Local Food News — Canada

Appetite grows for natural, locally produced food

B.C. consumers eager to buy from farmers who have ‘dirt under their fingernails.’

Whether you call them locavores or 100-mile gourmands, they represent a rapidly growing word-of-mouth market for what have been called artisan foods — small batch, largely organic, intensely local — that are transforming the retail landscape. These consumers shun mass-produced and mass-marketed. They study food labels. They shop daily. They buy frugally but will pay premium prices. Ethical and humane are bywords. They support local economies. John van der Lieck has sold high-end charcuterie from his Oyama Sausage Co. since moving the firm he’s owned for 27 years from the Interior to a storefront at the Granville Island Market 14 years ago. He surmises that information technology has made people more aware of the preservatives and flavour enhancers that go into mass-produced food. They know and they aren’t happy. Vancouver Sun story.

New superfruit on the block

You can add another berry to the list of superfruits that grow very well in New Brunswick. Besides the cranberry bogs and wild blueberry fields, there’s an orchard in Chipman, that has yielded its first crop of sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn is a hot trend in health food, described as tasty little berries, rich in nutrients such as Omega 3, Omega 7 and Vitamin C. They’re also known as sandthorn, sallowthorn, or seaberry. Fowler says it was her partner’s idea to get into the business. He was searching for something that might help his daughter who’s diabetic. CBC News New Brunswick story.

Tasty Tidbits: Local Goes Global

As expected, Canadian food patterns are being influenced by the food preferences brought by New Canadians from their home countries. In the context of dining, a home culture’s influence on New Canadians’ consumption of local food/cuisines is significant. For most New Canadians, eating local food is seen as a “novel experience” and partaking in an authentic culinary experience allows them to become closer to their adopted homeland when immersed in an authentic local eating experience. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post.

Choosing Barley Supports the Local Food Movement

As the manager at Taste Alberta, Carrie Selin helps build consumer loyalty to Albertan foods through education, events, a partnership with Gastropost Edmonton and Calgary, and more. Part of her role is increasing Albertans’ awareness of which foods they can buy locally, including meat, eggs, as well as the often-forgotten super-grain barley. It may come as a surprise to some Albertans that buying barley is buying local. Canada is the fourth-largest barley producer in the world, producing eight million tonnes each year. The majority of Canadian barley is grown and harvested in Saskatchewan and Alberta. GoBarley post.

Local Food Petition, November 21, 2014, House of Commons

Mr. Matthew Kellway (Beaches—East York, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today with respect to local food, which is signed by constituents in and around my riding of Beaches—East York.

The petitioners point out that buying local food cuts down on transportation and greenhouse gas emissions, that buying local foods gives Canadians access to fresh and nutritious food, and that federal departments and agencies should lead by example and support Canadian farmers by buying local food.

The petitioners therefore call upon the Government of Canada to require the Department of Public Works to develop a policy to purchase locally grown food for all federal. Petition.

 

New grading system for Canada’s sweetener

Watch out, mock maple syrup makers: it’s about to get a lot harder to pass off a knockoff as the bona-fide Canadian breakfast-table staple. After more than a decade of talks among governments, food regulators and the industry, new rules are being adopted across North America to ensure consumers have a better idea of what kind of maple syrup they’re buying. The changes, which will come into effect over the next two years, will harmonize the grading system for maple syrup produced in Canada and the United States. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also adopting a new system for classing pure maple syrup by colour. Kelowna Capital News story.

Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ push includes flowers

With the holiday season upon us, now is the perfect time to explore the many ways that locally-grown and produced food, beverages and flowers can be included in your holiday celebrations. Here are some tips to make Ontario food, beverages and flowers a part of the holiday season. Greenhouse Canada post.

Food and beverage processors tap into public sector market

The local food movement and call for more “Made in Ontario” products in public institutions is opening the doors for Ontario food and beverage processors to tap into the multi-million dollar market potential of this sector. Food and beverage processor entrepreneurs learned about this opportunity at a workshop on December 11 at the enterprising ThinkFOOD! Centre of Maple Leaf Foods. Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO), the leading voice of over 3,000 food and beverage processors, brought together budding entrepreneurs, seasoned processor veterans and purchasers from the Ontario Broader Public Sector (BPS) to encourage the development of business partnerships between food providers and food buyers. Canada NewsWire story.

Recognizing Ontario’s Top Food Exporters

Ontario is celebrating local food exporters for sharing Ontario made food, beverage and agriculture products with the rest of the world. The Ontario Food Exporter awards recognize Ontario’s food innovators and exporters for their outstanding contributions to expanding Ontario’s presence in international markets. The 2014 winner of the Ontario Food Exporter Award is Super-Pufft Snacks, a snack food company based out of Mississauga that is selling “fun food” to more than 30 countries in five continents. Government of Ontario News post.

Co-op Members Wanted: Ferme Aube aux champs

Join Ferme Aube aux champs Co-op. If you have an existing farm business and are looking for land, we invite you to submit a proposal to join Ferme Aube aux champs land management co-op. Who : farm businesses looking for land and who have a desire to farm collectively. JobTome post.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Protecting Canada’s farmland, the right way

Canada was once a country of farms. At Confederation, four out of every five Canadians were farmers. Today, farmers comprise less than two per cent of the population and produce a mere 1.1 per cent of GDP. Should it come as any surprise that the amount of farmland in Canada is shrinking, as well? Last week, Statistics Canada released a comprehensive look at agriculture in Canada, bringing together the latest economic, geographic and ecological indicators. The most noteworthy observation: Nearly one million hectares of “dependable agricultural land” has disappeared from cultivation over the past 10 years, most of it subsumed by development around Canada’s biggest cities. MacLeans editorial.

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Local Food News — Canada

Real Food Connections local food store closer to fruition

A Fredericton-based local food operation is a step closer to opening a grocery store in Saint John, which would feature locally-produced food items. Real Food Connections raised more than $270,000 from 181 investors in southern New Brunswick. The amount raised exceeded its goal by $50,000. Levi Lawrence runs the operation, and he hopes to secure a location for the grocery store within the next month and open by the summer. The plan is to carry more than 1,500 products from 120 or so producers. CBC News New Brunswick story.

Taste Alberta fireside chat about local food

New at Christmas in November this year was a series of  Taste Alberta ‘Fireside Chats’ featuring local chefs, producers, and people having an open discussion about local food. My Fireside Chat (the first of Christmas in November) was moderated by the Edmonton Journal’s Liane Faulder. I loved how Christmas in November brought in a lot of local (Edmonton/Calgary) chefs for this year’s event and during this panel, the chefs took turns talking about eating local. Anna Olson stressed that you can still cook local by using local ingredients, but have your dishes be globally-inspired. Canada.com story.

Epicure adds spice to the direct-sales business

Founded by Rochette in 1997, Epicure claims to be the country’s largest direct-sales business. Some 12,000 independent consultants, the vast majority of them women, sell hundreds of healthy mealtime food products at private home tasting parties they organize among family and friends. Rochette, who is owner and president, said her private company’s sales will likely top a record $50 million this year. A large chunk of those revenues will notably be generated in Montreal, which is the company’s fastest-growing market. Montreal Gazette story.

Celebrated chef shares passion for local food

Kennedy has long been a proponent of farm-to-table food — in fact, the day of a recent interview marked his 40th anniversary as a professional cook. “So much has changed,” he says. “People’s sophistication, their understanding, their appreciation of food in general but particularly food from local provenance, has increased dramatically as well as sophistication of dining-out culture.” Hamilton Spectator story.

