Local Food News — Canada

Food-systems planners are playing a growing role in municipal policy

“Food systems are actually one of the most ancient urban issues,” she says. Only in the past decade has there been a “renewed recognition of the legitimacy of food systems as an important urban system.” As rural depopulation, paired with the rise of mechanized farming, led to long-distance food transportation and refrigeration, it resulted in fewer food producers and a larger gap between urbanites and food sources. Food-systems planning bridges that divide. Maclean’s story.


Sometimes the best way to fix a system is to build a new one!

Open Food Network Canada is the Canadian ‘node’ in a global network of organizations working to turn the food system on its head and put greater control in the hands of sustainable food farmers, purveyors and eaters.  Using this open source platform as a starting point, we are a registered not-for-profit working to connect, enable, and ignite Canada’s local, green, healthy and fair food initiatives, connect them to eaters, and contribute to a global food commons that connects such initiatives around the world. Website. Video.


Sustainable Diets and Canada’s Food Guide, November 29

Sweden, Brazil, Qatar and Germany have integrated sustainability principles into their national dietary guidelines. With the recently announced revision of Canada’s Food Guide, we have a strategic opportunity in Canada to do the same. Health Canada is undertaking an initial 45-day consultation with Canadians and stakeholders on Canada’s Food Guide until December 8, 2016. Input received will be used to develop new dietary guidance tools that better meet the needs of different audiences. Food Secure Canada webinar.


New Brunswick Releases Local Food Strategy that Supports Healthy Local Food in Schools

Last month — fittingly during National Farm to School Month — the New Brunswick Ministry of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries released a Local Food and Beverages Strategy that includes significant support for healthy local food in schools. Stakeholder discussions that helped inform the strategy identified a number of opportunities, one of which included to encourage procurement for local food in public institutions and promote agriculture in schools. Sustain Ontario post.


Industry disruptors change food culture slowly: Andrew Coppolino

Newspapers and TV, taxi services, the hotel industry: these businesses are in the midst of cultural disruption. And like many aspects of our society whose stability we had taken for granted, food culture is also subject to disruptions. How could it not? Our modern food system – the way our food is grown, harvested, processed, packaged and distributed – is more than 50 years old. But there’s innovation in food, altering that system, albeit slowly. CBC News story.


Edmonton food sharing company flouts rules, follows in Uber’s steps

A small local food-sharing company is following on the heels of global ride-sharing company Uber, flouting the rules while operating in Edmonton. Kian Parseyan launched food-sharing firm Scarf on Sept 1, after failing to receive government approval. Parseyan said a politician he spoke with, who he refused to identify, suggested it was better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, so he decided to go ahead with the business. CBC News story.


Vegetable thieves raiding Whitehorse’s community garden

It’s harvest time at the community garden in downtown Whitehorse, but not every picker or digger is supposed to be there. Some folks have been helping themselves to other people’s veggies. “We have had some enthusiastic people come forward and say, ‘we need to catch these people, we need stakeouts, we need to have surveillance cameras,'” said Randy Lamb of the Downtown Urban Gardeners Society (DUGS). “But the last thing we want at the community garden is a little camera on a pole, and ‘Big Brother is watching you.'” CBC News story.


Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Bets on Local Food

Over the past six months, alongside Food Matters Manitoba, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries has doubled the amount of local food purchased for their two casinos, the Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino. Both casinos are home to highly popular restaurants. Not only does this provide their customers with the best our province has to offer, but provides an opportunity for a crown corporation to support the local food economy. Wire Service media release.


100km Foods Inc. Is Delivering More Than Local Food; Honored for Overall Positive Community Impact

100km Foods Inc., a local food distribution company in Ontario, has been recognized for creating the most positive overall community impact by B the Change Media based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the independent nonprofit B Lab.  100km Foods Inc. is a Toronto based local food-distribution company founded in 2008 that sells, markets and distributes products from small and medium sized Ontario farms to Ontario restaurants, hotels, independent retailers and institutions. Canadian Insider story.


Why a new national strategy on food can’t satisfy all

Mr. Meredith, an assistant deputy minister at Agriculture Canada who will chair the committee that works on the policy, approached the mic. “Thank you,” he said, gesturing at Ms. Bronson, “for raising expectations so high that it’s impossible for me to do my job.” If Mr. Meredith is feeling pressure, it’s no wonder. For years, groups like Ms. Bronson’s have lobbied for such a policy, arguing that it could help address issues such as food insecurity in Canada’s North and the rising cost of food. And, because food touches so many areas – agriculture, the environment, health and international trade – they say it could bring under one umbrella the many piecemeal programs that currently exist under different departments. The Globe and Mail story.




