Local Food News — Canada

Hip, happening Ottawa gets its A-game on for Canada’s sesquicentennial

As a Calgarian and first-time visitor to Ottawa, I honestly didn’t think I’d get all tingly and swell with pride at the real-life sight of the Centre Block, Peace Tower and circular Library of Parliament high atop the hill. After all, we in Cowtown tend to look west when it comes to travel, and get impressed by mountains (not hills). But there’s no denying I’m smitten. Indeed, between millennials flocking to Parliament Hill for sun salutations and downward dog (or with their iPhones to try and get a selfie with Justin Trudeau), foodies seeking artisan cheeses and hand-made chocolates in ByWard Market, and zythophiles tracking down craft beer such as Beau’s Brewing Company’s Lug Tread — the official beer for Canada’s 150 birthday celebrations —Ottawa has never been hotter. Calgary Herald story.


Alleyways Market: Winnipeggers meet to shop local in the Exchange

Artisanal bread, locally-made jewelry and snacks of all descriptions were on offer at this year’s first Alleyways Market on Friday. Starting at 4 p.m., dozens of shoppers and nearly 60 vendors met in an alley in Winnipeg’s Exchange District for the first of four markets to be held this summer. “It’s nice to have a night market downtown,” said Colin Enquist. He’s the sales and marketing manager for PEG Beer Company, which was a vendor at Friday’s market. CBC News story.


‘Spreading the food and the love’: Fruit, nut trees to be planted across Shelburne County

Shelly Hipson applied to Shell Canada through the Roseway Community Association to help grow her communities – literally. She was able to get enough funds to purchase 50 fruit and nut trees.  Rather than keep it in one community, Hipson decided to put some in every community in the county. “I wanted to spread the food and the love,” said Hipson. The Coastguard story.


Parksville-Qualicum association cooking up recipes for food tourism

To help create a collective vision, it has hired Tourism Cafe. Stakeholders were exposed to different food tourism examples from across Canada and were given the chance to draw inspiration from a variety of exercises conducted throughout the one-day session. Nancy Arsenault of Tourism Cafe indicated that based on their research, there are markets that are willing to pay for premium experiences. What Tourism Cafe aims to do is to discover successful food tourism recipes that can be applied to the region’s tourism strategy down the road. Parksville Qualicum Beach News story.


Food Island: Wine and food festivals bring crowds to P.E.I.

Other food centred events which have also helped P.E.I.’s economy include The P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival and The PEI Fall Flavours Festival. The provincial tourism department said many people decide to visit because of these food festivals. The Shellfish Festival attracts about 7,000 attendees — half are non residents. Fall Flavours attracts about the same number with 40 per cent being from out of province. CBC News story.


Multinationals face new pressures in grocery stores

Consumers increasingly want fresh, unprocessed food. The middle of the store now sees less traffic and that’s clearly affecting sales for most grocery products. Skippy peanut butter and Dad’s chocolate chip cookies are gone from the Canadian marketplace. If you feel sad about seeing these iconic brands go, brace yourselves. It’s just the beginning. Within days, two major U.S.-based food multinationals pulled well-known brands from the Canadian market. Mondelez International discontinued the iconic Dad’s cookies and Hormel Foods pulled Skippy peanut butter from the Canadian market. National brands are losing ground to private labels and fresh products. Net Newsledger story.


French schools, communities to focus on all things ‘local’

The newest Global Development Plan which provides a strategic vision for about 20 Francophone organizations across the Island, including the Commission scolaire de langue française, is based on the concept of holistic, intertwined school-community projects, planning and programs. Of particular interest, is the French and Acadian Developers Network’s first school-community pilot project, the jardins scolaires-communautaires (School-Community Gardens) that will be established at each of the six French schools. Not only does this focus on fusing school and local community initiatives respond to the needs and desires of the six Acadian regions of P.E.I., but it also comes about at the right time amidst other social advancements provincially and nationally. The Journal Pioneer story.