Win a spot at the Okanagan Food and Wine Writer’s Workshop with your blog

Edmonton food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King, creator of the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers Workshop (OFWWW), along with Food Bloggers of Canada and Tourism Kelowna are sponsoring a contest called Blog Your Way to Kelowna. The competition is open to “all bloggers with a story to tell of an amazing product, chef or culinary experience in Canada,” according to a news release. The winning submission wins travel, accommodation and workshop registration fees for the 2015 OFWWW, being held from Sept 11 to 13, in Kelowna. Edmonton Journal blog.

Sustainable Local Food Certificate, 2015

This certificate explores the practices, principles and philosophies involved in local food system development. The focus is on increasing both academic and hands-on knowledge of regional food initiatives across Canada, alongside international best practices. There is a specific concentration on applied learning, online networking, and community research. To successfully complete this program, participants must complete six (6) compulsory courses. St Lawrence College certificate description.

Certificate in Food Security, 2015

This certificate focuses on how to meet the challenge of creating sustainable food systems based on social justice and democratic decision-making that will ensure people’s right to food. As such, the programs serves anyone with a keen passion in food issues, environmental sustainability, human rights, alleviation of food insecurity, food-related health and education issues, and food policy. Students will go on to work in civil society organization and public sector agencies in Canada and worldwide addressing food issues and also engaging in the private sector to initiate its transformation to a more equitable and sustainable system of production, processing marketing. Ryerson Centre for Studies in Food Security certificate description.

County of Vermilion Wins Provincial Award for ALUS Program

The Provincial Minister’s Award recognizing Municipal Excellence has been awarded to the County of Vermilion River. The award recognizes Innovation for the continued implementation and success of the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program. The award was received from Alberta Municipal Affairs at both the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) conference in September and at the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts & Counties (AAMDC) conference November 18, 2014. The ALUS program is a voluntary, incentive-based environmental program that recognizes and rewards the positive contributions that farmers make to clean air and water and biodiversity through their land management practices. Alternative Land Use Services post.

Another 5,000 farms disappear under Conservatives

New numbers from Statistics Canada reveal that the number of farms in Canada continues to decline. “In just one year, almost 5,000 farms of all sizes disappeared from the Canadian landscape. We need to act now to help farming families and protect our local food system,” said Agriculture critic Malcom Allen (Welland), “With food prices going up, the last thing we need is less security in our food supply.” NorthumberlandView.ca story.

New Canadian toolkit helps health care facilities reduce GHG emissions and save water

The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care (the Coalition) announced the launch of a new critical review tool designed to help Canadian health care facilities reduce their environmental footprint. The free Greenhouse Gas and Water Conservation Guide (GHG Guide) is available to anyone in the Canadian health sector via an innovative web platform, and provides strategies and outreach materials on water and GHG management, two of the key components of climate change mitigation. Many health care organisations across Canada have already demonstrated a desire to meet the climate change challenge head on by improving and adapting their operations to become more sustainable, efficient, and resilient. Thanks to Environment Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program, the Coalition, and our partners, the Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society (CHES) and Synergie Sante Environnement (SSE), are able to offer guidance to health care organisations taking a serious leadership role in climate change preparation and mitigation. Exchange Morning Post story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Letting Rick Mercer Drive Your Combine

The shoot was originally supposed to take place during the 2013 harvest, but Mercer and his production crew got a lesson in how farmers are impacted by weather, as filming was postponed last fall and again on September 7th of this year due to rain. September 22nd ended up being the day that the CBC team visited the farm. Real Agriculture story. Rick Mercer report.

Local Food News — Canada

Raking wild blueberries by hand — with Rick Mercer, November 25

Wild blueberry harvesting will air on the Rick Mercer Report on Tuesday, November 25 at 8pmon CBC. It will repeat Friday, November 28 at 8:30. You will also be able to find it on the rick Mercer YouTube channel. Website. Youtube channel.

Food activists celebrate gains at Halifax conference

If the 500 food advocates attending six plenaries and 50 workshops at the Halifax conference of Food Secure Canada are any indication, the poorly resourced movement is also among the youngest (me being about the only exception), most excited and accomplished of new social movements. Major, albeit unsung, victories are being scored in school and health fields — long the most debated, progressive and impactful bastions of Canadian public policy. Though Canada is one of a few industrialized and affluent nations not to have a national school meal program — Ireland and The Netherlands are other exceptions — the groundwork for such programs is moving by leaps and bounds, and the issue may well be featured in next year’s expected federal election. Rabble story.

When’s the Last Time You Visited a Hospital for the Food?

This past June, while attending a food-related conference in Burlington, Vermont, I inevitably found myself looking for somewhere decent to eat near campus. After asking around a bit, I was surprised to hear how many people recommended the hospital. Hospital food generally evokes the same reaction as airplane food. It’s something you eat because you’re hungry and there are no other options; it’s definitely not something you seek out in a city that has the variety of good restaurants that Burlington does. Fletcher Allen Hospital, however, provides something rather different than your standard-issue hospital gruel. Roughly half of the food served at Fletcher Allen is locally-sourced and sustainable. Alternatives Journal blog.

Yuba Local Market delivers local food to downtown Calgary

A Calgary food vendor is hoping to increase the availability of locally grown foods in the downtown core by offering grocery delivery. Kirsten Faverin, one of the founders of Yuba Local Market, spoke to The Calgary Eyeopener this morning about how the operation works. “We find local vendors, whether they raise meat, grow produce, make their own produced food in their kitchens and we find the best products and the best grocery items,” said Faverin. The products are then listed on their site yuba.ca and can be ordered for next day delivery. CBC News Calgary story.

Dinner Hot off the…Printer? The Potential for 3D Printing Food

In May 2013, NASA announced funding for a phase I, six-month $125, 000 study on 3D printing of foods in order to assess the technology’s ability to enable nutrient stability, minimize crew time, provide a variety of foods and reduce waste. The technology shows promise, not just for the potential elimination reduction in space meals served in tubes and pouches, but also for certain diets here on earth. To find out more about where 3D printing shows promise, we caught up with Irvin at the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference in Saskatoon. Real Agriculture story.

Quality foods earn top marks at MacEwan University

Four locally-owned spots are raising the ante on flavour at MacEwan University. It’s fair to say that food truck season is most definitely over in Edmonton – but as Edmonton AM food critic Twyla Campbell reports, fans of flavourful, local food need only go back to school to get a taste of the best. Following upon the footsteps of the University of British Columbia and Ryerson, MacEwan University is joining the swelling ranks of Canadian schools moving towards healthier, better on-campus food offerings by adding four independent suppliers. CBC News Edmonton story.

Bakers proud of local sourcing

Fresh from the field takes on a whole new meaning at this Saskatoon bakery. Bryn Rawlyk and his wife, Beth Côté, have been milling their own flour and producing artisan breads and pastries at the Night Oven Bakery since it opened in March. The couple learned their skills by baking and working in kitchens and restaurants across Canada. They learned about milling by talking to other millers and then jumping in, giving it a go themselves. Rawlyk said they wanted to open the bakery-mill because he had the skills and because Saskatoon is right in the middle of farm land. It would be easy to design his operation to match his passion for producing food from local, wholesome ingredients. Western Producer story.