University of Saskatchewan lands new Canada Excellence Research Chair

The University of Saskatchewan’s new research chair hopes his work will help farmers around the world grow as much food in the next 35 years as they produced in the last 10,000. “It’s a daunting task,” said Leon Kochian, whose appointment as Canada Excellence Research Chair in Food Systems and Security is funded by $10 million from the federal government and $10 million from the U of S. Kochian, an expert in plant root systems, comes to the university’s Global Institute for Food Security from Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He said he expects to spend the next seven years working on better tools and systems for plant breeders. Saskatoon StarPhoenix story.


Local Food News — Canada

Quebec Food Summit will last for a year

Quebec’s Food Summit will start in October with the first of three preparatory meetings to be focused on the theme of consumers “today and tomorrow”. The second meeting will be in February 2017 and will focus on developing the potential of Quebec’s food industry markets, domestically and overseas. The third consultation session, next May, will focus on the prospects for “agricultural entrepreneurs” and fishermen. Agriculture minister Pierre Paradis launched the initiative at the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal, saying he wanted to develop a bio-food policy for Quebec, the main measures to be funded in the 2018 budget. La Terre de chez nous story (in French).  English summary thanks to Qu’anglo Farm & Food Briefs


Scaling up Through Food Procurement Learning Labs

Newfoundland, a province known as The Rock, is not known for its farmland but is known for its culinary creativity and for making the most of resources on the edge of the Atlantic.  When the School Lunch Association, a charitable school food service provider on the Avalon Peninsula, decided to join the local food movement, they knew there would be obstacles. Local food procurement Learning Labs provide an innovative way to navigate these types of obstacles. These Labs, modelled after those of US School Food FOCUS, bring together key stakeholders to articulate their vision and goals. Participants then agree on a handful of priority actions that can realistically be accomplished in a short time frame. Farm to Cafeteria Canada post.


Death of the farmer

I’ve been spending some time this summer trying to solve a local mystery, who is trying to kill our local farms and why? The mystery started for me with the local grocery stores, No Frills, Sobeys, Food Basics and The Superstore. These are the stores that are immediately available to me in the Beamsville area and every one that I go in to is selling anything but local fruits and vegetables, and this is what raised the question for me — Where is my local produce? St. Catharines Standard story.


The Food 53: Celebrating the most influential people in Canadian food

This summer, the Globe names, and celebrates, the most influential people in Canadian food – chefs and CEOs, farmers and winemakers, plus researchers, restaurateurs and, of course, eaters. In the first of a five-part series, meet The Faithful, the ones who are winning the long game: the first chef to make Indian food buzzy, the $11-billion cheese magnate, Canada’s first family of craft beer and more. The Globe and Mail story.


Market Your Restaurant with Pokemon GO

  1. Advertise the Pokémon you have found (also know as ‘sightings’). Yes, this means you have to download the app and actually play but this can bring in some great business. It’s like you’re playing a game and advertising at the same time. 2. Name a dish of the week after a Pokémon. People love this stuff! Or, even better, make the items look like Pokémon balls or monsters. Lure them – literally. This is by far the best advantage of marketing the game. An important part of the game are PokéStops, which are points of interest that give out in-game freebies. allowing the player to advance in the game. Restaurants Canada blog.


Community Gardens and Local Food Procurement

Community gardens and local food procurement policies and programs are gaining in popularity as health promotion strategies for obesity prevention. Community gardens are defined as the convergence of multiple individuals joining together in diverse settings to grow fruits, vegetables, and other plant varieties (1). Local food procurement refers to strategies to increase the amount and availability of food locally sourced from within a community. This synthesis explores the literature on community gardens and local food procurement in relation to nutrition, physical activity (PA), and body weight. Key Findings: Findings from this synthesis indicate that community gardens and local procurement programs, policies, and initiatives have the potential to result in positive impacts related to nutrition, such as improved attitudes and asking behaviours, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption. Power Up For Health post.


Local Food and Urban Agriculture Strategy

The 2015 Economic Development Strategy includes a recommendation for the City to develop an agriculture and food production strategy with the purposes of diversifying the local economy and reducing dependence on food importation. With financial support from the Canada-Yukon Growing Forward 2 Fund, the City is moving forward with developing the Whitehorse Local Food & Urban Agriculture Strategy. City of Whitehorse post.


