Local Food News — Ontario

Resourceful Map Captures Urban Ag Projects Across the Golden Horseshoe

A resourceful tool for anyone and everyone interested in urban agriculture, Toronto Urban Growers (TUG), a Sustain Ontario Member, have captured urban agriculture projects across the entire Golden Horseshoe on a recently-released interactive map. Sustain Ontario post. Map



RakeAround creates an urban gardens marketplace which facilitates direct exchanges between buyers and producers from the same neighbourhood, city or region. Supported by communication technology and the internet, the platform combines both demand and supply of fresh foods. By promoting urban gardening and micro agriculture, we believe that many small producers can offer a sustainable alternative to the few giants, when it comes to fresh food production. Website.


Working with Ontario grains in the craft beer industry

Canada and Ontario have seen a renaissance of craft breweries over the past decade. Consumers have shown a steady interest in buying craft beers and participating in craft beer festivals. It has undoubtedly allowed for the support of local businesses, but upon further investigation it becomes clear that the locality of ‘locally-crafted beer’ is often incomplete. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.


Sprouting Ideas for Change: Highlights from Cultivating Our Capacity

Sustain Ontario members and networks came together to strengthen our capacity for improving Ontario’s food and farming systems. On October 13, 2016 Sustain Ontario hosted an internal meeting for our members and networks to learn, share, and dig into 6 key topic areas: farmland preservation, procurement, evaluations, urban agriculture, food waste, and food systems framework. Sustain Ontario post.


Eastern Ontario Local Food

We are all about building relationships and supporting local food in Eastern Ontario. Website.


EFAO Farmer-led Research

Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario’s farmer-led research program started in 2016 with a Seed Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Modeled after Practical Farmers of Iowa’s  highly successful Cooperators’ Program, our program is about tapping into the inherent creativity and energy of our farmers to support innovations in ecological agriculture! Website. Program. Research library.


A fresh take on school fundraising

Since 2013, over 300 Ontario schools have successfully piloted Fresh from the Farm. In total, they collectively distributed over 744,000 lb of fresh, Ontario-grown fruit and vegetables to Ontario families and raised more than $273,000 for school initiatives. As well, an additional $382,000 was returned to Ontario farmers. Quite a success! Website.


Fresh Idea: Drive-Thru Access to Local Food

Fresh City, an award winning farm and online farmers’ market, announced a new partnership with Penguin Pick-Up, a network of convenient pick-up locations for online purchases. The partnership will make local, organic food more accessible for the millions of GTA residents who live within a few minutes’ drive of a Penguin Pick-Up. Fresh City, a certified B Corp, farms in Toronto’s Downsview Park and sources directly from over 80 farmers and makers across Ontario. Founded in 2011, they are the largest organic meal delivery company in Canada and deliver produce, groceries, recipe kits, salad jars and smoothies directly to homes and offices. Canadian Insider story.


Major investment in alternative land use organization

It’s not every day Bryan Gilvesy admits to being “as nervous as a cat.” Then again, it’s not every day ALUS Canada’s executive director oversees two $10,000 awards, announces a major new initiative and accepts a $5-million cheque from W. Galen Weston. In the world of agriculture, there are few bigger stages than Friday’s 25,000-strong opening of the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, which served as an appropriate launch point for ALUS’s New Acre Project. Norfolk News story.


Agriculture Groups Band Together to Save Farming and Farmland

The Ontario Farmland Trust along with 14 other farming and conservation organizations have joined together and called on the province to freeze all urban expansion and introduce firm, permanent municipal growth boundaries in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. This urgent call is important to prevent the region’s remaining farmland from being paved over and additional farming communities from being displaced. Ontario Farmland Trust post.




Inclusive Use of Urban Space

This magazine explores the issue of community engagement in shaping urban and periurban agriculture and food policies and plans. Key questions explored in this issue are how communities are engaging in urban food policymaking and planning and how local governments are responding to community demands for food policies and plans. Global Partnership on Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems post.


Local Food News — Ontario

27 Projects Announced During Ontario Agriculture Week

Ontario Agriculture Week celebrates the 52,000 farmers across Ontario who form the backbone of our $36 billion agri-food sector. At the Greenbelt Fund, we support Ontario agriculture year-round and were thrilled to announce $1.3 million in funding for 27 new local food projects throughout the province. Greenbelt Fund post.


Sustain Ontario Greenhouse – online library!

The site was soft-launched earlier this summer, and now it is equipped with abundant resources and dynamic functions.  Currently, five of the seven initiative areas are launched fully including: local sustainable procurement, food waste, evaluating food initiatives, food systems framework, and food literacy. The greenhouse is a unique online resource portal with targeted research focusing on key topic areas.  It allows the wider food and farming community to share resources and to cultivate an online sharing network to advance food and farming systems in Ontario. Sustain Ontario post. Greenhouse User Walkthrough on Vimeo.


Chef gets cooking at Barrie Hill Farms

“On weekends throughout the season, chef Les will be sampling quick and easy recipe ideas for us right here at the market,” says the farm’s Morris Gervais. “He’s super excited to show people interesting and delicious ways to prepare the fruits and vegetables they buy at the farm.” And the culinary expert will have plenty of inspiration and seasonal ingredients from which to draw— from farm-fresh asparagus to fields loaded with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pumpkins and more. Simcoe post.


The Mount in Peterborough launches Food Business Innovation Centre

The Mount Community Centre in Peterborough is launching a Food Business Innovation Centre, to help provide emerging entrepreneurs with access to commercial kitchen space, on-site packaging and labeling facilities and an on-site food safety advisor. As announced Thursday (Sept. 29), the Greenbelt Fund and the Ontario Government have partnered to provide $58,000 to the Mount through the Local Food Investment Fund. Kawartha Media Group story.