Cordelia crowned Startup Pitch night winner

Startup Pitch Night, a Startup Canada initiative was hosted locally by StartUP Sault Ste. Marie, and featured a grand prize of $1,000 cash (sponsored by TruShield Insurance), $500 Best Youth Pitch (sponsored by YouLaunch), and $250 Best Social Enterprise Pitch award (sponsored by NORDIK Institute). The grand prize winner was Cordelia Plant-Based Meals, a local food manufacturing business specializing in plant-based, healthy meals. Their ready-made meals are available for point-of-sale purchase at a growing number of locations in Sault Ste. Marie. SaultOnline.com story.


Sustainable Food Initiative

Our mission is to improve the food environment at the University of Alberta and contribute to a more sustainable food system on campus. We aim to make an impact through research, advocacy, awareness, networking, and action! Facebook page.


Food policy could become food fight

But this latest initiative signals a move into an area which has traditionally has been the purview of other agencies — ensuring Canadians have nutritious food. While a strong agri-food sector may contribute to that, much of AAFC’s recent emphasis has been on increased food processing. It may be good for the economy but not so good for our girths. One of the biggest “food-related issues” in Canada today is consumption of too much processed food. Winnipeg Free Press opinion.




Why Canada needs a national food strategy

The agri-food industry’s potential has recently gained more prominence than we’ve seen in decades. This offers a rare opportunity for meaningful progress on these issues. A complete and collaborative approach to developing a national food strategy could serve as the vehicle that propels the agri-food industry forward, and this would bring value to all Canadians. In order for the agri-food industry to reach its potential, we need a unifying vision, which a national food strategy would provide. Policy Options post.


Local Food News — Canada

Farmer forgoes millions to preserve agricultural gift for Edmonton

Doug Visser is taking the final steps to create a permanent gift for Edmonton in his struggle to protect quality farmland and an old growth forest from suburban growth. He’s agreed to place a conservation easement on the land and launched a fundraising campaign to cover the fees, pledging to match donations up to $70,000 and forgoing millions in possible revenue. The easement – registered and monitored by the Edmonton and Area Land Trust – would ensure the top quality farmland could never legally be used for anything beyond community-based agriculture. Edmonton Sun story.


Homemade rhubarb vinegar and sunflower-seed soup? Yukon food experiments you have to try

When a Yukon woman from Dawson City decided she was going to eat food sourced solely from her community for one full year, a northern foodie — and fellow Yukoner — jumped at the challenge. Michele Genest, who’s also the author of Boreal Gourmet, has been “experimenting with stuff” and concocting recipes with Yukon-grown products — which have resulted in both successes and failures. Genest says the goal of the First We Eat project is to start a dialogue across all of Northern Canada about food security and sourcing locally. CBC story.


An eBay for grain trading, FarmLead, raises $6.5 million Series A

Farmers work to feed the world. Yet somehow, corn, wheat and rice sales are still happening at a local level through antiquated paperwork and phone negotiations. Now, an Ottawa-based startup called FarmLead has raised $6.5 million in venture funding to connect grain producers and buyers automatically online, and help farmers get fair prices for what they grow. The platform is something like an eBay for grains. Tech Crunch story.


Province puts money into promoting local food

Rick Doucet, the minister of agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, said the money will support the implementation of the province’s Local Food and Beverages Strategy throughout 2017 and 2018. The strategy, which was announced in October 2016, is aimed at increasing consumer awareness about local food and helping farmers bring their produce to the market, both locally and internationally. CBC story.


Farmers union finds new local food and beverages strategy unclear

The provincial government put out a new local food and beverages strategy this week, but farmer Rébeka Frazer-Chiasson said it resulted in more questions than answers. “The wording is nice. The logic is there,” said Frazer-Chiasson. “But it doesn’t seem like a super coherent plan as to how we’re going to change some of those problematics.” Frazer-Chiasson was pleased to hear there was a unified logo for local foods in the province. CBC story.


Local Food and Beverages Strategy, New Brunswick

This strategy attempts to strike a meaningful balance to promote local food and beverages production and marketing while not detracting from the significant opportunities driving the mainstream food and beverage sectors. In doing this it will address the following three objectives: 1. Improved consumer awareness of local food and beverages. 2. Improved availability of local food and beverages. 3.improved support for new or expanding food and beverage enterprises. Strategy.


