Local Food News — Ontario

The Greenbelt: Protecting and Cultivating a Great Ontario Treasure

This beautiful coffee-table book is a portrait of Ontario’s Greenbelt and the people who nurture it. Stretching from the Niagara Peninsula to Tobermory – with farmland, forests, and watersheds – the Greenbelt is the largest and most protected peri-urban landscape in the world. The book also celebrates the people who live in the Greenbelt—artists, farmers, entrepreneurs, cyclists, mountain climbers, and so many others who have been enriched by what makes us quintessentially Canadian: our land. Book to be released April 17, 2017. Greenbelt post.

 

Harvests of Haldimand sheds new light on evolving local food scene

The guide includes a variety of sections, including culinary adventures, farm country tours, exploring and learning about how to grow food, a history of local farming and restaurants. “Our previous Harvests of Haldimand Map & Guide listed our farmers who sell direct to the public and restaurants that sell locally produced food, but we felt that there was a bigger story to tell about local food and the wonderful relationship that local producers have with other businesses to offer tourists and residents unique food experiences,” said Lidy Romanuk, manager of Economic Development and Tourism in Haldimand County. “This new guide is a reflection of the evolution of food in Haldimand County.” Grand River Sachem story.

 

Agricultural ‘speed dating’. That’s a thing

A collection of local producers, agriculture experts, funding agencies, tourism representatives, and restaurateurs gathered at the Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre Thursday for the Sault Ste. Marie-Algoma Forum on Food, Farms and Tourism. Facilitated by Tourism Northern Ontario with the Algoma Country Travel Association, Tourism Sault Ste Marie, the Sault Ste Marie Chamber of Commerce, the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), Take a New Approach, and Buy Algoma Buy Fresh, the forum spoke of the potential for culinary tourism in the region and the importance of pairing area producers with vendors. SooToday.com story.

 

Culinary exchange identifies room to grow

The Haliburton Highlands has plenty of potential, but is still missing out on opportunities to capitalize on the local food movement, stakeholders and councillors heard last Wednesday at county council chambers in Minden. Representatives from Prince Edward County, who had been in the Highlands last October as part of a culinary exchange, presented their findings about the area’s offerings, knowledge, marketing and attitudes to local food. They found there is still much to be done. Haliburton County Echo story.

 

Online marketing opens consumer doors for Ontario beef farmers

Farm to City, a new marketing model with a web-based ordering system, is opening up direct-to-customer marketing opportunities for beef farmers such as Rob and Maryjo Tait, of Celtic Ridge Farms. The young farm family recently launched the online ordering system and was thrilled by the response from customers. AgInnovation post.

 

Good Food Box program continues to expand in Barrie

And under the Urban Pantry Project, a partnership between the Good Food Box and FruitShare Barrie funded with a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Barrie’s Good Food Box has grown and expanded considerably over the past year, and may now be just what you need to ease your grocery budget woes and boost your healthy diet. All you do is order and pay for your box by the second Wednesday of the month, and then pick it up on the third Wednesday. The Barrie Examiner story.

 

The City Farmer

From “green roof” to Community Garden, urban agriculture has been experiencing a boom.

Over the past 7 years, “urban agriculture has really infiltrated our culture,” says Lorraine Johnson, author and editor of Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly. It’s nothing new: during World War II, homeowners in cities were encouraged to transform lawns and flowerbeds into “Victory Gardens,” augmenting the food supply. The growing interest today comes from a greater interest in fresh, local food, issues of food security, and changing esthetics. Bradford Times story.

 

Moving toward more local food

News that Thunder Bay’s urban farm group, Roots to Harvest, will partner with the public school board to develop a training farm in the middle of the city is a welcome extension of an aggressive move to embrace local food. The farm will teach city kids the rudiments of farming, a throwback to the days when farming was a way of life for most families. The urban farm will also feature demonstration and training plots for groups seeking to establish their own community gardens, a section to develop regionally adapted seeds, a section for fruits and berries, a bee hive, and a rabbit hutch to teach students about animal husbandry and humane raising of animals for food. Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal story.

 

Chef plans lineup of free learning sessions in Northumberland

Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre innovation coordinator and chef, Emilio Ojeda, has a lineup of free cafe chats in Northumberland County about different aspects of developing local food businesses. Grants and loans for expanding and starting food businesses was the focus of the first of the series and it was scheduled for earlier this week, Ojeda said in an interview.

The next one which interested people can either turn up to, or register in advance through http://www.oafvc.ca, will be held at The Dreamer Cafe on Queen Street in Port Hope. Northumberland Today story.

 

The London Brewing Co-operative opens up its new digs – and Old East celebrates

London Brewing Co-operative opened its doors to the public Saturday, and judging by the large crowd that lined up for draft or to buy one of the six beers made on site, there is a lot of appetite for local organic beer and local organic growth.  “The idea is that this building is about local agriculture. This building and all the activity therein is about local, sustainable agriculture. It is, by definition, a local food hub,” he said. The micro-brewery is anglophone Canada’s first worker-owned co-operative, Pastorius said. It is partnered with On The Move organics and shares a common philosophy to use and promote local food. London Free Press story.

 

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Love animals and hard work? You could take over this Smiths Falls, Ont., farm — for free

If you love animals, are prepared to work hard and long for the bucolic lifestyle, Stephen Overbury has a proposition for you. Overbury is looking for someone to take over his farm near Smiths Falls, Ont., as he prepares to return to Japan, where he had lived for about 15 years. But instead of selling it or renting it out, the 62-year-old is offering it up to the right person, in perpetuity — and it won’t cost a dime to take it over. CBC story.

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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 — World

3rd-graders learn value of local agriculture

Estes Elementary School third-grade Academically Intellectually Gifted students are working on a Farm Community Awareness Campaign. We want people to know more about farms, but we also want people to realize that farms are not just cows, pigs and other animals that you think of as basically boring. Farms are more interesting than you might think they are. Mountain Xpress post.

