Local Food News — Ontario

The Future of Local Food

Local food in Ontario is thriving with increased investment in production, expanded distribution and greater consumer awareness. It all adds up to a solid foundation that the local food sector can build upon in the months and years ahead. By increasing the awareness, access and supply of local food, the Ontario government will help to continue to grow the sector, create more jobs and ensure more Ontario consumers are eating fresh, high-quality local products. Excerpt 2015/16 Ontario Local Food Report.

 

GHFFA Meets Local Food Entrepreneurs at Toronto’s Food Starter

Last year, the GHFFA provided $10,000 in funding to the incubator as part of our Action Plan to Foster Innovation, so it was fitting for the Alliance to get a first-hand look at what’s happening within their entrepreneurial walls. Essentially, Food Starter helps drive food entrepreneurs’ ideas from concept to shelf, offering the intricate support, tools and equipment needed along the way. Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance post.

 

Fighting GTA’s sprawl with urban farms

Ran Goel is a farmer — an urban farmer, that is. As founder of Fresh City Farms, he left the law profession to do something he considered more meaningful. And in urban farming, he’s found a way to “reconnect people with food in a way that is very positive,” he said. Toronto Star story.

 

Ontario farm family builds premium local food brand

Persall got his start cold-calling influential chefs in Toronto hoping to get them interested in his cold-pressed virgin oil products. It was a nerve-wracking experience for him, but one that ultimately paid off. His products are now sold through two larger food service distributors, as well as online at foodiepages.ca and penguinfresh.com and in some retail locations. And his efforts have not gone unnoticed. Pristine Gourmet was awarded a Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence several years ago and was selected by Toronto Life as one of the 100 Must-Try-Before-You-Die Tastes of Toronto. Ag Innovation Ontario post.

 

Thunder Bay residents encouraged to be ‘local ambassadors’ this summer

If you’re well acquainted with the local food scene, or know the region’s hiking trails like the back of your hand, then Thunder Bay’s manager of tourism says you could be an asset when it comes to selling the city to visitors. “We’re seeing a shift in consumer demographics globally, where there are more visitors that are looking for something authentic when they travel,” said Paul Pepe. CBC News story.

 

A New Urban Agriculture Resource from DIG

DIG (Durham Integrated Growers) just released a new urban agriculture resource, Digging for a Just and Sustainable Food System: A Scan of Municipal Policies Influencing Urban Agriculture Projects across Durham Region. The report investigates urban agriculture as it relates to the Durham region food system. Using a broad definition of policy, the report surveys official plans, by-laws, strategies and municipal planning documents that relate to land use decision making. Digging for a Just and Sustainable Food System aims to identify policies in support of and acting as barriers to urban agriculture in Durham region. Gaps where policy could create a more supportive environment for urban agriculture are also highlighted. Sustain Ontario post.

 

Ontario Public Institutions and On-site Food Production: Visualizing the Future for Health Care

Project SOIL (Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands) is a feasibility study that explores the potential of on-site food production for public institutions through arrangements with local producers, particularly where access to land for food production is limited and/or expensive. Funded by the New Directions Research Program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the project builds on emerging production models that can flexibly adapt to institutional resources, as well as land tenure models that could contribute to community food production. Project Soil website.

 

Mohawk College looking for food partners

Mohawk College is spearheading an endeavour that is aimed at getting more locally grown and produced food into the hands of students at Ontario’s 24 community colleges. The college, in a partnership with the Greenbelt Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, recently published a report of the current food procurement situation and examined potential opportunities for getting more local fare onto the campuses. Now, according to Alan Griffiths, manager of sustainability at Mohawk, they are looking to turn those opportunities into action. Hamilton News story.

 

Growing Local Food Literacy, Wednesday April 19, 2017, 3:30 – 4:30

Webinar will focus on how to teach local food literacy while engaging students in developing gardening skills in various educational settings. Packed with hands-on tips and resources, our speakers are Ecosource (Region of Peel), Growing Up Organic (Ottawa), and the Kids Can Grow Program (Manitoulin Island). Sustain Ontario webinar.

 

Farmland is for Farmers

Emery Huszka, NFU-O President, presented at the Ontario Farmland Trust forum on March 30 about the impact to farmland when farmers no longer own it. “The NFU has been calling for farmland to remain in the hands of farmers since its inception. There are protections for farmland in other parts of this country but not in Ontario. If legislators in Ottawa and Queen’s Park refrained from eating for a few days prior to debating agriculture laws, I’m pretty sure we would have better legislation in favour of farmers,” Huszka noted. National Farmers Union – Ontario release.

