Locavore News — Ontario

 

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada presents information on the quantity, quality and value of Canada’s ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services (EGS). The report presents preliminary results achieved through a two-year interdepartmental project to develop experimental ecosystem accounts and the required statistical infrastructure. It provides an overview of ecosystem accounting and valuation, several measures of the quantity and quality of ecosystems and their goods and services, a case study for valuing EGS, and a research agenda for future work in this area. Statistics Canada Executive Summary.

A forkful of dollars for Ontario farmers

More and more consumers are demanding access to locally grown food produced using methods that respect labour rights, animal welfare and the environment. The Local Food Plus designation is one way for consumers to feel confident that the products they choose come from farms and food processors that make environmentally and socially sustainable decisions. Livia Townsend, who operates Ontario Popping Corn Co. in Walsingham with her husband, Blair, says becoming Local Food Plus-certified in 2007 has helped the company attract customers in Ontario and overseas. “Local Food Plus has been good for us,” Townsend said during a speech to about 45 farmers, food processors and restaurant owners at a local food forum in Courtland last Friday. “We have found that being certified has made people more receptive to understanding our passion for local food.” Norfolk News story.

Food that Moves: Mobile Good Food Market Bus Launch

On October 31, FoodShare was proud to launch its Mobile Good Food Market bus at Ryerson University. That afternoon, FoodShare project coordinator Afua Asantewaa and Executive Director Debbie Field were joined by Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown, TTC CEO Andy Byford, and Deb Shime of United Way Toronto. We were so excited and grateful for this outpour of excitement and to have project supporters with us to celebrate including Juliana Sprott of the Sprott Foundation, Samir Sharma of Crew Chief, and Dean Goodman of LGA Architects. It was amazing to see so many community food leaders, as well as too many people to thank from the staff at the Toronto Food Strategy, Toronto Public Health, FoodShare and the United Way. FoodShare post.

Eating Under the Media Influence – The True Cost, December 10

Join Registered Dietitians and Certified Diabetes Educators Charla Adams and Cristina Fernandes for a presentation on the damaging impact that the media has on our food choices and strategies we can use to build personal awareness of these influences. They will also discuss the possible need for more stringent food policies to help consumers make healthier choices and stretch their food dollar on more valuable nutrients. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable event poster.

Harvest Haliburton shares lesson plan

In May 2012 Harvest Haliburton, in partnership with Haliburton County Development Corporation and Sustain Ontario, released three short videos highlighting the emerging local sustainable food movement in Haliburton County. The videos, which were launched publicly at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion and continue to be shown and shared via local business and social media sites, are now available for loan at all eight branches of the Haliburton County Public Library.  Harvest Haliburton is a grassroots committee that supports and promotes the development of a local sustainable food system for Haliburton County. Minden Times story.

Hospitality Services pushes to keep it local

More than 43 per cent of Hospitality Services’ annual food purchases have been deemed ‘local,’ according to a recent survey of food purchases conducted by the Toronto-based Local Food Plus. In dollars and cents, that means nearly $2.3 million of a $5.3 million annual food budget would be spent with local producers. Conducted to establish a baseline for the organization to build future sustainability efforts, Hospitality Services staff didn’t know what to expect going in. But the findings turned out to be a pleasant surprise, said Anne Zok, Hospitality Services nutrition manager. Western (University) News post.

New CFI Chair Wants To Push 4R Nutrient Stewardship

The new Chair of the Canadian Fertilizer Institute says this country’s fertilizer industry is recognized worldwide for it’s leadership in product stewardship and sustainability. The CFI represents manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers. Yont says he wants to increase adoption of 4R Nutrient Stewardship on Canadian farms. He wants the Institute to work in partnership with governments, industry stakeholders and transportation companies to ensure the safety of our communities. And he wants to establish achievable standards for environmental performance for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Blackburn Agri-Media story.

Elora: A Bread Mecca is Born

The bakery, a long time dream for both ladies, will offer handcrafted bread, as well as other baked goods and artisan foods, including to-go lunch items.  If you haven’t yet tried the company’s bread, you’re in for a treat. Bread-lovers from across the region have long-awaited the opening of the bakery at 73 Metcalfe Street in Elora since the Elora Bread Trading Co. debuted their artisanal bread at the Elora Farmers’ Market in 2012.  When co-owners Sonia Cheng and Calantha Elsby found demand far surpassed the production capacity of their rented kitchen space, they applied for funding from Wellington Waterloo Community Futures to build the bakery. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post.

ChocoSol Traders

ChocoSol is a learning community/social enterprise that uses artisanal dark chocolate as a symbolic product that incarnates the values that we make part of our art of living and dying with dignity. Our artisan chocolate is made right here in Toronto using organic, forest garden, shade-grown cacao, sourced directly from indigenous communities in the Lacondon Jungle of Chiapas and the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico. Our horizontal trade relationships go beyond the exchange of commodities and bring symbolic products, whose story is as important as the product itself. Our relationships are based on reciprocity, friendship, respect and mutual learning. Website.

Region to challenge OMB ruling in court

The region (Waterloo) is taking the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to court, alleging board members were biased in their decision on the appeal of the region’s official plan. The region’s official plan was approved in 2009 and underwent an appeal. In January of this year, the OMB ruled on the side of the appellants. While the region’s official plan denoted 80 hectares of land for future development in the core areas for intensification, the board felt more land should be allocated – up to 1,053 hectares. Cambridge Tmes story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Pig toys reduce injuries and improve welfare

WEDA Dammann and Westerkamp, pig house equipment specialist in Lutten, the Netherlands, has developed a new bite-resistant and food-safe pliable material in conjunction with Kassel University. When mounted on the floor or in pens, the toys allow pigs to carry out natural behaviours while standing, sitting or lying. Rooting cones have reduced tail-biting by satisfying the pigs’ rooting instinct. Scientific studies have shown pigs used cones more frequently than the classic ball or chain, resulting in fewer visible scratch marks and a more tranquil atmosphere. The rooting cones are mounted on a stable plastic ground plate with flexible metal springs. Fixed in this way in the centre of the pen keeps the pigs away from the corners and improves well-being through a variety of movements and resistance. Farmers Weekly story.

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Locavore News — Ontario

 

Guelph-Wellington Food, Farms and Fun Fall Tour

On Saturday Oct. 19, despite the rain and the chill in the air, we spent a wonderful afternoon surrounded by the warmth of fellow foodies on the Food, Farms and Fun Fall Tour. The tour was organized by the Food Charter working group of the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table in partnership with the Guelph Community Health Center, Ignatius Farm and the Apple Seed Collective Revival. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.