 

Year After Year, the Same State Ranks as the Best for Local Food

When a Vermont-based nonprofit that advocates for local food initiatives finds, year after year, that Vermont is the most locavore-friendly state in the country—that is, the state that makes it easiest to eat locally grown food—it may be tempting to write it off. Still, despite Vermont’s coming in first place for the fifth year in a row in the Strolling of the Heifers 2016 Locavore Index, released Monday, the ranking is more than a vanity project—it offers a compelling look at the state of small farms, and the policies that support them, across the country. TakePart story.

 

Localizing Distribution to Make Better Food Accessible to All

As we think about rewiring the food system for the better, we should aspire to collapse the distribution chain instead of adding to it. The solution is to eliminate middlemen, not simply replace them — Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and tech companies like Farmigo are already applying just-in-time models to directly connect consumers to farm-fresh food, harvesting only what’s ordered to maximize freshness and reduce waste. Food + Tech Connect guest post by Benzi Ronen, Founder of Farmigo

 

What If The Food Industry Ended Monoculture Farming?

Since 1974, the average number of items in a grocery store has increased from 9,000 to almost 44,000 today. Yet today, 75 percent of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species, finds the Food and Agriculture Organization. So while the range of products available has widened, the range of crops grown to produce those products has narrowed over the last 40+ years. This is a food system dominated by monoculture. Food + Tech Connect post.

 

Homegrown edibles trend in county

County residents are investing in more homegrown fruits, vegetables, and chickens, according to three local business officials. Jon Hefley of The Lumberyard in Hillsboro has noticed more people have started to grow potatoes, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and other common foodstuffs instead of purchasing them at grocery stores. “Homegrown food just tastes so different,” Hefley said. “Prices are going up on a lot of groceries, and with the drop in beef prices, people are scared, too. There is a lot of uncertainty.” The Lumberyard has stocked small chicken coops, some of which look like little red barns, to meet another trend Hefley has noticed. Hillsboro Star-Journal story.

 

There’s something cooking at the Vogelmorn Club

Homegrown food businesses will be able to operate out the Vogelmorn Club’s newly installed kitchen this spring. The kitchen will be rented on an hourly basis so goods can be produced for markets in accordance with food safety laws. The Vogelmorn Community Group came up with the idea after asking Brooklyn people how they’d like to use the old bowling clubrooms on Mornington Road. Many requested a place with a proper hygiene certificate to press, package, and make goods they could sell in markets around Wellington. Stuff.co.nz story.

 

How Small Grocers are Banding Together to Change Food Retail For the Good

So he told Sarah Weiner, who co-founded and runs the awards via the Seedling Projects, that he thought stores like his and other independents needed to pool together as the presenting sponsor of the Good Food Awards. “Through the process of talking through it and testing the idea out with a few people, the idea of the collaborative was born,” Mogannam said. The initial idea was two-fold. They would create a network of independent retailers who could sponsor the Good Food Awards collectively as an entity. They would also help to grow the sale of organic and sustainable products by championing the producers and pushing sales in their stores. Civil Eats story.

 

Beijing’s First Culinary Incubator, Hatchery

Based in Beijing, China, Hatchery is an innovative platform that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and local communities to develop, test, launch, and enjoy exciting new food and beverage ideas. Since our founding in 2015, we have been working hard to bring more of the world’s unique flavors and cuisines to China. Hatchery is currently headquartered at a multi-purpose space in Tuanjiehu, Beijing. Within the venue is a 250-square-meter dining area with seating for up to 100 diners, fully stocked bar, private dining rooms, and a table-tennis table. The Hatchery kitchen occupies 180 square meters with bakery, large food preparation areas, professional kitchen equipment and food storage facilities. The Beijinger blog.

 

Agrihoods: A new housing trend is taking root

“How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm?” asks the old song. The answer may be: Build them an agrihood. Feeding off the continuing interest in eating fresh, local food, developers are ditching golf courses and designing communities around farms, offering residents a taste of the pastoral life — and tasty produce, too. The latest incarnation of harvest homes is The Cannery, a community designed around a small farm in Davis, about 20 miles west of California’s capital, Sacramento. Press Herald story.

 

The World’s First Floating Urban Dairy Farm Will Be Built In Rotterdam

The Floating Farm will be home to 60 urban dairy cows that will produce local milk, cheese, cream, butter, and yogurt. “Our idea is to create as much food as we can locally,” says Peter van Wingerden, director of Beladon, a building developer that specializes in floating structures and that envisions building fully floating cities in the future. “The long-term idea is to create cities that are completely self-sufficient on essential elements like clean water, energy, food, and waste—to create this inside these cities on oceans,” he says. Fast Company post.

 

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Review: The War on Food

At what point will any of us have the balls to stand up and say ‘you know what, it’s time for a new corporate model, one that is a mod of incorporation’ and be ready to throw tomatoes instead of capsicums, even though we have no tomatoes to throw…and that’ll make sense if and when you see the show. Which you must, because there is a wonderful economy of homegrown talent happening here, and it’s important to foster this produce. Fresh in thought and in fun, ‘The War on Food’ will leave you thinking and hungry for more. And considering the ending, there is more to come from this fantastic mob of passionate young creatives. And that’s a good thing…a very very good thing. OUTinPerth review.

Local Food News — Ontario

Food hubs for 21st century farmers: New centres target local food niche markets

Two Rivers Food Hub aims to build markets for small- and medium-sized farms by combining orders and delivery to attract volume buyers, says general manager Bruce Enloe. “We’re creating the missing piece.” Food hubs have popped up across the province for the last decade. According to the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, food hubs can be actual or virtual places where food is collected and resold to processors, retailers, or restaurants but may also provide space for food preparation or processing. In a recent survey, the centre identified at least 77 hubs in Ontario. There are as many as 300 south of the border. Farmers Forum story.

 

Online local food marketplace links farmers and chefs

Waterloo Region start-up Local Line has launched a website where chefs can buy top quality local food from farmers through an easy to use, time-saving system. Farmers can set up their own profiles and promote their products, available quantities, delivery schedules and payment terms, as well as any particular production practices or certifications, directly to buyers. AgAnnex story. Website.

 

Wellington Country Marketplace delivers local food value

“I still like to think we’re traditionally a butcher shop,” said Brenda Murison, owner of Wellington Country Marketplace, on Jones Baseline, between Eastview Road and Speedvale Avenue. “There are certain things we focus on like pork, beef and chicken and we venture a little bit into local Ontario fish.” They also sell a variety of locally sourced products including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, eggs, condiments, pre-made meals and fresh-baked goods prepared in their onsite bakery. Guelph Mercury story.