New, larger home for Peterborough business Chasing the Cheese

When Julie Austin couldn’t buy the Ontario artisanal cheeses she wanted in the city, she decided to bring them in. She started by selling the cheese out of her home. Then, after a year and a half, the volume became too much, so she opened Chasing the Cheese on Water St. Now a completely transformed storefront offers more than double the space than the cheese shop’s previous location, enabling Austin to expand the business. She plans to showcase specialty food demonstrations, educational classes, and private tastings, as well as offering items to go, like cheese plates. Peterborough Examiner story.


Local Food Conference Explores Food Systems and Resilience, November 22-23

Ontario food systems have a mission, and Eastern Ontario Local Food suggests that the mission is resilience!  Mission Resilience, this year’s Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference November 22-23 in Belleville explores the impact of climate change on food and the many ways that food systems create opportunities for greater environmental, economic, and social resilience. Sustain Ontario post.


Provide Feedback for the Development of an Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy

A new strategy will build on the extensive soils work by OMAFRA and stakeholder organizations, and ensure that both government and the agricultural sector are taking the right actions to address long-term soil issues. The initiative will directly contribute to Ontario’s climate change goals and help the province deliver on its recently released Climate Change Action Plan. Sustain Ontario post.


Ontario apples join regional school nutrition program

The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) Student Nutrition Program is excited to provide Ontario grown apples for school-based meal and snack programs across the region this fall. The “Fall for Ontario Apples” initiative is funded by a donation from The Grocery Foundation and is being offered in partnership with Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op (CLFC). “Fall for Ontario Apples” will help to promote increased consumption of locally grown foods in schools and will help students to learn about where their food comes from. The Dryden Observer story.


Carbon Footprint Initiative Unveiled in Listowel

The new Carbon Footprint Initiative hosted its grand reveal at Trillium Mutual in Listowel Thursday. Deb Shewfelt, the Chair of CFI and a vice chair of Maitland Valley Conservation, says getting local support was key. “We had the idea that there’s probably leaders in the community that can help us. I feel that this needs to be done by the people on the front lines. So we are very fortunate to deal with the businesses we have here and get great support.” Phil Beard, the General Manager of Maitland Valley Conservation, explained some of the things the members of the CFI are undertaking to help improve the environment in the watershed. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Ontario Farmland Trust talks about the Importance of Farmland and its Preservation

OFT has successfully developed and piloted a new approach to land conservation in Ontario over the past decade, working with farmers, government, and conservation partners to establish farmland easement agreements that permanently protect farmlands for agricultural and conservation purposes. The lands protected by these efforts remain available for farming and conservation forever. An easement is a voluntary legally binding agreement that the landowner and OFT enter together. This agreement is placed on the title of the land limiting its future use to agriculture and conservation purposes only. Sustain Ontario post.




Talk to a farmer and learn about your food

For me, this fall has brought new emotions that span far beyond our traditional worries of weather, prices, and crop yields. I am the sixth generation to farm in Canada, yet I am the first generation that has to go beyond producing a safe, affordable and nutritious product. Today’s consumer wants to know how I treat my pigs, what I feed them, and I how I care for the environment on my farm. Globe and Mail opinion.

Local Food News — Ontario

The Economics of Local Food – September 19

Ontario is home to some of the lushest farmland in Canada. Yet, even when local produce is in season, imported tomatoes and cucumbers dominate store shelves. Nationally, we import over 50 per cent of our vegetables and 95 percent of our fruit. How can locally grown food become more accessible and affordable? Join us Monday, September 19 for a talk about the economics of eating local, featuring two guest speakers: farmers’ market manager Cookie Roscoe, and Carolyn Young, program coordinator at Sustain Ontario. Details.


Drive-Thru Access to Local Food

Fresh City, an award winning farm and online farmers’ market, announced a new partnership with Penguin Pick-Up, a network of convenient pick-up locations for online purchases. The partnership will make local, organic food more accessible for the millions of GTA residents who live within a few minutes’ drive of a Penguin Pick-Up. Fresh City, a certified B Corp, farms in Toronto’s Downsview Park and sources directly from over 80 farmers and makers across Ontario. Founded in 2011, they are the largest organic meal delivery company in Canada and deliver produce, groceries, recipe kits, salad jars and smoothies directly to homes and offices. Montreal Gazette story.


Locally grown okra could soon be an option in Canada

It’s no secret that there’s a growing ethnic population of Canadians who have preferences for foods from their home countries. That fact brings with it unique opportunities for farmers to produce crops that haven’t traditionally been grown locally. Okra is one such crop. Over six million kilograms of okra is imported into Canada every year and the demand climbs annually. India is the top producer of the world’s okra, growing more than 70 per cent of the global crop. Other big producers are Nigeria, Sudan, Iraq and Pakistan. AgInnovation story.


Buy more food locally: OFA

The president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture is calling on shoppers to buy more local food as an unusually severe drought continues to plague much of southern Ontario. “Please ask for Ontario products and support your own first. There’s a heck of a lot less for farmers to sell this year,” president Don McCabe, a Lambton County cash-crop farmer, told The Intelligencer. Belleville Intelligencer story.


Is local food good for farmers?

Canada’s social sciences council is investing $2.4 million in local food research. Alison Blay-Palmer has been studying and promoting local food systems for nearly 20 years, and her enthusiasm for the topic is greater than ever. 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.


Why the neighbours are buying fresh food at Vos’ Independent in Port Perry

It’s no mystery why Ontario consumers are becoming increasingly hungry for locally grown, fresh food, or why customers of Vos’ Independent in Port Perry appreciate being able to select fruits and vegetables harvested from Durham Region farms. But the roots of the “eat local” movement are deeper. Vos’ Independent customers also want to support Durham Region farmers, says store owner Terry Vos, who keeps his produce section laden with local bounty as much as he can. “We’re a rural area, an agricultural area, so I do my best.” Durham Region post.


NERDs work on local food issues

The NHCT challenge was all of that, namely: how might we ensure that everyone has equitable access to nutritious food in our local area, based on the environmental sustainability of, and opportunities provided by, the North Hastings land base. In other words, the students had to develop new approaches to ensuring that everyone in this area has enough nutritious and affordable locally-grown food. Adding their assistance to the students were representatives from the Metis Nation, the area Stewardship Council, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Bancroft This Week story.


