Local Food News — Canada

‘Greenship’ Will Be A Self-Sustaining Food Source For Northern Alberta

A pile of dirt and tires just west of Edmonton is about to be transformed into an impressive monument to green living. The greenship — similar to an off-grid “earthship” home that generates its own energy — will be an entirely self-sustaining greenhouse. The Aspen Centre for Integral Living, an environmental non-profit behind the project, says it’s as much about educating visitors on green living as it is about providing the northern community with year-round food. Huffington Post story.

 

‘Align with the eaters’: Food Guide changes may benefit farmers

While still in the works, proposed changes to Canada’s Food Guide seem to emphasize a reduction in foods with high levels of sugar, sodium and saturated fats. If those revisions come to light, they could benefit Canadian farmers, based on the principles of food sovereignty, the head of a national farmers’ group says. “We believe it’s ultimately in the farmers’ interest that food is not overly processed, but produced in a way that is best for eaters,” said Jan Slomp, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU). Western Producer story.

 

Fresh, local food planned at 3 P.E.I. schools under new $100K program

More fresh, local food could be on the menu at cafeterias in three Prince Edward Island schools starting in the fall under a new pilot program aimed at improving food security and education. The Food Security and Food Education Program — on which P.E.I.’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is spending $100,000 — will help Islanders access local food and teach about its nutritional value, where it comes from, and how it’s produced, the province said Tuesday in a written release. CBC story.

 

‘Buy local’ cafe set to open in former Real Food Connections location

Two New Brunswick entrepreneurs are hoping they can take an unsuccessful local grocery in a more profitable direction as a local food cafe. The plastic once covering the windows of the former Real Food Connections location in Saint John has been removed and on Monday, several workers will drive down from Fredericton to take over the store. It’s now called “Locavore Foods.” “We’re all hands on deck,” said Jason Lejeune, one of the co-owners of Locavore. “The appearance has changed from being a grocery application to a cafe application.” CBC story.

 

Food activist finds weeds in province’s urban garden plan

The Alberta government is offering land along the ring road to grow vegetables, but a longtime proponent of the idea has mixed feelings now that it’s on the table. “It’s a little disappointing. There was very little consultation about the property location. We submitted well over 20 locations and this is one of the last locations we’d choose,” said Paul Hughes, a local food activist. Calgary Herald story.

 

Find Local Foods

‘Find Local Foods’ is proud of our Canadian local food directory service, connecting consumers to local food suppliers in Canada. Available online to visitors and new suppliers. We spend a lot of time & money to promote & market our directory, list with us and we do all the work so you can focus on your business. A Canadian Local Food Directory, by Canadians, for Canadians! Our new directory is state of the art with every conceivable method built into the software to promote and market the business listings and classifieds ads on search engines and with social media. Website.

 

What is Behind the Trend of Local Food?

To meet the growing demand for more local food on institutional menus it’s important to start with understanding what’s behind the trend – why do people seek out local food? Writer lists five reasons. Food Secure Canada post.

 

Thirst for craft beer brews opportunities

Three flags fly proudly over Saanichton Farm – one for country, one for tractor and one for beer. For Bryce Rashleigh, they are visible reminders of what keeps the farm growing, and what they are growing for. “The whole local food movement is huge on Vancouver Island,” he says. “People are more supportive of my farm and what I do when they see the connection to what they eat and drink.” FCC Express story.

 

This is some of the best soil in Canada’: Vancouver tells farmer she can’t raise chickens on farmland

Robin Friesen wanted to farm. So she leased half an acre in the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR) and bought 150 chicks. But what seemed like a simple plan — raising a small flock of chickens for meat and eggs — became complicated last week with the appearance of a City of Vancouver bylaw officer who told her she’d run afoul of the city’s backyard chicken bylaw, which prohibits people from keeping more than four hens. National Post story.

 

Food choices govern food production, which has environmental impacts in a time of global climate change

What’s more, the influence of Canada’s Food Guide on the food industry extends beyond our own borders. Food choices govern food production, which has environmental impacts in a time of global climate change. Since Canada is a major food exporter, Canada’s Food Guide affects the health and environment not only of Canadians but of citizens around the world. Given the importance of this publication, it is critical that we get it right. And getting it right means recommending not only a wholesome, nutritious diet but also a sustainable one. Policy Options post.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

From bullfrogs to wild rice, the wackiest things the provinces protected in Canada’s new free trade deal.