Lawns are for suckers. Plant a garden — for the climate!

Ripping out your lawn and planting kale and peppers won’t just lead to great stir-fry — a new study finds it could make major contributions to fighting climate change, too. Two pounds of carbon emissions could be prevented for every pound of homegrown vegetables consumed, according to researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara. And that could add up to a big impact: Give a highly productive garden to every family in California, the researchers calculated, and it would take the state 10 percent of the way to its previous goal of cutting emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Grist blog.


Urban garden goes high-tech in Edmonton

Growing up in Edmonton, Victor Benitez had little experience with farming. But the city kid still loved to grow food. And he loved the idea of helping people. That led the recent physics graduate to develop an urban farming system he thinks can change how people access fresh, local produce. The initial results are good: this summer, Benitez grew 400 pounds of vegetables beside a north-side community rink. The bounty was donated to local residents and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. CBC News story.


Community vegetable program bringing 4,000 pounds of fresh produce to Labrador Inuit

Ed Mesher has been going door-to-door this summer, delivering some 4,000 pounds of fresh local produce to Happy Valley-Goose Bay residents who use the community freezer program. Run by the Nunakatiget Inuit Corporation, the program has more than 150 beneficiaries in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Mud Lake. The program provides 400 pounds of greens, 1,600 pounds of carrots and turnip, and 2,000 pounds of potatoes to the community’s seniors and disabled. CBC News story.




You may be familiar with food deserts, but have you heard of a food swamp?

No, it’s not the place from which Guy Fieri sprung. A food swamp is an area with an abundance of fast food and liquor stores, but nowhere to buy real groceries. Beverly Grant of Mo Betta Green MarketPlace in Denver explains the difference — and how to turn a swamp into an oasis — in this new short film from Perennial Plate. Grist briefly.

Local Food News — Canada

Dishing it out for Fort McMurray

Three of Vancouver’s top gourmet chefs are dishing it out to Fort McMurray in an extremely tasteful way. The trio – Jefferson Alvarez, Kris Barnholden and Hamid Salimian are joining forces to produce some signature dishes to raise money for the northern Alberta city. It didn’t take long for the food vines to start producing added help for the ventures and food purveyors, farms and wineries have already jumped on board to support the venture. “Firstly, we are all Canadians and have a tradition of helping each other in times of needs and this is a wonderful way to both help and expose our homegrown food expertise and products to as many people as possible,” she added. Business Wire press release.


Stetski tables bill to establish national local food day

In a bid to recognize and encourage the local food movement, NDP MP Wayne Stetski for Kootenay-Columbia has introduced a bill to establish a National Local Food Day on the Friday before Thanksgiving every year. A number of community figures in the Kootenays came out in support of the concept, including Sophie Larsen, project coordinator of the Cranbrook Food Action Committee. Revelstoke Mountaineer story.


Port-Royal restoration to mark 75 years with food, drink

The day will also offer a trip along the Taste of Nova Scotia Good Cheer Trail, where visitors get a passport stamp and sample local food and drink from Good Cheer Trail members — the province’s wineries and craft-beverage producers — in the reconstructed room of where the Order began. The Chronicle Herald story.


Edmonton hasn’t hit peak food truck—yet

It’s back, bigger than ever—and the lines are part of the fun. It’s What the Truck?!, of course: Edmonton’s homegrown food-truck festival is back for another round of five street-eat celebrations over the summer months. This year will see food trucks gathering at Northlands for a two-day kick-off on May 28 and 29—the first two-day event in What the Truck?! history—followed by evenings at Blatchford (June 18), Northlands’ Park After Dark (July 8), Telus Field (August 20) and Churchill Square (September 25). VUE Weekly story.


Buy New Brunswick 2016 initiative launched

“The Buy Local campaign fits with the growing trend of food tourism,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “This presents a perfect opportunity for us to promote our local producers, markets and food festivals. Some of the best products in the world are grown and processed right here in New Brunswick, and they are all featured at our world-class food tourism events.” Sackville Tribune Post story.