Over 2,000 visitors dined on Ontario-produced fare during the 2016 Breakfast on the Farm event near Woodstock

But Ontario maple syrup, local mushrooms and fresh-grown strawberries were just a few of the farm-fresh items on the menu at the free event designed to raise awareness about agriculture and the farming experience. Hosted by Evert, Jan and Eric Veldhuizen at Veldale Farms, located on Pattullo Avenue just south of Woodstock, the event also included a tour of the dairy farm’s tie-stall and free-stall barns, as well as 34 different agriculture-related exhibitions from across Ontario. Woodstock Sentinel Review story.


ClearWater working farm in Georgina will provide jobs, food

This includes the installation of the basic infrastructure to make the property usable for commercial purposes under the Ontario Water Centre’s (OWC) lease with the town for nine acres of the former Reed Farm/Sedore property. A $2.5-million capital campaign was launched more than one year ago to help fund work on the site. The OWC must raise at least $1 million in capital for the purpose of improving and operating the farm by August 2017. York Region post.


Agricultural land more than just dirt

Of increasing concern is the invasion of non-farm rural development, such as the human waste storage facility being proposed in Lincoln and the biodiversity offsetting project in Niagara Falls. Such initiatives that buy-out local agriculture land and attempt to petition government to change zoning to permit industrial operations are unethical to our current and future agriculture responsibilities. Initiatives like these place Niagara’s agriculture and environmental future in serious jeopardy. St Catharines Standard voices.




How to start backyard farming: An exclusive expert guide

Julie Pierre’s idea was simple, but brilliant. Find a few neighbors with empty backyards, and start growing food. Give each homeowner fresh produce, in exchange for the use of their space. Sell the rest to people who are passionate about local food. It’s community-supported agriculture, with a twist: The farm is in suburban backyards. Pierre established Our Yards Farm in the spring of 2015, and she has since turned backyard farming into a booming business. ALFREA blog.

Local Food News — Ontario

It all started with Max…

From those bright-eyed beginnings, our real food team has grown (a lot!) and Real Food for Real Kids now serves fresh, nutritious, and delicious meals and snacks every day to over 15,000 kids in child care centres and elementary schools in the GTA. A wise woman once said, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” We like to think we can hear her cooking, too! Real Food for Real Kids website.


Metro Inc bolsters its locally sourced food program, allowing smaller producers to supply chain

As food margins get thinner amid a deepening price war among grocery retailers, Metro Inc. has bolstered its sourcing capabilities to get more local produce from Ontario suppliers, a program similar to one it rolled out in Quebec three years ago. Canada’s third-largest grocery retailer says its enhanced local purchasing policy will allow much smaller farmers and food producers in the Ontario to supply to the chain, a move that allows the company to carry a higher percentage of local produce in its stores during key growing seasons. Financial Post story.


A Food Lovers Guide to Ontario’s Favorite Swim Spots

If all the sun and sand is working up on appetite on the beach, look no further than the Casero Food Truck operating right on site. Using locally sourced produce and meat (Kilannan Altbier battered Georgian Bay whitefish tacos, anyone?), this Mexican-style food truck will have you coming back for seconds. And make sure to try one of their fresh, made from scratch paletas! Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post.


Eastern Ontario Local Food Challenge!

(Re)discover local food in Eastern Ontario during the second annual Local Food Challenge August 12 to 28. Throughout the two weeks,  residents are challenged to (re)discover the local food sources in their community by choosing more local food and sharing their local food experiences online.  All participants are eligible to win prizes from local sources. Participants must register no later than August 24 to report the local products that they pick, buy and catch from August 12-28. Sustain Ontario post.


Together We’re Bitter Brewing

As a multi-stakeholder co-operative, we’re running things a little differently. Workers and community supporters own the business and have a say in how things unfold at TWB. Our aim is to make our community a more vibrant place to live by celebrating the intersection of creativity and craft beer. There’s a co-operative brewing. Website.


Campus food providers under pressure from student tastes to revamp menus

The University of Toronto’s downtown campus will cut ties with its food service provider, Aramark, later this summer and start running most of its on-campus dining options itself, the latest school to satisfy what appears to be a growing appetite for fresh meals. Chefs, for example, will cook soups and sauces from scratch instead of ordering from a production facility, Macdonald said. Such changes were called for by students, faculty and staff in focus groups leading up to the decision not to renew Aramark’s contract, she said. BC Local News story.


Local groups launch Food Policy Council to create sustainable food system

On the morning of June 16th, local groups took the first step toward creating a more sustainable food system, unveiling the Middlesex-London Food Assessment and announcing the creation of a food policy council. The collaborative team of London Community Foundation, the Middlesex-London Health Unit, the City of London and Middlesex County, proudly unveiled the Community Food Assessment this morning at Covent Garden Market. Alongside the presentation of the assessment, the Middlesex-London Food Policy Council was announced with a call for applications asking Londoners who are passionate about food to submit an application to join the council. London Community Foundation post.


Local Food Week – Investing $1.5m in Ontario’s Agri-food Sector

During Local Food Week this June, the Greenbelt Fund announced over $1.5m in new investments in projects across Ontario to increase the purchase of local food. Investments ranged from increasing the local field-grown produce sold in Subway sandwich shops during the harvest season, to launching a local food hub in Temiskaming, to developing a daily meal sourced entirely from Ontario products for Dana Hospitality’s broader public sector clients. Greenbelt Fund post.


Rural Summit explores strategies to retain and attract youth to rural, remote and northern areas of the province

Youth from across Ontario joined community, business and municipal leaders at the Rural Ontario Summit at Stratford Rotary Complex this week. With its theme of Building the Future, the daylong session focused on attracting and retaining the next generation to the province’s rural and northern communities. Workshops explored issues like education and training, jobs and entrepreneurship, social infrastructure and civic leadership. Stratford Beacon Herald story.


Protecting Farmland Forever

Ontario Farmland Trust recently released Protecting Farmland Forever, its new video featuring local farmers, land owners, and farmland advocates who make the important connection between local food and preservation of local farmland. Video.