Alberta forum dishes out education about sustainable food

Susan Roberts, a lead organizer, helped plant the seed for the 2017 Cultivating Connections forum. Just like the local food industry, Roberts said she wanted the event to be all about community. “It’s not a conference, it’s not an assembly, it’s not a summit. It’s a time to talk,” she said. She rallied a team of farmers, gardeners and local produce experts to answer questions about food in the province. CBC story. Website.


Successful Cape Breton food co-op looking to double number of customers this year

A small but thriving family-run farm in Cape Breton is looking to expand, in part thanks to a successful food co-op on the island that plans to double its customer base this year. Thyme for Ewe, a farm run by Estelle and Tim Levangie in Millville northwest of Sydney, has been one of the suppliers of the Pan Cape Breton Food Hub Co-op since its creation three years ago. The co-op connects local food producers with consumers via weekly online food requests, co-ordinates pickups from the suppliers and makes deliveries. There are 30 suppliers and the number of customers is set to increase to 250 from 125 this spring. CBC story.


Southwest BC Bioregion Food System Design Project

The Southwest BC Bioregion Food System Design Project was a four year, multi-disciplinary research project initiated by ISFS to provide regionally specific, data-driven information about: * The potential to increase Southwest BC food production and processing for local markets; * Whether and to what extent increasing local food production could improve food self-reliance, benefit the provincial economy, and create jobs;  *The potential to reduce some detrimental environmental impacts from food production in Southwest BC. Report.


Urban Farming in Toronto & the GTA – Hyper-local Food Solutions, April 7

Moderator: David McConnachie, Publisher, Alternatives Journal | Panelists: Lara Kelly, Holly Ray Farms | Susan Poizner, Orchard People | Rhonda Teitel-Payne, Coordinator, Toronto Urban Growers | Brandon Hebor, CEO/Co-Founder, Ripple Farms | Ashlee Cooper, Evergreen. 2017 Green Living Show, April 7-9, Toronto




Food for Life Report

Food for Life will feature the best scientific research on food and nutrition to inform reader on how to best protect and enhance their health and navigate the myriad of self-serving dietary advice touted in food labels, menus, advertisement-fueled magazines, and fad diet books. Food for Life Report will help readers apprise of developments in food and nutrition law in Canada and internationally. For people who care about food and health, Food for Life Report is a great recipe for savvy eating and savvy citizenship. The Centre accepts no funding from government or industry and our magazine carries no advertisements. Website.

Local Food News — Ontario

Opportunities for Growth: An Urban Agriculture Toolkit

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


Innovative tech helps Holland Marsh growers protect crops

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


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

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


Sudbury food strategy consultations hear from local restaurateurs

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


Humber offering courses and workshops on Sustainable Urban Beekeeping

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


Dairy Goat Farm Management Program

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


Ontario Local Food Report

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


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

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


Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

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


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

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




Province approves boundary deal

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

Local Food News — Ontario

Facebook post about Canada-made ketchup inspires Canadian pride

Fernandez ended up learning a lot about a plant out in Leamington, Ont, that makes the brand’s ketchup. After buying a bottle, the Orillia, Ont. resident wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday morning about his made-in-Canada discovery. Within a few days, more than 107,000 people shared his post, along with their Canadian pride. CBC News story.


Farm, Food & Beyond Study

A study that compared 10 national and international sustainability programs to two that are available in Ontario has been completed. It’s called Farm, Food & Beyond: Our Commitment to Sustainability. The GAP analysis was put together by Deloitte and launched in 2015 through a collaboration of Ontario’s farmers and food and beverage processors. It looked at Ontario’s Environmental Farm Plan, the EFP, and Growing Your Farm Profits, GYFP. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Food Strategy Report Card for 2015

The Report Card is a valuable resource for everyone in the City of Thunder Bay, and speaks equally to restaurant owners, farmers, government, not-for-profits, and the general public. “The message is that this is a complex issue that requires a long-term view with many kinds of policy and other initiatives that will make our local food system stronger” says Councillor Rebecca Johnson, Co-Chair of the Food Strategy Steering Committee. “The thing that’s unique about food is that it touches on all of our lives. Every member of our community can learn something from the work that’s being done and contribute in their own way.” Thunder Bay + Area Food Strategy news release.


