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.




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.


Local Food News — Ontario

Steve Peters now a general manager at Salt Creek Farm Market

Steve Peters’ career path has come full circle in a rather satisfying way. Peters, a former speaker of the Ontario legislature, was working at a St. Thomas supermarket in 1991 when he scored a dark horse victory in St. Thomas mayor’s race that kick-started his political career. When he was elected a Liberal MPP and became minister of agriculture, he became a big promoter of Ontario food. Now in his new job as general manager of Salt Creek Farm Market, Peters is back to selling groceries, but with a rigorous focus on locally grown and processed products. “I’ve always had this vision of creating the Ontario store,” Peters said. London Free Press story.


Ontario and Greenbelt Fund Bringing More Local Food to Ontario Colleges

The Greenbelt Fund, in partnership with the Ontario Government, is providing Mohawk College with $100,000 in funding through the Local Food Investment Fund (LFIF) to develop the first provincial local food procurement model for Ontario colleges.  Along with increasing local food literacy and availability at Mohawk College, the pilot project is expected to increase local food purchases by $1.5 million over two years at three participating colleges. Greenbelt Fund post.



Operated by a not-for-profit board, Food Starter focuses on helping early-stage food processors commercialize and scale the development of their food products. With an emphasis on baked goods, hot and cold fill products and confectionery items for both traditional and ethnic markets, Food Starter provides access to a provincially inspected food production facility that offers shared food production and packaging equipment, business advisory services and structured training to help companies scale and grow their food processing businesses. Website.


Eating local in Lambton County

Breakfast on the farm is being held for the third time since it’s inception in 2014. After being held at Kevin and Melissa Forbes’s Dairy farm for the past two years, this year’s breakfast will be served at the farm of Brian and Joan Pelleboer, a goat dairy farm where they also have cash cropping and calves. Community Economic Development Officer and organizer Tracy Ranick said they first heard about farm breakfasts being held in other parts of Ontario and Michigan, and decided to put something together in Lambton County, a major hub for farming. Petrolia Topic story.


Not Far From The Tree

Not Far From The Tree is a Toronto-based fruit picking project inspired by 3 things: the spirit of sharing, the desire to give back to our community, and a passion for environmentally sustainable living. Torontonians with fruit-bearing trees often have fruit to spare – everything from apples, pears and grapes to sumac, apricots and elderberry! Once they register their tree, we’ll pick their fruit and divvy up the harvest 3 ways: between the homeowner, our volunteers, and local food banks, shelters and community kitchens. Website.


Mohawk College goes local for its food

During a news conference June 8 at Mohawk College’s food court, the Ontario government and the Greenbelt Fund announced it will be providing $100,000 for a 14-member advisory committee to develop a plan for the college to establish locally-sourced food procurement policies that will be adapted for implementation across the province. Mohawk College, said Griffiths, will contribute $100,000 to the project. Hamilton News story.


Metro Expanding Local Food Purchasing Plan To Ontario

Metro has announced it’s expanding it’s local purchasing program into Ontario. Metro is a food and pharmaceutical distributor in Quebec and Ontario. It’s more than 600 food stores include Metro, Food Basics, Metro Plus and Super C. The local purchasing program is intended to promote local agri-food products and increase access to them by all consumers. Blackburn News story.


Ontario Self-Guided Brewery Discovery Routes Bigger and Better for 2016

Self-guided Brewery Discovery Routes Maps provide five complete itineraries for folks looking to get out and explore breweries, cideries, Feast On restaurants, and local attractions. Along the way, participants can indulge in the flavours of artisanal cheeses, lovingly prepared culinary treats using fresh, local ingredients, premium craft beverages, farmers’ markets and scenic outlooks. Marketwired press release.


Celebrating 25 years of success: Ontario’s Environmental Farm Plan

The Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), one of Ontario agriculture’s flagship programs, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The EFP, which has been adapted across Canada and its workbook shared with more than 30 countries, provides training, self-assessment, and action plan development for 23 environmental areas on and around the farm and outlines best management practices. Since EFP’s inception, over 40,000 Ontario farm businesses have voluntarily participated in almost 3,550 educational workshops, resulting in a total estimated investment of $390 million in on-farm environmental improvements, supported by associated incentive programs. AgInnovation post.


2015/16 Ontario Local Food Report

The agri-food sector in Ontario is made up of hundreds of thousands of people: farmers, food and beverage processors, distributors, retailers and restaurateurs. Within those ranks are countless local food champions who drove the local food movement forward in 2015/2016 – from nutrition programs supporting students in Northern Ontario to innovators in Cornwall turning shipping containers into hydroponic farms. Report.




How Robots in Restaurants Will Change the Way We Eat and Live

The first step in understanding what automation means, is realizing the moment has already arrived. Wendy’s and McDonald’s locations, for example, have begun implementing tablet-based ordering stations in the front of restaurants, and Cali-based mini-chain Eatsa (more on that, later) can be viewed as an early nonpareil of what seamless automation should look like. “At McDonald’s, a lot of what they are cooking is automated, but needing a human touch at some point,” Templeton said. “In the front of house, automation has been popping up in the form of tablets — replacing waiters — and I can only see that becoming more widespread. We will probably see a lot of restaurants letting people order food with their phones, too.” Thrillist story.