 

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Little Brick Pastoral celebrates story of Australian agriculture with Lego farmer minifig

A tiny plastic farmer wearing a wide-brimmed hat and green overalls is doing his bit to raise awareness of Australian agriculture. He is the Lego Farmer, 4.5cm tall and becoming quite a national, if not international, celebrity as he sows the message of agriculture in schools and via social media. The farmer spends his day working hard, fixing machinery, baling hay, checking the harvest, planting crops or hanging out with his working dog. And his ‘home’ is with Little Brick Pastoral, a blog started by agribusiness graduate Aimee Snowden, who lives on her family’s irrigation farm at Tocumwal, in the southern Riverina in New South Wales. ABC News story.

Local Food News — World

Thirteen Things To Expect When Becoming a Market Farmer

I wanted to slow climate change by growing local food for my community. I wanted to grow an acre of beautiful vegetables and to sell fresh produce direct to customers, hear them exclaim how happy they were at such delicious produce. I wanted to get dirty and fit and be outside all day. But there was a catch, I had never farmed before. Women Who Farm blog.

 

Secondary schools invited to enter competition to find Ireland’s next food entrepreneurs

Irish soup and food company Cully & Sully and Grow It Yourself (GIY) have launched an inaugural competition titled ‘Give Peas a Chance’ and Offaly schools are invited to enter. This initiative aims to foster a spirit of food entrepreneurship in Irish secondary schools and discover Ireland’s next young food entrepreneurs. Through this initiative growing kits will be delivered to 7,500 students across the country. The kits include everything the students need to grow peas including seeds, pots, soil and growing tips from GIY. Students are asked to pair up in order to undertake the challenge. Offaly Express story.

 

The supermarket food gamble may be up

But why would supermarkets – which are said to have lost sales worth as much as £8m in January thanks to record-breaking, crop-wrecking snow and rainfall in the usually mild winter regions of Spain and Italy – be so keen to fly in substitutes from the US at exorbitant cost?

Why would they sell at a loss rather than let us go without, or put up prices to reflect the changing market? Why indeed would anyone air-freight watery lettuce across the whole of the American continent and the Atlantic when it takes 127 calories of fuel energy to fly just 1 food calorie of that lettuce to the UK from California? The Guardian opinion.

 

Kitchen Farm Wall

The obvious answer was to grow their own produce close to the pub itself so that it was never far and so that they could oversee the growing processes themselves. Then the Smiths got an even better idea – they would grow their own herbs and greens inside – and on – the pub itself. Normally this would take up space and cause a mess, but Ethan and Kerri found growing equipment that grows vertically and uses no soil. Ethan and Kerri bought several Farm Walls, which are now hanging in their kitchen and outside on the pub’s back patio. The Farm Walls give quality control to Ethan and Kerri. They decide where to put them, how to grow the plants, and when to harvest. Bright Agrotech post.

 

A small city in Iowa is devoting 1,000 acres of land to America’s vanishing bees

This spring, Cedar Rapids (population: 130,000) will seed 188 acres with native prairie grasses and wildflowers. The city’s plan is to eventually create 1,000 acres of bee paradise by planting these pollinator-friendly foodstuffs. Scientists think the pollinator crisis is caused by a variety of factors, including pesticides, pathogens, and climate change. Meanwhile, with farms, parking lots, mowed lawns, and other human developments replacing wildflower fields, bees have been losing habitat and their food supply. While many of the drivers behind bee population decline remain mysterious, the people of Cedar Rapids hope to at least give pollinators places to perch and plants to feed on. Popular Science story.

 

Fantastic turn out for the world’s first ever Food & Drink BID’ showcase at Scottish Parliament

Guests had the chance to sample the finest local produce from East Lothian and hear about how East Lothian producers are leading the way in collaboration and innovation as the world’s first ever food and drink Food & Drink Business Improvement District (BID). Scotland’s Food & Drink County’s product portfolio was available on the evening for potential buyers. Scotland Food and Drink post.

 

Buy West Eat Best

Buy West Eat Best is a food labelling program that proudly supports the local food industry in Western Australia. The program is managed by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia. When you see the Buy West Eat Best logo you can be assured that you are buying food that has been grown, farmed, fished and produced right here in Western Australia. More than 100 Western Australia food producers, manufacturers, retailers and restaurants support the Buy West Eat Best program. Buy West Eat Best website.

 

Morrisons launches search for 200 local foodmakers to supply stores

‘The Nation’s Local Foodmakers’ programme will see Morrisons aim to sign up 200 new suppliers from across England, Scotland and Wales in the first year. The supermarket is inviting foodmakers to pitch for their place in its supermarkets via a series of 12 regional events starting in Yorkshire on 14 March. The Retail Bulletin story.