Working to save the planet

“We have a lot of very talented people in this area,” Boldt said as she manned her booth at the Seed Exchange and Eco-Fair at St. Andrews United Church. This is the fourth year the event has been held in the city, a chance for residents and visitors to buy packets of seeds proven to flourish in local conditions and to see what options there are for anything from flowers and vegetables to soaps, baking and Lake Nipissing jewelry. Dirty Girls Farm was one of about two dozen businesses represented in the eco fair. The North Bay Nugget story.


Tracking Market Farmer and Vendor Performance 2009-2015 Report

In 2015, the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network collaborated with Informa Market Research, visiting 30 network markets and interviewing 82 farmers, as well as 26 other market vendors. Results were compared with GBFMN’s 2009 survey to learn about growth and change in the sector. This study is intended to assist farmers’ market vendors and organizers, and inspire the interest and support of market shoppers and funders. Greenbeltfresh post.


HFFA celebrates Trillium grant for local food opportunities

The Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance (HFFA) is expanding its successful Farm to School program, and it’s got a large grant to help with the work. About 100 people were on hand Friday for a public open house at Caledon Equestrian Park, and it was there that Winston Uytenbogaart, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation announced HFFA is getting a grant of $299,700 over two years. He said the money is intended to help with this program, as well as other efforts the Alliance is working on. Orangeville Citizen story.


LAMBAC offers agricultural info sessions

The LaCloche Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) had been awarded a Seed Grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. LAMBAC is partnering with the Eat Local Sudbury Co-operative and Ontario Ministry of Agricultural Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to implement a pilot project, Growing Local: Food and Farming Business Support. “The focus is to improve local food and agriculture economy by helping new businesses or expanding businesses to get training or connections to mentors they might need,” explained Anna Best, community development assistant at LAMBAC. Midnorth Monitor story.


Ecological Farming: a Different Form of Agtech: The investment case for ecological farming

“Ecological farming is ‘AgTech’ but of a different kind. It is a return to the original definition of ‘technology’, which comes from two Greek words: technis, which means art, skill, craft or the way something is gained, and logos, which means word or thought. ‘Technology’ does not just mean physical objects such as new machines or seeds. It also refers to knowledge or mental objects. Knowledge-intensive farming systems, therefore, are advanced forms of human technology,” reads the report. Ecological farming is a set of principles which aims to help farmers mimic local ecological processes through an understanding of how the soils, water, climate, vegetation, birds and insects of an agro-ecosystem interact. SLM Partners white paper.


Farmland Forever – Help Make it Happen, April 8

The 12th annual Ontario Farmland Forum supports and facilitates cross-sector dialogue about how we can work together to strengthen farmland and agricultural planning, policy development, and grassroots, permanent land protection initiatives in Ontario. This year’s Forum features presentations & discussion following two streams: farmland policy and hands-on farmland protection. Details.


Acres of Food Production in Ontario

There is ongoing debate about the importance of protecting farmland in Ontario. A recent article from the Fraser Institute entitled “Only markets can determine best use for Ontario cropland” raises the question of who should determine the use of farmland. It is the key argument of the article that concerns me. The authors argue that the land should go to the highest bidder who then should be able to use it for whatever the buyer deems best. Christian Farmers Federation post.


OFA Challenges Parts Of Rural Land Use Study

A recent study shows economic analysis hasn’t been properly used to develop Ontario land use policies. The Fraser Institute recently released the study, it’s called “An Economic Analysis of Rural Land Use Policies in Ontario”. But Mark Reusser , a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture executive, says the study makes the controversial assertion that Ontario’s agricultural land is not disappearing at the alarming rate that most of believe. Blackburn AgriMedia story.




The Neptis Geoweb Re-Launches

The Neptis Geoweb is an interactive mapping and information platform created by the Neptis Foundation (“Neptis”) which houses data from government and other sources and includes the ability of users to post user stories. The site contains information, reports, datasets, maps or other materials (collectively the “Information”) for non-partisan research purposes relating to the growth and change in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region in Ontario, Canada. Geoweb.