Soil “Fingerprinting”: Opening Doors to Improved Soil Monitoring

Because there are many soil attributes, land use decisions, and environmental issues to consider, a team led by an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist, Dr. Catherine Fox of the Greenhouse and Processing Crops Research Centre in Harrow, Ontario, has developed the “A-Horizon Framework” with an electronic Field Form to record detailed characteristics of the surface layer of the soil to create a “soil fingerprint”. This new Framework offers an innovative and systematic approach to record soil properties that affect soil quality and are subject to change, such as soil structure, bulk density (extent of compaction), amount of organic matter, pH, and salinity. As the properties of the soil are recorded electronically in the Field Form, a soil fingerprint is automatically generated. Canadian Federation of Agriculture post.

Send Holiday Greetings to your favorite local biz. And Win!

Local, independent businesses and social enterprises are the engines that drive a strong, vibrant economy. On average, Canadian families spend $1,400 extra during the winter holiday season. Let’s spend more of it locally and celebrate the people and places that make our neighbourhoods unique. Write a holiday greeting card (or five) to your favourite local business for your chance to win one of eleven prizes worth over $3,000. Get started right below! The Tyee post.

Public Produce: Cultivating Our Parks, Plazas, and Streets for Healthier Cities

Plum and pear trees shade park benches in Kamloops, British Columbia. Tomatoes and cucumbers burst forth from planters at City Hall in Provo, Utah. Strawberries and carrots flourish along the sunny sidewalks of a Los Angeles neighborhood. The idea that public land could be used creatively to grow fresh food for local citizens was beginning to gain traction when Public Produce was first published in 2009, but there were few concrete examples of action. Today, things are different: fruits and vegetables are thriving in parks, plazas, along our streets, and around our civic buildings. This revised edition of Public Produce profiles the many communities and community officials that are rethinking the role of public space in cities, and shows how places as diverse as parking lots and playgrounds can sustain health and happiness through fresh produce. University of British Columbia book announcement.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Map Soil Organic Matter and PH Levels On-The-Go with the Veris MSP3

A better understanding of soil properties like electrical conductivity, organic matter and pH levels can go a long way in precision agriculture applications. As Veris Technologies president Eric Lund explains in the following video, mapping these properties is useful in variable rate fertilizer application, as well as for site-specific management when seeding, applying lime or irrigating. The initial soil characteristic readings from the Veris machine are relative, so they must be calibrated using soil samples taken at the same time, says Lund. Real Agriculture story.

Local Food News — Canada

New cook book launched to help grow Nova Scotia’s local food economy

In an effort to encourage Nova Scotians to eat —but more importantly, buy – local, Select Nova Scotia has launched a new cook book, written by local chefs who invented recipes with a variety of homegrown ingredients. A book launch was held on Wednesday at the Halifax Seaport Market, where Minister of Agriculture Keith Colwell called the new recipe collection a key to encouraging more residents to stock up on local produce. MetroNews Canada story.

Foodie culture puts Duncan, B.C., on startups’ map

The survey, which drew on data from Statistics Canada and interviews with local businesses, polled more than 100 Canadian cities to find out how friendly they were to independent business owners. It examined three broad areas: presence (how many small businesses existed), policy (how positively local government policies affected business conditions), and finally perspective. This describes small-business owners’ attitudes towards business and living conditions in their local cities. Financial Post story.

Hot cuisine: Abundant local farms create high foodie expectations

Ottawa restaurateurs know customers ‘want to taste Ottawa,’ food critic says. The abundance of local farms and farmers markets have created an educated group of eaters in Ottawa, forcing local restaurants to try new recipes with new technology as they search for their next masterpiece, according to local food critic Anne DesBrisay. As a result, DesBrisay adds that Ottawa is becoming a vibrant food destination. CBC News Ottawa story.

Upcoming workshop reminds us that “local food needs local seed”

Farmers, gardeners, and others interested in food are invited to an upcoming gathering about saving seed. Planting for the Future: Building Capacity for a Regional Seed System will take place Saturday, Nov. 15 in Inverary. The event is being organized by KASSI, the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative, which has been encouraging regional seed saving and production since 2011. “Almost everything we eat begins with seeds, so whoever controls seeds, controls food,” says Kathy Rothermel, a Wolfe Island farmer and member of the KASSI. “As a result, we want to build our region’s capacity to grow its own food and its own seeds.” Metroland Kingston Region post.

Alberta Farm Receives National Pollinator Award

The award collects nominations from across Canada and is given annually to recognize the contributions Canadian farmers make towards protecting our country’s pollinators and pollinator habitats. While the Coens have been practicing sustainable farming since the late 1980’s, son Takota has recently started investing in agroforestry on the family’s 250-acre farm located in the Aspen Parkland Biome near Ferintosh, Alberta. Takota has diversified several acres of farmland where livestock graze between rows of planted fruit, nut and timber trees. This approach provides immense benefits for local wildlife, most notably pollinators that gain increased habitat and food supply. To support the longevity of their “forest farm”, the Coens have also sought to involve their local community by creating a unique community supported agriculture method, where people can purchase a share and over several years receive the value back in the form of nuts, fruit, honey, herbs, meat and more. Canadian Federation of Agriculture post.

New Glasgow Farmer’s Market ready to expand

If someone told Melissa Zimmerman seven years ago that she would soon be selling her products in a heated, expansive building, she would thought they were dreaming. But on Saturday (Nov. 8) that dream became a reality when the president of the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market, along with many other vendors, were on hand for a substantial federal government funding announcement that will see the market expanded into a permanent, year-round building. “We stared over in the Keltic Building – no windows, no electrical outlets, no lights.  At most we had a dozen vendors and than we moved over to old Zellers building on Provost Street had challenges with no parking,” she said following an announcement Saturday by Central Nova MP Peter MacKay about new federal funding for the expansion of the market. Farm Focus story. Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency news release.

Government expands pilot encouraging local sustainable food, rural economic growth

The Manitoba government is investing more than $73,000 in the second phase of the Local Sustainable Food Pilot Project, which helps institutions identify ways to increase the amount of locally grown food purchased while working with farmers to meet these demands, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today at the Food Matters Manitoba Golden Carrot Awards held in Winnipeg. “Funding for the Local Sustainable Food Procurement Pilot Program will support both farmers and purchasers, with the goal of having more local foods in more locations across the province. This is great news for the rural economy,” said Kostyshyn. “We have already seen good results from the first phase of this project, and along with the upcoming conclusion of recent consultations for direct-farm marketing, Manitobans will soon have more choice than ever when it comes to buying locally grown food.” Manitoba NDP post.

6 crops to plant if you want to save money

As we celebrate the harvest here in B.C., there’s more reason than ever to consider growing your own. A new report says the drought in California could mean the price of fruits and vegetables may rise by 34 per cent in the next year. But Claire Smith says it’s easy to save money by planting a garden. Smith is teaching a course at VanDusen Botanical Garden Wednesday evening called Maximize Nutrition from your Harvest. Garden crops that will save you money: radishes, peas, polebeans, greens, squash and blueberries. CBC News British Columbia story.

Harper Government Invests in Improving Vegetable Produce

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today an investment of $411,627 to Productions en Régie Intégrée du Sud de Montréal (PRISME) to improve the quality and safety of vegetable produce. This support from the AgriInnovation Program’s Research & Development stream will help PRISME better identify pests and evaluate produce resistance to fungicide to improve the productivity and profitability of vegetable farms. PRISME will also partner with Bishop’s University on the Delia fly pest project. Bishop’s University today presented the results of their research on pests in vegetable crops at the Société d’entomologie du Québec’s annual meeting in Wendake. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada news release.