Adding value through the Species At Risk Farm Incentive Program

The Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program is a cost-share program that is designed to help farmers implement on-farm projects aimed at enhancing, protecting, or creating habitat for species at risk, such as the Snapping turtle or Monarch butterfly. The program promotes a number of on-farm best management practices to support species at risk that can be applied to croplands, grasslands, wetlands and woodlands. Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association post.




Andrew Coppolino’s top 10 reasons for shopping at farmers’ markets

While supermarkets – both small and large – have taken their cue from farmers’ markets and have attempted to feature more local food (and good on them for doing so), farmers’ markets are one of the best ways to find great local food in season. They have a long and important history of bringing people, food and commerce together. So, in descending order, here are my top ten reasons for shopping your local farmers’ market. CBC News story.

Local Food News — Ontario

Steve Peters now a general manager at Salt Creek Farm Market

Steve Peters’ career path has come full circle in a rather satisfying way. Peters, a former speaker of the Ontario legislature, was working at a St. Thomas supermarket in 1991 when he scored a dark horse victory in St. Thomas mayor’s race that kick-started his political career. When he was elected a Liberal MPP and became minister of agriculture, he became a big promoter of Ontario food. Now in his new job as general manager of Salt Creek Farm Market, Peters is back to selling groceries, but with a rigorous focus on locally grown and processed products. “I’ve always had this vision of creating the Ontario store,” Peters said. London Free Press story.


Ontario and Greenbelt Fund Bringing More Local Food to Ontario Colleges

The Greenbelt Fund, in partnership with the Ontario Government, is providing Mohawk College with $100,000 in funding through the Local Food Investment Fund (LFIF) to develop the first provincial local food procurement model for Ontario colleges.  Along with increasing local food literacy and availability at Mohawk College, the pilot project is expected to increase local food purchases by $1.5 million over two years at three participating colleges. Greenbelt Fund post.



Operated by a not-for-profit board, Food Starter focuses on helping early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products. With an emphasis on baked goods, hot and cold fill products and confectionery items for both traditional and ethnic markets, Food Starter provides access to a provincially inspected food production facility that offers shared food production and packaging equipment, business advisory services and structured training to help companies scale and grow their food processing businesses. Website.


Eating local in Lambton County

Breakfast on the farm is being held for the third time since it’s inception in 2014. After being held at Kevin and Melissa Forbes’s Dairy farm for the past two years, this year’s breakfast will be served at the farm of Brian and Joan Pelleboer, a goat dairy farm where they also have cash cropping and calves. Community Economic Development Officer and organizer Tracy Ranick said they first heard about farm breakfasts being held in other parts of Ontario and Michigan, and decided to put something together in Lambton County, a major hub for farming. Petrolia Topic story.


Not Far From The Tree

Not Far From The Tree is a Toronto-based fruit picking project inspired by 3 things: the spirit of sharing, the desire to give back to our community, and a passion for environmentally sustainable living. Torontonians with fruit-bearing trees often have fruit to spare – everything from apples, pears and grapes to sumac, apricots and elderberry! Once they register their tree, we’ll pick their fruit and divvy up the harvest 3 ways: between the homeowner, our volunteers, and local food banks, shelters and community kitchens. Website.


Mohawk College goes local for its food

During a news conference June 8 at Mohawk College’s food court, the Ontario government and the Greenbelt Fund announced it will be providing $100,000 for a 14-member advisory committee to develop a plan for the college to establish locally-sourced food procurement policies that will be adapted for implementation across the province. Mohawk College, said Griffiths, will contribute $100,000 to the project. Hamilton News story.


Metro Expanding Local Food Purchasing Plan To Ontario

Metro has announced it’s expanding it’s local purchasing program into Ontario. Metro is a food and pharmaceutical distributor in Quebec and Ontario. It’s more than 600 food stores include Metro, Food Basics, Metro Plus and Super C. The local purchasing program is intended to promote local agri-food products and increase access to them by all consumers. Blackburn News story.


Ontario Self-Guided Brewery Discovery Routes Bigger and Better for 2016

Self-guided Brewery Discovery Routes Maps provide five complete itineraries for folks looking to get out and explore breweries, cideries, Feast On restaurants, and local attractions. Along the way, participants can indulge in the flavours of artisanal cheeses, lovingly prepared culinary treats using fresh, local ingredients, premium craft beverages, farmers’ markets and scenic outlooks. Marketwired press release.


Celebrating 25 years of success: Ontario’s Environmental Farm Plan

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), one of Ontario agriculture’s flagship programs, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The EFP, which has been adapted across Canada and its workbook shared with more than 30 countries, provides training, self-assessment, and action plan development for 23 environmental areas on and around the farm and outlines best management practices. Since EFP’s inception, over 40,000 Ontario farm businesses have voluntarily participated in almost 3,550 educational workshops, resulting in a total estimated investment of $390 million in on-farm environmental improvements, supported by associated incentive programs. AgInnovation post.


2015/16 Ontario Local Food Report

The agri-food sector in Ontario is made up of hundreds of thousands of people: farmers, food and beverage processors, distributors, retailers and restaurateurs. Within those ranks are countless local food champions who drove the local food movement forward in 2015/2016 – from nutrition programs supporting students in Northern Ontario to innovators in Cornwall turning shipping containers into hydroponic farms. Report.




How Robots in Restaurants Will Change the Way We Eat and Live

The first step in understanding what automation means, is realizing the moment has already arrived. Wendy’s and McDonald’s locations, for example, have begun implementing tablet-based ordering stations in the front of restaurants, and Cali-based mini-chain Eatsa (more on that, later) can be viewed as an early nonpareil of what seamless automation should look like. “At McDonald’s, a lot of what they are cooking is automated, but needing a human touch at some point,” Templeton said. “In the front of house, automation has been popping up in the form of tablets — replacing waiters — and I can only see that becoming more widespread. We will probably see a lot of restaurants letting people order food with their phones, too.” Thrillist story.