Local Food News — Ontario

Supercrawl, Niagara food tours win Ontario tourism awards

Hamilton’s Supercrawl, named tourism event of the year, is a free, three-day outdoor music and arts festival in the downtown core. In 2014, it attracted more than 165,000 visitors and had an economic impact of over $14 million, according to the awards’ promoters. Other winners, announced at a Nov. 10 Toronto gala, included the Royal Ontario Museum for accessible tourism, the Mariposa Folk Festival for sustainable tourism and Guelph Wellington’s Taste Real Local Food Fest. Hamilton Spectator story.


Huron Food & Drink Strategy Set to Launch

Burgsma says they want to encourage as much local farm to table product as possible to they’re talking to producers to see who is market-ready now and who would like to go beyond what they’re currently doing to get market-ready. The local food strategy will be done in three phases, notes Burgsma. She says phase one will be assessing the market while phase two will be product development and phase three will be branding and marketing. Blackburn AgriMedia



Kitchener wants to help grow its community gardens

The City of Kitchener is working to make it easier for groups to start up a community garden. There are 28 community gardens on city land right now, where people can sign up for a small plot to grow fruits, vegetables or flowers. The city has been helping groups set up community gardens for about 15 years, but it wants to streamline the process with a checklist of what makes a good garden and how to go about it. Interest in community gardens is growing, Margetts said, and the idea of shared gardens, where neighbours meet and share tips on growing, fits in with the city’s new neighbourhood strategy aimed at encouraging connected communities. The Record story.


Libro Funding For 4-H Community Garden, EFAO Projects

A couple of agriculture-related organisations are among those getting funding through Libro’s 2015 Prosperity Fund. The Wawanosh Life Skills Club of Huron County 4-H is getting 5 thousand dollars. That’s for the club’s work on the Wingham Community Garden and Orchard Project. The project will see the planning and development of a community garden and orchard to generate fresh produce for North Huron Food Share. The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario is getting 102 thousand dollars. The Guelph-based organisation’s project is called Strengthening Farm Viability and Co-Operative Market Development for Ecological Farmers in southwestern Ontario. Blackburn News story.


Guelph’s greatest strength could be its supportive startup ecosystem

Bob Desautels, an award-winning restaurateur and founder of the Neighbourhood Group of Companies, has never been more excited about a restaurant opening. His latest restaurant, Miijidaa, an Ojibwe word that means “let’s eat,” opened recently in downtown Guelph, Ont. It’s his third in the city and follows the same triple-bottom line, green philosophy as the hugely successful The Woolwich Arrow, better known as the Wooly, and Borealis Grille & Bar. Miijidaa is the culmination of his efforts to push the limits of hard-to-define Canadian cuisine, fusing First Nations, French, English and even Viking influences. Financial Post story.


Growing a Second Harvest

The Second Harvest in the Meaford area provides that connection by diverting good food, which would not be used, to those who can best benefit. Harvests are split three-ways between the grower, volunteer pickers and the community. Since its launch last year in the local area, over 1,000 pounds of fruit has been harvested and distributed through schools and the Golden Town Outreach food bank. The Meaford Independent story.


Janetville farm wins provincial award for innovation in agri-food

Fisher Farms of Janetville is one of the recipients of the 2015 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. Fisher Farms was among nine recipients from Durham Region, Hastings County, Kawartha Lakes, Muskoka District, Northumberland County and Prince Edward County who were honoured for their contributions to the creation of new products, adding value to existing products, supporting a sustainable environment, helping support job creation, and boosting economic growth in Ontario. Kawartha Media Group story.


Our Living Soils

Ecological Farmers Association Of Ontario Conference 2015, December 3 – 5, 2015, Four Points by Sheraton in London. Program.


Cheers to the Greenbelt Fund

Ontario is providing $6 million over three years to increase sales of local food by making it more widely available and building awareness of the variety of food grown and produced in Ontario. Premier Kathleen Wynne announced this investment today, during Ontario Agriculture Week, while visiting Fresh City Farms in Toronto’s Downsview Park. The government will provide the funding to the Greenbelt Fund, a non-profit organization that helps encourage consumption of local food in the Greenbelt and across Ontario. Ontario Government news release.