Future of B.C. farming in question as land policy changes

This year, the B.C. Liberal government overhauled the Agricultural Land Reserve for the first time, creating two zones that will make it easier for non-agricultural development on protected farmland outside the most productive regions. The provincial government says the changes will enhance agriculture because they will allow farmers more options to supplement their incomes, but critics fear the new rules will drive land speculation within the reserve’s boundaries. The Globe and Mail story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Peter Anderson: Protect the Experimental Farm

The division of the Central Experimental Farm is an attack on heritage designations and federal science. On Nov. 3, John Baird announced the transfer of 60 acres of the Farm from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to the National Capital Commission who then offered a dollar-a-year lease to The Ottawa Hospital to build a new Civic Hospital campus. The Farm, founded in 1886, is a National Historic Site of Canada and an important federal research station. The announcement is troubling when read alongside deep cuts across federal research institutions, including the cancellation of the long form census, the closure of libraries at Environment Canada, the attempts to shut down the Experimental Lakes Area in Northern Ontario, and the mishandling of Library and Archives Canada. Ottawa Citizen post.

Local Food News — Canada

Small farmers in Canada are ‘a dying breed,’ but what does that mean for our food supply?

The plight of the family farmer — about half of whom require a second job to make ends meet — caught the eye of Canadian filmmaker Ari A. Cohen, who made the documentary to tell the story of everyday life on a small farm in Canada. The film is is both beautifully shot and soberingly relevant. The Family Farm airs on the Documentary Channel on Nov. 18 at 9 p.m. National Post film review.

Hard journey to food security in Nova Scotia, five-year study finds

Results of the study, led by Mount Saint Vincent University’s Food Action Research Centre and the Nova Scotia Food Security Network, were released Thursday in Halifax. “We wanted to learn more about community food security in this province because it is connected to our health, to our well-being, the vitality of our communities and the quality of our life, ” said Patricia Williams, director of the research centre and professor of applied human nutrition at the university. Recommendations include more co-ordinated efforts to ensure people have adequate incomes, creating conditions that support healthy and sustainable food systems, and building successful community supports and resources. The Chronicle Herald story.

Real Food Connections seeks local investors to expand

Real Food Connections is moving closer to hitting an investment goal that willallow the Fredericton-based business to expand into Saint John and create a local food distribution network in the province. Real Food Connections is trying to raise between $220,000 and $290,000 through local investors by using the Small Business Investor Tax Credit program. But the business has run into a series of barriers, mainly because of red tape associated with signing up investors. Levi Lawrence, the store’s owner, said the process, in order to get investments of between $1,000 to $2,000, has become “a real mess.” CBC News (New Brunswick) story.

Farm to Cafeteria: Canada Digs In!

I am pleased to present the first issue of Farm to Cafeteria: Canada Digs In! This quarterly newsletter aims to provide those keen on getting more local, healthy and sustainable foods into Canada’s public institutions with timely highlights of programs, policy, evaluation and events across the nation. Our promise is to keep our newsletters brief! You will find no more than 3-5 key national announcements per issue. Newsletter.

Can homegrown food win the climate change war?

When U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared that planting a garden would win the war during the First World War, Victory Gardens became both part of the economic and psychological landscape of North America in ways that would be considered revolutionary today. In these instances it was connected to clear political and social implications that both encouraged everyday citizens to do their part that, together, had profound collective consequences for the war effort. Doing so managed to connect the personal sphere and troubles of the war to the social and political goals of the national and international cause. Why is this important? Because today, we face a similar task of epic proportions: climate change. And gardening might be one the best and brightest ways that we can both individually and collectively face this challenge, particularly in developed countries. Global News story.

 

Family farm stakes future on edamame

Edamame? If you’ve been to a sushi bar, you know it. It’s a type of immature soybean, still in the pod. Usually steamed before eating, it can be found in every Japanese and most other Asian  restaurants in Canada, as well as health food stores and major supermarkets. Just 1 per cent of the edamame consumed in Canada is grown here, says Mr. MacKellar. The rest is from China. That means working with a crop that, in Ontario at least, is unconventional, and working without a rulebook. Globe and Mail story.

Seed Facilitation Fund

The goal of the Seed Facilitation Fund is to help build a diverse and resilient seed system by strengthening the capacity of ecological vegetable seed and field crop producers. The Fund provides financial support to organizations and individuals who share the values and goals of our program. Applicants may submit proposals for a maximum of $8,000per project. In total, approximately $200,000 will be allocated across the country in 2015. Nourishing Communities blog.

Seed bank sprouts at Dalhousie’s agriculture campus in Bible Hill

A seed of survival was planted at Dalhousie University’s agriculture campus on Monday. “Up to 10,000 plant species or maybe more are at risk of extinction,” said Stephanie Hughes, regional co-ordinator for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. That said, Hughes and partners Dalhousie, USC Canada and Seeds of Diversity Canada announced the first regional seed bank in Atlantic Canada, to be housed at the university’s plant and animal science department. The bank is intended to help farmers create a stronger local food system, while focusing on high-quality, diverse, local seed that has agronomic, historical and cultural importance to the region. The Chronicle Herald story.

Kids Dig It at Common Roots Urban Farm

The garden is a community project, inspired and designed by children and their families that frequent the farm. The initiative began with a sponsorship from Clean NS (Celebrating 25 Years grant) to host design workshops, led by Rhea Dawn Landscaping. These took the form of community conversations with volunteers, parents and youth to understand what farming families would like to see in a garden dedicated to kids; how would they want to engage in a garden of play and curiosity? These conversations were then transformed into design data, resulting in a clay model (again, created by kids!) to guide the building process. Key elements of design include a log sandbox, hiding and sitting corners, places for guardians and parents to perch, tunnels and teepees, and a nursery of native plants. Adventures in Local Food blog.

Chef Jamie Kennedy discusses Canadian local food movement

These days, farmers markets are popping up in every park, and it’s not hard to find a restaurant serving heirloom carrots or grass-fed beef from just down the road. But in the 1970s, the farm-to-table idea was far from fashionable. Chef Jamie Kennedy helped change that by championing the local food philosophy for decades. He traces that evolution in his new cookbook, called J.K., The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook. CBC News tweet.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Dalhousie Urban Garden Programming Officer

The Dalhousie Urban Garden Society (DUGS) is pleased to announce that we will be hiring one part-time staff member for the campus urban garden. The staff position will provide support on various fronts for the DUGS executive team as they transition into the 2015 gardening season. Hiring will be completed in January 2015. FoodWork.ca job posting.

Local Food News — Canada

Collaborating On Food: An Interview With Wayne Roberts

People understood about the connection between food and collaboration from the earliest days of cities. Think of words such as companion, company and companero. They come from the Latin combination of with (com) and pane (bread). Even the word “trivia”, my favourite, comes from the fact that early farmers markets were set up at the intersection of three (tri) roads (via). And when people got together, they were so excited and chatty, they talked about what authorities considered trivia, but was probably just a put-down of popular collaboration. If I may say so, I got the food-collaboration connection in my first year at the Toronto Food Policy Council when I was doing research for our brief about problems in the first draft of the Official Plan. Interview.

