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.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
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.