Local Food News — Ontario

New Food Truck Rolls Onto U of G Campus

Something’s cooking on four wheels at U of G, and it’s rolling to a campus location near you. Sporting a flaming exterior and a “GryphN’” wielding kitchen utensils, Gryph N’ Grille is U of G’s new food truck. Operated by Hospitality Services, the food truck has been well received, says Ed Townsley, assistant director, Food and Retail Services. Featuring a menu of locally-sourced food prepared fresh on the truck, Gryph N’ Grille made its first appearance Sept. 14 in front of Creelman Hall. That’s also when public health inspector Kelly Briscoe gave her seal of approval. Since then, the food truck has served about 350 customers per day, says Townsley. University of Guelph post.



Pigstock is a unique day of learning for the culinary industry followed by an intimate consumer dinner. It celebrates the mangalitsa pig, a unique heritage breed that grows a thick woolly coat similar to that of a sheep. This furry little creature is celebrated the world over for it’s juicy, strong flavour. Come learn from local farmers raising heritage breeds, including Perth Pork and Sonrisa Farms, hear from award winning butchers from near and far, participate in charcuterie demonstrations and of course, dig into some seriously delicious mangalitsa eats. Workshops will be taught by Christoph & Isabel Wiesner, Austrian Mangalitza breeders and seam butchery experts. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post.


Facilitating Urban Agriculture with ‘Tactical’ Policy Changes

These efforts are part of a broader local food strategy supported by several City staff that is being spearheaded by the City’s Public Health Department. For example, we found that some of our land use policies created barriers to setting up farmer’s markets. So we changed them. We amended the Urban Hamilton Official Plan and the seven zoning-by-laws to permit urban farmers markets in many more places across the city, such as the parking lots of community centres and places of worship. We also made some changes to the sign by-law to make sure that farmers markets can advertise themselves appropriately. Raise the Hammer story.


The (health promoting qualities of the) colour purple

For 28 years, Shelley and Tony Spruit have grown wheat, soybeans and corn — mainly for animal feed and ethanol — making their Winchester-area farm typical of those in Eastern Ontario. Two years ago, they decided to start going against the grain. They bought an additional 50 acres to dedicate to heritage and non-genetically-modified crops for food. They now grow some astounding and colourful things: glossy dark purple corn that dates back centuries in Peru; graceful hull-less barley developed in Canada; stunning Ethiopian purple barley; beautiful blue Utrecht wheat; mammoth Russian sunflowers with golden heads as big as beachballs. Ottawa Citizen story.


The hub of an opportunity

Food hubs are moving north, making it easier for medium-size farms to break into ‘local’ sales without all the marketing. Trissia Mellor is on a mission to boost the sustainability of farmers and small businesses in eastern Ontario. In Northumberland County’s economic development and tourism department, she’s the energetic agriculture manager, and she’s also heavily involved in getting the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) up and running. The venture centre is one of a growing number of regional food hubs in Canada that is using consumers’ appetite for local food to benefit local farmers, small businesses and rural communities. Country Guide story.


#FeastOn Nights

This fall, Feast ON-certified restaurants across Ontario will be offering unique dining experiences designed to highlight Ontario food and drink. Participating restaurants throughout the province will create special dining experiences that showcase Ontario beef and cow’s milk cheese, produced by the Beef Farmers of Ontario and Dairy Farmers of Canada, and powered by Pass The Table. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance press release.


Jamie Kennedy brings his passion for local food to Bracebridge

“One of the basic premises of the slow food movement is that communities around the world should produce their own food within their own little food economy and not rely on international trade or industrial food production in order to feed the people,” explains Kennedy, whose commitment to sustainable agriculture and advocacy of local food has been unwavering and nationally recognized. MuskokaRegion.com post.


Thunder Bay senior home residents soon to eat more local food

An area farmer says a program to bring locally grown food to three city-run seniors’ homes in Thunder Bay is good for business. Kevin Belluz says the recent agreement to supply beets, onions, cabbage and carrots to the homes year-round means his operation is getting busier. Belluz said he has had to hire three more people to help meet the demand. CBC News Thunder Bay story.


Community challenge looks for fresh ideas to improve food security

This year’s strategic grant will fund an initiative that will tangibly strengthen the relationship between local food systems and food security, contributing to the longer-term development and resilience of local food systems. “With this second New Leaf grant, the Community Foundation will have invested a quarter-million dollars into tackling issues around food security in our city through this program alone,” said Marco Pagani, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Ottawa. “By so doing, we’re signalling our serious commitment to working with the community to find real and lasting solutions to this critical problem in our city.” Ottawa Community News story.


Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference registration now open

Registration is now open for the fifth annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference hosted by the Cities of Belleville and Quinte West, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This year’s conference theme is “Creativity + Collaboration = Action” and will focus on innovative businesses and organizations that realize the value of collaboration to help pave the way to success. Participants will have the opportunity to tour local food sites, collaborate with local food stakeholders, and be inspired by speakers and network with peers and industry experts. Eastern Ontario AgriNews story.




Examining the ‘Fresh Not Fake’ Trend

The current trend many manufacturers face is the “fresh not fake” trend. This can be a more complex consumer need to address than removing or adding an ingredient, especially when companies are in the business of manufacturing foods that maintain stringent quality standards within complex and national distribution channels. The definition of fresh may not even be clear to consumers or manufacturers (similar to many terms used in the health and wellness space). However, it appears to be contributing to the noticeable decline in sales for categories including breakfast cereals and frozen meals. In the morning meal occasion for instance, consumers are increasingly seeking higher protein offerings – benefits delivered by eggs and Greek yogurt more so than ready-to-eat cereal. Similarly, consumer perceptions of frozen foods as highly processed products full of sodium and preservatives likely contributed to the decline of frozen meal sales. Ipsos Ideas research.


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