 

The role of private sector in city region food systems

Private sector actors have the potential to contribute to more sustainable city region food systems (CRFS), but up-to-date information on their role and initiatives is scarce. Little is known about their drivers for engagement, the extent and type of impact of their interventions, their needs for support and enabling policy environments. This study sought to better analyse the role of the private sector in building more sustainable city region food systems. The aim of the study is to provide suggestions for private sector actors, policy support mechanisms, and to identify key lessons learned. The two overarching questions addressed in this study are:

1.How can the private sector help shape more sustainable city region food systems?

2.What business and policy environment is needed to better engage the private sector in building sustainable city region food systems? Rauf Partnership post.

 

Food justice and municipal government in the USA

This article examines the role of municipal food systems planning practice in the USA in advancing “food justice”. Specifically, two cases are investigated: the Puget Sound Regional Food Policy Council (PSRFPC) and the City of Seattle in western Washington state. I assess how these two planning organizations address five major contours of food justice: trauma/inequity, exchange, land, labor, and democratic process. Drawing on document analysis, observations, and interviews, I point out where each institution has made strong or tentative progress on advancing food justice, and where progress has halted. The principal aim of the article is to understand the opportunities and constraints of municipal governments in the USA in fostering food justice. Journal of Planning theory and Practice abstract.

 

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American Farmers Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

John Deere and other tractor manufacturers have made it nearly impossible to perform “unauthorized” repairs on farm equipment. Farmers across the U.S. are responding by hacking their equipment with Eastern European firmware that’s traded on invite-only online forums. Real Clear Investigations Today story.

Local Food News — Canada

Traditional Animal Foods of Indigenous Peoples of Northern North America

A new open-access encyclopedia of more than 500 animal species that are part of traditional food systems of Indigenous Peoples in northern North America has just been launched – a tool for teachers and researchers of all kinds. It’s based, in part, on close to 500 ethnographic sources – some going back about a century. Website.

 

Pan Cape Breton Food Hub Co-Op

The Pan Cape Breton Food Hub Co-op provides the infrastructure to link producers and consumers in Cape Breton. We are a multi-stakeholder non-profit co-op that creates easy access to locally produced foods for our consumers and restaurant/retail partners, while providing producers with easier access to new markets. When you buy or sell food through the Pan Cape Breton Food Hub Co-op, you are contributing to a more vibrant local food economy and becoming part of an island wide food community. Website.

 

Local food strategy aims to boost Yukon production

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

 

Calgary urban farm celebrates third year as demand soars

Over the past three years, Grow Calgary has become Canada’s largest urban agricultural farm, attracted a core group of roughly 50 people, hundreds more occasional volunteers, hosted tours for schools and community groups, and donated truckloads of fresh produce to the Calgary Food Bank. Calgary Herald story.

 

75-year-old Shediac retiree opens hydroponic farming business

A retired Shediac businessman has turned his dreams of a backyard greenhouse into a hydroponic farming operation. “I have been a vegetarian for 20-years and at one time there was no local products and I wanted to try to get some better food,” said Armand Belliveau. Belliveau could not get planning approval to build a greenhouse to feed just himself and his family, so he opted to go the commercial route. He set up a business on a plot of land he owned near his home. CBC News story.

 

Soil health sensor project largest in North America

The University of Guelph project delivers 747 readings every few minutes measuring soil health. A new $2-million soil health research project aims to figure out the impact of different cropping systems on the environment. Research will also be conducted on crop productivity relating to soil health. The result should be new knowledge on productivity of traditional cropping systems versus those with cover crops. Country Guide story.

 

Local food grocery store opens in Village of Gagetown

“When we started growing our own food, it was to have good, healthy food. Then we expanded to try and grow food for some of our friends and neighbours in the community. So, we’ve just expanded on that further.” Baglole Keenan said first and foremost, the business will be a local food grocer selling its own produce and other local products in the store, but it will offer other fruits such as citrus and bananas. CBC News story.

 

Achieving What’s Possible for the Agri-food Sector: Through the Lens of Strategically Managing “Natural Capital”

Webinar: Tuesday, January 24, 2016, 4:00 pm Central CST. “Trust”, when broadly-considered, is a lens to clarify important choices facing Canada’s agri-food sector going forward. Worldwide, trust is the defining issue facing everyone involved in food production and supply. This goes well beyond food safety as countries grapple with climate change, reliably producing more without depleting water and soil quality and responding to varied consumer concerns, including nutritional quality, ethics and sustainability. Given the increasing importance of the agri-food sector to the Canadian economy, the country is well-positioned to respond to these

challenges and unleash its full potential if we look through the lens of strategically managing “natural capital” with much emphasis on rural agricultural production and rural development. Presenter: David McInnes is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Agri-Food. Details.