 

Eight local products made with GTA-sourced ingredients

While most gung-ho locavores in The 6 source their products from Southern Ontario farms, a coterie of cooks have started using Toronto-grown produce to make radically local dishes. (Although Parkdale may not have the bucolic allure of St. Jacobs or Prince Edward County, the neighbourhood is home to a few dozen impressive apple trees.) Once-neglected crops are now being harvested in the name of jam, butter, beer and even ink. Here, eight products made with GTA-sourced ingredients. Toronto Life story.

 

Durham Farm Fresh project gets government boost in Port Perry

Durham produce is getting a boost thanks to funding to help promote locally grown crops. Jeff Leal, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, visited Willowtree Farm in Port Perry to announce an investment of $10,000 in Durham Farm Fresh’s Find Your Flavour project, which promoted locally grown produce in the 2015 growing season. DurhamRegion.com story.

 

Agri-Food Venture Centre in Colborne gets grant

Just prior to Friday’s announcement local MPP Lou Rinaldi described the funds as assisting in the operation of the centre which opened earlier this year. A media release says the Northumberland-based project “will create four part-time jobs” in the facility. The funding is through the Local Food Fund that “supports innovative local food projects that increase demand and sales of Ontario food, stimulate private sector investment and strengthen Ontario’s agri-food sector.” Northumberland Today story.

 

Swap Food For Fines at Bruce County Libraries

“Patrons can come in to the library if the have overdue fines, they can give us a non-perishable food item and we will waive $2 for each item that they bring in, up to a maximum of $10,” says Legacy. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

 

Saunders Farm statement on Bradley-Craig barn

Our mission here at Saunders Farm is to create amazing fun, food and memories, and our vision is to be the most amazing family farm in the world. Over the years, 6 farmers have contacted us to disassemble their own falling-down barns, and to re-assemble the buildings onto our farm to preserve their heritage. We’ve re-built and restored 11 heritage farm buildings on our property. Richcraft came to our family as we have been excellent and diligent stewards of Goulbourn heritage.  Richcraft believes that our publically visited farm would be a great location to showcase this building to the public. We agree, as we want our heritage preserved. StittsvilleCentral.ca story.

 

Boundary deal is ‘dinosaur thinking’

The National Farmers Union of Ontario (NFU-O) is concerned about the loss of Brant County farmland. This farm group calls for preserving the “protected agriculture ribbon” that encircles Brantford. This ribbon was created by provincial law in 1980. Why then are Brantford and Brant County doing the exact opposite? The tentative Brantford-Brant boundary deal goes against the reports by Crombie, the OFA, and the position of the NFU-O. The draft boundary deal would pave over much of the “protected agriculture ribbon.” Brant News opinion.

 

City wants to take tender fruit land out of the greenbelt

Greenbelt legislation, established in 2005, is undergoing its first 10-year review. On Thursday, city councillors voted to add more than 100 new hectares of land to the greenbelt. But they also voted to remove a large section of tender fruit land in lower Stoney Creek, and 28 hectares of farmland in Waterdown. The issue was the subject of a six-hour meeting that veered between two major arguments. One side wanted to keep any and all farmland under greenbelt protection, saying climate change and dwindling agricultural land threaten local food. The other said that the parcels are surrounded by urban activity, and no longer appropriate for farming anyway. They want to sell the land to developers. CBC News story.

 

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A Brief History of Chili Peppers

When I was in Portugal, stuffing my face and losing my socks, I kept thinking back to the powerful chili and how its popularity began with the trade routes that shuttled between colonies of the Portuguese empire. The history of the chili pepper is one of the more interesting examples of a simple, powerful food with a complex story. Legal Nomads post.

Local Food News — World

Sprout: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launches new innovation hub to back ‘digital agriculture’ entrepreneurs

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) says it has tens of millions of dollars ready to kick-start an agricultural innovation hub launched by the Prime Minister today. It is part of a broad strategy by the NFF to harness new technology and big data to cut the costs of production and boost output. “Digital agriculture is the next wave of productivity” and could add as much as $6 billion to farm income over the next four years, according to NFF chief executive Simon Talbot. ABC News story.

 

EU backs €250m funding for milk, fruit and vegetable school schemes

The new measures will strengthen and boost funding for an EU scheme to provide fruit, vegetables and milk products in schools. Sharing out the €250m fairly for healthy eating measures is part of the plan, as well as putting an onus on member states to do more to promote healthy eating habits, local food chains, organic farming and fight against food waste. The educational measure should also better connect children with agriculture through farm visits and the distribution of local specialities such as honey. Farmers Journal story.

 

Can Large, Corporate Urban Farms Grow ‘Local Food’?

Under the glass-and-metal canopy of a sprawling greenhouse in Yardley, Pennsylvania, BrightFarms is growing salad greens. A lot of salad greens. Arugula and herbs and the occasional tomato–about 360,000 pounds per year–sprout up in white hydroponic trays. When the plants are ready, they are harvested, packed, and driven up the street (or just next door) to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey grocers where they will be sold. In the coming year, the company plans to expand its presence into the Chicago and Washington, D.C. areas, boosted by a recent $13.7-million round of funding. “We look at BrightFarms as an expansion of the local food movement,” CEO Paul Lightfoot told Civil Eats. Civil Eats post.

 

Tift County Schools honored at state capitol for Farm to School achievements

Tift County Schools was recognized with the Golden Radish Award, a prestigious state-wide Farm to School distinction which acknowledges the outstanding leadership of school representatives building comprehensive Farm to School programs. The school district was recognized for its efforts to educate students on nutrition and agriculture by State School Superintendent Richard Woods, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney. Tifton Gazette story.

 

Farm in a box: Shipping containers reused for fresh produce

containers have been turned into housing, art, even playgrounds. Now, a Boston company is recycling them into high-tech mobile farms as part of a new wave of companies hoping to bring more innovation to agriculture. Freight Farms and other indoor agriculture companies are looking to meet the growing demand for high-quality, locally grown and sustainable produce by farming fruits and vegetables in non-traditional spaces such as warehouses, industrial buildings and containers. Washington Post story.

