New artisanal chicken program a hit with growers
The first 80 farms to be accepted into Chicken Farmers of Ontario’s Artisanal Chicken program should be starting to produce chickens under the program this spring, and many of them will be seasonal growers. The Artisanal Chicken program is for small-scale, non-quota holding farmers who want to grow 600 to 3,000 chickens annually for specific markets that they’ve identified. It was launched last year “with the expressed goal of helping to address gaps in the existing consumer marketplace for locally-grown chicken,” according to a Feb. 16 Chicken Farmers news release. Better Farming story.
Details of Farmland Health Incentive Program
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association is releasing some information about the 2016 Farmland Health Incentive program. The FHIP offers financial support to implement select Best Management Practices. The stewardship program supports actions with the greatest potential to impact the landscape, offering funding to address key issues to improve soil health and reduce edge of field phosphorus loss. The combined impact of projects completed will help to improve the health of our Great Lakes. Blackburn AgriMedia story.
Back to the basics: Children need to learn about food
Take the numbers six and 16, put them together and you have the formula for improving youth nutrition through education, improved food skills and better understanding of local food, one Ontario farm and food organization says. Six by Sixteen is an initiative of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and is part of the comprehensive national food strategy that has been created by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. It is hoped that with some education, kids will be able to cook six dishes or meals by the time they are 16 years old. CBC News story.
Thousand Islands: A thriving industry for local food
Making the connections between producers and consumers needed more than just kitchen table meetings, though. Wendy Banks, a sixth-generation farmer, was at that early kitchen table meeting and had an idea — a farmers market for local produce that had both an onsite and a delivery component. “There was a huge disconnect between producers and restaurants,” says Banks, owner and operator of Wendy’s Mobile Market. “So we started with about five producers and three restaurants and almost 10 years later we now have 80 producers and 70 restaurants that we deliver to.” TVO story.
New Festival Coming To Leamington
A new festival is coming to the Town of Leamington this summer. The festival will celebrate locally sourced food and beverages designed to bring chefs, farmers, winemakers, brewmasters and local food producers together to create a culinary experience. The town says their vision is to become leaders in the region for culinary tourism as this festival will be one of many food and drink initiatives being organized in the coming years. WindsoriteDOTca News story.
Ontario Government Proclaims New Portion of Local Food Act
The Ontario Government proclaimed “increased access to local food” as their next area of focus under the Local Food Act, 2013. To draft an “access” goal (or goals), consultations will be held with agri-food stakeholders and the public throughout the spring 2016. Passed in 2013, the Local Food Act supports the government’s Local Food Strategy, which aims to promote Ontario foods and beverages, make them more available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants throughout the province, and help develop new markets for local food. Ontario Government news release.
Alternative Avenues to Local Food in School: Ingredients for Success
Through the Alternative Avenues to Local Food Procurement project, Ecosource and Roots to Harvest worked with teachers, students and food service providers in Durham, Peel and Thunder Bay to develop and test strategies to incorporate local food procurement into secondary school food programs, while engaging students in food literacy. This report outlines the current school food context in each region by considering how school food systems are shaped by multiple actors and what challenges and opportunities to local food procurement are in each region. EcoSource report.
Executive Director for the Ontario Farmland Trust
The OFT is seeking a hard-working dynamic executive leader to take our Ontario farmland conservation efforts to a new level of success. The person that we are looking for will bring demonstrated talent, energy and experience to the organization, particularly with respect to all fundraising programs and financial management. Our Executive Director will be a superior communicator who will add leverage to existing OFT relationships and further develop strategic partnerships with other farmland conservation stakeholders. Details.
Responsibilities in a Demanding World, March 31 – April 1, Guelph
The challenges and opportunities happening today in the food production and food retail sectors. There is a global move to go beyond traditional testing, inspection and training. We are seeing all sectors involved in the production and retail of food having to adopt principles related to values and beliefs. This will involve the need to enhance the credibility of Ontario practitioners. Ontario Institute of Agrologists conference details.
Selling Food to Ontario, March 2, Smith Falls & March 3, Renfrew
Create new opportunities for your farm or food processing business by learning how to expand into new markets such as grocery stores, restaurants, food hubs, schools, universities and other public institutions. Eastern Ontario Local Food free seminar details.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Loose Stall Housing, Video Auditing Part Of Maple Leaf’s Animal Care Commitment
Maple Leaf Foods says it wants to become a leader in animal care. To reach that goal, the company has launched a formal Animal Care Commitment. The Commitment is based on what’s called the Five Freedoms. They are: freedom from hunger or thirst – freedom from discomfort – freedom from pain, injury or disease – freedom to express normal behaviours – and freedom from fear and stress. Maple Leaf’s plan includes moving all sows under its management to loose housing, with at least 37 thousand sows in loose housing by 2017. Blackburn AgriMedia story.