 

ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) Launches in Quebec

“We’re launching an exciting new era today,” said ALUS Canada’s CEO Bryan Gilvesy on August 10, 2016, at a provincial press conference at the UPA Headquarters in Longueuil, near Montreal. A partnership between ALUS Canada and the Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie, the new ALUS Montérégie program aims to help Quebec’s farmers produce clean air, clean water, more biodiversity and other ecological services to benefit all of society. ALUS Canada post.

 

Canadian Association for Food Studies

The CAFS annual assembly will be held in Ryerson University between May 27 and 30. The early bird registration deadline is March 31, 2017. Registration.

 

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Setting the table for a radically different Canadian food guide

Canada’s Food Guide is a big deal — but it can be much more influential. On the whole, the guide is a symbol Canada’s food-related values. Public institutions, schools, universities and community-based organizations look to it to reflect our fundamental nutritional principles. But past guides have failed us. Health Canada says that more than 60 per cent of Canadians are overweight and four out of five are at risk of developing heart disease. These disturbing statistics justify a call for major changes. Just blaming the food guide may be an exaggeration but the guide didn’t help. Waterloo Region Record opinion.

Local Food News — Ontario

Opportunities for Growth: An Urban Agriculture Toolkit

The toolkit is now available online as a resource for municipal governments, urban growers, planners and organizations to help advocate for policies that support urban agriculture. With examples of different forms of urban agriculture, case studies from municipalities around the province and tools for enacting change in communities, the toolkit prepares readers to take positive steps toward creating communities that support and incorporate urban agriculture practices. Sustain Ontario post.

 

Innovative tech helps Holland Marsh growers protect crops

Weekly photos are taken of the vegetable fields in the Marsh using an octocopter drone. Lead researcher Mary Ruth McDonald and her team at the University of Guelph’s Muck Crops Research Station run the IPM program and use the images for early detection of diseases and insects so growers can take appropriate measures to protect their crop and prevent or minimize damage. “The technology we are able to access through this project makes our crop scouting program more effective and lets growers be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to crop protection,” explains Sheppard. “It’s very quick for a grower to have a problem area identified early and then decide how to treat it correctly to keep the crop healthy.” Food in Canada story.

 

New College Boréal agricultural technician program will train the next generation of farmers

The program is unique in Northern Ontario, and will have two focuses: animal sciences and plant sciences. Students will have to choose one to specialize in, although they won’t specialize too narrowly. The students will be learning a variety of growing methods including traditional, hydroponic, and sustainable methods that are adapted to modern agricultural and environmental trends. Management courses that cover finances, human resources and labour will accompany more hands-on courses in plant and animal management. The school is hoping to have a rooftop greenhouse built for the project, similar to the existing greenhouse the college’s forestry program uses. Northern Ontario Business story.

 

Sudbury food strategy consultations hear from local restaurateurs

The Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council is in the midst of putting together its food strategy for the city, which is expected to propose solutions to issues surrounding food that Sudbury residents think are important. Some of the input is being taken through a series of short, lunch-hour submissions called “4-minute foodie” presentations, which give stakeholders the chance to pitch why their organization matters to Sudbury’s food landscape. CBC News story.

 

Humber offering courses and workshops on Sustainable Urban Beekeeping

The Humber Arboretum is now offering a series of courses and hands-on workshops on Sustainable Urban Beekeeping. The program takes a look at the opportunities and challenges associated with running a small-scale urban apiary, with a focus on native bees and sustainable hive management practices that build resilience in the colony. Sign up for individual courses or complete all eight required courses and two electives to earn a Certificate of Participation in Sustainable Urban Beekeeping from Humber College (sign up for the full certificate in advance and you’ll save over $300!). The first round of one-day core courses will run in winter 2017, preparing learners to get hands-on at the Humber Arboretum hives beginning in the spring. Sustain Ontario post.

 

Dairy Goat Farm Management Program

Ontario dairy goat producers looking to improve or expand their operations, increase their business management skills, and boost their bottom lines are invited to take part in the Dairy Goat Advanced Farm Management Program.  The program is offered through a partnership between the Agri-food Management Institute and Ontario Goat and is designed for licensed dairy goat farm owners and managers. It will consist of five, one-day intensive sessions starting in March, 2017. Agri-food Management Institute post.