 

Homefarm combines retirement homes and vertical urban farms

Architecture firm SPARK unveiled Homefarm, a visionary design that tackles food security and elder care challenges in one fell swoop. Presented at the World Architecture Festival, the conceptual proposal combines urban retirement housing with vertical urban farming into a live-farm typology that’s beautiful, productive, and empowering for its residents. In addition to its aquaponic vertical farming system, the eco-conscious Homefarm also includes a roof garden, fruits and vegetable marketplace, and biomass power plant. Inhabitat post.

 

Pedalling Compost While Building a Better Community

As the company’s name implies, the Compost Pedallers sends a team of bicyclists around to homes and businesses, where they collect kitchen and yard scraps and pedal them directly to Austin urban farms and community gardens. Over the past three years, using only bikes, Fedako says the company has diverted half a million pounds of waste from landfills and donated $13,000 worth of natural fertilizers to local growers. Civil Eats post.

 

KinSol Brings Dehydrators to Farmers in Developing Countries

This week we chatted with KinoSol, an Iowa State University based startup providing small-scale, solar-powered food dehydrator for fruits, vegetables and grains, to subsistence farmers in developing countries. The KinoSol team, made up of Clayton Mooney, Mikayla Sullivan, Ella Gehrke and Elise Kendall, started the company as students after becoming finalists in the 2014/15 Thought For Food Challenge. Our interview has been edited for brevity. Food+Tech Connect interview.

 

Demo At FoodBytes! Brooklyn

In partnership with Rabobank, the world’s premier bank in the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, and SF New Tech, San Francisco’s largest and longest-running tech showcase event, we’re bringing The FoodBytes! Summit to Brooklyn, New York on March 3, 2016. FoodBytes! Brooklyn is designed to bring new ideas in food and agribusiness together with capital. This conference will help food industry investors meet new and innovative companies that are disrupting food distribution, manufacturing, production and more. Apply today to be one of ten companies selected to demo in front of investors, media, technologists and corporates. Website.

 

Blue River Tech Raises $17m Series B to Build 4th Generation Robot for Production Ag

Blue River’s units use computer vision and machine learning to observe and identify plants in need of chemical treatment, weeding or thinning; make a fast decision on the appropriate course of action; and execute that action in real time. The company claims that this precision application of inputs — in comparison to the broad-based application of fertilizer and chemicals that traditional equipment allow — will reduce the amount of chemicals used in agriculture by 90 percent. Agfunder News story.

 

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Drone Gives Florida Strawberry Farms an Edge

As the human population has increasingly encroached on this country’s farm fields, some growers have gotten a black eye for their use of chemicals and water, said Highland Precision Ag founder and President Steve Maxwell. He said the technology his company is refining can change that. Over the next three years, the system Highland Precision Ag is developing will give farmers custom computer dashboards on which they can monitor their crops, follow recipes for treating disease and treat only those areas of their fields that need it. Food Manufacturing story.

Local Food News — Canada

Chef Boban On Sustainability

I reached out to Chef Boban for a chat and not surprisingly the conversation turned to the need for sustainably sourced foods. “We, chefs, are in a position to make a difference and so we must use that to bring awareness.” Chef Boban is speaking about sourcing local food, wasting nothing in the kitchen, and inspiring young chefs of tomorrow. Interview with Corporate Chef Boban Kovachevich of Executive Hotels & Resorts/President of the BC Chefs Association.

 

Knives and Forks set to feed local food economy

Knives and Forks is a novel approach to financing food businesses that allows neighbours “to invest in local, non-stock companies. It’s a tool that’s been underexplored,” said Azaroff, who hopes the model will now be applied to other sectors. Vancity is providing administrative and non-financial support but the co-op is not a Vancity product. A key goal is to engage people in their local food economy, said Rory Holland, a former tech entrepreneur who brought the U.S.-based Slow Money movement to Canada and is a key instigator behind the co-op. The Vancouver Sun story.

 

Local foods prepared by top chefs get rave reviews in Labrador

An all-star team of chefs made a mouth-watering, gourmet dinner this week for some 100 fans of fine dining at the Canuck Club on 5 Wing Goose Bay. Marner said it can be surprising to see what ingredients they’re given. But it’s easy to be inspired by the quality of local produce, he said, like the collard greens, swiss chard, kale, and turnips that were just pulled out of the ground. The three chefs are taking part in this year’s From This Rock Culinary Tour, which is visiting a dozen towns in Newfoundland and Labrador this fall. Teams of some of the province’s top chefs prepare multi-course dinners inspired by locally sourced foods. CBC News Newfoundland & Labrador story.

 

Wolfville celebrates food and film as Devour festival gets underway

Devour directors Michael Howell and Lia Rinaldo believe the festival is now the largest food and film festival in the world. Presented by Taste of Nova Scotia, 14 of Nova Scotia’s finest chefs came together to create a sensory exploration at the gala. They featured 12 different film-themed dishes. Following the gala, guests took in a screening of the Academy Award-winning 1987 classic, Babette’s Feast. Pullman, who introduced the film, called it his favourite food film of all time. He took to the stage for a post-screening session with the evening’s host, Food Network star Bob Blumer. The two men are neighbours in Hollywood. Kings County Register/Advertiser story.

 

Demand doubles for Tree Island Yogurt in past year

Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt has more than doubled its production in the last year. This means twice as much local milk is used each week to make yogurt, and 120 pounds of B.C. honey  to make cream-top yogurts. The Courtenay-based business has expanded into Thrifty Foods locations and into the Okanagan. Comox Valley Record story.

 

Why cities are the future of sustainable food

After a 20th century marked by the rise of industrial food, people are starting to see how much the way we eat affects our bodies, our social structures, and the planet. Cities, where most people live and where much of the world’s economic action takes place, are leading a charge of healing and connection, driven in large part by local entrepreneurs. It’s a trend that persists even though most of our food is not grown in urban centres. The Vancouver Observer story.