Local Food News — Ontario

Brian Gilvesy of Y U Ranch Named Food Tank Hero

Y U Ranch® proprietor Bryan Gilvesy was named among 17 Farmer Heroes for Sustainability, Equality, and Defense of Traditions by U.S.-based not-for-profit, FoodTank whose work is focused on “building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters.” FoodTank recognized seventeen farmers from eleven countries around the world for their work to support innovation, sustainability, the environment, and local economy.  In honouring Bryan Gilvesy, Food Tank noted his role as ecological agriculture champion in Ontario, the sustainable ranching practices of Y U Ranch, and his active work with Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS), which supports farmers in restoring and preserving natural resources throughout Canada. Sustain Ontario post.


State-of-the-art research greenhouse opens in Vineland, June 3

The largest, most modern pre-commercial horticultural research greenhouse in North America is making its official debut on June 3. As part of the grand opening of the 40,000 square foot facility at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, the public is invited for a tour of the greenhouse. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre post.


5th Annual Day of the Pig showcases local food in Eastern Ontario

A stretch of Highway 38 just South of Sharbot Lake was abuzz on Sunday May 22nd, where Seed to Sausage hosted its 5th annual Day of the Pig. The event highlighted Ontario artisan food where event-goers discovered new flavours while supporting local businesses. The event showcased 15 food and drink vendors and 20 market vendors. There was live music, cooking demonstrations and multiple pig roasts for all to enjoy. Sustain Ontario blog.


Five young entrepreneurs get ‘hooked up’ with $1,500

Five young local social entrepreneurs are the recipients of a $1,500 micro-grant through the “Hook it Up” program spearheaded by the Socent7, a collective of youth social entrepreneurship organizations funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation to foster a culture of entrepreneurship throughout Ontario. The initiative provides a small injection of capital to help young entrepreneurs aged 13-35 test out their concept and turn it into a reality. The area’s successful applicants include a tool library, building and expanding local food production operations, an all-female Aboriginal drum circle, and the Algoma University People’s Garden. Soo Today story.


Eat Local Grey Bruce

Eat Local Grey Bruce is a co-op of 20+ farmers that delivers  healthy, locally grown food right to your door. Producer members offer frozen meat, refrigerated dairy, veggies, bread, fruits, flours, and some preserved goods, plus we buy additional items from the Ontario Natural Food Coop and other suppliers. Consumer members order online and receive their products via home delivery (or group drop-off in rural areas). Orders are fully customizable, with no minimums and requirements to order on a regular basis. All local products are traceable back to the producers. Website.


NERDs work on local food issues

This week, current and past Northern Environmental Research (NERD) students, as well as graduates of NHHS’s Northern Outdoor Studies (NOS) program, gathered at the Faraday Community Centre to answer a challenge from North Hastings Community Trust. The session was part of the ICE initiative of the Ministry of Education. ICE stands for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship, and is designed to help students develop the creative problem-solving and teamwork skills they will need in their careers. The challenge students tackle must be an important and ‘real-world’ current community issue. The NHCT challenge was all of that, namely: how might we ensure that everyone has equitable access to nutritious food in our local area, based on the environmental sustainability of, and opportunities provided by, the North Hastings land base. In other words, the students had to develop new approaches to ensuring that everyone in this area has enough nutritious and affordable locally-grown food. Bancroft This Week story.


Huron Food Action Network Wants Food Charter Adopted

The Huron Food Action Network is encouraging every municipality in the County to get more involved in local food policy. Local Food System Co-ordinator Nathan Swartz made presentations at both Central Huron and Bluewater council meetings last night. Swartz explains there is a food system in place, but it largely targets imports and exports. He says what they hope to do is make it easier for local producers to get their products to local consumers. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Introducing Open Food Network Canada

Open Food Network Canada (OFN-CAN) is a newly registered not-for-profit organization that is leveling the technology playing field and empowering small scale producers, artisans and food hubs to ‘get on-line’ with a new open source platform.  The Open Food Network (OFN) acts as a directory, advertising space, online marketplace and tool for sharing information and resources about sustainable food systems. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.


Homesteadin’ off the Grid

Urban homesteading is a growing national trend promoting sustainable self-sufficiency in an urban environment, and Waterloo Region is no exception. But why? Posing this question to some of the region’s homesteaders, I heard many responses, and in every instance noticed that homesteading is about starting something; a move towards personal and environmental health by way of simplifying and becoming more self-sufficient. For some people who grew up in the 1960s, the things we call “homesteading” skills were normal activities. Community Edition blog.


Top Organic E-Grocers Join Forces

Fresh City and Front Door Organics (FDO), two of Toronto’s top organic delivery companies, are teaming up to deliver more local food to the GTA. The acquisition was announced on Monday – the combined businesses will operate under the Fresh City banner. “Welcoming FDO customers to Fresh City means we can further enhance our service and get more local, clean food on GTA tables” said Goel. “That’s something both companies are extremely passionate about.” Montreal Gazette story.




Fund merger fears

Members of Ontario’s agricultural sector question whether the merger of two provincial funding programs disguises massive cuts to rural funding. The Ontario government has decided to merge the long-running Rural Economic Development funding program into the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, and many in the province’s agricultural sector fear the move is a shell game designed to slash funding to rural areas. Better Farming story.

Local Food News — Ontario

Creative Partnership Results In New Sausage

WindsorEats, along with Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Co., have come up with a sausage unlike any other, by combining the delicious juicy flavors of Robbie’s sausages, with the spicy fresh flavour of sriracha. “We want to work closely with local food producers in the region to create fun, unique and high quality products,” said Pina Ciotoli, co-owner of WindsorEats. Windsorite.ca News story.


Local Food Week June 6 to 12

See list of events that are happening across the province to celebrate Local Food. If you have an event that you would like listed, please submit the event details. Website.