 

Ontario Local Food Report

Ontario is an agri-food powerhouse. Our farmers harvest an impressive abundance from our fields and farms, our orchards and our vineyards. And our numerous processors — whether they be bakers, butchers, or brewers — transform that bounty across the value chain into the highest-quality products for consumers. Together, they generate more than $35 billion in GDP and provide more than 781,000 jobs. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food post.

 

Ontario Public Institutions and On-site Food Production: Visualizing the Future for Health Care

Project SOIL (Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands) is a feasibility study that explores the potential of on-site food production for public institutions through arrangements with local producers, particularly where access to land for food production is limited and/or expensive. Funded by the New Directions Research Program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the project builds on emerging production models that can flexibly adapt to institutional resources, as well as land tenure models that could contribute to community food production. Report summary.

 

Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

The strategy was developed by a dedicated group of key actors with the goal of strengthening Ontario’s food systems and improving the health and well-being of Ontarians. Vision: Productive, equitable and sustainable food systems that support the wholistic health and well-being of all people in Ontario. Mission: To develop a cross government, multi-stakeholder coordinated approach to food policy development and a plan for healthy food and food systems in Ontario. Strategy.

 

Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital

A new report from Green Analytics and Sustainable Prosperity finds that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to the region. The report, commissioned by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from. The report uses the National Ecosystem Services Classification methodology to identify a series of ecosystem service accounts that directly benefit residents – for example bird watching, flood protection, and clean air to breathe. Greenbelt Foundation post.

 

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Province approves boundary deal

The provincial government has approved the Brantford-Brant County boundary adjustment. Approval of the deal, which will transfer 2,719 hectares of county territory to the city as of Jan. 1, 2017, was announced by city and county officials Tuesday. It brings to an end more than a decade of negotiations. Brantford Expositor story.

Local Food News — World

This Robot Could Be the Future of Home Farming

Real Clear Future post.

 

At the VDNKh park in Moscow, Workhaus design an educational “Urban Farm”

Larger than the entirety of Monaco, the VDNKh is a trade show and amusement park in Moscow that houses, alongside other things, a slew of historical national pavilions and teaching spaces. Recently, an urban farm was added to the site, intended to serve as both a leisure space and an educational opportunity for children and adults. Designed by the Moscow-based studio Wowhaus, the project includes a completely new building and several pavilions set in a bucolic landscape. Archinect News story.

 

‘Speed Dating’ For Farmers And Chefs: ISO A Perfect Local-Food Match

Ashley Heaney and Mark Heaney, from Green Acres Family Farm in Gapland, Md., are sitting in a booth on one side of the room, looking expectant and a little tense. They have a cooler full of eggs from their pasture-raised chickens beside them. This is their chance to show off those eggs to a collection of big-city chefs. They’re here for matchmaking, though not of the romantic sort. It’s an annual “speed-dating” event where farmers get set up with chefs, in an effort to put more local food on restaurant tables. NPR story.

 

Sacramento County OKs birds, bees and farm stands with urban ag ordinance

Residents of urban and suburban Sacramento County will be able to legally grow and sell crops, keep bees, and raise chickens and ducks at home under an urban agriculture ordinance that county supervisors unanimously passed Tuesday. Proponents say the new legal framework will make life easier for small-scale farmers and provide fresh food in areas that lack full-service grocery stores. Sacramento Bee story.

 

KSG’s Farm to Fork Initiative Kicks off in University College Cork

For the first time in an university in Ireland, students and staff at University College Cork gathered at the Quadrangle as the first harvest of vegetables and herbs from the KSG UCC Farm to Fork programme arrived on campus by tractor and trailer on Tuesday, 27th September.

The Farm to Fork initiative, developed by KSG Catering in partnership with UCC, is the first of its kind in any university in Ireland with crops being grown on the university land and then harvested for use in the campus restaurants. Ireland’s Foodservice Platform  post.

 

Holy Cross Events to Focus on Forgotten Ethics in Food Movements

The “locavore” movement makes a moral argument that locally-sourced food is healthier, more environmentally sustainable, kinder to animals, and saving local farms. But whether you buy your food from a supermarket or the local farmer’s market, Gray argues, predominately low-wage and non-citizen workers grew it. These workers lack protection of labor laws, are discouraged from assimilating in their communities, and are often afraid to speak out about their conditions. Gray, an associate professor of political science at Adelphi University, asserts that by romanticizing agrarian values in local farming, food critics and local food advocates are ignoring the “institutional marginalization” of farmworkers. Her conclusions are based on 10 years of field research in the Hudson Valley, where the farms supply New York’s upscale restaurants and farmer’s markets. Holy Cross News blog.