 

An island orchard: How one couple is working towards Newfoundland food security

As spring claws its way out from under a back-breaking winter, two untested farmers near Hughes Brook are equally determined to get their dream sprouting: Crow Brook Orchard. Growing nectarines, sweet cherries, grapes, and more non-native fruits has preoccupied Annette George and her husband Andre Charlebois since they moved to Newfoundland from New Brunswick in 2012, settling near where George grew up on the north shore of the Bay of Islands. “It’s doable. And when people say it’s not doable, it makes me more determined to make it doable,” said George, radiating a rubber-boots optimism. CBC News Newfoundland & Labrador story.

 

Cape Breton Food Hub finishes first season of deliveries

The hub was formed last fall. It connects fresh food from local producers to Cape Bretoners. But with all that success comes some lessons learns, Lake says. “For example, we didn’t know that people take so much vacation in the summer. So, every week not all of our customers order. So our intention is next year we’ll probably double the number of customers that we have.” CBC News Nova Scotia story.

 

Soil Mate: Linking consumers with local food growers

With so many people in Vancouver, B.C., and nationwide becoming increasingly more conscious of where their food comes from, the need for an innovative and convenient way to track down locally-grown produce is paramount. Connecting local people directly with their local farmers, Kelowna start-up Soil Mate, which launched back in May 2014, operates a farm-to-table networking site that matches consumers with their local food and drink growers, raisers, producers and supporters. The site also allows consumers to pinpoint specific growers and products, as well as stores and restaurants that support those local growers and carry/use their produce. Vancity Buzz story.

 

Loblaws won’t block new food store from opening in old Shop Easy

People living in Saskatoon’s City Park neighbourhood have cleared one hurdle in their effort to keep a local food store. The neighbourhood’s only existing full service grocery store, the Shop Easy on 7th Avenue, is closing in a few days and the property is up for sale. Residents worried that its corporate owner Loblaws, would legally block whoever buys it from selling food there, potentially turning the area into a “food desert” and forcing them to shop outside the neighbourhood. CBC Saskatoon story.

 

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Best before dates lead to waste by consumers

Food waste costs the Canadian economy an estimated $31 billion a year. Much of that waste starts with consumers tossing out food that’s still good to eat. Lindsay Coulter, known as the “Queen of Green” of the David Suzuki Foundation, says “about a third of all the food produced in the world” is wasted. She attributes a vast majority of that waste to consumers believing the best before date means food has gone “bad that day.” Global News story.

Local Food News — World

Why the Next President Will Need a National Food Policy

Last November, we published an op-ed article in the Washington Post calling on the president to establish a National Food Policy (NFP). Given that the production and consumption of food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity, our premise was that it deserved the same attention as such well-established federal policy areas as national security, the environment, education, or healthcare. Yet, despite its increasingly evident importance to the health of our people and our environment, the U.S. has no NFP — no plan or agreed-upon set of principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole. Medium post.

 

The big business behind the local food

Consumers’ appetite for local foods is exploding. Overall, local foods generated $11.7 billion in sales in 2014, and will climb to $20.2 billion by 2019, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm. Not only has there been huge growth in the number of farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets, but grocery chains and big box retailers, including Wal-Mart, are elbowing their way in, aggressively expanding and marketing their locally grown offerings for sale. Fortune story.

 

California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses

A government official appears at a man’s door.  The man has been breaking the law: He has sold bread baked at home. This isn’t a page from Kafka—it happened to Mark Stambler in Los Angeles. For decades, Stambler has followed traditional methods to bake loaves of French bread.  The ingredients are simple: distilled water, sea salt, wild yeast and organic grains.  Stambler even mills the grain himself.  To make it easier to steam loaves, he built a wood-fired oven in his own backyard.  Stambler’s loaves came in first place at the Los Angeles County Fair and the California State Fair. Soon after that, Stambler got the idea to expand his hobby into a home business, which became Pagnol Boulanger.  Word of mouth spread.  In June 2011, The Los Angeles Times profiled Stambler and his bread in a full-page feature. Unlike his bread, that profile was bittersweet.  He was busted the very next day. Forbes story.

 

California Homemade Food Act

A city, county, or city and county shall not prohibit a cottage food operation, as defined in Section 113758 of the Health and Safety Code, in any residential dwellings, but shall do one of the following: (1) Classify a cottage food operation as a permitted use of residential property for zoning purposes. (2) Grant a nondiscretionary permit to use a residence as any cottage food operation that complies with local ordinances prescribing reasonable standards, restrictions, and requirements concerning spacing and concentration, traffic control, parking, and noise control relating to those homes. California Assembly Bill No. 1616.

 

Welsh food centres team up to support £7bn plan

Wales’s three food centres are to collaborate to support the Welsh government’s Food and Drink Action Plan to grow the sector by 30% to £7bn by the year 2020. Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector post.

 

More women taking up hunting; quest for local food, cultural shift behind growth

More women are taking up the largely male-dominated sport of hunting to stock their freezers with local foods and as cultural influences, including movie heroines and marketers, make it more socially acceptable. Many of the new female hunters did not grow up hunting and are joining spouses or boyfriends in the sport, researchers say. Hunting outfitters are tapping into that. Movies like “The Hunger Games,” ”The Hobbit,” and “Brave,” which feature skilled female archers, have driven more girls and women to the sport, researchers say. Global News story.

 

JetBlue Has A Real, Working Farm At JFK Airport In New York City

JetBlue, everyone’s favorite airline if only because you get unlimited snacks, announced something a bit unexpected late last week. It’s not a new destination, nor some kind of fun sale—but an urban farm, based right outside the JetBlue terminal at New York City’s decidedly un-pastoral JFK airport. This past Thursday, discount airline JetBlue revealed that the company has set up a 24,000-square-foot farm just outside Terminal 5 in JFK airport, in Queens, New York. It’s actually an interesting design; because the farm is set up on concrete, there’s no natural soil to be used, so containers or planters are a must. The beds are made of 2,300 black plastic milk cartons bolted together, and the soil is, appropriately enough, mostly constructed of mulch made from composted food waste donated by restaurants in Terminal 5. Modern Farmer story.