Jamie Kennedy comes back to Wine & Food fest

“It’s been a dramatic evolution since my last book,” says the 57-year-old Kennedy, who has been advocating sustainability and local food for four decades — long before it became fashionable. “I would say we’ve moved beyond infancy and I suppose to an adolescent stage, where we’re starting to feel our identity. In the past, we learned by imitating other food cultures more advanced than ours. Now we have reached the point of leaving the house, not to travel abroad but rather to stay in the neighbourhood to explore and absorb excellence right here at home.” Kennedy practises what he preaches. Since 2001 he has owned a farm and vineyard in Hillier, in Prince Edward County, about midway between Toronto and Ottawa. Ottawa Citizen story.

Without national strategy, local food producers struggle to stem Canada’s growing hunger problem

At the 24-hectare UBC Farm, chickens peck at bugs and grass, protected from coyotes by an electric fence. Nearby, students sort squash, pumpkins and other produce for distribution through the farm’s community-supported agriculture program. The farm is a pocket of tranquillity at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, where new housing projects have added thousands of new residents over the past decade. Formerly slated for development, the site was rezoned as “green academic” property in 2011 following a public outcry. It is also an outpost in the global campaign for food security, which the World Food Summit of 1996 defined as existing “when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain an active and healthy life.” The Globe and Mail (BC) story.

Who Are The Young Agrarians?

Young Agrarians is a grassroots initiative made up of agriculturalists and media conspirators intent on growing food sustainably. Inspired by The Greenhorns to build a network Canada-side to celebrate, connect and recruit young farmers – the Young Agrarians are the movers and shakers of a new agrarian movement: young agriculturalists, farmers, urban farmers, market and community gardeners, community groups and academics, organizations and the public who want to ecologically rebuild, promote and inspire the agriculture of our country. We are using the power of media and the internet, and bringing people together in real time- to build community and grow ‘good, clean, and fair’ food. Website. Gathering In The Greenhouse At Uminami Farm In Metchosin, BC, October 26 post on Facebook.

 

AV farmers aim for youth interest

“He has the land, and I have the birds and knowledge to pass on, but the missing link was finding someone to help,” Morris said. That is when she approached Savard and he agreed to take on a learning experience and apprenticeship. In return, both Smith and Savard’s family would receive fresh, healthy chickens and the field would be fertilized for his grain business. Morris went from raising 50 birds at the start to a collection now of 300. They are kept in pens on Smith’s pasture where Morris and Savard tend them in an eco-friendly process. Alberni Valley Times story.

 

Would you pay more for a sustainable product that tastes great?

It started out as a gauntlet thrown down by a brash young chef living in British Columbia’s Cowichan Valley. Although sea salt is traditionally produced in warmer climes, Andrew Shepherd bet a friend that the pristine waterways of the province could be leveraged to do the same. “He said there wouldn’t be any salt in the pot and I said there’d be enough to do something with,” recalls Mr. Shepherd who stayed up all night boiling sea water over a fire. By morning, five pounds of salt made him a winner, but more important, set him on a path of entrepreneurship. In the five years since that wager, Mr. Shepherd’s Vancouver Island Salt Co. has established itself as an artisan sea salt producer to be reckoned with. National Post story.

 

Webinar: Lessons from an evaluation of community-university partnerships in the Regina Community Food Assessment

Throughout this project, two levels of community – university involvement were considered – a role with academic professionals in the completion of an environmental scan, and the role of university based organizations such as community research unit designed to connect community groups with University of Regina faculty and students to find answers to questions through research & collaboration. The Webinar will review the process, outcomes, successes and challenges of engaging organizations and individuals from outside community-based organizations and the importance of establishing a structure, process and communication tools that attends to key differences in operational environments in the private and non-profit sector and in this case the University. Report. Webinar.

Island farmers take over downtown Charlottetown

Downtown Charlottetown was overrun yesterday with Island produce as farmers took over for the seventh annual Farm Day in the City. Crowds filled up a blocked off Queen Street and Victoria Row to see the open-air market, which featured producers, farmers, artisans and musicians. The event is a grand finale to the month-long Fall Flavours Festival and celebrates the bounty of both rural and urban communities. It wasn’t just food that was celebrated, as crafts and even old time traditions were put on display. The Guardian story.

Local food soars at Sobeys

In her Oct. 1 letter, East Gore small farmer Tina Morgan states that “local” to retailers means the produce “can actually be from as far away as Ontario,” which is an absolute misrepresentation of how we at Sobeys identify “local.” I can tell you with 100 per cent certainty that produce from Ontario is not considered local at Sobeys. At Sobeys, we launched our Better Food is Local campaign in July. It features photos of local growers and eye-catching red, barn-board signage. In Nova Scotia, that includes local growers from the Annapolis Valley, Cape Breton, Truro and other areas. We are proud of our relationships with these local growers and are proud to call them partners. The Chronicle Herald counterpoint.

Farmers pitted against developers on Site C

“They [B.C. Hydro] didn’t look at the horticulture value of that land … they never really looked at issues beyond that – of community resiliency and food in the north – where families in the north are paying four times what people in the Lower Mainland are paying to put food on the table,” says Ms. Holm, who earlier this year filed a submission to a joint federal-provincial review panel of the proposed Site C project. “What is planted in the valley right now is not indicative of what might be planted if that shadow [of the dam] wasn’t there,” says Ms. Holm, who filed her submission on behalf of the Peace Valley Environment Association, which opposes the dam. The globe and Mail story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Documentary: The Family Farm

The film begins in Nova Scotia with egg farmer, Aaron Hiltz, who was confronted by the provincial egg board and asked to get rid of the majority of his flock. Hiltz’s story highlights the issues many farmers face and the flaws associated with what he considers an outdated system. The Morgan farm crew of Quebec draw attention to another issue, land cost and inaccessibility, that many young, budding farmers encounter and discuss their proposed solutions to these problems. On the other side of the country, organic farming pioneer, Raymond Loo discloses his dream of creating a chemical-free Prince Edward Island, full of clean, organic food and demonstrates how his farm serves as a stepping stone towards realizing this goal. The exploitative side farming is also exposed through Manitoba farmer, Carlyle Jorgensen’s retellings of his experience working with an oil company who dug a well on his prime farmland despite his disapproval. A season spent shadowing these individuals in addition to other farm families reveals the key role they play in sustaining traditional farm knowledge, promoting environmental stewardship and maintaining food security. Facebook page. Trailer.

Local Food News — Canada

local PRODUCT SELL TO US GUIDE

Co-op and Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) have partnered to create this guide as a resource for local farmers, ranchers, and producers. FCL provides your Co-op and 225 other retail Co-ops across Western Canada (collectively called the Co-operative Retailing System or CRS) with central wholesaling and marketing support. FCL-subsidiary The Grocery People (TGP) manages FCL’s supply of fresh fruit and vegetables across the system. We understand the challenges and opportunities of being a local business. Coop Connection post.

Government-run bodies could create local-food market

The University of Winnipeg has given a wonderful example of a taxpayer funded institution paying back to the local community. Leaders realized that millions of dollars were being spent on food, but little was spent in the local community. This university has a sizable percentage of foreign students who were not keen on the food provided by the national chain that controlled all aspects of food provision to the students. Also, local leaders wanted the university to buy local. National food services were not interested in “local.” Another factor was that local leaders wanted to create jobs in the food sector. Chronicle Herald opinion.