Welcome To Apple Heaven

A chance to visit Apple Heaven while still on earth! Every year we celebrate our apples at The Salt Spring Island Apple Festival. Salt Spring Island, BC grows over 450 varieties of apples ORGANICALLY, with an apple history dating back to 1860. Salt Spring Island is a small island (80 square miles) of 11,000 people in the Strait of Georgia between Victoria and Vancouver, BC, Canada.  We are accessed via BC Ferries routes to Fulford, Vesuvius and Long Harbour, and by float plane.. Website


Why Buying Local Really Means Supporting Your Community

But “fast and convenient” has weakened our communities. As the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Big food corporations want to grow fast so they go alone. But for our local communities to go far, we must go together. And homegrown businesses are a critical link for a strong, vibrant, healthy community; nowhere is this more prevalent than our local food economy. Huffington Post Canada blog.


Green Party of Canada supports local farmers and eating local this summer

“This will give millions of Canadians an opportunity to support local farmers: agriculture is vital to the economy of many parts of the country,” said Jean Rousseau, Green Party of Canada Agriculture Critic – East. “Hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in direct spin-offs to local communities bring people together with a common objective: to nurture the tradition of buying local at public markets,” Mr. Rousseau said. “When people buy food grown closer to home, it is not just our local farmers and food processors who benefit, but our environment as well.” Northumberland View post.


Portrait of an urban farmer

You could say farming is in Leila Trickey’s genes. Her homesteader parents and five siblings lived on an Ontario farm, and her childhood was shaped by wide open spaces and fresh earth. When Trickey grew up, she moved to more urban pastures, but she still felt a nostalgia for the land. It’s no surprise she jumped at the chance to rent a plot in the agricultural land reserve so she could grow her own food. She now runs a small farm with her partner, Dave Carlson, in Burnaby’s Big Bend area. They have goats for milking, fresh eggs, honeybees and an abundance of organic produce. They grow squash, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, beans, peas, kohlrabi, fennel and kale. Burnaby Now story.


A full-time commitment to stewardship

The transition from a tobacco farm to Texas Longhorn ranch in southern Ontario’s foremost tobacco-growing region wasn’t without turmoil for Cathy and Bryan Gilvesy, but the rewards far outweighed regrets as they reinvented the farm to better reflect their philosophies on agriculture and life. The latest material reward came in the form of Ontario’s environmental stewardship award (TESA) presented by the Beef Farmers of Ontario in February. Canadian Cattlemen story.




This Indonesian Startup Lets City Dwellers Play FarmVille In Real Life

Someone living in a high-rise in Jakarta may not have a balcony, let alone a garden plot for growing food. But an Indonesian startup is working to turn city dwellers into virtual farmers: Through the platform, called iGrow, someone can invest in seeds for an underemployed farmer in a rural area, and then get regular updates as the food grows. When the crop is sold, seed investors share in the profits. Fast Company story.

Local Food News — Canada

Local food strategy aims to boost Yukon production

The Yukon Government has created a local food strategy, hoping to increase production in the territory. The plan outlines programs and policies the government hopes to enact over the next five years. “They’re looking at more programs, and trying to help the farmers with more funding,” said Lou Clark, who was acclaimed as president of the Yukon Agricultural Association this week. CBC News story.


Is local food good for farmers?

Canada’s social sciences council is investing $2.4 million in local food research. Blay-Palmer is director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., where she explores the big questions around sustainability. Those big questions include social justice, a factor rarely considered in mainstream ag research. For her, looking into economics means not only farm incomes, but also migrant labour, access to affordable food, and what she calls food “re-localization,” or “closing the loop” — to retain as much money as possible in the community. Country Guide story.


New website TopFeed to connect P.E.I. food buyers and sellers

The goal of TopFeed is two-fold, said Murphy: make local food more accessible to Islanders, and help small-scale producers grow their clientele. CBC News story.


Nova Scotia Food Summit pushes local food

This week marks the first Nova Scotia Food Summit. Event organizers say the summit responds to a mounting need to overhaul our “broken” food system—paying homage to local food and wrangling some much needed support for an agriculture sector in crisis. From Sunday through Tuesday, supporters, thinkers and curious folk alike will congregate at the Old Orchard Inn in Wolfville to talk about restoring a sustainable food system. The Coast story. Website.


CitiGrow preps next level of ultra-local food to downtown Winnipeg

Downtown Winnipeg is about to be introduced to the next level of local food. CitiGrow, a company that has built a network of micro-farms in the city, is introducing food box subscriptions. Over the past two years, its produce has been sold to local restaurants. This year, for $37.50 weekly, subscribers will be able to pick up a box of enough food to feed a family of four for a week. The food will be coming from 22 of micro-farms in and around Winnipeg. Winnipeg Metro News story.