When Canada’s trade ministers revealed a mass internal free trade agreement last week, the list of exemptions and items to be discussed was as long as the barriers they removed. Bull frogs, wild rice, weddings and funerals were among the integral provincial industries specifically outlined for protection. The agreement includes a requirement that only residents of the province “may be issued a licence for taking of bullfrogs for sale or barter.” So all those people from Manitoba rushing over he border to stock up on frog’s legs better watch out. National Post story.

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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

Manure and Markets – Ranting Down on the Farm

I met up with 3 fellow ecological farmers in a tomato field last week while I was delivering sustainable flowers for local event.  In general, the feeling among the farmers I talked with is somber.  Even though there is so much hype out there right now about ‘local’. Even though all the research suggests consumers are turning to more healthy food choices,   the local organic farmers I spoke with are just ‘not feeling the love’. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post by Theresa Schumilas.

It’s time to uncoop the urban chicken debate

But first, why keep chickens in the city? For the last six years, our family has enjoyed cooking and baking with fresh eggs — as wonderful as backyard tomatoes and cucumbers from within the 50-foot diet! My kids enjoy watching the hens pecking around in their outdoor cage. I enjoy the daily routine of feeding and watering. There are other hen-keepers who registered with city hall in 2009 who also reap the benefit of eggs coming out of their backyards. We organized three annual Chicken Coop Tours to which members of the public were invited — those who came were always very supportive. Waterloo Region Record post by Matthew Bailey-Dick.

Grocera offers online shopping for local food

A pair of young entrepreneurs believe they are among the first in Canada to connect people with sources of local food using online shopping and home deliveries. Patrick Valoppi and Niket Soni founded Grocera in February and now deliver fresh bread, meat, vegetables, fruit and snacks five days a week to customers around Waterloo Region. They fill orders at Herrle’s Country Farm Market, Sabletine Fine Pastries, Pure Organic Foods and the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. They mark up the food and drive the orders to their customers. “The orders are just coming to the point where we have to hire extra people to help because right now it is Patrick and myself,” Soni said. Waterloo Region Record story.

Community farm moves into National Capital Commission greenbelt land

This isn’t the community garden in your local park – thanks to a lease from the National Capital Commission, Just Food farmers have found a home in Ottawa’s greenbelt. Last week, the farming non-profit signed a 25-year lease for 150 acres of the National Capital Commission’s greenbelt land. “This city-wide resource will support food and farming in Ottawa for decades to come,” said Just Food board chair, Patricia Ballamingie. The land is intended to be a producing farm, but it will also be a hub to educate residents on how food things are grown and re-connect them with agriculture. Ottawa Metro News story.

Ontario craft brewers launch self-guided ‘discovery tours’

The association representing Ontario craft brewers has launched self-guided “discovery tours” in and around the province’s protected Greenbelt region. In addition to breweries and hops farms that welcome visitors, the routes take in cheesemakers, craft cideries, farmers markets and restaurants showcasing local food. One itinerary along the south shore of Georgian Bay, from Owen Sound to Kimberley, includes three breweries, three cideries and a hops farm. CBC Hamilton story.

Fourth annual celebration of local food stops in Oil Springs

Saturday’s sold out Food Day Canada dinner, served under a tent at the Oil Museum of Canada in Oil Springs, began four years ago with a show of hospitality. “It started on a whim, actually,” said Tracy Ranick, with the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation. Food writer Lynn Ogryzlo was planning to be in Sarnia-Lambton on that year’s Food Day Canada, a national celebration of the country’s food, and local officials offered to arrange a dinner for her. “And, in a few weeks it turned into a dinner for 80,” Ranick said. It was held at the Smith Homestead farm in St. Clair Township, featuring a menu built around locally grown and raised food. Sarnia Observer story.

Orillia Lakehead prof explores food policy

Food is the focus of Lakehead University’s latest ‘In Conversation’ event. Dr. Doug West will lead a panel discussion to explore how and why a local food procurement policy could be established in Orillia. “There are plenty of benefits to implementing this kind of policy,” explains West. “We hope this event helps to raise awareness of the importance of local food policies, while pioneering a change in attitude that would support a more sustainable community.” Simcoe.com story.