Don’t get fooled by fast food ‘farm-washing’

The rising popularity of local food and sustainable agriculture makes the big fast food companies nervous. Increasingly, people want to know where their food is coming from and how it was raised. Eaters want to support farms where animals are treated well, where workers are paid properly, where soil and water are taken care of. They want to eat healthier foods, not hormone-laden beef or pesticide lettuce. Fast food companies like McDonald’s have tried to steal back the limelight. Kingston Region post.


Ontario honours grocers who promote local food

“Buying local food not only provides families with healthy and delicious options, but creates jobs and economic growth in communities across the province. I applaud grocery retailers for looking at innovative ways to connect consumers with their food and the people who grow it so they have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the good things grown in Ontario,” says Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Food in Canada story.


OntarioFresh Seeks ‘Ride Share for Local Food’ Feedback

OntarioFresh.ca is seeking feedback on its “Ride Share for Local Food” app from sellers, distributors/carriers or food hubs and covers both Just-in-time and Scheduled distribution opportunities.  How can the app help you grow your local food business? Sustain Ontario post.


Ontario farmers find sweet success with birch syrup

What began as Bert and Kathy Beilke’s passion to grow food and connect with nature more than 20 years ago, has since turned into an innovative new food product. Golden birch syrup is a semi-sweet flavoured syrup made from sap of yellow birch trees on the Beilkes’ Wagram Springs Farm in Wellington County near Moorefield. Food in Canada story.


Farm to Table Market and Kitchen

The Farm to Table Market and Kitchen is your one stop shop for local, farm fresh, organic and artisanal food in the heart of Collingwood. We are open to the public. Anyone can shop here! Members receive a discount and volunteers qualify for an even greater discount. Member or not, smiles are always free:) Website.



FarmStart works with a diverse group including recent immigrants, some of whom have farming experience from before they came to Canada. Often they know how to grow foods from their home country and find an eager market in the greater Toronto area and beyond. Other new farmers are young and may be fairly new to farming. FarmStart helps farmers through incubator farms, training programs, and through their FarmLink program. FarmLink connects new farmers with established farmers and farmland owners, helping them to access farmland once they are ready to get established on their own. Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario blog.


Sustainable Local Food Certificate Program

This certificate explores the practices, principles and philosophies involved in local food system development. The focus is on increasing both academic and hands-on knowledge of regional food initiatives across Canada, alongside international best practices. There is a specific concentration on applied learning, online networking, and community research. This certificate is the first of its kind in Canada, providing a cutting edge advantage when competing for work in the sustainable local food sector. St. Lawrence College of applies Arts & Technology post.


A Short Guide to Food & Farming Terms

The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network has compiled a short guide to food and farming terms that are commonly used to describe agricultural practices and products. Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network post.




Be Ready to Laugh

John Oliver discusses how and why media outlets so often report untrue or incomplete information as science. Youtube video.

Local Food News — Ontario

An Evening with Green Bronx Machine’s Stephen Ritz! May 16

Learn more about how NYC’s Green Bronx Machine is transforming students’ lives through experiential education and access to fresh, school-grown food! Hear about the incredible results of this dynamic program and how FoodShare, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and LoyaltyOne will be bringing our very own Good Food Machines to life in schools across Toronto this fall! Eventbrite free registration.


Local ‘superheroes’ gather for card launch, with proceeds going to the Warming Room

The six local personalities were dubbed Community Superheroes by Kawartha Local, a company that sells locally produced products. And on Saturday, that first run of Peterborough Trading Cards was released at the local eatery. The written content tells a bit about the superheroes’ background, their super power, what inspires them, what they aspire to, and the job they’d hold in a parallel universe. Proceeds from the cards benefit the Warming Room, which offers a place to sleep for those in need. Peterborough Examiner story.


Crunch time in Havelock

The distinctive sound of crunching apples and carrots filled the Havelock Belmont Public School gym Tuesday as students and staff celebrated the goodness of healthy eating and Ontario-grown produce during their annual Great Big Crunch chomp down. The event capped off Nutrition Month and was a timely reminder of the healthy eating choices provided through the school’s Breakfast Program, which is part of the wider Food For Kids Peterborough Student Nutrition Program. Inside Belleville story.


If the label says ‘Made in Canada’, you can be assured those are Ontario-grown tomatoes

The important thing to understand as a consumer is to buy tomato products with the ‘Product of Canada’ label. If you do so, whether you buy a company’s own brand tomato product, or a private label tomato product, if the can or bottle says ‘Product of Canada’, then the tomato products inside that container will have come from either Chatham-Kent or Windsor-Essex areas. Chatham Daily News story.


Bottling Canada’s Food Policies

The NFU, both here in Ontario and nationally, has been calling for food policies that support farmers’ financial sustainability and insure eaters’ access to Canadian food for years. In our submission to the federal pre-budget consultation, we noted that food prices are increasing “because grocers must buy imported products using expensive US dollars. Canadian farmers, farm workers, food processing companies and consumers would all benefit from reinvestment in Canadian fruit, vegetable and livestock/meat production and processing capacity that is distributed across the country. The NFU would like the upcoming budget to include measures to safeguard the space for domestic food production for the long-term.” Exchange Morning Post opinion..


Former tech entrepreneur adds local food to his business menu

Mr. Schwartz spends a lot of time thinking about food, making it part of his business and investments. While he became best known for his role as chief executive officer at Descartes Systems Group Inc., a Waterloo tech company that rose to prominence at the start of the Internet era, these days he makes private investments in real estate and entrepreneurial businesses. Several of those businesses have an interest in food, including an investment in a Waterloo restaurant group. He has also been involved with the Stratford Chefs School for years, another example of his keen interest in food, where it comes from, and how it is delivered to the consumer. The Globe and Mail story.


Local food funding cut

The recent Ontario Budget included cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) budget. A drop of 3%, from $943 million last year to $916 million for 2016, includes the elimination of the Local Food Fund. This was a three-year initiative, with funding of up to $10 million per year, designed to support the agri-food industry in the province. All intakes for the Local Food Fund are now completed and applications are no longer being accepted. The North Grenville Times story.