Scaling up Through Food Procurement Learning Labs

Newfoundland, a province known as The Rock, is not known for its farmland but is known for its culinary creativity and for making the most of resources on the edge of the Atlantic.  When the School Lunch Association, a charitable school food service provider on the Avalon Peninsula, decided to join the local food movement, they knew there would be obstacles. Local food procurement Learning Labs provide an innovative way to navigate these types of obstacles. These Labs, modelled after those of US School Food FOCUS, bring together key stakeholders to articulate their vision and goals. Participants then agree on a handful of priority actions that can realistically be accomplished in a short time frame. Farm to Cafeteria Canada post.


Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries bets on local food

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries doubled the amount of local food it bought to serve in restaurants at its two Winnipeg casinos’ restaurants this year, now dedicating 25 per cent of its annual $4-million food budget to local food purchasing.The uptake of local food purchases means increased demand from companies like Notre Dame Creamery Ltd. to supplying the corporation an additional 600 pounds of butter, adding over $60,000 to the milk processors’ annual revenues. Manitoba Co-operator story.


Manitoba Food Processors Association rebranded as Food & Beverage Manitoba

As a non-profit organization, Food & Beverage Manitoba is an advocate for the support of Manitoba’s homegrown food businesses. The food and beverage industry throughout Manitoba is already the most abundant in the province. Food & Beverage Manitoba deals with a wide array of businesses, both local start-ups and multi national organizations, along with everything in between. MyToba story.


Will CETA trade away Canada’s local food systems?

Both CETA and the TPP include a highly problematic investor–state dispute settlement process, for example, which will multiply the number of corporate lawsuits challenging public policy that Canada already faces under NAFTA. But only one of these new deals (CETA) encroaches worryingly on the ability of provinces, municipalities and other public institutions to favour domestic food and support national farmers in public procurement contracts. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives post.


Real estate speculation threatens future of Metro Vancouver farmland

Real estate speculation of local farmland has passed the “tipping point” and is the leading threat against building a sustainable, job-producing regional food system, according to Dr. Kent Mullinix, director of Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. “To put it quite bluntly, the provincial and federal governments have allowed this huge influx of wealth to come in here and it’s skewed the market; it’s blown it out of the water,” said Mullinix. Richmond News story.




5 food and beverage categories losing market share — an analyst perspective

Amid industrywide fluctuations due to consumer needs and regulatory changes that are in a state of flux, market share loss is weakening manufacturers in key portfolio categories. Analysts from Euromonitor and Mintel shared with Food Dive five categories showing a decline in market share. Food Dive story.

Local Food News — Canada

Canadian chef recalls cooking for the Queen

“They all had a total respect for the foods they ate — this was a family that practised what’s now called the ‘slow food movement’ before that term became trendy. The Royals wanted good, local food, cooked well — food without fluff.” The royal repasts were simple and wholesome — but hold the garlic. Toronto Sun story.


How Canada Post can deliver community power to the new green economy

Japan has done amazing things with its postal service, expanding its network to deliver food and check in on older citizens and those with limited mobility. France’s and Australia’s postal fleets connect farmers and local businesses to customers by delivering fresh and frozen food. CUPW wants to start doing the same by bringing farm-fresh local food right to your door, all while offering home visits to Canada’s aging population. Now Toronto story.


Consumers trust and value accredited Professionals in Canada’s food industry

When it comes to food, trust, credibility and values, are top of mind for many consumers. They want to know the origin of their food, how it was produced and who produced it.  They have concerns for the environment and want to know that production practices are sustainable. At the recent conference, “Responsibilities in a Demanding World”, hosted by the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA), farmers, input suppliers, processors, retailers and government, heard from Canadian and international speakers about consumer values and beliefs on food, and how they want to be engaged. Ontario Institute of Agrologists news release.


Join together to save local food delivery costs: researcher

Consumers like purchasing food differentiated by characteristics such as points of origin or production systems. But they want that food to come to them, not vice versa. A University of Guelph research team says a survey of more than 2,000 Canadian consumers shows they prefer buying local and organic food at retail grocery chains. “Availability through farmer direct sales such as community supported agriculture farms, farmers markets or independent grocery stores did not affect choice, while availability through grocery chains increased the probability of choosing the product,” says lead researcher John Cranfield, chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics. Owen Roberts in FCC Express story.


