Anita Stewart inducted into Taste Canada Hall of Fame
Anita Stewart has spoken, written, lobbied and organized across Canada and internationally for nearly three decades on Canadian cuisine. Academically, Anita was the first Canadian to graduate with an M.A. in Gastronomy, and was awarded a Doctor of Laws (Honouris Causa) by the University of Guelph in 2011. She holds an honourary P.Ag. designation and a lifetime membership in the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks, and has written 14 cookbooks. Most recently, Anita Stewart has been appointed as a member of the Order of Canada for her contributions as a journalist, author and culinary activist and for her promotion of the food industry in Canada. Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards 2012. (PDF).
Grass-fed beef certification launched
The Nova Scotia government is hoping the province’s beef producers will be able to sell their products under a certified grass-fed beef label. They are currently conducting research on forage-raised beef, and are looking to get approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for a grass-fed protocol by early 2014. According to provincial agriculture minister John MacDonnell, Nova Scotia’s beef producers have typically run cow-calf — and not finishing — operations. FCC Express post.
Rooftop farms seek to feed Canadian cities’ growing demand for local food
Growing up in Lebanon, Mohamed Hage’s mother would send him on a two-kilometre trek, across a chain of small hills, to collect wild asparagus that grew in a valley at the edge of their village. The freshly picked veggies ended up in omelets, some of the “best you could have.” It’s a romanticized vision of agriculture, one where communities grow and source their own food from nearby lands. “But we’re already past the point where the land we have can suffice for this form of consumption,” says Mr. Hage, the co-founder and president of Lufa Farms, which built the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse in 2010. “What we offer is the next best thing.” Sitting on top of an office building in Montreal is a 31,000-square-foot greenhouse. National Post story.
Foodie alert: First vendors at new Hudson Public Market announced
The new Public Market set to open at the Hudson Building downtown is shaping up to be a foodie central with the first confirmed list of vendors. Highlights include some new additions to the local food scene: The Hot and Cold Café from Cosmo Meens, Olympic chef and Mo:lé founder. George Szasz of Paprika and Stage Wine Bar fame will also launch a new hot food venture. Tortilleria Monterrey will bring their popular market handmade tortillas to their Mexican-style deli. Island Spice Trade and Bounty Seafood are other new additions. Established local favourite such as Silk Road tea, Salt Spring Island Cheese and Wildfire Bakery will also have shops. Victoria Times Colonist story.
Compassion Farm issue studied at UBC
The urban farming controversy around Lantzville’s Compassion Farm inspired one of the province’s top universities to incorporate the issue into its curriculum. The University of British Columbia included the issue in its Faculty of Land and Food Systems, land, food and community 350 course last year. “It turns out there is a huge amount of community support for urban agriculture in Lantzville and very few people have a problem with it, although you wouldn’t know it based on the level of complaints that are raised,” said Lee. Nanaimo News Bulletin story.
Can you control what you eat? Ian Brown takes the food diary test
According to nutritionists, I’m clueless, and so are you. And the nutritionists may have a point. The average North American believes he or she makes 15 to 35 decisions about food a day. But scientists who measure them say we make 225. “Given that people so dramatically underestimate the number of food-related decisions they make in a day,” one study has concluded, “it is not unfair to say we often engage in mindless eating.” Globe and Mail story.
Michael Smith and David Rocco get Taste Canada awards for cookbooks
Some of Canada’s celebrity chefs took top honours for their written work in Taste Canada’s food writing awards Monday. Michael Smith, David Rocco and Josee Di Stasio each won for their cookbooks. Winnipeg Free Press story.
Promoting Canadian Fruits and Vegetables For Good Health
One goal of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is to let consumers know about Canadian farm products. That includes fruits and vegetables. Zanib Ali of Ryerson University was handing out samples as a way of promoting health – and boosting farmers incomes. This year’s Royal features a large Journey To Your Good Health display of Canadian-grown food and food innovation. Blackburn Agri-Media story.
Help wanted: Supporting organic agriculture in Canada
An interview with Rod MacRae, sustainable agriculture teacher and researcher. His research now also includes explorations of the transition to other forms of sustainable agriculture, including advanced integrated pest management and pasture-based systems. He is also concerned with the focus on GMOs for developing the Canadian agricultural industry. MacRae comments “The government still largely believes that the organic market is a niche market, not a transformative process for creating a more sustainable food system…” His long-term hope, which MacRae admits may be more of a dream, is to see a sustainable food system in Canada, where every person would have access to an affordable, sustainably produced diet. In his vision, organic products would occupy 10% to 20% of the market, and would serve to lead the other sectors to more sustainable practices. Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada post.
Conference Board Tests the Waters
What does the Canadian food industry think a national food strategy should contain? That is the question the Conference Board has endeavoured to answer a process led by “investors” Loblaws, Maple Leaf Foods, Heinz, Nestlé, Parmalat (amongst others) and various government departments — each of which needed to invest tens of thousands of dollars just to sit at the table! Not surprisingly, civil society voices are few and far between — mostly foundations who have the resources to participate. Food Secure Canada post.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
The politics of food guides
For 70 years, the issuing of government food guides in Canada has been about more than just nutrition and health. The first Canadian government food guide debuted in July 1942, and reflects its Second World War origins. Then called Canada’s Official Food Rules, the guide was written to address the crisis of widespread malnutrition revealed by a series of studies. Poverty was the main cause. It was shortly after the Great Depression, a time when government, in order to save money, had set the levels of relief rations well below nutritional adequacy. CBC News story.