Taste Tested : Homemade Cherry Soda

I’ll be honest with you, the first time I made this soda it exploded out of the bottle and all over my friends (it still tasted delicious, just in case anyone was wondering). I have since learned that the amount of time you allow the yeast to be active is very important. Give it no more than twelve hours, and then stash it away in the fridge. The only ingredient here that most won’t have heard of is dry Champagne yeast. The good news is that not only can this yeast be found at any brew shop (wine, or beer), but it also costs next to nothing for a package that’s five times the amount needed for a small batch of soda. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post by Feast ON Communications Coordinator,

Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Local Food Act 2013

The first annual Local Food Report was released at the beginning of June, as an outcome of the Local Food Act 2013-legislation that is the first of its kind in Canada. Having read this short report, I wanted to present some highlights. As it turns out, there are some pretty cool initiatives that are planned or are already underway as an outcome of the Act. I found the following initiatives from the Local Food Report intriguing, and have included links to more information (where applicable), for those who are interested. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post by Brittany Bruce.

 

The Value Of Nature For AgricultureA Farmer’s Perspective On The ALUS Program

When Gunther Csoff became a participant in the Alternative Land Use Services program, he never imagined the benefits would be so diverse. One of the unexpected dividends came for Asian squash. The 2011 season was the first the Csoffs’ grew Asian squash so they didn’t have good traditional knowledge of bee populations, but Csoff knew that neighbours who grew cucumbers needed to bring in hives for pollination. His ALUS planting of 10 acres of prairie grass also included some wild flowers. Last summer when walking in the area, the bees were obvious. “The field was literally buzzing when the bees were there.” He didn’t need to pay for bees to be brought in. Alternative Land Use Services post.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Feeling the Heat: Ontario Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2015

It looks like Ontario is finally “feeling the heat” on climate change policy. Until recently, the government’s decision to close its coal-fired power plants was Ontario’s main contribution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Encouragingly, though, the Ontario government is now preparing to take the first of many necessary steps towards meeting its 2050 GHG reduction target (80% below 1990 emissions levels). Environmental Commissioner of Ontario news release.

Local Food News — Ontario

Grey to Green Conference, Toronto, June 1-2, 2015

Join leaders in the fields of urban design, green infrastructure, and sustainable agriculture for the Grey to Green Conference in Toronto on June 1st and 2nd, 2015. Presentations, tours and training sessions explore new developments in urban agriculture and green infrastructure that are enabling leading designers and practitioners to integrate food production into the built environment. •Explore detailed case studies of North America’s leading rooftop farming projects including Brooklyn Grange and the new 17,000 square foot Whole Foods project in Lynnfield, MA. Website.

 

Are we heading for another farm financial crisis? May 26

A free mini-conference (half-day) is being held in Guelph at One Stone Road on May 26, entitled “Are we heading for another farm financial crisis?” It looks to me like it has superb story potential. The conference is sponsored by the Institute for the Advanced Study of Food and Agricultural Policy in the Department of Food, Agricultural, and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph. Registration is required. Website.

 

Cut Down Your Grocery Bill: Foraging in the Waterloo Region

In a 2 year-long ethnographic study in Seattle, researchers found several social benefits of foraging such as, “…building community, engaging in spiritual practices, connecting with nature, supporting stewardship, having fun and recreating”[2]. A main finding was the bond foragers form with each other and the local land. By fostering a community of practice, foragers feel a sense of togetherness and pride. At the same time, foragers develop a deep understanding of natural cycles and ecosystems. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable blog.

 

Create a healthy food environment at Cobourg Community Centre

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit congratulates the Town of Cobourg for seeking public input into the types of food and snacks that people would like to see served at the Cobourg Community Centre. The CCC is a state-of-the-art facility that is the envy of many other communities. To help build on that success, the health unit would encourage the Town to ensure healthy, local food choices continue to be made available to visitors through the canteen. Northumberland News letter to the editor.