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

A new branding initiative was launched today by the provincial government to make and promote Prince Edward Island as Canada’s Food Island. Premier Wade MacLauchlan made the announcement today at the Easter Beef Show and Sale. CBC News story.


Farmers’ market voucher programs in the United States and Canada: benefits and opportunities

Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs (FMNPs) in the United States and Canada are designed to provide nutrition assistance and nutrition education to low-income families, while supporting and promoting domestic agriculture. This paper examined the current scientific literature on the benefits of the programs to coupon recipients and farmers, as well as the influence of education interventions on nutrition knowledge. National Association of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs post. Report.


Iqaluit Community Greenhouse Society

The Iqaluit Community Greenhouse Society is a not-for-profit organization established in 2001 by residents who wished to build and operate a community greenhouse. We are in the midst of developing a Five Year Strategic Plan, including our mission statement, goals and values. Located at 63° 45′ 5″ N and 68° 31′ 24″ W, the Iqaluit Community Greenhouse is above the treeline on Baffin Island. Website.


How important is it for Canada to produce its own food?

When Loblaws pulled French’s ketchup off the shelves they had no idea of the consequences. It unleashed a dormant nationalism towards food products and support of local economies. Canadian consumers on social media forced the grocery giant to give the underdog brand — made from Ontario tomatoes — a second chance. Within 24 hours of announcing it would pull the condiment from shelves, the public outcry prompted Loblaws to reverse course. CBC News story.


Scarborough Fare: Global Foodways and Local Foods in a Transnational City , June 22-25

The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) is pleased to host the Joint 2016 Annual Meetings and Conference of the Association for the Study of Food and Society; the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society; and the Canadian Association for Food Studies – the first time the three organizations have met together. The conference theme, “Scarborough Fare: Global Foodways and Local Foods in a Transnational City,” emphasizes the changing nature of food production, distribution, and consumption as people, goods, foods and culinary and agricultural knowledge move over long distances and across cultural and national borders. Website.


National Soil Conservation Week

Soil health plays a vital role in the quality of our food, but also of our water and air. Soil Conservation Week is promoted each year by the Soil Conservation Council of Canada. Their website points out that “soil, air, water, and wildlife … are all impacted by soil management.” This year the focus is “on the importance of proper land stewardship for the benefit of all resources – especially soil – under our care.” Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario  blog.




From ice trail to Turkish spa, the Peg’s a surprising winter hot spot

Winnipeg is a terrific foodie city — think of it as Canada’s Portland. On average, the prices are about 25 per cent less for meals that are easily of the same quality — and sometimes better — than you’ll find in Victoria and Vancouver. The city has its own specialties, including arguably the best rye bread in Canada (Kub Bread and City Bread each have fierce advocates) and perogies — homestyle cheese and onion at Jessie’s Ukrainian Kitchen and Deli (jessieskitchen.ca) or more upscale at the fabulous Fusion Grill (fusiongrill.mb.ca) with white truffles and duck sausage. But diners can also choose from a huge variety of ethnic and modern restaurants, run by imaginative chefs who are often in the top-10 lists of Canadian cooks. Times Colonist story.

Local Food News — Canada

Eating local vegetables in winter provides tasty crunch for Manitobans

Hearing the crunch of a locally grown carrot is rare for many Manitobans in winter, but a Saskatchewan-based website hopes to change that. Devon Taylor thought up Only Local Food more than seven years ago. He lived in Regina at the time and liked the idea of supporting local, but couldn’t get to any local farmers markets. So with the help of two technically inclined friends, a website was born. CBC News Manitoba story.


Fresh local food even in the winter: Just because we can

As is to be expected in a proud foodie town, Ottawa is brimming with local preserves. Metro profiles three different local companies making Ottawa produce last all year round. MetroNews Canada story.


Quebec Sugar Bush An Ecosystem

A study reports that the Quebec sugar bush not only produces maple syrup but is a generator of ecosystem goods and services that are of inestimable value. The study was completed by Groupe AGÉCO. It identifies 12 ecosystem services emanating from Quebec’s maple forests. The estimated annual monetary value is $1 billion. If the maple resources are taken into account, that value rises to at least $2.7 billion per year. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Scaling up Through Food Procurement Learning Labs

Newfoundland, a province known as The Rock, is not known for its farmland but is known for its culinary creativity and for making the most of resources on the edge of the Atlantic.  When the School Lunch Association, a charitable school food service provider on the Avalon Peninsula, decided to join the local food movement, they knew there would be obstacles. Local food procurement Learning Labs provide an innovative way to navigate these types of obstacles. Farm to Cafeteria Canada post.


