New government needs farm connections
Scary policies are often implemented when a government has few connections to mainstream agriculture. That’s the fear in Alberta with the unexpected win by Rachel Notley and the NDP. Among the elected NDP members, there’s nary a farmer to be seen. Notley’s campaign platform on agriculture was scant. Support for small Alberta brewing, value-added agriculture and food processing was mentioned, but there were no specifics. In another part of the document, there’s a pledge to work with small producers to eliminate barriers to local food production and marketing. Local food production and marketing are fine as far as they go, and that stance will be popular in many urban circles, but mainstream agriculture is the true economic driver. The platform promises a strengthening of land owners’ rights for fair compensation and due process in surface rights issues. On that issue, the NDP could win some friends within agriculture if it proceeds prudently. Of course, it also risks further alienating the energy sector. The platform also contains the strange promise to stand up for farmers’ rights to save and sell their seed. Western Producer story.
Support an Organic Revolution in St. John’s
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the turning-point project “Farm to Table,” submitted by local businesswoman Melissa Butler, will represent Newfoundland and Labrador for the finals of the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. Melissa’s project will help her company, Real Food Market, invest in local greenhouse operations as part of its strategy to create a sustainable, year-around food system on the island. To claim the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 grand prize and fund this project, Melissa needs votes from Canadians from coast-to-coast. Canadian News Wire story.
Insights from the first Food Environments in Canada Symposium and Workshop
During his talk, Dr. Cummins discussed the role of grocery-based interventions to improve the food environment, such as healthy food stores in food deserts. The symposium was followed on Friday with a discussion on how to measure food environments, barriers in food access, and interventions in the food system. Yan Kestens for instance, faculty member at the Université de Montréal, discussed the need to establish an accurate and standardized measurement of exposure to different types of food environments (e.g. food swamps). Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.
‘Buy Local’ Hot Among 61% of Canadians
As retailers gear up for the peak “buy local” season, a recent survey reveals that six in ten (61%) Canadians say purchasing local food and beverages is important to them, and nearly half are willing to pay a 15-30% premium for them. Furthermore, among these shoppers, 87% report they would increase their monthly grocery spend if local alternatives were more readily available. When asked what prevents them from buying more local goods, higher price, surprisingly ranked as the lowest obstacle at 23%. This compares with 60% who say the largest impediment is the fact that large chain retailers are not stocking a wide enough selection of local goods. Yahoo Finance story.
Interactive map: What’s your favourite farmers’ market?
It’s official – Canadians have serious love for their local farmers’ market. Local markets aren’t just the place where a growing number of Canadians are shopping, they are also the place consumers trust the most with food quality and safety. An exclusive Ipsos poll for Global News found that 83 per cent of those polled make an effort to buy locally-grown and produced food and 71 per cent are willing to pay more for locally grown food. Global News story.
Working Together to Help Feed Honey Bees
June marks the launch of Buzzing Gardens, a national program spearheaded by Bees Matter that provides Canadians with free seeds to plant pollinator-friendly gardens. Farmers, beekeepers, and several agricultural organizations, including the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), have come together in support of honey bee health and are taking action to help improve access to nutritious food sources. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Local P.E.I. chef to compete for $10,000
Organizers say the recent P.E.I. Savour Food and Wine Show was truly a night of decadence and marked one of the most successful shows to date, showcasing over 40 vendors. Local restaurants Island-wide took part in the show, a project of the P.E.I. Restaurant Association, at the Confederation Centre of the Arts recently. Nineteen wineries, breweries and sommeliers were there to complement the food. The competition for the P.E.I. Flavours Local Food Award was judged during the event on several components; taste, recipes, and creative use of local P.E.I. products. The Guardian Charlottetown story.
Farm land inside Winnipeg dwindling, committee votes for review
Currently, 29 per cent of Winnipeg’s land is zoned agricultural, but the amount of farm land is rapidly dwindling as many properties are converted to urban uses. The committee voted in favour Tuesday to authorize city staff to look more closely at food security issues, establish a Winnipeg Food Policy Council and take a hard look at land use that, according to the report, “could be reserved for agricultural and compatible uses considering existing development constraints.” CBC News Manitoba story.
Cows and Fish
The Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society, more commonly known as ‘Cows and Fish’: strives to foster a better understanding of how improvements in grazing and other management of riparian areas can enhance landscape health and productivity, for the benefit of landowners, agricultural producers, communities and others who use and value riparian areas. Website.
Twitter just moved into a new office in Canada, and it’s very Canadian
To celebrate a new office move and mark its second anniversary doing business in the country, Twitter Inc. held a party at its Canadian HQ in Toronto earlier this month. Its grand opening was a “community affair,” Twitter says in a blog post: “#Nestwarming: Twitter Canada’s new nest.” Financial Post story.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Your Food: Weighing the costs of eating ethically
If you are what you eat, there’s no shortage of Canadians seeking eco-salvation through their stomachs. Walk through just about any grocery store and you’ll see ads for “local” produce, “free-run” eggs and “pasture-raised” beef. The variety of choice suggests consumers are thinking more about the food they eat: not just its nutritional content, but also how it was produced. Global News investigative report.