Sheldon Creek Dairy

When the cows are milked, the milk travels through a pipe to the bulk tank which is like a big refrigerator. We then take our trailered bulk tank over to the farm and load it with delicious milk. Once it is brought over it is put into the raw milk tank then brought over to the pasteurizer to be pasteurized at 73°C for just 16 seconds, allowing us to deliver milk in a natural state. That means our milk not only tastes fresh, it is fresh. And because it’s non-homogenized, the cream rises to the top and separates. We make all our products from this whole milk. While most milk undergoes homogenization, ours does not. Homogenization was developed simply to give milk a balanced consistency, eliminating the need to shake it before drinking. Milk in its natural state has a cream layer that floats to the top. Anyone who remembers milk before homogenization was common, will tell you that the cream is the best part! It gives milk a clean, full-bodied flavor and holds many of the essential nutrients! Website.

Garden2Table

We are people passionate about food! In partnership with the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming (GCUOF) and the School of Hospitality and Tourism (HTM), we bring public school students to the garden to teach them about the importance of learning where their food comes from and how it is grown. They learn how to make healthy snacks for themselves and bring home recipes in a handmade cookbook to share with their families. Website.

Bring Food Home conference recap: Tension between New and Existing

Last week a few of us from Community Food Centres Canada made the trip down to Windsor, ON for Sustain Ontario’s biennial conference connecting individuals and organizations working towards a fair and sustainable food system in the province. The audience at Bring Food Home ranged from farmers to food service providers, from chefs to community organizations and with over 400 people in attendance, it shows the growing strength of this movement in the province and beyond. A theme that was present for me was the tension between new emerging organizations/ business models and existing groups/structures attempting to improve their practices and transition into the new food system being discussed at the conference. Community Food Centres Canada blog.

How Many Local Food Plants Must Close Before We See Action?

I’m deeply disappointed by the news that Heinz is closing its Leamington processing plant. For over 100 years that plant made ketchup from tomatoes grown on Ontario farms. And my family loves local ketchup. It seems to go with everything! Our recent news cycle has been dominated by the antics and abuses of a person who never made anything in his life that takes as much effort or expertise as ketchup does. While the cameras have focused on Hogtown, real people’s livelihoods and farms are at risk, and the character of our province is under threat. Mike Schreiner post on Huffington Post.

Ontario’s Local Food Champions Report Recognizes Innovative Leaders

The growth of Ontario food in our public institutions is inspiring. Today we celebrate those who change the food on plates in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and educational institutions. The Ontario’s Local Food Champions report recognizes five organizations from across the food value chains that exemplify leadership and provide solutions to incorporate more Ontario food on their menus. “In just under a year we have seen outstanding growth in sales and volumes of Ontario food served in public institutions,“ said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “This report recognizes a few of the many champions working to make local food the standard at our hospitals, schools and daycares.” Friends of the Greenbelt post.

Farm to Fork Seeks Citizens to Help Tackle Food Insecurity in Guelph

Farm to Fork is changing the way we think about food insecurity in Guelph Wellington. A unique partnership between students at the University of Guelph and several community agencies, the project creates the opportunity for real connections between emergency food providers (EFPs) and their donors. The goal is to fill our local food system with healthy food. The system is now live. Emergency Food Providers are starting to share their needs each week. All that’s missing are donors. Farm To Fork is asking citizens of Guelph to answer the call. Website.

Small-scale poultry farmers unite against the ‘Chicken Mafia’ and strict supply management rules

As consumers are increasingly demanding locally-raised chickens who peck at grass and are reared on sunlight, the province’s strict supply management system has made it all but impossible for small-farmers to compete with a concentrated number of large-scale chicken producers in central Ontario. If a farmer wants to grow his flock beyond the 300-bird limit, he has to purchase a quota; the minimum is 14,000 production units — equivalent to approximately 90,000 chickens per year — at an estimated cost of about $1.75 million. And that’s before factoring in labour, land, feed and buildings. National Post story.

Food Hubs and Community Food Centres

Recently two models for food access have caught my attention and both are currently working to address the local food access problem. One is working through community outreach and education, while the other is taking a more business-minded approach. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post by Jonathan Spee

New and Improved Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide 2013

In 1991, farmers in Ontario recognized the need to identify and address environmental concerns relating to agricultural production. The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) was the product of this farmer-driven initiative. Recognizing that the health of the rural landscape depends on the actions of all landowners, a Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide, based on the EFP,  was developed for non-farmers and the first edition of the guide was published in 2007.  The Centre for Land and Water Stewardship (CLAWS) at the University of Guelph, working in partnership with Conservation Ontario and the Stewardship Network of Ontario, recently completed an update to the Guide, available at http://www.stewardshipmanual.ca. The update includes new content to ensure relevance to changing environmental priorities in Ontario. Stewardship Network of Ontario post.

Locavore News — Ontario

Congratulations to the 2013 Award Winners!

The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Ontario Culinary Tourism Awards. It was a difficult choice in 2013, but after careful consideration, our 2013 panel of judges have spoken. Winners.

NWO FoodEx Crowdsourcing Contest!

We are launching a crowdsourcing contest and inviting submissions from high school, university and college students to design a local food distribution system for Northwestern Ontario – it is called NWO FoodEx. Please see website (foodinnovation.ca) which describes the contest and how it fits into the larger project. We also have a Facebook group, which provides a forum to ask questions, and a link to our handout which has the full details of the contest. Nourishing Communities, Sustainable Local Food Systems Research Group post.

Ag sector seeks rebound opportunities for Heinz plant

The hunt is underway for a new food processing presence in Leamington, Ont., after Heinz announced it’s closing its 140-year-old ketchup-production plant there. The plant, which also produces baby food and other condiments, will be closed in June, eliminating 740 jobs. Besides taking a toll on the community — Heinz is the town’s biggest employer — the closure also affects about 50 southwestern Ontario tomato farmers who have contracts to deliver their harvests there. “The planned closure of the plant leaves little time for impacted producers whose livelihood depends on more than 5,500 acres of processing tomatoes grown within 100 kilometres of the Leamington plant,” says Mark Wales, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.

FEAST ON — Certified Taste of Ontario

Coming January 2014! Feast ON is a brand new pan-provincial program designed to help you experience restaurants of all shapes and sizes that champion Ontario food & drink. For locals and travellers alike, FEAST ON is a criteria-based program that recognizes businesses committed to showcasing Ontario’s unique tastes of place. Website.

Pilot uses local food for school fundraisers

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is handling the procurement and distribution of fruits and vegetables for a new pilot project where students at participating schools can sell these items to raise money for their schools. The pilot is being offered to 379 elementary and secondary schools at 10 different school boards in Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford counties, the City of London, and the districts of Cochrane in Timmins and Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie. Better Farming story.