 

‘Farm To Air’? Why JetBlue Is Farming At A New York Airport

“If it sounds crazy from the outside, it sounds mind-blowingly dumb inside an airport community. A lot of people raised their eyebrows,” Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s manager of sustainability, says. But she decided to go for it anyway, in part because the company was already making soil with composted JetBlue food waste in the Hudson Valley. The Salt story.

 

Ten amazing food market stalls around the world

Everyone knows markets offer great foodie experiences, but finding top produce needs local knowledge. We asked bloggers and food experts for their favourites – whether you fancy sushi, sausage or chai with a twist. The Guardian story.

 

Halloween event happening at Discovery Harbour: Pumpkinferno

Pumpkinferno got its start at Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Village three years ago, with attendance averaging more than 36,000 people annually. As well, the eastern Ontario entry has won multiple awards, including Ottawa Tourism’s Best New Company of the Year and Ontario’s Best New Event from Festivals and Events Ontario in 2013. Orillia Packet & Times story.

 

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The World’s First Robot Farm Requires No (Human) Farmers At All

Indoor farming, hyper-futuristic and spotless high-tech farms, have long been pegged as a possible future of farming. They’re low-profile, easy on the environment, and can be made to produce massive quantities of food, especially quick-growing crops like lettuces, very easily. The newest mega-farm is enormous, yes, but interesting for another reason: It’s run entirely by robots. One of the newest, from a Japanese company called SPREAD, takes that whole idea a step further by fully automating the entire process. According to Co.Design, SPREAD, which already operates a few indoor farms around Japan, will open a new, enormous “vegetable factory” outside Kyoto sometime in 2017. The new farm will focus on lettuce, which grows easily indoors and in these environments, and will be able to pump out 10 million heads of lettuce in a year, more than three times as much as the next largest SPREAD farm. Modern Farmer story.

Local Food News — Ontario

New Food Truck Rolls Onto U of G Campus

Something’s cooking on four wheels at U of G, and it’s rolling to a campus location near you. Sporting a flaming exterior and a “GryphN’” wielding kitchen utensils, Gryph N’ Grille is U of G’s new food truck. Operated by Hospitality Services, the food truck has been well received, says Ed Townsley, assistant director, Food and Retail Services. Featuring a menu of locally-sourced food prepared fresh on the truck, Gryph N’ Grille made its first appearance Sept. 14 in front of Creelman Hall. That’s also when public health inspector Kelly Briscoe gave her seal of approval. Since then, the food truck has served about 350 customers per day, says Townsley. University of Guelph post.

 

Pigstock

Pigstock is a unique day of learning for the culinary industry followed by an intimate consumer dinner. It celebrates the mangalitsa pig, a unique heritage breed that grows a thick woolly coat similar to that of a sheep. This furry little creature is celebrated the world over for it’s juicy, strong flavour. Come learn from local farmers raising heritage breeds, including Perth Pork and Sonrisa Farms, hear from award winning butchers from near and far, participate in charcuterie demonstrations and of course, dig into some seriously delicious mangalitsa eats. Workshops will be taught by Christoph & Isabel Wiesner, Austrian Mangalitza breeders and seam butchery experts. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post.

 

Facilitating Urban Agriculture with ‘Tactical’ Policy Changes

These efforts are part of a broader local food strategy supported by several City staff that is being spearheaded by the City’s Public Health Department. For example, we found that some of our land use policies created barriers to setting up farmer’s markets. So we changed them. We amended the Urban Hamilton Official Plan and the seven zoning-by-laws to permit urban farmers markets in many more places across the city, such as the parking lots of community centres and places of worship. We also made some changes to the sign by-law to make sure that farmers markets can advertise themselves appropriately. Raise the Hammer story.

 

The (health promoting qualities of the) colour purple

For 28 years, Shelley and Tony Spruit have grown wheat, soybeans and corn — mainly for animal feed and ethanol — making their Winchester-area farm typical of those in Eastern Ontario. Two years ago, they decided to start going against the grain. They bought an additional 50 acres to dedicate to heritage and non-genetically-modified crops for food. They now grow some astounding and colourful things: glossy dark purple corn that dates back centuries in Peru; graceful hull-less barley developed in Canada; stunning Ethiopian purple barley; beautiful blue Utrecht wheat; mammoth Russian sunflowers with golden heads as big as beachballs. Ottawa Citizen story.

 

The hub of an opportunity

Food hubs are moving north, making it easier for medium-size farms to break into ‘local’ sales without all the marketing. Trissia Mellor is on a mission to boost the sustainability of farmers and small businesses in eastern Ontario. In Northumberland County’s economic development and tourism department, she’s the energetic agriculture manager, and she’s also heavily involved in getting the new Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) up and running. The venture centre is one of a growing number of regional food hubs in Canada that is using consumers’ appetite for local food to benefit local farmers, small businesses and rural communities. Country Guide story.

 

#FeastOn Nights

This fall, Feast ON-certified restaurants across Ontario will be offering unique dining experiences designed to highlight Ontario food and drink. Participating restaurants throughout the province will create special dining experiences that showcase Ontario beef and cow’s milk cheese, produced by the Beef Farmers of Ontario and Dairy Farmers of Canada, and powered by Pass The Table. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance press release.

 

Jamie Kennedy brings his passion for local food to Bracebridge

“One of the basic premises of the slow food movement is that communities around the world should produce their own food within their own little food economy and not rely on international trade or industrial food production in order to feed the people,” explains Kennedy, whose commitment to sustainable agriculture and advocacy of local food has been unwavering and nationally recognized. MuskokaRegion.com post.

 

Thunder Bay senior home residents soon to eat more local food

An area farmer says a program to bring locally grown food to three city-run seniors’ homes in Thunder Bay is good for business. Kevin Belluz says the recent agreement to supply beets, onions, cabbage and carrots to the homes year-round means his operation is getting busier. Belluz said he has had to hire three more people to help meet the demand. CBC News Thunder Bay story.

 

Community challenge looks for fresh ideas to improve food security

This year’s strategic grant will fund an initiative that will tangibly strengthen the relationship between local food systems and food security, contributing to the longer-term development and resilience of local food systems. “With this second New Leaf grant, the Community Foundation will have invested a quarter-million dollars into tackling issues around food security in our city through this program alone,” said Marco Pagani, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Ottawa. “By so doing, we’re signalling our serious commitment to working with the community to find real and lasting solutions to this critical problem in our city.” Ottawa Community News story.