 

2015 Official VQA Wines of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly

The Grape Growers of Ontario, with the Honourable Speaker of the Legislature, Dave Levac of Brant County, hosted the 36th Annual Wine Tasting event at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, November 4. Bill George, Chair of the Grape Growers of Ontario, along with Debbie Zimmerman, CEO, are pleased to announce that the following have been chosen as the official wines of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly for 2015: Red Wine: Burning Kiln Winery 2013 Strip Room, White Wine:  Fielding Estate Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio. “This event to select the official VQA wines continues to grow in popularity and the Grape Growers of Ontario are pleased to have so many Members of Provincial Parliament attend the 36th Annual Legislative Wine Tasting,” says Bill George, Chair. Grape Growers of Ontario post.

 

Craft Beer Festival drawing strong interest

The first locally organized craft beer festival in Thunder Bay is set to take place from Aug. 14-15 at Prince Arthur’s Landing. And with roughly 50 different brews available to sample from across Ontario, organizers of BrewHa say the local response has so far been outstanding. “We knew it was going to be a hit,” said Jon Hendel and Kerry Berlinquette, the two people planning the festival. “Craft beer is such a significant movement going across Canada right now and there is a gap in this community.” Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal story.

 

Experts Find Family Farm Strength in Land Ownership Study

Magnan says it will be interesting to see what happens to provincial farmland ownership in the future. “What are the implications of a large scale change of ownership over the next 10, 20 or 30 years? We are talking about a valuable and important resource. For the last 100 years or so, the model has been the family that lives and works on the land, owns that land for the most part.” Magnan says the study demonstrates strength in the family farm, with some examples of large corporate entities being unsuccessful. FCC Express story.

 

St. Lawrence College, Sustainable Local Food Certificate

Field to Fork: Introduction to Local and Global Food Systems, Understanding Sustainable Farming: Principles and Practices, Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens, Food Security and Food Justice in Canada, Between Farm and Table: Local Food Businesses and Co-ops, Food Policy and Trends. Course Schedule 2015-2016.

 

Online Certificate in Food Security, Starting May 4, 2015

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 University post.

 

Supporting Environmental Stewardship and Livelihood Benefits in Ontario’s Greenbelt: Assessing the Potential Contribution of the Alternative Land Use Services Program

This research study assesses the potential of the Alternative Land Use Services Program (ALUS) as a tool for promoting agricultural viability and associated land stewardship in Ontario’s Greenbelt. An Alternative Land Use Services program would pay farmers for the provision of environmental services in the public interest. Using a qualitative methodological approach based on a literature review, a review of government and non-government organization documents and interviews with key stakeholders, this study compares the potential contribution of the ALUS program with that of other reasonable alternatives currently available to promote farmland protection and farm stewardship. Thesis.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy talks ‘field-to-fork’ at Durham College

  1. The field-to-fork philosophy is very popular right now, but you were one of the first chefs to pioneer the idea. How did you become a proponent of local food?
  2. I started off as a young cook always thinking of food as an expression of art, and as an artist you’re always looking for genuine experiences, things have to resonate on a deeper level. The more I learned about food, and the trade of cook, and the status quo in terms of supply, the more I realized there was not a lot we were getting from the local market…it seemed strange to me. I grew up as a kid in Toronto having food memories that were always in the context of something we anticipated each year. Asparagus in the spring, strawberries in the summer, it was a celebration when something came in season. When I was training as a cook that anticipation and celebration of seasonal bounty was not there. The luxury of fine dining was that you could have asparagus in December and strawberries all year round. But, they were terrible except when they were in season. So, about 10 years in, I decided to really turn my attention to supporting local food procurement. Durham Region post.

Local Food News — Ontario

Agri-Food Processing ‘Key Part’ Of Ontario’s Economic Future

Food and Beverage Ontario is endorsing recommendations of a recent report on Canada’s processed food trade deficit. The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute report urged the various industry stakeholders to work together to tackle the deficit and become more competitive in the global market. The CAPI report linked the deficit to a decline of investment in the sector. Blackburn News story.

Toronto chef Collin Thornton cooks up win at The Royal

The inaugural Royal International Invitation Chef Challenge served up a big win for a local chef Sunday at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and put a bright spotlight on fresh, local food. Chef Collin Thornton from the Fairmont Royal York stepped up to the plate and claimed top spot in a cooking competition against Aphisith Phongsavanh, Assistant Chef de Cuisine at New York’s Waldorf Astoria and Mike Wehrle, Executive Chef, and Dimitri Fayard, Executive Pastry Chef, at Chicago’s The Peninsula Hotels. A large crowd of excited food lovers took in the competition on The Royal’s new Food and Lifestyle Stage. Michael Bonacini, a judge on CTV’s MasterChef Canada, judged the competition, along with Rita DeMontis, Lifestyle and Food Editor for The Toronto Sun and National Food Editor for Sun Media. Ben Mulroney, anchor of ETALK, CTV’s Number 1-rated entertainment show, and award-winning chef and author Ted Reader co-hosted the event. Canada News Wire post. 