Local Restaurant ‘Rino’s Kitchen’ Launches Locavore Cookbook

If you’re into eating locally-sourced food and cooking with local ingredients, vegetables, meat and more, a local restaurant has launched a definitive guide to eating in Windsor-Essex. Rino’s Kitchen: Cooking Local in Windsor & Essex County, which hit store shelves in October, is a journey by local chef Rino Bortolin to be the first and only guide to cooking regional foods. The book, broken down by season of the year, takes readers through 85 recipes and 218 pages of preparing local dishes. Learn to prepare locally grown balsamic and Parmesan roasted asparagus, roasted butternut squash soup, hearty beef stew, stuffed apples, ribs from merchants such as the Butcher of Kingsville, and much more. WindsoriteDOTca post.

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference – Innovation Driving Local Food, Dec. 2 & 3

Local food businesses have been innovative in running their operations, adapting practices and looking for partners to be successful in this rapidly growing sector. The Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference will provide a great opportunity to share information, learn about success stories and gather information on innovative local food businesses, projects and best practices. This year’s conference will take place on December 2 and 3, 2013 at the Ambassador Hotel and Conference Centre in Kingston. Website.

Food forests can feed themselves too

Ben Caesar is convinced that you can supply your orchard trees with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and produce fruit without applying any compost or fertilizer to the soil. Ditto for food forests. The owner of Fiddlehead Nursery in Kimberley, Ontario – purveyor of selectively chosen edible perennials – applies permaculture principles, research and a bit of math to determine the how, what, where and why of interplanting trees, shrubs and herbaceous groundcovers to minimize competition and maximize co-operation. Ben Caesar’s presentation – “Sustainable Fertility Design: Creating nutrient budgets for forest gardens & orchards” – Sunday, February 2, 2014 at the Guelph Organic Conference.

Major Grant from Weston Family Parks Challenge to Support Black Creek Community Farm

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is providing $400,000 over the next three years to the Black Creek Community Farm project. The funds will be used to restore woodlands, create a food forest and gardens, and provide community programming. “The farm is an exciting project that transforms a previously hidden piece of land into an incredible natural asset for the Jane-­Finch neighbourhood and the residents of Toronto,” said Camilla Dalgish, Director of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. “We are delighted to support this innovative partnership between the TRCA and Everdale that will transform this site and revitalize the community’s connection to nature.” Weston Foundation media release.

The case of the disappearing farmland

Hectic residential and commercial development on the perimeter of Guelph in recent years has dug up, paved over and built up hundreds of hectares of good farmland. “In essence, when you look at the numbers, the aggregate companies are not the ones that gobble up Class 1 farmland,” said farmland protection activist Carl Cosack. “It is really development and urban sprawl.” Ontario Farmland Trust is an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of farmland in the province. Committed to improving provincial policy on farmland protection and bringing awareness to the urgent need to protect Ontario’s best farmland, it works with farmers, rural landowners, community groups and municipalities to permanently protect land for agriculture. Guelph Mercury story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

The FEAST ON Manifesto

•To procure Ontario food and drink whenever possible.

•To track and trace Ontario food and drink purchases as close to the point of origin as possible.

•To identify the provenance of Ontario food and drink on the menu.

•To develop Ontario’s culinary identity by celebrating regional tastes and championing local, seasonal ingredients.

•To educate the public about Ontario food and drink and to bring further awareness to its strong agricultural sectors. FEAST On website.

Locavore News — Ontario

 

Look How Much We’ve Grown!

Bring Food Home 2013: Building Bridges Together, November 17-19, Windsor

Kickstarting Bring Food Home 2013, “Look How Much We’ve Grown: Milestones in the Food Movement” will be an opportunity for some of the food movement’s longest-standing advocates to celebrate our successes over the last 5 years. Bring Food Home is Ontario’s biennial conference connecting those individuals and organizations who are working towards a sustainable food system. This year’s conference will run from November 17th to 19th and will feature a wide range of workshops, new farmer training, compelling keynote speakers and a feast of local flavours. “The Bring Food Home Conference is where the story of the new Ontario food system is being rewritten. This is the time and place for those who believe in a just and sustainable food system to join the composition.” – Mark Winne, Author & Community Food Activist. Website.

Promoting locally produced food

“The (act) will benefit people by making the connection between buying local and helping grow an important Ontario industry. If we increase demand for homegrown food, we will create jobs and boost the agri-food sector’s contributions to our economy,” said Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario and Minister of Agriculture and Food. “It’s an important and historic step forward.” The first of its kind in Canada, this new legislation passed on Nov. 5 is part of a strategy to build Ontario’s economy by making local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants. Cornwall Standard-Freeholder story.

Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems will address interconnected environmental, social and economic challenges facing the global food system. Food systems are an effective lens for understanding and acting on some of the most pressing issues facing communities, including growing global food insecurity. Food can act as a vehicle for change. School snack programs that purchase fruit directly from local producers who use low impact farming methods make the connections amongst human, community, economic and ecological well being more explicit. Through food, citizens, practitioners, policy-makers and academics can grasp the importance of ecological stewardship, social justice, prosperous economies, participatory democracy and food security. Website.

Cheese Maker Says We’ll Battle European Imports on Quality

One Ontario cheese maker says Canadian producers may have to compete against increased European imports on quality, not price. Margaret Peters is the founder of Glengarry Fine Cheese. One of her company’s cheeses was recently voted best in the world at a competition in Britain. The proposed Canada-EU Free Trade Deal will allow a significant increase in the amount of European fine cheeses into the Canadian market. Peters says that deal doesn’t address what she calls disguised European farm subsidies. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

Huron County leads the way with the Local Food Act

CTV London News video

Agri Website Goes Live

The Chatham-Kent Agri-Development Committee is launching a brand new web portal. Vice Chair Jamie McGrail says the site showcases Chatham-Kent’s agri sector and the benefits of working in it. “Businesses, processors, producers, we want to show the world our innovation ,” says McGrail. “As well as our thoughtfulness regarding food safety and that’s a world issue and we can deliver that.” Website.

St Michael’s Hospital Provides a “Market” for Local Food

As part of their project for the Local Food Challenge, 2013, for one day this past summer and again in October, they set up a market for their staff and visitors in their Marketeria and provided an opportunity to sample their chefs’ local, seasonal specials, then purchase some of those same ingredients to take home. Both days were hugely successful, as the before and after photos illustrate. A survey of visitors revealed 99% of attendees loved it and would attend again! The market days provided an opportunity to make the connection between the food coming from our farms to the cities they feed, and especially how institutions such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and daycares can make local work, everyday. Local Food Challenge post.