Food Charters in Ontario and Beyond

A Food Charter is broad community statement and/or a set of goals that describe how the members of a specified geopolitical community want their food system to be maintained.  By including the voices of various stakeholders, Food Charters encourage a broad base of support, cross-sectorial collaboration, and community connection.  Used as an education piece, Food Charters raise community awareness about food system concerns and weaknesses, and offer a platform for public discussion and advocacy.  Most importantly, Food Charters are not binding policy statements, but instead act as inspiration for how to develop local food policy and or initiatives for the community. Sustain Ontario post.


Sustainable Farm Coalition Building On EFP Framework

The Sustainable Farm Coalition is using the 25 year old Environmental Farm Plan as a basis for it’s whole farm sustainability program. The coalition includes at least two people who were involved in the EFP’s creation – Doctor Gord Surgeoner and Harold Rudy. Rudy says while there are a lot of sustainability programs already in place and being worked on, they all appear to have different requirements and approaches. He argues that creates duplication, mixed messages and a lot of paperwork for farmers – especially if they have to deal with multiple programs. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Ontario turning greener with tree planting programs

Anyone who questions whether Ontario farmers are conservationists should count the trees being planted for windbreaks with land stewardship technician Amanda Blain. Earlier this year, Blain, who’s with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority in Chatham, ordered 34,000 more trees than in 2015 for the tree-planting programs she administers on behalf of the province for farmers and rural landowners in Kent, Middlesex and Elgin counties. Owen Roberts in FCC Express.




A teacher growing green in the South Bronx

A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York’s tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own. TED talk.

Local Food News — Ontario

‘Farmland Forever’ Forum to address Practical Actions for Preserving Ontario Farms, April 8

“Farmland Forever – Help Make It Happen!” is a call for more action on farmland preservation in Ontario, and the theme of the upcoming 12th annual Ontario Farmland Forum, being held April 8th at Bingemans Conference Centre, Kitchener. OFT’s annual Farmland Forum is a place that brings together government, non-government and community stakeholders to network, share and learn about emerging policy innovations and practical approaches that advance the permanent protection of farmland. Ontario Farmland Trust website.


Hungry for spring, Seedy Sunday draws at least 1,000 people

The seventh edition of Seedy Sunday, put on by the Sudbury Horticultural Society and its partners, attracted record crowds, with about 1,200 people passing through the Parkside Centre on, you guessed it, Sunday. Master gardeners were on hand to give formal talks and answer all the ‘seedy’ questions people had about farming. Organizer Stuart McCall, of McGrow Farms, said at least part of the popularity of Seedy Sunday is it reminds people that spring is near. There’s a growing awareness, McCall said, about the importance of eating food not only grown closer to home, but that’s less processed and healthier for families. Northern Life story


Ketchup fight shines a light on local food and local jobs

Premier Kathleen Wynne made a public point of buying French’s ketchup this week, noting her government provided financial aid to keep the processing plant going after Heinz closed up shop. “Something is happening,” Charlebois said. “There’s some convergence in the marketplace that really allows for this phenomena to occur.” Neil Currie, general manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said people in the industry began seeing the impact of the local food movement a few years ago. Toronto Sun story.


OFA champions food literacy with new online resource

A new food literacy site launched today to help young people learn to make healthy food choices that will improve the future health of Ontarians.  Promoting greater food literacy is the driver behind SixbySixteen.me – the new site developed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). Food literacy is a key objective in the National Food Strategy®, developed by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture with OFA. The new Six by Sixteen site is designed to help Ontario teenagers learn to plan and prepare six nutritious meals by the time they are 16. Ontario Federation of Agriculture post.


Cramahe Recognizes Top Businesses Of 2015

The 2015 Cramahe New Business of the Year is the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre. Formally opened last spring with a celebration attended by Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs Jeff Leal and MPP Lou Rinaldi, the Venture Centre is the first of its kind in Ontario. A partnership between federal, provincial and municipal governments, the facility is run by the Economic Development department of Northumberland County. It is a not-for-profit small-batch food processing facility that encourages innovation & entrepreneurship in order to support and advance a sustainable regional local food economy. Northumberland View story.


You can ‘borrow’ seeds from the Windsor Public Library

Windsor residents will be able to “borrow” seeds from the Forest Glade branch of the Windsor Public Library later this month. A seed bank there is tentatively scheduled to open March 21, just in time for spring planting. Peltier said the branch will start with 50 varieties of vegetables, herbs and native plants, but he hopes that will grow to 250. He said the idea is that those who borrow the seeds, germinate their own seeds, and then return those to the library for someone else to use. CBC News story.


Phelpston Farm Receives An Award

Nicholyn Farms in Phelpston in Springwater Township has received an award for being an Outstanding Farm Market by the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association. The farm is run by Nicholas and Lynda Van Casteren and has been in operation for 34 years, employing 19 people. The farm is 130 acres and produces pork, beef, chicken and lamb without antibiotics or growth hormones. And the 3,000 square foot market building offers what’s grown and raised on site, but also offerings from 75 other producers. Bayshore Broadcasting story.


Food System Sustainability

MEALsource has been recognized for its ground-breaking work to advance opportunities for local food producers to become engaged in the healthcare contract process. Using the power of the dollar, we have helped increase purchases of local, sustainable foods that contribute to a more resilient local food system, while bringing more local fruits, vegetables and protein to the table for our Members’ patients. We track and report on Product of Ontario contract items. With the roll out of the Local Food Act in Ontario, it is important for our membership to access this information easily. Therefore, all of our award reports identify whether a product is “Product of Ontario” based on the current OMAFRA definition. St. Joseph’s Health System post.


A New Festival Will Be Wonderfully Cheesy

Local food lovers will get to experience a new upcoming festival about all things cheesy. The inaugural Dairy Capital Cheese Festival is coming to Woodstock in April. It will feature some amazing local food and beverages to sample and of course the focus will be on local cheese. Event Planner with Bonafide Events Studio Jessica Faria tells Heart FM what you will experience at the festival. 104.7 Heart FM story.