 

Hawaii lawmakers say locavores want unpasteurized, raw milk

Citing increasing demand for local food, a group of state legislators in Hawaii is supporting a bill to allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores, but only if it has “a label that warns about the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk, especially to children and the elderly.” “The legislature finds that consumers’ food preferences have shifted toward locally-produced food in recent years,” the bill states. “Additionally, many small farms have the capability and desire to offer unpasteurized dairy products to consumers that seek locally-produced dairy products.” Food Safety News story.

 

Leading the ‘shop local’ revolution with cafe, bakery and market rolled into one

The Midlothian town has suffered various economic setbacks but the local community is determined to see the Storehouse play a vital part in revival of the town centre, with more that 700 people contributing a total of more than £100,000 in shares for the venture. The Storehouse will have a Breadshare Community Bakery, the Lost Garden Foodhall, a café and an indoor market with a community area. The National story.

 

Here’s thought for food

Shifting from industrial to sustainable food systems is the focus of conference in Whangarei next month, this would mean growing more produce locally, rather than importing it and it would promote a shift from eating processed “industrial” food to fresh local produce. Keynote speakers are Anne Palmer, programme director, food communities and public health at Johns Hopkins University who will share an overview of how local food initiatives are transforming food access in the US, and Professor Barbara Burlingame of Massey University, who will talk on her vision for public health in the 21st century which involves embracing the agenda of sustainable development. New Zealand Herald story.

 

No sunlight, no soil, no problem: Vertical farms take growing indoors

Inside a windowless warehouse once used for paintball, with planes heading to nearby Newark airport overhead, an industrial park in New Jersey seems an unlikely place to find fresh locally grown produce. With LED lights standing in for the sun, and cloth replacing soil, the plants grown at AeroFarms are not your typical greens. “This is fully controlled agriculture and allows us to understand plant biology in ways that, as humans, we’ve never achieved,” said AeroFarms CEO and co-founder David Rosenberg, standing in front of rows of kale, arugula, lettuce and other leafy greens. CBC News story.

 

Reuters Media Award to Boost Sustainable Ag Coverage

Through May 31, 2017, The Thomas Reuters Foundation and Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition are calling all journalists, bloggers, freelancers, and individuals covering a variety of food issues to enter for a chance to win nearly US$11,000, an all-expenses paid media training program, and access to an audience one billion strong. The Good Food Media award is striving to promote comprehensive coverage—judges will consider both published and unpublished written journalism, video, and photography. Submission guidelines and applications are available at www.goodfoodmediaaward.com until May 31, 2017.

 

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Hormel Finds a New Recipe for Success

Hormel’s best-known product is Spam. It’s easy to joke about a company built on meat that comes in a can, but it turns out that Hormel is having the last laugh. For the past 10 years, it has been on a tear. Revenue has increased from $5.4 billion to $9.3 billion, boosting its ranking in the Fortune 500 by nearly 100 spots, to No. 304 this year. Earnings have more than doubled, the dividend has almost quadrupled, and the stock has returned roughly 400%. The growth has been fueled by a flood of new products: everything from peanut-butter snacks to single-serve turkey sticks to a food-service burger made with chicken, quinoa, and, yes, kale. All were developed in Austin—proof that innovation is defined by people, not zip codes. Fortune story.

Local Food News — Ontario

Economics of Local Food in Ontario

Our agri-food sector generates $63 billion in sales to consumers each year, and employs 767,000 people. In this double-page Toronto Star feature, read about the financial benefits of fresh, homegrown food; farmers’ stewardship of the land; overcoming the challenges of bringing food from the farm to the table; and why fostering food literacy at the grassroots level benefits the province and Ontarians at large. Greenbelt Foundation post.

 

Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food

2017 Kenneth R. Farrell Distinguished Public Policy Lectureship. Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center Director, Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, University of California, Davis. Thursday, February 16, 2017. 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Delta Hotel and Conference Centre (John McCrae Room), 50 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario. Free admission, all welcome. To register for this event, please RSVP by February 9 to Debbie Harkies at dharkies@uoguelph.ca. Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Guelph post.

 

My Sustainable Canada’s Local Food and Ontario’s Long Term Care Sector Report

This report documents the current state of local food usage in Ontario’s long-term care sector. Greenbelt Foundation post.

 

Linton Pasture Pork

Jeffrey Linton has been in the pig business all his life working with his parents on their farrow to finish operation in Huron County, Ontario. In 2010, Linton spent 3 months in Scotland working on an outdoor sow farm with 500 animals. During this time, he developed and refined his husbandry skills and learned how to raise pigs outside and work in close contact with them. He then returned to Canada where he utilized his skills and started Linton Pasture Pork. Linton pasture pork is a small farrow to finish family run farm located in Walton, Ontario. Website.