Over Grow The System

Over Grow The System has been dedicated to raising awareness around our food system, sustainability, and how to live a life that is more in tune with nature. We recognize that many aspects of our current systems in place around the globe are causing much of the environmental destruction and social issues that we currently face.  There is no simple answer, but through OGTS, we seek to shed light on those out there who are talking up the call to create alternatives through urban and rural farming, permaculture, sustainability projects, green teck and much more.  What we face is in no way a easy fight, but for the future of not just humans, but much of the life on the planet, it is quite possibly one of the most important. Website.

Canada’s first saffron farm expecting excellent crop

Canada’s first farm dedicated to growing saffron, the spice that’s worth more than its weight in gold, is getting ready to harvest its first bumper crop. But even that will weigh about the same as a pound of butter. Pur Safran, located in the small Quebec village of St-Elie-de-Caxton, expects to harvest 450 to 500 grams of the precious spice before the end of October. “We would like for Quebec to become self-sufficient in saffron production, because we can do it,”  said Pur Safran co-owner Nathalie Denault, who not only produces the spice, but teaches other potential growers the ropes. Agriculture Industry Today story.

Websites help connect people with Sask.-grown food

Sure, it’s great to eat local food but where the heck do you find it? Apart from farmers’ markets and health food stores, it’s not very easy to find food grown close to home or find information on where your food came from. A few enterprising organizations are changing that by launching websites and in-store programs to help connect people with food grown close to home. Star Phoenix story.

‘We Heart Local’ grower award

“We Heart Local” (formerly “Buy Local, Eat Natural”) is a community-wide movement supporting local, family owned farms and food businesses in B.C. It is a partnership of the B.C. Agriculture Council, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Global TV, Taku Resort & Marina, the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets, the B.C. Dairy Association, LOCO B.C., the B.C. Restaurants and Foodservices Association, and Edible Vancouver. Greenhouse Canada post.

The New Yorker, Bon Appétit magazines headline Canada’s first annual food and word festival

“As the local food movement takes hold across Canada, there is increasing interest in knowing the people who grow and make our food, and hearing their personal stories and inspiration,” says Stephen Mostad, organizer and co-founder of Rustik Magazine. “Alimentary Ideas is Rustik’s flagship event envisioned to build those relationships and tell those stories.” Digital Journal story.

It’s too easy for Nova Scotia not to buy local

It should be fairly simple for government institutions to copy the Winnipeg model. Our governments have been strong in supplying money for development of high-tech businesses, which is a good thing. However, there has been little effort put into the development of capacity for the local food sector. It seems to me that it should be fairly simple for government institutions to copy the Winnipeg model. Cape Breton Post opinion by Greg MacLeod is professor emeritus at Cape Breton University’s Tompkins Institute.

Initiatives are growing to have building roofs become urban farms.

Canadian municipalities are beginning to respond to the growing demand for urban agriculture and rooftop farming. The City of Edmonton’s “fresh: Urban Food and Agriculture Strategy” (October 2012) identified rooftop gardens in the inner urban area as an opportunity for food production and recommended that the municipality assess regulatory barriers for green roofs. While the concept of rooftop farming is relatively novel, it stands to become more prevalent, providing an excellent opportunity for cutting-edge engineers to be proactive and to contribute to urban initiatives. Miller Thompson LLP post.

Weber turns up the heat (Grocery Gossip)

Weber-Stephen recently celebrated a major milestone with the opening of its first Canadian office — and Grill Academy — in Vaughan. With Weber Canada’s official grill specialist, Chef Michael P. Clive, at the helm, the year-round Weber Grill Academy will be offering enthusiastic grillers diverse cooking and grilling lessons, demonstrations and lectures. The brand-new facility is Weber’s first fully functional, commercial-grade kitchen in Canada dedicated to gas grilling, charcoal grilling and smoking, all under one roof in a safe and secure environment. The academy will be available for private corporate events, consumer grilling classes and retail training, and is scheduled to begin shortly. Toronto Sun story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Advantages of rising food prices in Canada

The main advantage of rising food prices is the opportunity to strategically develop a food secure system. We can plan to grow the food we really need and preserve farmland to sustain sufficient and appropriate balances of food, feed, fuel and bio-products. Accepting higher food prices, addressing volatility with improved storage and managing for yield stability leave room for economic incentives to improve healthy soil, biodiversity and clean air and water, in agro-ecosystems. As food price rise, it is crucial that loonies, and not just pennies, flow along the food value chain to farmers. Ralph C. Martin post, Guelph Mercury.

Top 100 Events in Canada 2014

The festivals, industry conferences, and other gatherings in Canada that make the most impact year after year. BizBash post.

Local Food News — Canada

Strengthening the Food Movement: Convening Community Garden Leaders

Back in the Spring of 2014 we held a gathering in Halifax for Community Garden Coordinators. This was the second in a series of events supported by the Our Food Project to connect and support the leaders behind the gardens of Halifax. Check out the blog post from the first Storytelling Event we held last November 2013. The purpose of the day was to gather together to feel a sense of support, share insights, leverage knowledge and skills, and build relationships, as well as to strengthen the network of garden coordinators. We had 20 people at the event representing school gardens, university gardens, community gardens and other garden-related projects. Adventures in Local Food blog

Institutional Food Program, J. W. McConnell Family Foundation

Public institutions can play a transformative role in creating socially, economically and environmentally sustainable food systems, providing healthy food for populations which are often vulnerable and influencing supply chains to more local and sustainable production. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, universities and schools have a critical role to play in food system change, both because they are publicly funded and because stakeholders such as students, patients, doctors and parents can influence the purchasing policies and practices of these institutions toward greater sustainability. Website.

Is Atlantic Canada’s food movement ready to tip?

In the past week alone, the Rustik offices received three absolutely staggering food-related emails. Our colleagues at Devour! floored us (and the nation, really) with the amazing revelation that the lovably irascible author, drinker, traveller and foodie, Anthony Bourdain, would be in Nova Scotia as part of their film festival in November. Our colleagues at the Ecology Action Centre informed us that registration was opened for an important national event called Waves of Change: Sustainable Food for All, presented by Food Secure Canada. Turns out, hundreds of food leaders from across Canada will converge in Halifax in November – the first time a Food Secure Canada gathering has been held in Atlantic Canada. Rustix Canada post.

Farmery Brewery Expands into Pil Territory: Made-in-Manitoba Brew Goes to the Gap

In what can only be described as the best news story this editor has posted all week, Farmery Brewery has announced its Farmery premium lager will be available in Saskatchewan. Farmery Estate Brewery is a Manitoba- (and farm)-based company that uses its own farm-grown barley and hops to brew its premium lager. The company is headed up by brothers Chris and Lawrence Warwaruk. “Farmery is a grassroots company, and we feel like Saskatchewan represents the same farming values we practice when it comes to our beer,” Chris adds.  “Adding value by processing our farm-grown grains on the prairies instead of shipping them raw to other parts of the world just makes sense. Real Agriculture story.

The challenges and rewards of family farming in Canada

With 2014 having been declared the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) by the United Nations, we would like Canadian family farmers to give us a glimpse into their lives. One of the aims of the IYFF is to provide a platform for discussion about the challenges faced by family farms and smallholders. What does modern family farming in Canada look like? What are the unique challenges? The rewards? How do family farms remain competitive in today’s market and in the future? Please share your insights on any of the questions above. And better yet, show us with photos and short videos! CBC Community.