Local Food Investment Fund

Over the next two and a half years, the Local Food Investment Fund will continue to support efforts to increase the amount of local food served in broader public sector institutions and to increase access to markets for farmers and processors. We will also support projects that will help Ontarians learn more about local foods. The Program provides support through three distinct grant streams: broader public sector, market access and local food literacy. Grant Guidelines.




A look inside the Ontario Food Terminal

It’s not difficult to see why: Mandryk — who began travelling to this sprawling food wholesale market on Toronto’s western fringe with his father back in 1967—maintains a punishing schedule. From early July to early October, he rises every evening at about 10:30 p.m., makes sure his two trucks are loaded up, and sets out for the two-hour drive from Simcoe, near Port Dover on Lake Erie, to Toronto. He gets there about 2 a.m. After he and a couple of assistants set out their wares in the farmers’ section of the OFT, Mandryk prepares to negotiate prices and orders with the thousands of produce buyers who “walk the market”—which is host to some 400 sellers like Mandryk—between 4 a.m. and 2 p.m. Best Health Magazie story.

Local Food News — Canada

Beer freezies being brewed up in Fredericton

It all started a few weeks ago when Lawrence began experimenting with other types of freezies, such as apple cider, yogurt and berry and vegetable juice. Then he decided to try beer ones, based on customer feedback. His latest invention, dubbed the Dooryard Shandy Sorbet Freezie, is made with Fredericton-based Picaroons Traditional Ales’ Dooryard Summer Wheat Ale. The beer is simmered lightly into an organic lemon, lime and honey-infused sorbet and then frozen, said Lawrence. “You’re not going to get drunk off them — fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on who you’re talking to,” he said. CBC News Fredericton story.


Barn doors open for local food

On Aug. 22 and 23, over 70 farms and ranches across Alberta will be open to the public, with special tours and agricultural activities from hay rides to food tastings to introduce urbanites to rural Alberta. Agriculture is Alberta’s largest renewable industry, with more than 43,000 farms on 50.5 million acres of land exporting over $9 billion in products and produce every year. That being said, Alberta is also the most urbanized province in Canada, with over 80% of the population living in cities. Edmonton Sun story.


Urban foraging: A sidewalk salad

John Winter Russell hasn’t gone more than a few steps from the Georges Vanier métro station and already he has spotted enough to fill a salad bowl. The Montreal chef and urban forager finds food in the most unexpected of places: in the crevices between paving stones and broken asphalt, in overgrown laneways and abandoned lots, in parks and untended garden beds and city planters. Montreal Gazette story.


‘Bee hotels’ spread across Canada

If bees had a tourism industry, it would be buzzing. Following the 2014 success of Canada’s first pollinator bee hotel, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have announced that they’re expanding their fleet of bee-friendly rooftop resting places for solitary pollinator bees, which make up 90 per cent of the world’s bee population and pollinate one-third of the food we eat. In addition to the existing refuge that sits atop the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, six more pollinator bee hotels will be built across Canada, from Whistler to Winnipeg. An additional ten are destined for public green spaces. Canadian Geographic story.


Local fare goes global

Be it Italian Day, the Buskerfest or night markets, food plays a significant role in the lives of Vancouverites. While sushi is certainly one of the most popular dishes in town, the city’s culinary scene offers much variety. Michelle Ng, food lover and founder of Vancouver Foodie Tours, says the culinary cuisine has changed a lot over the last decade. Vancouver’s culinary scene seems to be defined by people’s lifestyles and the geographic peculiarities. According to Ng, Vancouver’s food scene is primarily characterized by eating local, fresh ingredients. New Canadian Media story.


Matt presents Pan-Canadian Food Strategy Petition

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions today. The first is in support of a pan-Canadian food strategy. The signatories point out that Canada is notable among its industrialized comparators in our absence of a comprehensive food policy. The signatories to this petition call upon the Government of Canada to implement a pan-Canadian food strategy to support farmers, improve access to healthy and local food, and to market Canadian food at home and abroad. Matthew Kellway MP Beaches—East York post.