 

New program combines cooking and commerce

In what is being called a first for Canadian post-secondary education, George Brown College is launching a bachelor of commerce program with a specialization in culinary management to better prepare chef school students to succeed. The program, officially known as honours bachelor of commerce (culinary management), intends to provide a four-year degree tailored towards management and operations in the food and beverage industry, a niche previously neglected in Canadian schools. The Dialog, George Brown College post.

 

Fence row farming: Uncovering the secrets in the soil

DEAN GLENNEY PLANTS his corn and soybeans on exactly the same rows, drives on the same tracks, and never tills his fields. It’s a farming method he has used for nearly 20 years now; and it has given him corn yields averaging 275 bushels an acre (bu/ac) and soybeans averaging around 60 bu/ac. In 2012, Glenney’s highest corn yield was 301.88 bu/ac. Ontario Grain Farmer story.

 

Certificate in Food Security

The certificate explores the challenges of creating sustainable food systems based on social justice and democratic decision-making that will ensure the right of dignified access to healthy food. The program’s perspective on food security is local and global covering both rural and urban situations. Participants will learn how to strengthen the sustainability of city food systems through the development of innovative urban agriculture policy and practices.  They will also learn the challenges facing rural farming communities worldwide and explore the possibilities for supporting farming livelihoods and rebuilding local food systems for the public good. Ryerson post.

 

Farmland Health Incentive Program Tightens Focus For 2017

Changes to the 2017 Farmland Health Incentive Program (FHIP) will create an even greater focus on managing water quality in the western and central Lake Erie basin. For the past two years, FHIP, part of the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI), has focused on supporting and funding Ontario farmer stewardship efforts in an area that extends anywhere south of a line from Tobermory to Niagara Falls. Margaret May, regional program lead with Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (which administrates the program), explains that the target area has now been narrowed to anywhere south of Highway 402 with a jog north to the Stratford area, then south to Lake Erie. Real Agriculture story. Program.

 

78,000 Ontario farmers call for an end to urban sprawl

Over 52,000 farms and 78,000 farmers have a united message for the Provincial Government: freeze urban boundaries now and stop urban sprawl to protect farmland in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH). This includes Melancthon farmer Ralph Armstrong who says, “It is important to keep the message out there that farmland is limited. If we protect it, the land will feed us every year.” Ralph Armstrong is a sixth generation farmer who was one of the first to sound the alarm regarding the manoeuvres of the Highland Companies’ land acquisitions of Honeywood farmland as the hedge fund corporation prepared to apply for a 2,400 acre open pit mine on the headwaters and first class prime farmland. Shelburne Free Press story.

 

Teaching Local Food Literacy in Ontario Schools

Did you miss our Teaching Local Food Literacy webinar? It’s not too late! The recorded webinar and presentation slides are now available for you to view. This webinar was the first in our Local Food Literacy in Ontario Schools webinar series.  Recorded on November 30, 2016, this webinar provides tangible lessons for how to bring local food literacy education into the classroom. Sustain Ontario post.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Rural SMEs, Innovation and Ontario’s Community Colleges

In 2002 the Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Act was updated, providing an official and clear mandate for colleges to engage in applied research and encouraged colleges to enter into partnerships with business and industry, creating new opportunities for establishing relationships with SMEs and opportunities for partnering in innovation. However, there is little empirical research that has been conducted on these new opportunities in Ontario (1 study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada, 2010), and no rural empirical research. This research offers a rural perspective, focusing on the rural context. LinkedIn post.

Local Food News — Canada

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

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

 

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

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

 

Sustainable Diets and Canada’s Food Guide, November 29

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

 

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

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

 

Industry disruptors change food culture slowly: Andrew Coppolino

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

 

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

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

 

Vegetable thieves raiding Whitehorse’s community garden

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

 

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Bets on Local Food

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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University of Saskatchewan lands new Canada Excellence Research Chair

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

Local Food News — World

How Dingle became a top food destination

“How on earth did this poor, little fishing port evolve to become one of the most important towns in the Irish food world, the inaugural winner of the Restaurant Association of Ireland’s inaugural Food Destination Town, in 2014? Stella Doyle believes it all kicked off with the film, Ryan’s Daughter, filmed in the locality and starring Robert Mitchum. Many more in Dingle and beyond believe it actually kicked off with the arrival of Stella Doyle herself, most especially, when she and her husband, John, opened the now-nationally renowned Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant in 1973. Irish Examiner story.