Funding leaves NL cranberry industry firmly planted

The cranberry industry in the province (Newfoundland & Labrador) received a $7-million boost. The industry has been seen as a hope for economic diversification in the central region particularly since the 1990s. The cash injection, announced in Grand Falls-Windsor, is expected to bring the industry a step closer to sustainability. Provincial Cranberry Association President Fabian Power said the funds will help increase the acreage of cranberry farms, bringing the industry from 250 acres close to 500 acres. Partners project 500 acres is a magic number for long-term viability. Atlantic Farm Focus story.

FMC Launches Video Contest Showcasing “Y We Farm” For Young Farmers

What does the future of Canadian agriculture look like to you? Farm Management Canada wants to know, and if you’re willing to submit a short video that makes your case, you could win a trip to the 2014 Agricultural Excellence Conference, all expenses paid. The Agricultural Excellence Conference is a one-of-a-kind event that brings diverse industry experts and stakeholders together from across disciplines, regions and commodity sectors to share and explore beneficial farm management practices. The conference takes place in Winnipeg, November 19-21, 2014. Real Agriculture post.

Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Canada Launches 5th Edition of the All About Food

All About Food: Exploring Canada’s Food System educates students on food production in Canada, from farm to fork, highlighting balanced information on a variety of topics and issues related to production, food safety, healthy eating, the environment, technology, trade and careers using current information extracted from the Statistics Canada Agricultural Census as well as other current and relevant agricultural sources. Agriculture in the Classroom news release. Website.

Open Farm Day is a Great Concept, But Conventional Farms are Missing

Thousands of Winnipeggers and non-farming Manitobans will leave their homes intent on seeing and smelling where their food comes from this weekend. For the last five years, the Manitoba government has organized and promoted an annual “Open Farm Day,” which will be held on Sunday (a similar event will also be held this weekend in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.) For people who care about farming and agriculture, it sounds like a great idea. It’s an opportunity to help more people understand what happens on farms, to paint a picture in their minds of what agriculture is like in 2014 – a good cause, right? It’s too bad the painting is incomplete. There’s a big piece missing. Real Agriculture post.

Short list released for Taste Canada food writing awards

Celebrity chefs and local food still dominate Canadian cookbooks, if the new Taste Canada food writing award nominations are any indication. The awards, which will be given out in October in Toronto, recognize the best in Canadian cookery books and culinary narratives. This year saw only a couple of western nods and nobody from Alberta. A handful of B.C. writers, though, made the list. Edmonton Journal blog.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

A first for a restaurant in Quebec – St-Hubert breaks new ground with a mobile game

Always looking for innovations that will appeal to its customers, Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert becomes the first Quebec restaurant chain to launch its very own mobile game. Available for free as of today on iPhone, iPad and Android platform, the Chicken Run game will allow players to drive a St-Hubert delivery car and go through five cities in Quebec and Ontario on a road filled with obstacles. RestaurantCentral.ca post.

Local Food News — Canada

Canada’s real top chef

“This is, by far, the best food in Canada right now,” exclaimed Dammann, a mixture of admiration and surrender colouring his voice. For those who haven’t yet tried chef Jeremy Charles’s wild foods at Raymonds: Dammann and Vergen can assure you it’s worth the pilgrimage. By now, Raymonds has won several “No. 1 restaurant in Canada” awards. High-level international chefs have been wowed by Charles’s abilities through his appearances at Cook It Raw events – prestigious gatherings of the world’s top chefs. Globe and Mail story.

 

Federated uses labels to help shoppers buy local

Federated Co-operatives is trumpeting local food at its stores in Western Canada with a new campaign and local food partner. Federated is working with Localize, an Edmonton company that highlights local and regional products on store shelves. With Localize’s help, Co-op has launched the “At Home” campaign–a program meant to help consumers identify local products. Canadian Grocer story.

 

Local Sourcing of School Nutrition Programs, Webinar, October 15

In this live webinar, Alison Howard, lead author of Enough for All: Household Food Security in Canada and What’s to Eat? Improving Food Literacy in Canada, and Dr. Jessica Edge, author of Cultivating Opportunities: Canada’s Growing Appetite for Local Food, together will examine several options for sourcing school nutrition programs from local suppliers. Conference Board of Canada Details.

 

Growing Your Child’s Food Literacy through Local Foods

The food inquiry begins the same way each time. I place a variety of fruits and vegetables, on tables around the classroom and ask the groups of eight year old students to discuss where the food came from and how did it get to us (in Toronto). Over the past two years, I’ve facilitated the same process, in each instance the students divide into two theories: either I brought the food to them or that it can from the grocery store. A few children suggest that it may have been delivered to my home from the grocery store. Actually, all ideas are correct but I want to dig deeper into their understanding of the farm-to-table process. When prompted to question how the food got to the grocery store in the first place, some students have an ‘Aha’ moment realizing that the food must come from a farm while several other remain stuck at the point of the grocery store. This is where the investigation gets really fun. Green Moms Collective post.

 

Young farmer program extended

Farm Credit Canada is extending its loan program to help young farmers purchase or improve farmland and buildings for a third year. Launched in March 2012, the Young Farmer Loan Program offers qualified producers under 40, loans of up to $500,000 to purchase or improve farmland and buildings. The loan includes features to support their long-term success, including variable lending rates at prime plus 0.5 per cent, a special fixed rate if producers choose that avenue of repayment and no loan processing fees. FCC Express story.

 

New Brunswick: Tories promise resource centre; Liberals promise local food strategy

Premier David Alward is promising to establish an oil, gas and mining training centre in anticipation of major energy projects on the horizon. Alward says the Progressive Conservatives would spend $5.5 million to create the facility to give New Brunswickers the skills they’ll need to fill the jobs expected to come from developments such as the Energy East Pipeline. Liberal Leader Brian Gallant says his party would develop a local food and beverage strategy with input from the agriculture industry if elected in the Sept. 22 provincial election. Gallant says helping local producers tap into new markets would support sustainable development, create jobs and strengthen the relationship between rural and urban areas. Metronews.ca story.

 

Leaked CETA Treaty: Major Blow to Buy Local

Final draft language spells end of local procurement policies by all levels of Canadian governments. If one country is negotiating a treaty with a union of 27 countries, you might think that those 27 countries would have by far the most people in the negotiations. Not true for CETA: In some negotiations of the free trade deal between Canada and the European Union, Canadians have greatly outnumbered Europeans, one participant told the Tyee. The reason Canada sent so many people is that the provinces have a say in CETA, and they will be heavily affected by the deal. The treaty will open up public procurement not only at the national level, but also at the provincial and local level. CETA is going much further in this regard than any previous trade agreements signed by Canada. TheTyee.ca story.

 

4 Activities to get kids keen on gardening

My name’s Caitlin Eisenhauer, and this summer I’ve been working with the Ecology Action Centre’s Food team. Over the last few months, I’ve been developing and delivering a series of food related workshops to young families. Gardening is a great activity that the whole family can get involved in. Whatever your families level of interest is in gardening, there is always room to get the kids involved. It is a great learning tool that teaches kids about the natural world and responsibility. These workshops were done in partnership with a local family centre who provides programing for preschoolers and their families. Adventures in Local Food blog.