Huron Ag Program Geared For Young Farmers, Entrepreneurs

A Huron County program helps show young people the links between agriculture and the rural economy and how they can take advantage of the opportunities those links provide. The Ag Ambitions Program is geared for young people between 18 and 29 years old. It involves a series of workshops for training, tours to innovative enterprises in Huron County and networking to foster the skills and knowledge needed to succeed for the future. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

Expression of Interest to establish and operate an urban farm on TRCA land

Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) is inviting Expression of Interest to establish and operate an urban farm on TRCA land located at The Living City Farm, Kortright Center for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Drive, City of Vaughan.  2.8 hectares of productive king clay loam farmland, including a small heritage orchard and new greenhouse are available. Submission deadline November 28. Inquiries Sonia Dhir.

An Evening with Author, Sarah Elton, November 21

Oakville Public Library, 7pm. Sarah Elton, author of Locavore: From Farmers’ fields to Roof Top Gardens and Consumed: Sustainable Food for a Finite Planet, will talk of how people around the world are building sustainable food systems. Details.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME FOR HUMOUR

Calvin Trillin: “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

W.C. Fields: “I always cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”

George Miller: “The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later, you’re hungry again. ”

P. J. O’Rourke: “A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”

Orson Welles: “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”

W. C. Fields: “Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.”

(Thanks to Bank of I.D.E.A.S.)

Locavore News — Ontario

 

Stories from the Mobile Good Food Market

Improving Food Access tells the story of the Mobile Good Food Market in its first year of operation, and some of the profound impacts in improving food access for the communities served. You will also read about the experiences of program Coordinator Afua Asantewaa, as well as stories from customers at the Mobile Good Food Market facilitated by storytelling researcher and photographer Arlene Moscovitch. The Mobile Good Food Market has shown that people will buy produce as long as it is fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate and available nearby. We also hope it will generate other healthy food access solutions for diverse communities across Toronto. FoodShare report (2.29 MB PDF).

Bill to Promote Local Food Passes Final Vote

Ontario is moving forward to help promote the good things that are grown, harvested and processed in Ontario with today’s passage of the Local Food Act, 2013. The new legislation is part of a strategy to build Ontario’s economy by making more local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants. This will create jobs and expand the province’s agri-food sector. Province of Ontario news release.

Local Food Act Passes

The government says it will increase local food awareness and boost sales by setting local food goals and targets in consultation with sector partners. The Act includes a 25 per cent non-refundable tax credit for farmers who donate surplus harvest to eligible community food programs, like food banks. The Ontario Local Food Act requires the government to produce an annual local food report on its activities to support local food. Blackburn Agrimedia story.

Landmark Start-Up Farm

The Landmark Start-Up Farm, in Flamborough, is an on farm training opportunity ideal for beginning farmers transitioning into their new career. This farm will serve aspiring new farmers from the Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington and Flamborough regions, providing shared resources in a supportive environment. FarmStart offers ¼ acre – Test Cropper plots. March to November. FarmStart post

Urban Agriculture Action Plan for Toronto

This report updates the current scope of urban agricultural activities undertaken by City Divisions and Agencies and identifies short and long term strategies that would advance urban agriculture in Toronto. To advance urban agriculture in Toronto, it is recommended that the City adopt the Toronto Agricultural Program and Workplan to be led by the Deputy City Manager, Cluster A, and supported by a joint City-Sector Steering Committee that includes representatives from City Divisions, Agencies and the urban agricultural community. The report also summarizes how the Parks Plan 2013-2017 responds to the GrowTO recommendations and how City Planning will continue to work with the City-Sector Steering Committee on Urban Agriculture to explore planning issues, barriers and opportunities associated with urban agriculture. Toronto Staff report.

Nutrition pilot program pedals local produce to kids

When the kids at St. Patrick’s Elementary School breakfast program bite into an apple, they know exactly how many “food miles” it travelled. A new harvest pilot program, 3Acres, is delivering fresh, locally sourced foods — by bike — to a handful of school nutrition programs across Hamilton. The program is run by Tastebuds, Hamilton’s Student Nutrition Collaborative. Hamilton Spectator story.

New Maple Product Bottled in Arthur

An Arthur couple has started a new business bottling maple sap before it’s boiled into syrup. Keith and Lorraine Harris started Troll Bridge Creek in 2009. It markets the maple water under the KiKi label. KiKi means ‘tree energy’ in Japanese. Today it’s available in 250 stores across Canada. The Harris’s produce an original maple sweet water from their Arthur operation as well as three flavoured versions – maple blueberry, maple strawberry and maple cranberry. Blackburn News story.

Step Up to the “Plate” with the 2014 Local Food Challenge

Public institutions are getting ready to step up to the plate with the 2014 Local Food Challenge. With support from the Ontario government, the Greenbelt Fund created the challenge to inspire systemic change in hospitals, schools, universities, long-term care facilities, and more to increase local food offerings. The challenge will fund impactful projects that put more local food onto plates. Friends of the Greenbelt news release. Application.

Worth tweeting

Food Hub In The Works For Grey County

The idea is to move farms up the economic ladder, closer to the consumer. That’s how Hugh Simpson describes the Grey County Food Hub being proposed by the Chef’s Forum Advisory Committee. Simpson says consumers are asking for something like this because they want to know more about the food they eat and the people who produce it. He says farmers would benefit because they’d be closer to the consumer, which means there’s the potential for a better profit margin for their products. The Chef’s Forum concept would create a central, convenient and well-equipped collection centre where farmers could take their products. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

The true costs of suburban sprawl

Moving to the suburbs often means a need for a second car. Even economical cars cost about $10,000 a year to own. Other, less quantifiable costs include long commutes, increased emissions, higher risk of road accidents, fatigue and less home time. In municipal terms, there are the increased infrastructural costs and their maintenance in comparison to more compact development. While trunk-line infrastructure and expressways are paid for by provincial governments, these costs are, of course, passed on to all taxpayers. Globe & Mail opinion.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Why are farm kids so healthy?

A new study from the National Farm Medicine Center seeks to find why farm kids are healthier than their city cousins. According to the American Farm Bureau, the study will look at why childhood exposures unique to farm environments promote immunologic development that limits the severity of childhood allergic diseases and asthma. The Center, along with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, will follow 200 babies from the Marshfield, Wis., area over the next two years. Half of the babies will be from farm families and half from rural families not living on farms. The Bullvine post.

Locavore News — Ontario

 

Farmers in the Playground

Farmers in the Playground unites kids to their world by offering a program that teaches how to grow and eat good food, right in their own schoolyards! Common Roots Food Collective teaches all that “Dirt makes you grow!” Facebook page.