 

Our best shot at cooling the planet might be right under our feet

Soil is the second biggest reservoir of carbon on the planet, next to the oceans. It holds four times more carbon than all the plants and trees in the world. But human activity like deforestation and industrial farming – with its intensive ploughing, monoculture and heavy use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides – is ruining our soils at breakneck speed, killing the organic materials that they contain. Now 40% of agricultural soil is classed as “degraded” or “seriously degraded”. In fact, industrial farming has so damaged our soils that a third of the world’s farmland has been destroyed in the past four decades. As our soils degrade, they are losing their ability to hold carbon, releasing enormous plumes of CO2 [pdf] into the atmosphere. The Guardian story.

 

Food swap initiative reducing waste for Riverland gardeners

The philosophy behind the food swap is simple: Bring what you have, take what you need. “No-one can eat a whole tree full of fruit so if they can share it with people who have a different tree in their backyard, that will help stop the wastage,” organiser Catherine Langford said. She has been one of the driving forces behind the region’s first food swap, an initiative which has popped up in towns and cities across the globe as green-thumbs exchange excess produce. ABC News story.

 

School greenhouse nearly complete

A barn-raising of sorts has been going on at the Rockport Public Schools as volunteers build a greenhouse between the two buildings on the Jerdens Lane campus. Superintendent Rob Liebow said the greenhouse will form the centerpiece of a new Health, Wellness and Sustainability Center for the schools. “It will provide environmental and healthy living education to all of our students K-12, provide fresh produce for our food service program, the local food pantry and also offer extension programs to the greater Rockport community through the provision for a student-run farmer’s market,” he said. Gloucester Times story.

 

Will This New Bill Level the Playing Field for Urban Farms?

Urban farming received a legitimizing nod last month when Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) introduced the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016 in hopes of getting it included in the next Farm Bill. In a call with reporters, Stabenow described the act as an important document, “To start the conversation and create the broad support I think we will have in including urban farming as part of the next Farm Bill.” Civil Eats post.

 

Urban Agriculture on the Rise: Leeds Hydro Store Comments

One country which is leading the way when it comes to urban agriculture is Canada, with its largest city Vancouver set to be the greenest city in the entire world by 2020. Home to Canada’s first commercial aeroponics farm Vancouver utilises modern and innovative technology to grow the majority of the produce which is enjoyed in its restaurants and available at its markets. Many countries are already following in Canada’s footsteps also, and it is going to be interesting to see how much this style of growing has taken over in just a few years. Digital Journal press release.

 

Cities of Farmers: Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes

“In Cities of Farmers, Dawson and Morales perform the Herculean task of examining the historical, regulatory, production, and distributional aspects of urban agricultural systems while simultaneously exploring the significant benefits and challenges of urban agriculture. With a healthy mix of new and more established voices, the chapters will interest a range of audiences, providing clear concepts, lessons, and examples that render key messages actionable.” University of Iowa Press book review.

 

A farm bill just for urban agriculture?

Yes, if Sen. Debbie Stabenow has her way. The Michigan Democrat announced The Urban Agriculture Act in Detroit. The Department of Agriculture already offers support for city farmers, but this bill would add to those grants, loans, and education programs. It would also provide $10 million for urban ag research, $5 million for community gardens, incentives for farmers to provision neighbors with fresh food, and resources for composting and cleaning up contaminated soil. Grist briefly.

 

Good Food Business Accelerator’s Third Year Off to Strong Start

Nine competitively selected Fellows are participating in the third year of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator, and they represent a wide range of exciting entrepreneurial ventures: from unique pies and clean meals to tea-infused energy bites and indigenous wild rice cereal, and from locally sourced juices and sparkling fruit tonics to pickled produce and sippable soups. Good Food on Every Table post.

 

Multifunctional peri-urban agriculture—A review of societal demands and the provision of goods and services by farming

Peri-urban areas around urban agglomerations in Europe and elsewhere have been subject to agricultural and land use research for the past three decades. The manner in which farming responds to urban pressures, socio-economic changes and development opportunities has been the main focus of examination, with urban demand for rural goods and services representing a driving factor to adapt farming activities in a multifunctional way. Working within the peri-urban framework, this review pays particular attention to the relevance of multifunctional agriculture. Science Direct abstract

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Amazon just opened a grocery store without a checkout line

Amazon is testing a grocery store in downtown Seattle that lets customers walk in, grab food from the shelves and walk out again, without ever having to stand in a checkout line. Customers tap their cellphones on a turnstile as they walk into the store, which logs them into the store’s network and connects to their Amazon account through an app. The Seattle-based company calls it, “Just walk out technology.” USA Today story.

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

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.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

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.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

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.