Craft beer industry settles into northeastern Ontario

The craft beer business in northeastern Ontario is gaining a full head of steam as new operations open and existing microbreweries expand. With the demise of Northern Breweries in 2006, beer production largely stopped in northeastern Ontario, but the growing popularity of craft beer is putting the region back on the brewing map. Stack Brewing in Sudbury opened in 2012 and recently purchased a new brewing system to expand its production. CBC News Sudbury story

A cash boost for Ontario Pork’s branding program

Ontario Pork’s ongoing marketing and promotional work got a huge boost Thursday after the provincial government announced funding of up to $2 million for the organization to expand its efforts. Ontario Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal made the funding announcement at Queen’s Park in Toronto. He says in a press release the funding for Ontario Pork supports the province’s local food strategy and is helping to make more local food available in Ontario’s schools, cafeterias, markets, grocery stores and restaurants. Since 2003, the provincial government has invested more than $140 million to support sales of Ontario foods. Better Farming story.

Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

Ontario’s food systems are in crises. Poor nutrition and access to healthy food are important risk factors in the alarming health, economic and social burden of chronic disease in Ontario, while simultaneously farmers and food systems workers are not able to make an adequate income. A comprehensive food and nutrition strategy is needed to address these challenges and to develop healthy, diverse and resilient food systems in Ontario that will contribute to an equitable and prosperous economy. The Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy provides the framework to improve the wholistic health and well-being of people in Ontario, reduce the financial burden of chronic disease, and strengthen the economic viability and resiliency of Ontario’s food systems. Strategy.

Bayfield Farmers Market Met First Year Goals

It sounds like the Bayfield’s Farmers Market will be running next year. Market Manager Joan Brady is quite pleased with the community Response to their first year of operation. Vendors set up every Friday on Clangregor Square, from the May 24 weekend to the weekend after Thanksgiving. Brady Explains she had two specific goals when she started the market; that it be producer-based, and that it be community-oriented. She says both of those goals were met. Blackburn News story.

OSCIA survey reveals surprising relationship between farmers and species at risk

In 2013, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) conducted a survey of producers to get a read on attitudes towards species at risk. The process yielded some surprising results; more than half of participants (69%) acknowledged that SAR loss is an issue in Ontario. “First is that they do care about species at risk and are willing to take action where reasonable and practical. Secondly, and it’s no surprise to us, is the result that 86 percent of those surveyed felt the public is unaware of how the presence of SAR effects farming operations. Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association release.

Farmers Want Support, Recognition to Protect Species at Risk

Ontario farmers may be among the best allies for the province’s species at risk, but they say they need financial and moral support to keep it up. Results of a new survey from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, which administers the Species At Risk Farm Incentive Program on behalf of the province, shows most of the 250 respondents think the lion’s share of environmental conservation responsibility falls on them. And more than 90 per cent think the public is unaware of how species at risk affects farmers. FCC Express story.

2014 Mandate letter: Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Promoting, encouraging and investing in innovative local food projects that celebrate the rich diversity of foods produced and made in Ontario, and which feed local economies and help communities grow. Creating and implementing the new Farms Forever Program. The program will help preserve the productive capacity of agricultural land close to major urban centres, support the local sourcing of food, strengthen Ontario’s agri-food sector and support young farmers. Continuing to work with partner ministers and the agricultural sector to decrease nutrient run-off, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and make our agricultural sector as resilient as possible to climate change. Strengthening pollinator health. Premier’s letter.

Local Food Symposium, February 3 and 4, 2015

Held at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the Lake, the symposium will consist of two full days with site-visits, round table discussions, and keynote speakers. Bringing people together from across the agriculture and food value chain, it will be a great opportunity to learn about some of the interesting and innovative ways more local food is being served in public sector institutions, as well as to discuss some of the challenges we all face and the potential solutions. Website.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

A feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged. Website. YouTube trailer.