B.C. growers group gets in on ugly produce trend

Since January, BCfresh, a Delta, B.C.-based company owned by 24 local farming families, have been selling a new line of nutritionally sound but physically misshapen potatoes at grocery stores across the province. “They may look less than perfect, but they’re perfectly good to eat,” Brian Faulkner, the company’s vice-president of sales and marketing, said about the new Farmer’s Keepers line of 10-pound, No. 2-grade spuds. Canadian Grocer story.


Island Food Skills Initiative to become ‘truly Island initiative’

A program that teaches young people how to prepare and enjoy healthy local food is growing to make it a “truly Island initiative.” The Island Food Skills Initiative, which started in Charlottetown in 2015 with workshops and a summer camp, is now expanding to Summerside. Chef and program director Chris Sallie graduated from the Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College. After 10 years in the industry, he decided to pass along some of his skills to young people and help them connect with local food. CBC News story.


Will CETA trade away Canada’s local food systems?

The Canada–EU CETA could undermine such initiatives through its new restrictions on public procurement at the provincial, municipal and MASH sector levels—all previously excluded from international free trade and procurement agreements. The restrictions in CETA prohibit covered institutions from giving purchasing preference to goods or services from local companies or individuals if the contract exceeds 200,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which is about $315,500 in approximate 2012-13 Canadian dollars. This “unconditional access” to Canada’s procurement markets is unparalleled and was seen by European trade negotiators as a significant win. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives post.


Local food moves down to fourth place on hot trend list

Restaurant goers’ interest in local foods is still strong despite the category of ‘local food’ slipping to the number four spot on a list of Canadian chefs’ 10 hot trends this year from the number two spot last year. The list is based on Restaurants Canada’s seventh annual survey of almost 500 professional chefs across Canada. The survey, done by independent market research firm BrandSpark International from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1, queried chefs about the most popular menu items and cooking methods along with trends that are gaining in popularity. The top trend on both lists of 10 items was craft beer. It was also number one last year on the list of top trends but not on the list of promising trends. Better Farming story.


Edible Canada To Run New Canadian Table Dinner Series March Through December

Launching March 2016, eight highly acclaimed and talented chefs will join host and Edible Canada’s President, Eric Pateman, for the Canadian Table Dinner Series at Edible Canada Bistro on Granville Island. The theme of this year’s series is multiculturalism, and chefs such as Vikram Vij, Pino Posteraro of Cioppino’s, Angus An of Maenam and Ricardo Valverde of Ancora will come together to showcase their cultural influences. The series will run from March through December. Alongside an exquisite four-course dinner hosted by entertaining and educational guest chefs, guests can also expect exceptional, local beverage pairings and a take-home gift from the Edible Canada retail store. Each Chef will speak to the cultural origins of their cuisine and highlight the best local, seasonal products which Canada has to offer. Scout Magazine blog.


Farmland bank going provincial

With the growing popularity of the organization Land Bank in various regions, it provides, in 2016, restructuring its model for implantation in the province of Quebec. Once the new model of the Land Bank is adopted, it will hire a full time person to perform coordination between the MRC and the promotion of the province. The organization also wants to improve its website.  a search engine we want to include that will allow farmers to access land available directly on the site instead of downloading documents in PDF format. La Terre de Chez Nous story (Google Translate).




9 food trends we’ll devour in 2016

Increasing interest in our food’s backstory seems to have made predicting food trends something of a staple for the industry and consumers. Some of those major trends aren’t so much about the food we eat but about how we get it and how, and how much, we pay for it. Here’s a full serving of major trends for 2016 that experts, consultants, industry, chefs, nutritionists and foodies anticipate. CBC News story.

Local Food News — Canada

Food systems in close proximity: the benefits for the land

A food system in close proximity is a marketing system characterized by a closer proximity between the producer and consumer. This proximity is both relational and geographical. Some examples include u-pick, farmers’ markets, and the farm selling directly to a grocery store, restaurant or institution.  Food systems in close proximity have grown in Quebec in the last ten years and the impacts are grouped into four dimensions: farmer well-being, local development, community welfare, and environment. For farmers, these food systems offer financial security, autonomy and competences, and satisfaction with work. CIRANO story (in French) source: Qu’anglo Weekly Farm and Food Briefs.


Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Bets on Local Food

Over the past six months, alongside Food Matters Manitoba, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries has doubled the amount of local food purchased for their two casinos, the Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station Casino. Both casinos are home to highly popular restaurants. Not only does this provide their customers with the best our province has to offer, but provides an opportunity for a crown corporation to support the local food economy. By developing an innovative Request for Proposal (RFP), Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries has been able to ensure that local and sustainable food requirements are met by their food service distributor. Purchasing local and sustainable food is seen as an important component of supporting their corporate social responsibility program. Wire Service Canada press release.


The Obstacles New Farmers in Canada Are Facing

Shannon and her partner Bryan faced an uphill battle to realize their dream of owning and operating their own organic farm. Read Shannon’s full story here. My name is Shannon and I am a farmer. My partner Bryan is also a farmer and together we own and operate Broadfork Farm, a small-scale, organic market garden that provides us with 100% of our income. Neither of us grew up on a farm. We each started our farming journey by apprenticing on farms we admired. Shannon’s story.


Agribition food pavilion celebrates homegrown Saskatchewan cuisine

When you hear the word Agribition, you might immediately think of rodeos, cowboy boots, horses and milking machines. But this year, the people behind Agribition are also trying to make us think about food — especially homegrown food. The food pavilion at the show features demonstrations by Saskatchewan chefs who celebrate the variety of food our province has to offer. CBC News Saskatchewan story.


Manitoba scientist’s big idea turns veggie rejects into nutritious purees

Armed with a BSc in agriculture and certified as a professional agrologist, Ms. Beaulieu garnered support from the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund, the First Peoples Economic Growth Fund and others to start Canadian Prairie Garden Purees Inc. of Portage la Prairie. Her processing plant, which has been running for a year, uses a proprietary rapid steam-infusion process that she designed. It cooks vegetables in four to 20 seconds at ultra-high temperatures, which she says locks in nutrients, colour and taste. The purees, which contain no additives, are then packaged into easily transported pouches. They have a long shelf life. Globe and Mail story.


Local food should come from local seed: Aabir Dey on Seed Security

“Local food should come from local seed,” says Aabir. “To advocate for all these things about local food and then to not have some meaningful work being done on seed production in the sector I think is a huge gap that needs to get filled. And it’s a huge gap that farmers have asked to get filled.” Ecocide Alert post.


Whitehorse greenhouse teams up with local artists, food co-op

Branigan owns the Cliffside Nursery in Whitehorse’s Hillcrest neighbourhood, in a big building that used to be a church. Her main business is a greenhouse which previously kept her occupied for three months of the summer. Now, it is half-filled to serve winter customers, who are “thinking about spring, or looking for gifts.” Branigan has also partnered with the Potluck Food Co-op, which formed in 2014. People can order food in bulk through the non-profit organization. It also sells local vegetables when they’re in season. CBC News North story.


Buying local boosts B.C. bee industry in 2015

“The beekeeping industry is playing a major role in the province’s economy. These statistics show that more and more British Columbians are choosing to buy their honey direct from beekeepers, and showing a strong interest in buying local foods,” said Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick. “Supporting local food producers creates local jobs and revenue, and is a sweet reward to the province’s beekeepers.” The Castlegar Source story.


Dolma Food’s Hossein Barar overwhelmed by support after fire

He said he expects people to rally behind Barar, who he said has always been willing to help local food producers. “It’s neat to see a high end grocery store that really believes in food access so making sure local suppliers actually have access to the market and are promoted but are also concerned about people who do not have access to good quality food,” Shantz said on Monday. “There are a lot of local producers who can attest to him being willing to give their products a shot.” CBC News New Brunswick story.


Program to recruit retired soldiers into agriculture

Early in 2016, possibly in January, CAAR will launch a pilot project called Operation Ag Careers. The objective of the program is to convince retired Canadian military personnel to consider a career in agriculture. Delaney Ross Burtnack, CAAR president, said soldiers and other members of the military typically retire from service between the ages of 28 and 35. Western Producer story.




Quiz: How well do you know Canadian food?

Sure, we’re known for our igloos, ehs and chesterfields, but Canadians have more to bring to the table – literally. We may not have the most notable culinary history, but Canadian food has earned a reputation for being diverse, hearty, and often conveniently portable (for those lumberjacking adventures or weekend hockey tournaments). How much do you know about the cuisine of Canada? Test your savoir-faire of Canadian food to find out. Canadian Living post.