes were in danger of disappearing,” launched a study with the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ). Through their research, recipes from across the province were collected and compiled into a cookbook-cum-bible, Cuisine traditionelle des régions du Québec. Quebec chefs launched another initiative in the 1990s — La Cuisine régionale au Quebec — which urged farmers to get involved in the fight to maintain the identity of Quebec cuisine. National Post story.

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