Choosing Local Food Is Casting Vote For World We Want To Live In

Robinson has been run off her feet serving customers and baking, but saw many opportunities to add products and grow the business. She simply didn’t have the time to do any of it. “I’m excited to have time to do things I couldn’t do before,” said Robinson. So Hayes and her husband Geoff, an IT specialist laid off from Tim Hortons, have thrown themselves in. Geoff, a hobby cook, is finding unique and local products to showcase in the market, including honey vinegar from Toronto Honeybee Rescue, ice syrup from Niagara and maple syrup from Deerfield Farms in Burlington. Hamilton Spectator story.


Time to table an overarching national food policy

Diana Bronson, executive director of Food Secure Canada, challenges any and all future candidates in the as-of-yet unannounced but inevitable fall federal election to get on board with a national food policy. Four actions this challenge centres around are: study the feasibility of a basic income floor as a first step to improve the lives of four million Canadians who are food insecure, create real solutions to the northern food-cost crisis with northerners at the table, invest in a universal healthy school food program so that all kids can learn well, and support the next generation of farmers who will provide sustainable, local food. Chronicle Herald opinion piece.


Food safety is important, but so is locally sourced meat

We need regulations that support local food systems, not hinder their development. One-size-fits-all solutions do not work because small-scale abattoirs that handle five or 10 cattle per day cannot and should not be subject to the same rules as industrial facilities that slaughter hundreds and thousands. Instead, we should be looking into on-farm slaughter methods and the use of mobile abattoirs. These offer a more humane alternative to provincial or federal abattoirs, and are more easily adapted to local meat producers’ needs. Montreal Gazette opinion piece.


Supply managed system touted in buy local campaign

If Canadians want to buy local food, they need to support the concept of supply management. That is the premise behind campaigns launched this spring by egg, dairy and poultry associations to protect the program that Canada has defended at every trade negotiation since the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was in place. The campaigns emphasize how family farms working under a quota system can deliver fresh food to Canadians, said Alison Evans of Egg Farmers of Canada. Western Producer story.




Your Food: Weighing the costs of eating ethically

If you are what you eat, there’s no shortage of Canadians seeking eco-salvation through their stomachs. Walk through just about any grocery store and you’ll see ads for “local” produce, “free-run” eggs and “pasture-raised” beef. The variety of choice suggests consumers are thinking more about the food they eat: not just its nutritional content, but also how it was produced. Global News investigative report.

Local Food News — Canada

Food Day Canada

What’s the reason for Food Day Canada? It’s pretty simple. We believe that Canada has some of the smartest, the very best and brightest in both agriculture – just look at the ingredients in our markets right now – and the culinary arts. And we need to celebrate them all. There are many highly visible chefs and restaurants across the country – most are part of our #FDC2014 roster. But there are also many who should be far better known outside their own regions, especially as so many Canadians are hitting the road this summer. Website.


A Taste of Local Cuisine through Photography

One of the great joys of working for National Geographic Travel is getting the opportunity to eat your way through an assignment. Food is a central part to any culture or community so it inevitably ends up in a story. Quebec City is no exception. There are many different things that define its food scene: café au lait with flakey croissants, ice wine, maple syrup candy, and cheese. For example, raclette—melted cheese served with potatoes, vegetables, and meat—is found in many  local restaurants. The warm dish was traditionally eaten by peasants in the mountains of Switzerland and France, and now is served in Quebec. The modern raclette, pictured here, refers to the tabletop grill where one cooks the food. The dish itself involves a big plate of meats, cheese, and a couple of eggs alongside potatoes, cornichons, and other vegetables for people to sit around and cook together. National Geographic story.


Quebec tomato wine goes global

A small wine producer near Quebec City is hoping to expand production of his one-of-a-kind wine recipe — made with tomatoes. After four years of production, the president of Domaine de la Vallée Bras, Pascal Miche, says he sells thousands of bottles in 22 different counties, and now cannot keep up with demand. Miche’s tomato wine was first created 1938 by his great-grandfather in Belgium. After moving to Quebec 15 years ago, Miche says he adapted his recipe using a blend of heirloom tomatoes from the Baie-St-Paul region. CBC News Montreal story.