County endorses food charter

As organizations around the globe marked World Food Day on Wednesday, Oct. 16, Northumberland County supported a recommendation from The Food Charter Working Group in the county to develop a food policy committee and move forward to support local food production. There are now at least 20 Ontario communities doing the same thing to spur agricultural strategies, development of community gardens and pushing local food production and distribution, according to spokesperson Kimberly Leadbeater of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Northumberland Today story.

Ontario Home to World’s Best Cheese

Just last week, it was announced that the best cheese in the world is actually made just a few hours outside Toronto. The creamy, gouda-style Lankaaster from Ontario cheesemonger Margaret Peters won top prize at the annual Global Cheese Awards in Somerset, England. Aged Lankaaster was just under two years old when crowned the winner among 167 categories including heavy-hitters like Parmigiano Reggiano.  The two-year-old Ontario cheese beat out hundreds of whey more established cheddars as well, to be crowned the Global Supreme Champion of cheese. Ontario culinary Tourism Alliance post.

A Big Toast to School Grown’s Biggest Garden yet!

In late 2011, FoodShare’s Field to Table Schools program was approached about an exciting opportunity: they were invited to tour an underutilized 16,000 square foot school rooftop. And so began the designing and dreaming of what would become an urban garden and education centre, the largest school-based project of its kind in the city. FoodShare post.

 

Organizers Hope To ‘Surprise’ With Grey-Bruce Foods

The Grey Bruce Agriculture and Culinary Association wants to surprise you. They think they can do that with this year’s Field To Fork Gala coming up later this month in Cargill. The Gala will feature a seven course meal, with each course created by a different local chef and featuring ingredients grown and raised on local farms. The Association’s Heather Frook says they’re finding that area chefs are very much in tune with the local food market. She says the trick is to get the public to come in so they can also find out what local foods are available across Grey and Bruce Counties. Blackburn News story.

Farming in Ontario’s Greenbelt: Possibility Grows Here.

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation released a study on the challenges and opportunities of farming in the Greenbelt. Research conducted through consultations across the Greenbelt concludes that most challenges to farming are universal across the province and not a result of the Greenbelt Plan. Key findings from the study include:

• Farmers appreciate the intent of the Greenbelt Plan; however some wish land was protected earlier and/or all prime farmland in southern Ontario was protected from development.

• Farms located in near-urban locations in the Golden Horseshoe face unique challenges. These include: multiple, disjointed regulations and policies from multiple levels of government that detract from the ability to do business efficiently; and expanding urban-based infrastructure that affects the ability to farm.

• These challenges are offset by the benefits, which include being closer to a large and growing market as well as having the ability to proceed with business investments knowing that neighbouring land will not be sold for development because of Greenbelt protection. Friends of the Greenbelt post. Study.

The time it takes

Since the summer before I started university several years ago, I have been growing vegetables in both a 15 X 20-ft. garden at home and in bushel basket containers which I have sold to people through my own small business. This past summer, I was able to further explore my interest in growing food (especially in alternative spaces) through a 200-hour internship with Young City Growers. Rachel Dyck post on Waterloo Region Food system Roundtable.

Bring Food Home 2013: Building Bridges Together, November 17-19, Windsor

Bring Food Home is Ontario’s biennial conference connecting those individuals and organizations who are working towards a sustainable food system. This year’s conference will run from November 17th to 19th and will feature a wide range of workshops, new farmer training, compelling keynote speakers and a feast of local flavours. “The Bring Food Home Conference is where the story of the new Ontario food system is being rewritten. This is the time and place for those who believe in a just and sustainable food system to join the composition.” – Mark Winne, Author & Community Food Activist. Registration.

Urban sprawl is destroying Ontario’s farmland

Political leaders must end sprawl and create higher-density communities surrounded by local greenbelts of protected farmland. Despite its huge area, Canada has relatively little dependable farmland. Good soil and a friendly climate are hard to find. So it seems like good news that on a clear day you can see about half the best agricultural land in Canada from the top of Toronto’s CN Tower. If we’re to feed our growing urban populations, having food lands close to where people live will be critical to sustaining local food security. David Suzuki and Faisal Moola opinion in the Toronto Star.

The Farm Planner

Join this detailed 11 session course to build a detailed farm plan to ensure your business is a success!  If you are thinking about starting your own agricultural business or Farmer Training at Everdale | farm plans courses business csa harvest shares crops rotation biodynamic local organicsmaking your current business more profitable, then the Farm Planner is the right course for you.  During eleven full day sessions spread over four months you will walk through all the necessary steps in building a comprehensive farm plan to ensure sustainable success.  You will be helped along the way by a diverse group of experienced presenters and expert mentors. Cost sharing is available for this course. Everdale post.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Moving Agriculture Away from Fossil Fuels

Eating meat is bad for the planet, right? That hamburger you’re contemplating for lunch comes from a cow that, most likely, was raised within the industrial agriculture system. Which means it was fed huge amounts of corn that was grown with the help of petroleum, the carbon-based substance that has helped drive Earth’s climate to the breaking point. In industrial agriculture, petroleum is not only burned to power tractors and other machinery used to plant, harvest, and process corn—it’s also a key ingredient in the fertilizer employed to maximize yields. Eating beef is particularly environmentally damaging: Cows are less efficient than chickens or pigs at converting corn (or other feed) into body weight, so they consume more of it than other livestock do. As a result, the industrial agriculture system employs 55 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of beef. Slate article.

Locavore News — Ontario

 

Planning for Food-Friendly Municipalities in Waterloo Region

The report includes a review of:

•Zoning by-laws that can permit temporary farmers’ markets and community gardens in all land use designations and zones;

•supportive licensing by-laws and regulations for temporary farmers’ markets;

•incentives such as reduced or waived fees for temporary farmers’ markets; and

•other policies specific to community gardens. Report.

Ontario Farm to School Challenge, Webinar, September 24, 3:30pm

This is the lead-up to the October 1st launch of Ontario’s Farm to School Challenge (October 1 -31), farm to school program leaders will come together to share their own stories of success that are set to inspire schools and help them access the tools they need to set the table for local foods. The webinar includes pilot farm-to-school projects in Windsor and southwestern Ontario that include a team of secondary students preparing food for the Meals on Wheels and Student Nutrition Programs as part of a culinary, co-operative learning program. Register.

Food-Friendly Municipalities

The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable is calling on Foodies in Waterloo Region to join in the work to advocate for more food-friendly municipalities in Waterloo Region.  The first organizing meeting will be held Wednesday, October 2nd.  It will focus on a new report by Krista Long which outlines ways to create more supportive environments for community gardens and temporary farmers’ markets in Waterloo Region. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.