Soup-er Girl Success Begins on the Caledon Local Food Scene

Market goers to the Orangeville, Inglewood, Erin and Brampton Farmers’ Markets are eagerly buying Soup Girl products at their weekly markets. Retailers across the Golden Horseshoe and beyond are now carrying Soup Girl products. Let’s meet the force behind this flourishing food business: Jennifer Clark. Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance post.




The Scarecrow

Watch “The Scarecrow,” the companion film for Chipotle’s new app-based game. Then download the free app at http://www.scarecrowgame.com and join the quest for wholesome, sustainable food. The song “Pure Imagination” performed by Grammy Award®–winning artist Fiona Apple, is available for download on iTunes. Chipotle Mexican Grill animation.

Local Food News — Ontario

Facebook post about Canada-made ketchup inspires Canadian pride

Fernandez ended up learning a lot about a plant out in Leamington, Ont, that makes the brand’s ketchup. After buying a bottle, the Orillia, Ont. resident wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday morning about his made-in-Canada discovery. Within a few days, more than 107,000 people shared his post, along with their Canadian pride. CBC News story.


Farm, Food & Beyond Study

A study that compared 10 national and international sustainability programs to two that are available in Ontario has been completed. It’s called Farm, Food & Beyond: Our Commitment to Sustainability. The GAP analysis was put together by Deloitte and launched in 2015 through a collaboration of Ontario’s farmers and food and beverage processors. It looked at Ontario’s Environmental Farm Plan, the EFP, and Growing Your Farm Profits, GYFP. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Food Strategy Report Card for 2015

The Report Card is a valuable resource for everyone in the City of Thunder Bay, and speaks equally to restaurant owners, farmers, government, not-for-profits, and the general public. “The message is that this is a complex issue that requires a long-term view with many kinds of policy and other initiatives that will make our local food system stronger” says Councillor Rebecca Johnson, Co-Chair of the Food Strategy Steering Committee. “The thing that’s unique about food is that it touches on all of our lives. Every member of our community can learn something from the work that’s being done and contribute in their own way.” Thunder Bay + Area Food Strategy news release.


Working to save the planet

“We have a lot of very talented people in this area,” Boldt said as she manned her booth at the Seed Exchange and Eco-Fair at St. Andrews United Church. This is the fourth year the event has been held in the city, a chance for residents and visitors to buy packets of seeds proven to flourish in local conditions and to see what options there are for anything from flowers and vegetables to soaps, baking and Lake Nipissing jewelry. Dirty Girls Farm was one of about two dozen businesses represented in the eco fair. The North Bay Nugget story.


Tracking Market Farmer and Vendor Performance 2009-2015 Report

In 2015, the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network collaborated with Informa Market Research, visiting 30 network markets and interviewing 82 farmers, as well as 26 other market vendors. Results were compared with GBFMN’s 2009 survey to learn about growth and change in the sector. This study is intended to assist farmers’ market vendors and organizers, and inspire the interest and support of market shoppers and funders. Greenbeltfresh post.


HFFA celebrates Trillium grant for local food opportunities

The Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance (HFFA) is expanding its successful Farm to School program, and it’s got a large grant to help with the work. About 100 people were on hand Friday for a public open house at Caledon Equestrian Park, and it was there that Winston Uytenbogaart, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation announced HFFA is getting a grant of $299,700 over two years. He said the money is intended to help with this program, as well as other efforts the Alliance is working on. Orangeville Citizen story.


LAMBAC offers agricultural info sessions

The LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) had been awarded a Seed Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. LAMBAC is partnering with the Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative and Ontario Ministry of Agricultural Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to implement a pilot project, Growing Local: Food and Farming Business Support. “The focus is to improve local food and agriculture economy by helping new businesses or expanding businesses to get training or connections to mentors they might need,” explained Anna Best, community development assistant at LAMBAC. Midnorth Monitor story.


Ecological Farming: a Different Form of Agtech: The investment case for ecological farming

“Ecological farming is ‘AgTech’ but of a different kind. It is a return to the original definition of ‘technology’, which comes from two Greek words: technis, which means art, skill, craft or the way something is gained, and logos, which means word or thought. ‘Technology’ does not just mean physical objects such as new machines or seeds. It also refers to knowledge or mental objects. Knowledge-intensive farming systems, therefore, are advanced forms of human technology,” reads the report. Ecological farming is a set of principles which aims to help farmers mimic local ecological processes through an understanding of how the soils, water, climate, vegetation, birds and insects of an agro-ecosystem interact. SLM Partners white paper.


Farmland Forever – Help Make it Happen, April 8

The 12th annual Ontario Farmland Forum supports and facilitates cross-sector dialogue about how we can work together to strengthen farmland and agricultural planning, policy development, and grassroots, permanent land protection initiatives in Ontario. This year’s Forum features presentations & discussion following two streams: farmland policy and hands-on farmland protection. Details.


Acres of Food Production in Ontario

There is ongoing debate about the importance of protecting farmland in Ontario. A recent article from the Fraser Institute entitled “Only markets can determine best use for Ontario cropland” raises the question of who should determine the use of farmland. It is the key argument of the article that concerns me. The authors argue that the land should go to the highest bidder who then should be able to use it for whatever the buyer deems best. Christian Farmers Federation post.


OFA Challenges Parts Of Rural Land Use Study

A recent study shows economic analysis hasn’t been properly used to develop Ontario land use policies. The Fraser Institute recently released the study, it’s called “An Economic Analysis of Rural Land Use Policies in Ontario”. But Mark Reusser , a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture executive, says the study makes the controversial assertion that Ontario’s agricultural land is not disappearing at the alarming rate that most of believe. Blackburn AgriMedia story.




The Neptis Geoweb Re-Launches

The Neptis Geoweb is an interactive mapping and information platform created by the Neptis Foundation (“Neptis”) which houses data from government and other sources and includes the ability of users to post user stories. The site contains information, reports, datasets, maps or other materials (collectively the “Information”) for non-partisan research purposes relating to the growth and change in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region in Ontario, Canada. Geoweb.