 

Here today, gone tomorrow: Pop-up restos will appear in Montreal

An international food experience will be offered this Sunday when Montreal adds its flavours to Restaurant Day, a temporary food service project where participants — amateur or professional — offer their food, emulating similar entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries. A total of 41 restaurants-for-a-day plan to operate this year in greater Montreal. Most of the “restaurants” will operate in the afternoon, offering a brunch or lunch experience in a host of different ethnic cuisines. The idea has taken hold in Montreal, where only 15 of these enterprises operated last year. Montreal Gazette story.

 

Community Food Centres Canada PSA on the Air

Community Food Centres Canada, a Sustain Ontario Member, has just posted a sneak preview of their new PSA that will be airing on TV for the first two weeks of September. The short video demonstrates the power of food literacy and food skills programs as ways to support healthy, inclusive communities. Sustain Ontario post.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Food Will Win the War: The Politics, Culture, and Science of Food on Canada’s Home Front

When most of us think of Canadian history, particularly Canada’s involvement in the Second World War, it is unlikely that food is what first comes to mind. However, Ian Mosby’s new—and first—book Food Will Win the War: The Politics, Culture, and Science of Food on Canada’s Home Front invites readers to consider the primacy of food in the war effort in Canada. Mosby’s detailed and thoroughly researched account explores food as a material and symbolic resource that was instrumental in marshalling Canadians’ support for the war. Mosby also shows how the social, political, and economic changes related to food shaped the everyday lives of Canadians—particularly Canadian women—throughout the Second World War. Food Will Win the War is an important volume that fills a significant gap in the small, but growing, literature on Canada’s food history. Review by Jennifer Brady.

Local Food News — Canada

Quick Response codes added to VG Farms meat products by Longo’s and Market stores

Retailer and grocery store chain, Longo’s, from Ontario, Canada, has announced a partnership with VG Farms to provide local meat to all of its stores, including those under the Market brand, and will use QR codes to help to keep consumers informed. The quick response codes will be used to allow the meat products to be traced back to their sources. QR Code Press story.

 

UPA’s report: 15 ways to maintain and develop the family farm

This year’s UPA International Development report presents conclusions on the study Dialogue sur l’agriculture familiar en Amérique du Nord which took place in Quebec April 7th and 8th of this year. Covering a wide range of topics about food policy, food safety, and recommendations to maintain and develop the family farm, the report has been sent to the United Nations’ World Food Organisation (WFO).  The recommendations are more of a call to the State and agricultural organizations than to civil society and citizen-consumer. Among them, the most important are: helping new generations establish themselves in agriculture; guarantee access to finances and agricultural funds; ensure a decent income through more equitable commercial regulations; make training, knowledge, and technology available; help adopt policies based on the recognition of multifunctionality on family farms which benefit society as a whole; ensure that farmers, via their organizations, are seated in the driver’s seat and influence agricultural policies; and install solidarity programs between agricultural organizations in the North and South. UPA post (French). (Translation by Qu’anglo Communication & Consulting)

 

Culinary Adventures Part of Taste of Edmonton

Taste of Edmonton kicks off tomorrow and runs through July 26. Something new this year are culinary adventures, or what organizers have called foodie field trips. I had a chance to speak with Paul Lucas, general manager at Events Edmonton, who says focus groups indicated Edmontonians wanted to have more experiences with local food. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development post.

 

“Aliments du Québec au menu” a new certification for Quebec food products in restaurants

Since June 18, consumers can easily identify dishes with Quebec-grown products in 60 different restaurants across the province, thanks to the new program Aliments du Québec au menu which has a goal to highlight Quebec-grown food products on restaurant menus. Participating restaurants each offer five dishes which contain Quebec products, as well as the name of the company which supplies the ingredients. The logo Aliments du Québec or Aliments préparés au Québec will soon appear on menus. Québec Huffington Post story (French). (Translation by Qu’anglo Communication & Consulting)

 

Lactuca urban farm moves to Northlands site

Lactuca, an urban farm that started in 2012 in the backyard of a Westmount home, has moved to a one-acre site on the Northlands grounds. Business partners Travis Kennedy and Kevin Kossowan are still growing the varietal salad greens that made them well-known among local foodies. “This is the first time that Lactuca has been alive, that we are no longer struggling with space,” Kossowan told the CBC’s Tim Adams. Kossowan and Kennedy planted six linear miles of salad greens, all at various stages of growth, to keep a steady supply going. Yahoo! story.

 

Freetown egg farm building EU-humane barn for hens

An egg farm in Freetown is one of the first in Canada to build a barn meeting European Union standards of production. The EU requires more humane treatment than Canadian regulators and Burns Poultry Farm will soon provide their hens with a better laying environment. Although the hens will still be in cages, they will have a perch to stand on as well as a private nesting area for laying eggs. The more humane hen cages include perches, nesting areas and emery boards for the hens to file their claws. Hens are also able to file their own claws on an emery board posted inside the cage. CBC News story.

 

Leading the Way: Innovators in Farm Direct Marketing Tour, September 10, 2014

Explore Local, in partnership with the Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association, is offering Leading the Way: Innovators in Farm Direct Marketing, a one-day bus tour of farm direct production and marketing operations in the Edmonton area. “We will visit four farm direct operations and end the day with a visit to an Edmonton farmers’ market,” says Eileen Kotowich, farmers’ market specialist, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Vermilion. “These stops will show you first-hand how these operators have diversified and grown their businesses to meet the demand for local food and farm entertainment.” Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development post.

 

Local, organic or vegan: What’s best for the environment?

There are some typical examples. One of them is, all things being equal, it’s better to eat local because there’s less transport which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, so you’re not trucking things from as far. But I think it goes far beyond that. When we eat local, we’re eating food made within our political realm. You have much more potential control over how that food is made, both in who is making it and also the impact it has on the environment. If you’re in Toronto and you buy your food from a farm outside of London, you have much more control over knowing how it’s made. There’s more transparency, but ultimately you’re able to change how it’s made by lobbying for certain types of laws to be passed. It creates a consciousness around food, to be surrounded by places where food is made. If we outsourced all of our food making to other countries it would give us far less opportunities to meet farmers and to have control and to learn about our food. Steffanie Pinch interview on Rabble.ca.

 

Agricultural Land Use Planning in Canada

The purpose of our research is to examine how the changing role and value of agriculture within Canadian society today might affect agricultural land use planning within and across national, provincial, and local jurisdictions.  This project is a three-year study with nine researchers from six universities across Canada and funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant. The first issue of our project research bulletin, “Protecting Canada’s Farmland”, is now available on our website. Bulletin. Website.

 

ALUS and Wetlands

Alternative Land Use Services uses a community-led and farmer-delivered approach to conserving wetlands on the prairies. Director of Conservation Policy Jim Fisher explains why we believe this is the best approach. Video.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Picturing Women Farmers

For former accountant and operations manager Vicky Brown, it’s no longer a 9-5 world but instead a 24-hour one that has no days off. There are morning chores and milking, market preparation, stocking the farm store, deliveries, meetings that take place in fields instead of boardrooms, evening chores and more milking. The bonus checks come in the form of the moments she steals to nuzzle the “ladies”, her Nubian Goats, before the evening milking. Vicky’s micro-dairy and goat farm has led the revival of dairy farms on Washington’s Whidbey Island. Her artisan goat cheese can be found on the menus of top restaurants throughout Seattle. Modern Farmer story.