Launched as fundraiser 10 years ago the street-long locavore lunch now tourist draw

“Excuse me, miss,” Jaime Vega whispers to a passerby he’s mistaken for a server. “Your corn is so fresh and tender. Can I get another?” Alas, the sell-out crowd of 600 has left Warkworth’s famous Long Lunch short on seconds. Every ear is spoken for by the hungry hordes who’ve descended on the village for a midday feast at tables laid end-to-end down the length of Main St. And anyway, Vega, who made the 90-minute drive from Toronto for the annual event last Sunday, needs room for dessert — a healthy wedge of homemade apple crumble pie. Toronto Star story.

Spirit Tree making locavore cider in the English tradition

The recipe is classic, but the apples the Caledon estate ‘cidery’ turns into its cider are from its own orchards. Where once there were just a handful of ciders available in this province (whether produced here or elsewhere), now there are dozens available. Just look at the shelves of any LCBO, and you’ll see plenty of the fermented apple beverage, a traditional mainstay of English pubs and the Normandy countryside. Even the big brewing conglomerates are getting in on the game, with varying degrees of success (Molson Canadian Cider, for one, isn’t half bad. And Strongbow — the cider you’ve probably had if you’ve only ever had one — also has its defenders). But the best of the bunch is made right here in the Greater Toronto Area. Caledon, to be precise. Toronto Star story.

Bringing More Local Food to Universities and Hospitals

With funding support from the Ontario government, the Greenbelt Fund continues to support projects that increase Ontarians’ access to more fresh, local food through institutions such as universities, colleges, and hospitals. New Farm ($59,000), an organic farm in Creemore, and Meal Exchange ($80,000), a national youth-driven charity educating university students about local food, are the newest grant recipients. Ontariofresh.ca story.

Agriculture and Food in the GTHA

Our Local Food industry continues to grow and grow. We will soon overtake Los Angeles as the largest food producing and processing cluster in North America! But it is difficult to see from here. The American PBS television network highlighted our region in a recent half-hour show. (It highlights some of my clients.) The credit for this growth must be attributed to the amazing GTAAAC partnership of municipalities within the regions. With rural and urban partners working for mutual benefits, it is indeed possible to rebuild the dynamics that created great cities around the world. This is being further supported by the new Premier of Ontario (who is also the new Minister of Agriculture). At first, farmer neighbours felt this turn of events would result in them being ignored even more than usual. But now they understand that having the urban media surrounding the Premier traipse around the countryside is a great way to reveal agriculture to urban customers. David Cohlmeyer September newsletter.

The Good Food Economy

So this all got me thinking about money – and I realized that there were other ways to meet my needs and wants besides using that piece of plastic in my wallet. That spun me into the world of self-provisioning and barter and trade. So, I exchange CSA shares for farm work.   I “pay” someone to work in my farm kitchen doing baking and making jams with room and board for the summer. I trade produce with other farmers – like my tomatoes for their potatoes. So we each diversify our market stands with less work.  And so on. Theresa Schumilas post, Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable.

Bridging the Gap: Helping to Connect Good Food with Low-Income Communities, October 9, 12-1pm

Featuring Gillian Flies of The New Farm and Ayal Dinner from the West End Food Coop, this next event of our webinar series will discuss strategies for connecting low-income communities with fresh, local and sustainably produced food. The webinar will explore lessons learned from Community Food Centres Canada’s ‘Share the Health‘ initiative which raises funds to integrate good food into programming at CFCs and the West End Food Coop’s ‘Coop Cred’ program which enables low-income community members to participate in the health benefits of local, organic and sustainable food sold at the cooperative. Register.

Bring Food Home 2013: Building Bridges Together, November 17-19, Windsor

Bring Food Home is Ontario’s biennial conference connecting those individuals and organizations who are working towards a sustainable food system. This year’s conference will run from November 17th to 19th and will feature a wide range of workshops, new farmer training, compelling keynote speakers and a feast of local flavours. The Bring Food Home Conference is where the story of the new Ontario food system is being rewritten. This is the time and place for those who believe in a just and sustainable food system to join the composition. – Mark Winne, Author & Community Food Activist. Registration.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Making Detroit Better, One Soup at a Time

Every month, about 300 Detroiters each pay $5 for soup, salad, bread, and a vote to support a creative local project for social change. The music is exciting, the lights are dim, and people sit on the floor around old doors and boards that are converted into temporary tables. We are ready to listen to, and collaborate with, people who want to make Detroit better—from a 12-year-old boy who wants a clean park next to his school, to a 40-year-old woman who wants to help others learn financial literacy. The opportunities are open for anything to happen! Champions of change post. Website

Locavore News — Ontario

Growing Food in Boulevards Part II: Growing Our Own!

I was inspired by Krista Long’s post about Growing Food in Boulevardsand decided to take action soon after reading it.  Our piece of boulevard was especially ugly.  For some reason the city had replaced most of the grass along our street but neglected to replace the patch in front of our house!  It had a few weeds growing in it and occasionally I would mow those weeds but mostly it was just an extremely compacted, pitiful piece of useless land.  Useless, that is, until…. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.

Good Food Education Resource Guide

This Good Food Education Resource Guide offers tips and ideas from a number of leaders doing good food education work.  The guide also reviews and shares stories about these organizations that are located in Ontario and beyond. Along with these exemplar success stories and challenges, the guide examines different ways to do good food education work and the types of activities that organizations engage in. It also includes a great variety of recommended resources, including links to web-based toolkits and curriculum resources, book titles, and other websites of interest. Guide.

Farms Tied into Tourism Group’s Offerings

The tourism group for Southwestern Ontario is tying local farmers into a new culinary magazine. The magazine will include five themed, mapped itineraries offering self-directed getaways across the region. Each itinerary will tie together a weekend of local culinary experiences linked to local farmers, chefs, winemakers and brew masters. Ontario’s Southwest Culinary Magazine will be inserted into the September issue of Food and Drink Magazine. Blackburn News story.

Agriculture critic hosts local talks on Local Food Act

When the provincial legislature reconvenes in the fall, Progressive Conservative agriculture critic Ernie Hardeman hopes to have some local food issues on the table. His goal is to host a series of roundtable discussions with local farmers. The ninth such discussion took place yesterday in Northumberland, Hardeman said, and he expects there will be several more — and at the end of the day, he hopes to get the consumption of local foods up and imported foods on a decline. Northumberland Today story.

Kids approve local food

When it comes to the best in local Ontario food, 430 kids can’t be wrong. That’s how many Toronto children taste-tested the city’s Make It Local: Kid-Approved Local Food Recipe Book, profiled Wednesday at the downtown Danforth Child Care Centre. The 14 easy-to-use recipes are based on 50 to 99 per cent Ontario-grown produce that the city’s Live Green Toronto organization calls “affordable and easy to find.” Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.