 

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference registration now open

Registration is now open for the fifth annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference hosted by the Cities of Belleville and Quinte West, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This year’s conference theme is “Creativity + Collaboration = Action” and will focus on innovative businesses and organizations that realize the value of collaboration to help pave the way to success. Participants will have the opportunity to tour local food sites, collaborate with local food stakeholders, and be inspired by speakers and network with peers and industry experts. Eastern Ontario AgriNews story.

 

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Examining the ‘Fresh Not Fake’ Trend

The current trend many manufacturers face is the “fresh not fake” trend. This can be a more complex consumer need to address than removing or adding an ingredient, especially when companies are in the business of manufacturing foods that maintain stringent quality standards within complex and national distribution channels. The definition of fresh may not even be clear to consumers or manufacturers (similar to many terms used in the health and wellness space). However, it appears to be contributing to the noticeable decline in sales for categories including breakfast cereals and frozen meals. In the morning meal occasion for instance, consumers are increasingly seeking higher protein offerings – benefits delivered by eggs and Greek yogurt more so than ready-to-eat cereal. Similarly, consumer perceptions of frozen foods as highly processed products full of sodium and preservatives likely contributed to the decline of frozen meal sales. Ipsos Ideas research.

Local Food News — World

UK Government Pushes for More Local Food Labelling

The government is calling on food producers and shops to give more information on labels about where in Britain their food comes from, as new research shows that almost 80 per cent of people see buying local food as a top priority. Any provision of extra information would be on a voluntary basis, but compulsory country of origin labelling (CoOL) for fresh and frozen pork, poultry meat and lamb was introduced across the EU in April. The Dairy Site post.

 

Sharing farm life through Casey’s pizza

Food grown by dedicated farmers and sourced, served and enjoyed locally is being emphasized by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) with the launch this month of “Homegrown Food. Hometown Values.” The program was launched in partnership with Casey’s General Store. The Iowa-based company, now the country’s fifth-largest chain of pizza kitchens, sources most toppings for its popular breakfast pizzas (including meat, eggs and cheese) from farms in the Midwest. Iowa Farmer Today story.

 

Scottish Food Challenge Blog: 10 things I learned eating Scottish for a month

When I decided to eat only Scottish food for a month, I wanted to celebrate the very best Scottish food. That’s why I picked August, prime harvest time. If I had gone for March, during the notorious “hungry gap”, my challenge would have been near impossible, and I would have struggled to share much enjoyment from food whatsoever. It turns out I was wrong to assume I could celebrate Scottish food for an entire month, even during August. I had failed to take into account the sheer amount of work involved with sourcing ingredients and making everything from scratch. So, although the month featured some fantastic produce and there were moments of absolute brilliance, I also spent parts of the month wondering where my next meal was coming from and whether I could face another bowl of porridge. Scotsman Food & Drink blog.

 

Are Hospital Farms the Next Big Thing in Healthcare Reform?

This summer, St. Luke’s Hospital started sending all new moms home from the hospital with a basket of fresh produce, recipes, and literature about the importance of a healthy diet. All of the produce in the basket was grown on an organic farm on the hospital’s Anderson campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The hospital—part of a six-campus network—has been running a farm on the 500-acre grounds since 2014. “Our mission is to provide great healthcare and part of that is educating patients about the benefits of a plant-based, organic diet,” explains Ed Nawrocki, president of the Anderson campus. Civic Eats story.

 

BSU commits $300,000 to Muncie Food Hub

Ball State University has earmarked nearly $300,000 to help establish a regional food hub to ramp up the supply of locally produced food. Trying to establish an East Central Indiana food hub to supply not only retail but also wholesale and institutional markets like restaurants, schools, hospitals or universities will be a risky undertaking. Muncie Star Press story.

 

Soil Association Scotland paves the way for ‘Good Food’ ethos in Scottish schools

Celebrations are in place as the Food for Life Scotland Education Framework celebrates one year of success. Soil Association Scotland is now working to develop it within more schools across Scotland. Piloted in 23 Pathfinder schools across Scotland, the Framework has engaged with 3,200 children and 290 teachers. Its main aim is to transform their food culture by integrating good food knowledge and activity throughout the curriculum, enhancing the provision of good food in the dining hall, and taking good food messages out into the wider community. Scotland News.Net story.

 

Canadian’s vegetables-only restaurant a hit in New York

Cohen started with a small, 18-seat restaurant and soon was so busy she once turned away Leonardo DiCaprio. In February, she moved to a new space five times larger, and the crowd has followed. But while vegetables are the stars of her plates, she doesn’t want Dirt Candy labelled a vegetarian restaurant. “Vegetarian restaurants, I think, tend to be a little bit more healthier, maybe a little bit more political, or a little bit more environmental. We just really want to serve good food.” CBC News story.

 

Portland elementary school embraces worms, weeding and watersheds

Like many elementary schools around the state, Longfellow Elementary School in Portland has a school garden, and students grow seedlings in the classroom to plant, study the life cycle of plants and eventually harvest the food they’ve grown and use it in a school lunch. But fifth-graders are taking their environmental studies a step further, with a yardscaping project, a yearlong vermiculture project and an entire study unit on watersheds. “It’s wonderful. These kids are so far beyond where we were as kids,” said Richard Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at the school. Press Herald story.

 

Green-fingered residents promote benefits of homegrown produce

Green-fingered residents promoted the benefits of homegrown food as part of a national campaign. Havannah Lane Allotment, in Parr hosted its annual day to celebrate National Allotment Week which aims to get more people involved in the home-grown fun. Activities included a tombola, face-painting and many cake, fruit and vegetable stalls manned by plot owners selling the ‘fruits’ of their labours. St Helens Star story.

 

Food Secretary Launches Application for EU Protection of Forfar Bridies

An application to grant Forfar bridies protected European status has been lodged by two Angus bakeries. The Forfar Bridie Producers Association, a collaborative team made up of McLaren & Son Bakers and Saddlers, have formally submitted their application for Protected Food Name (PFN) status for the famous Scottish snack. If the application is successful, Forfar bridies would be granted legal protection against imitation. The savoury treat could sit alongside the likes of Parma ham, champagne and other delicacies from across Europe in being granted the status. stv.tv story.