Vancouver’s green jobs growth spurt led by local food businesses: report

Green jobs in Vancouver increased 19% between 2010 and 2013, but more work is needed to meet ambitious City of Vancouver goals to become the “greenest city” in the world by 2020, according to a report released by the Vancouver Economic Commission June 19. Green and local food jobs currently represent 4.9% (20,000) of all the jobs in Vancouver, says the report. That’s up from 4.2%, or 16,700, in 2010. Business Vancouver story.


Regina’s new stadium may go local for concession food

Among the many details yet to be worked out for Regina’s new football stadium is the type of concession food that will be offered, and there is early talk that home-grown vendors could get the nod. “I think our goal will be to create a significant local flavour,” Mark Allan, CEO of Evraz Place (the agency which will operate the stadium for the city), said earlier this week when asked about food. That notion has a tantalizing air to it, for vendors at the Regina Farmers’ Market. CBC News story.


Engaging Manitobans to Change Food Safety Regulations

This question was prompted by the controversial and well-publicized raid by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’s (MAFRD) on Harborside Farms in August 2013. As a result, citizens are calling on government to better support Manitoba’s local food system in support of family-scale farmers, fishers, hunters and processors.In a surprising turn of events last summer, MAFRD confiscated $8,000 of cured meats from Harborside Farms, some of which had recently won an award from the province’s own Great Manitoba Food Fight. The inspectors were not required to show evidence of wrongdoing. Pam and Clint Cavers, owners, attempted to negotiate with MAFRD to be allowed to test the confiscated meat at their own costs to prove it safe. MAFRD refused and destroyed the meat, yet later dropped all charges. The message coming from the grassroots is clear: farmers, fishers, processors and citizens are demanding a say in policy-making and have formed a coalition under the banner of FEAST (Farmers and Eaters Sharing the Table) to encourage the Province to support local sustainable food. Sustain Ontario guest blog by Colin Anderson.


NDP Launches Own National Food Strategy

The federal New Democrats have developed their own national food strategy, aiming to connect government policy on agriculture, rural development, health and income security. “It’s an all-encompassing program and policy document that talks about agriculture, sustainable agriculture communities, healthy food, local options, children that are undernourished. It’s part of what we promised in our platform in 2011,” explains NDP Agriculture Critic Malcolm Allen. Portage Online story. Strategy.


Building a herb spiral at Oxford School

The ultimate raised bed for herbs; it’s both beautiful and practical in its design. By building the spiral shape you take advantage of an added dimension and you also create different microclimates for various herbs to co-exist in. Adventures in Local Food post.


Waves of change: Sustainable Food for All

Food Secure Canada’s 8th National Assembly. Great progress is being made in preparation for our next National Assembly which will be held at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax, Nova Scotia November 13-16. It promises to bridge food movements on land and sea, to deepen our thinking on food justice and to advance our work on the People’s Food Policy. Over 15 volunteers are currently busy reviewing more than 130 proposals to present at our upcoming assembly. Website.


National Conservation Plan Recognizes Farmers’ Stewardship Efforts

In particular, the CFA is pleased to see $50 million allocated to stewardship activity and wetland restoration. “This focus on stewardship and wetland improvement coupled with the stated objective of building on existing initiatives will help farmers increase their contribution to recognized environmental priorities,” Bonnett added. Canadian Federation of Agriculture post.




Bee-killing pesticides found in “bee-friendly” plants from garden centers across Canada

A new study released today by Friends of the Earth Canada shows that over half of “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at garden centers have been pre-treated with neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides shown to harm and kill bees. The Canadian data is part of a larger study, Gardeners Beware 2014, released by Friends of the Earth Canada and Friends of the Earth U.S. with Pesticide Research Institute (PRI). Garden plant samples were collected from top garden retailers from 18 cities across Canada and the United States. Canadian samples were collected in London (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec) and Vancouver (British Columbia). Friends of the Earth Canada news release.