Seed to Market Educator Workshop, August 29

Field to Table Schools is excited to partner with you and your school community to offer you and your staff the opportunity to experience first-hand, the way in which we get students of all ages excited about good healthy food. Our full day, on-site train-the-trainer sessions are open to both elementary and youth educators who want to know more about integrating Food Literacy into their classroom. Details.

Course: Digging Into Farming: Planning Your New Farm Business

The Digging into Farming Course is intended for prospective farmers who are ready to stop dreaming and start developing realistic goals, clarify their farm vision, evaluate their options, and to begin identifying the resources and knowledge they already have and those they need to acquire. You will come out of this course with a greater understanding of the different assets, skills and resources needed to launch a new farm business, access to a range of available resources and learning opportunities, a broader peer group, as well as connections to local and technical coaches, mentors and advisors. FarmStart Training and Resources Coordinator at rebecca@farmstart.ca.

OSCIA: Grasslands Program Win-Win for Farmers, Environment

Joan McKinley of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association says it’s a win-win program. She says the Grassland Habitat Farm Incentive Program benefits the farms that participate and the grassland species the projects support. The program now has more funding for its third run this year. Blackburn News story.

Former Site 41 land protected for farm use

After more than two decades of uncertainty, the land formerly known as Site 41 has been permanently protected for agriculture and natural heritage. The more than 250 acres of Tiny Township farmland had been designated for a landfill site until last year. As the land sits atop an aquifer, there was a public outcry and plans for a landfill were nixed by Simcoe County council, which then split the property into four parcels, with three being declared surplus. Two of the four parcels have now been sold to an area farmer – subject to farmland conservation easements – thanks to an agreement between the county and the Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT). The easements are registered on the title for each property and will protect farming and forestry on these lands for life. The Barrie Advance story.

Biodynamic Farm Tour – September 29th 3:00 – 6:00 pm

Invitation from Michael Schmidt and Elisa Vander Hout to visit  Glencolton Farms located at 393889 Concession 2 Durham. Come and experience the farm, talk to Michael and Elisa about their experience with biodynamics and watch the milking. Information 519-369-3578.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Kids can Cook!

Last summer, I (Candace Wormsbecker) worked with my friends to make these videos for simple recipes from local foods. Make them with your kids for twice the fun…enjoy the preparing and the eating! Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post, Tomatillo Salsa, Spinach Dip.

Locavore News — Ontario

 

Food for Thought, Michael Pollan and Sarah Elton, September 14

The 2013 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival present: Food for Thought, Michael Pollan and Sarah Elton. Join authors Michael Pollan (Omnivore’s Dilemma and most recently Cooked) and Sarah Elton (Locavore and Consumed) for an afternoon of conversation about food, culture and sustainability. The event will be hosted by the University of Guelph’s Dr. Evan Fraser. Saturday, September 14, 2013. Rozanski Hall, Room 104. 2pm. Eden Mills Writers’ Festival website. Tickets.

Sick Kids café transformed with fresh, local food

It may look and taste like a roti from any one of this city’s many Caribbean takeout joints: firm, flavourful chicken, well-spiced potatoes, a hearty wrap and throat-tickling mango chutney. But this $7.65 lunch comes with a few surprises. First, it’s hospital food. Second, it’s fresh, not processed. Toronto Star story.

Ontario Community Gardens Network (OCGN) Working Group Breaks Ground on Survey

Sustain Ontario’s Community Gardens Network Working Group is getting ready to launch a survey of the province’s community garden networks. After collecting best practices and policies from across Ontario, the OCGN will publish and share its insights with the public and members of the OCGN. We hope that with this knowledge sharing and collaboration, more municipalities and community organizations, will be supported to start their own gardens and help bring local, nutritious, and sustainable foods to their communities. If you are a community garden network coordinator or have a bird’s eye view of community gardens in your community, please contact Community Gardens at Sustain Ontario to receive more information on the survey.

University hires new contractor, with promise of more ‘local, sustainable’ campus menus

Ryerson University has ditched its long-time food provider for a company promising to put more “local and sustainable” food in campus cafeterias. In a move that surprised student officials, the downtown university has decided not to renew its contract with Aramark Canada Ltd., a multinational corporation that’s stocked most of the campus eateries for the last two decades. Toronto Star story.

Places to Farm: Alternative practices and policies for Ontario’s changing agricultural landscape

Paper by Metcalf Innovation Fellow Dr Sally Miller, explores the link between strong regional food systems and land use policies in southern Ontario. She identifies seven areas where innovative and strategic action could enable access to land and sustainable food production for new and existing farmers both now and long term. Paper.

The Ontario Edible Education Network is now on Twitter!

The Network provides resourceful updates and builds the dialogue on connecting children and youth to good food. Follow. Sustain Ontario post about the Network.

Taste Local! Taste Fresh! Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Foodlink Waterloo Region’s local food showcase and fundraiser has moved to a brand new location this year—Steckle Heritage Farm, 811 Bleams Rd. Kitchener.  Taste Local! Taste Fresh!  is celebrating a milestone 10th Anniversary and will take place Sunday, September 15, 2013, 2-5 pm. Guests will be able to spend a delightful afternoon strolling the picturesque grounds of Steckle Farm, a heritage designated property and working farm right in the City of Kitchener!  Much of the event will take place within a breathtaking post and beam style barn dating back to 1840. Twenty original food creations prepared by teams of the area’s finest chefs and farmers will be featured offering participants an opportunity to sample exquisite new recipes showcasing local foods and farm-fresh products. Details on Facebook.

Southwestern Ontario Farmer Earns National Award for Environmental Leadership

Texas Longhorn farmers in Norfolk County, just south of Tillsonburg, Bryan and Cathy Gilvesy raise their cows in an environmentally-sustainable manner on their YU Ranch. Doing so, and creating what they say is a leaner beef for health conscious consumers, has created a niche market for their product. Now their efforts have been recognized on national scale with the presentation of a Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship. The award is co-sponsored by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Royal Winter Fair, and was presented on November 10th. Norfolk ALUS post.

Worm-Share and Care, August 15

The Toronto Compost Leaders and Rye’s HomeGrown are excited to present the second Worm-Share event this year. Everyone is welcome to drop by for worm composting starter kits, small and large containers of red wigglers, and for worm bin construction and maintenance tutorials with some of Toronto’s most experienced composters.For the best compost there is! Your plants will love it all year round! No special tools or experience required. Details on Facebook

McVean Farm Picnic

Sunday September 15, 11am to 5pm. Come join us for a picnic on the farm! Bring your picnic blankets, sun hats, kites, and appetites –  enjoy the farm, listen to live music and share some delicious food! Throughout the day you are invited to take walking tours or wagons rides to explore our 45-acre farm overflowing with a diverse patchwork-quilt of small farms and restored natural areas. Kids activities, face painting, hands-on workshops and live music will run all day. Details.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Holland Marsh – A reminder from Ontario’s Soup and Salad Bowl

New video series showcases the Holland Marsh. Each week, a new clip will be released – building up to a major announcement in mid-September from the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association.Vimeo.