 

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Why world leaders dined on trash at the U.N.

There was nothing unusual about 30 world leaders, including French President François Hollande and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sitting down Sunday for a meal prepared by some of the world’s most famous chefs. That is, of course, until the diners took a closer look at the U.S.-theme menu: “Landfill salad,” consisting of vegetable scraps and rejected apples and pears. A vegetable burger made of “pulp left over from juicing,” the patty served on a “repurposed bread bun.” Washington Post story.

Local Food News — World

Local Continues Its Ascent As A Marker Of Quality And Trust

As a mark of premium distinction, foods and beverages with a local angle have been rising stars within a crowded field of designations that speak to premium quality, including organic and natural, “free-of” products and those that are artisanal or handmade. The Hartman Group has been tracking the term’s meteoric rise to stardom for years now. In our Organic & Natural 2014 report, we found that “the authenticity halo around organic and natural has begun to fade, and local foods and beverages are poised to surpass them as a symbol of trust and transparency.” Harman Group post.

 

45 Cities Will Sign Urban Food Policy Pact on World Food Day in Milan

The Milan Expo began in May, and focuses on the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Cities will be vital in accomplishing the goal of feeding the world; around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas, and the global proportion of people living in cities will likely reach 65 percent by 2025. The Urban Food Policy Pact (UFPP) will unite city leaders worldwide for the creation of more just and sustainable urban food systems. The pact will address the potential of cities to contribute to food security through urban agriculture, and its proponents expect it to be one of the most significant legacies of the Milan Expo 2015. Food Tank post. Pact.

 

Food hubs to drive rural food revolution

More than 10,000 new jobs are set to be added to the UK’s growing food and farming industry as a network of new food hubs takes shape across England with building work expected to begin early next year, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced today. The 17 government-backed Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs), stretching from Cumbria to Cornwall, will help drive up tourism, attract investment and add millions to our growing rural economy. Cumbria Crack story.

 

East of England boosts its campaign for local food suppliers

East of England Co-operative is celebrating its successful partnership with local suppliers with a fortnight of events. Sourced Locally Fortnight, which took place 1-14 June, gave a fresh boost to the scheme, which sees the society work with more than 140 supplier partners. Overall, it offers more than 2,750 products, with new additions introduced on a monthly basis. The society has put over £34m back into the local economies that surround its 200 branches across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Co-operative News story.

 

Tahoe Food Hub sees big growth as restaurants seek sustainable sources

Tahoe Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that works to restore local food distribution by building a regional food system for North Lake Tahoe. It is increasing access to nutritious, ecologically grown food by creating a network of farms within 100 miles of North Lake Tahoe and connecting them to restaurants, small grocers, schools and hospitals. As many as 17 farms from Nevada County supply food for the project, along with 25 farms in the surrounding foothill and valley farming communities of Auburn, Newcastle and Penryn. Sierra Sun story

 

Durham Food hub feeds local market as it navigates way to sustainability

Firsthand Foods started with a kitchen on wheels selling sausage sandwiches made from pasture-raised pigs raised on nearby farms. But instead of evolving into a roving brand or a restaurant, the company’s owners used the Sausage Wagon as a starting point to assemble a farm-to-table pipeline that connects farmers to customers seeking local pork and beef raised humanely on pastures without hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products. News & Observer story.

 

Muskegon could be ‘food hub’ for storage, processing, shipping, study says

The Port City could command an important spot in the food chain. A study released this month suggests establishing a “food hub” near U.S. 31 and I-96 interchange – possibly in downtown Muskegon, near the port and rail lines. A food hub could gather, store, and distribute foodstuffs, as well as engage in food processing, marketing, and retail sales. The 26-page feasibility study found support for “moving forward to pursue and secure funding to conduct business and implementation plan development in 2015 and launch of the operation in 2016.” MLive.com story. Study.

 

 

Groupon Acquires OrderUp to Power Nationwide Food Ordering and Delivery

Groupon (http://www.groupon.com) announced the acquisition of OrderUp (www.orderup.com), an on-demand online and mobile food ordering and delivery marketplace operating in nearly 40 markets across the United States. The addition of OrderUp significantly boosts Groupon’s presence in the $70 billion food ordering and delivery sector. Business Wire story.

 

Helping Immigrant Farmers Sow Seeds From Home on American Soil

On a verdant farm five miles from Newark Liberty International Airport, Jacob Okam struggled to push a shiny, new garden tiller over the bumpy soil last month. His black jersey was already drenched in the noonday sun as he cut a lonesome, but winsome, figure in the field — at one with the land that is both his heritage and his hope. Mr. Okam, 63, was growing leafy Nigerian vegetables on American soil with New York City business principles. And a sprinkling of his native wisdom. The New York Times story.

 

Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Incubator Farm Project

Access to land has been identified as one of the top challenges facing new farmers in North Carolina. The Incubator Farm Project worked with communities to address this need by assisting them with repurposing land into places that incubate new farmers. These new farmers get access to land, in exchange for “rent” in the form of fresh farm products or other services donated to communities in need — a win-win-win opportunity for everyone involved. What is an incubator farm? Typically it is one or more parcels of land where one or multiple producers are farming and marketing farm products through their own new farm business enterprise, often with organizational access to training / technical assistance opportunities on farm business and production practices. Website.

 

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The lunchtime revolution at a school for children with autism

In the dining room at Queensmill, a west London school for children with autism, spotting the truly extraordinary moments can be tricky. Matthew, for example, sits at a table wearing ear protectors in a dazzling shade of Day-Glo green, but there’s nothing extraordinary about that. They’re used to reduce the sensory inputs he might otherwise find overwhelming. Like a number of the kids here, he wears them every day. No, the really extraordinary thing is also the most banal: it’s the full plate of food in front of him, the one that he’s busy clearing. “This was a boy who was eating so little he’d become a cause for serious concern,” says Jude Ragan, headteacher of Queensmill. “It was all about how we could get him to eat three or four chickpeas. We worried about anorexia. Now look at him.” The Guardian story.