Locavore News — Ontario

 

Recipe: The Children’s Teaching Kitchen

Ingredients: children, youth, diverse community members, an organic garden, fresh fruits, veggies, energy, enthusiasm, caring, outstanding volunteers, dedicated staff, straw bales, plaster, photovoltaic panels, a green roof, solar water heating system and a rainwater harvesting system!

Preparation Method: Take your first 11 ingredients and mix them together in the organic garden. Teach the first three ingredients about healthy eating, organic gardening, cooking with fresh fruits and veggies and caring for our environment. Lastly, add the final ingredients to create a model of “green” building. Adding your vote to our recipe will help us build the healthiest facility possible for our community and our environment.

Recipe Yields: One environmentally friendly kitchen and thousands of happy, healthy community members. Children’s Eco Programs website.

The Rocky Balboa of Gardens – On resilience and our first harvests

The past few weeks have taken the Regent Park rooftop garden from toddler-hood into full swing. It’s been busy but luckily our volunteers can keep up! I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the differences in growing on a roof compared to in ground. I’ll discuss the differences of gardening above, and share about our first few harvests. Food from a Roof blog.

Ontario Farmland Trust Selected as Junior Farmers’ 2013 Provincial Charity

This award recognizes OFT’s important work promoting agriculture and farmland preservation for future generations, and will see JFAO’s 30 local clubs and hundreds of members raising support for OFT over the coming year. JFAO is a network of young farm leaders (ages 15-29) across Ontario, and a long-standing organization dedicated to building future rural leaders through self-help and community betterment. OFT is excited to be building a stronger relationship with JFAO and working together to raise awareness of farmland protection. Junior Farmers’ post.

A New Kind of Farmers’ Market

Started in June – and going until late October – The Regent Park Farmers’ Market is offering a lot more than fresh Ontario produce from established farms. This market will also be selling locally grown goods from small plot growers and rooftop gardeners from around Toronto who normally can’t access the sought-after booths at most farmers’ markets. And what would a farmers’ market be without entertainment? Regent Park will have plenty of musical and artistic programming throughout its season to entertain more than just your tastebuds! Ontario Culinary Tourism post.

Stratford Meeting Discusses Local Food Issues

Local food was the subject of a roundtable hosted by Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece in Stratford Tuesday. Held at the Local Community Food Centre, the event was a chance for constituents to express their views on issues related to local food. Participants noted the lack of an abattoir in Perth County – the need for sensible and limited regulation to encourage local food production and processing – and the need for clear language and improved labelling. They also talked about the need for a centralized regional food distribution centre, among other ideas. Pettapiece says the PC caucus policy white paper on agriculture suggests building a new regional food terminal to bring local food closer to consumers. . Blackburn News story.

SPECIALITY CROPportunities

This is a resource designed to assist growers transitioning to production of new, specialty or non-traditional crops. The Crop Selection Tool will assist growers in identifying crops suited to their growing region and operation. The menu provides general agronomic and marketing information on specialty crops. This tool is designed to provide a general overview of production information on a variety of specialty crops. Website.

Asparagus growers reach into new markets

Research and commercialization efforts -– not to mention local food — are moving Ontario asparagus growers to a new plateau. The growers’ commodity group, now called Asparagus Farmers of Ontario, is stepping up its commercialization of OAC Millennium asparagus, an extremely popular “homegrown” variety. The AFO says “the traction of point-of-sale marketing, the burgeoning local food movement by Ontario consumers and significant penetration into the eastern U.S. promises a continued bright future for Ontario asparagus growers.” Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.

Linking Land Protection & Stewardship

This project provided a forum for meaningful dialogue between groups that previously lacked opportunities to discuss challenges, overlapping priorities and mutual interests. Workshops also provided a learning opportunity for those working in land protection and stewardship, particularly around the work of the Ontario Farmland Trust, the multitude of land securement tools available to them, and understanding how to build stronger relationships with the farming community. Workshop participants shared over 100 unique recommendations for new or enhanced cooperation between conservation groups in their local communities. Ontario Farmland Trust post. Report.

Models and Best Practices for Building Sustainable Food Systems in Ontario and Beyond

It was designed to build on the findings of earlier reports, and help support practical initiatives seeking to create more sustainable local food systems. While the report presents a number of models and best practices based on research across the province, these examples represent a far from exhaustive list of the impressive array of local food activities happening in Ontario. Nourishing Ontario report.

Focus on Rural Ontario – components of population change in rural Ontario

This set of fact sheets features information on what accounts for the population declines or growth seen in the different counties and areas of the province.  For example, how many children are being born versus deaths and the numbers of people moving in or out of areas from elsewhere in Canada. The number of immigrants arriving in each partially or fully non-metropolitan Census Division is provided in relation to historic levels. The recent 2012 data provided should be of great interest to the diverse stakeholders working on newcomer attraction and retention. Data is presented on changes in the number of seniors in each area compared to the number of people in the working age population. This “dependency ratio” is very meaningful in reflecting the levels of human or health services needed in particular areas and the proportion of people on fixed incomes.  Based on Statistics Canada data, these easy-to-read fact sheets highlight the changing dynamics of rural Ontario’s population, communities and economies. Canadian Rural Research Network post.

Biodynamic Farm Tour at River Glen Biodynamic Farm

Saturday August 10th, 10am – 4pm, 230 Davidson’s Side Road, Ottawa, ON. Please come prepared for the weather, rubber boots are always welcome. This is a working farms/market gardens and the hosts/mentors have a wealth of knowledge about farming and gardening biodynamically, so feel free to ask questions. For more information call David Burnford 613-721-7063.

Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable Events Page.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

31 Things to Do With Confusing CSA Vegetables

As a CSA subscriber, sooner or later you’re bound to end up with strange, inexplicable vegetables you have no idea what to do with in your share. And you panic, and you freeze up, and they sit in your fridge, and then they rot, and you waste your money, and then everyone’s sad. So! Herein are some doable, delicious ideas for how to cook and eat a few of the most often problematic or over-abundant CSA suspects: kohlrabi, garlic scapes, turnips, chard, beets, and sugar snap peas. Because they deserve to be eaten, and you deserve to eat them. BuzzFeed post.