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 — Ontario

Harvest Ontario 2015: Your Source for Local

The 15th edition of Harvest Ontario, Ontario’s best source for agritourism attractions, is now available free while quantities last at your local Home Hardware, Home Hardware Building Centres and Home Furniture locations as well as select Ontario Travel Centres. This is most used source for attractions including local pick-your-own farms, on-farm markets, roadside markets, farmers’ markets, wineries, fairs, farm-stay vacations, craft breweries. This year we have included the popular craft cideries as well. There is no better way to explore, experience and enjoy the bounty of good things Ontario then heading out to your local destination on a little day-trip adventure. Please note we are unable to provide copies via mail. A digital version of the guide is available. Website.


Bruce County Event To Be Educational – And Delicious

The President of the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture says tickets are moving quickly for their upcoming meal in a field event. Pat Jilesen describes the July 3rd Real Farm, Real Food, Real Experience event as a chance for non-farmers to interact with farmers and learn about Bruce County agriculture. The highlite of the event is a sit-down meal for 250 people at a long table in the middle of a field just outside Kincardine. The menu is all locally-produced food. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Greenbelt Expansion in Brant County

Farmer, professor and activist, Ella Haley, notes that “Brant County is known as a breadbasket, one of the very best places in Canada to grow food. Yet Brant also serves as the “relief valve” for growth that is not permitted within the Ontario Greenbelt”. As much as one fifth of Brant County’s foodland has been purchased or is being eyed for future development by developers, land bankers and the City of Brantford. There is also a mad scramble to convert farmland to gravel pits. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.


Evaluating Community Food Hubs: A Practical Guide

Supported by the OMAFRA-University of Guelph Research Partnership, Erin Nelson and Karen Landman have developed a practical guide aimed at helping community food hubs conduct evaluation work. The information and suggestions provided in the guide are based largely on conversations with representatives of community food hubs that have proven track-records of success – both in terms of their overall operations, and in implementing effective evaluation strategies. The insights offered by these experts in the field are complemented by information from the literature available on evaluation. Nourishing Ontario report.


McDonald’s Canada Running Sustainable Beef Pilot Project

A McDonald’s Canada spokesman says the restaurant chain is committed to buying sustainable beef from Canadian producers. But Jeff Fitzpatrick-Stilwell says the company has no plans to set up it’s own sustainability standard. He says he expects McDonald’s globally will be make it’s first purchases of sustainable beef from Canadian producers. McDonald’s spokesman Jeff Fitzpatrick-Stilwell says they want to work with the industry to come up with a definition of sustainable beef that works in Canada. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Local Food Funding For Saugeen Specialty Grains

A Grey County company one of 14 sharing in Local Food Fund money announced by provincial agriculture minister Jeff Leal. Saugeen Specialty Grains is getting up to 200 thousand dollars to buy and install modern steam flaking equipment. That will allow the company to process it’s own grains as well as grains from other local farmers into ready-to-use, readily available products. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Food literacy a big focus for Ontario’s first local food report

Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal says in a statement accompanying report that expanding Ontario’s market for local foods is key to helping the sector meet goals set by Premier Kathleen Wynne in 2013. She challenged the agri-food sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 new jobs by 2020. Ontario Federation of Agriculture president Don McCabe says the report is important for highlighting results to date. “We should be able to build on those results and bring more opportunity in the future.” Better Farming story. Report.


Ontario Farmland Trust Hits Major Milestone

The Ontario Farmland Trust has reached what it’s Chair calls a major milestone. Norman Ragetlie says a deal with the Jesuits of Upper Canada involves protection of 92 acres of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre property. That’s the 10th farm protected by the trust and puts it over the 1 thousand acre mark. OFT’s Farmland Protection Easements are landowner-initiated ‘forever agreements’ that are registered on property titles to prohibit any non-agricultural development on the land in the future. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Native Rights And Forests Chewed Into Dust

I was moved to hear in the longhouse of the Six Nations Confederacy an effort by the revered Cayuga environmentalist, the late Norm Jacobs, to have the courts defend treaties and the land. He explained that if treaties that protect the land are not enforced, Native rights will simply be ground into the dust by those who seek to exploit our traditional territories for profit. During the last days of the deep cold winter of 2015, one of the worst examples I have seen of Jacobs’ warnings took place. Fifty acres of forest were ground into sawdust in defiance of our treaties that seek to defend the land. First Nation Drum article.


Enhancing Conservation Cropping Systems

The Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario is working to develop and promote the adoption of an effective one-pass spring strip-tillage system for Ontario corn production. Approved for up to $25,000 under the Ontario Farm Innovation Program (OFIP), this project is investigating the new model for its economic and environmental performance and comparing the results to a conventional-till system. The majority of Ontario corn is produced through conventional tillage, which results in unprotected soil surfaces that are highly vulnerable to erosion. Agricultural Adaptation Council post.




Dirty Girl: an urban gardening webseries

I’m Erin (aka Dirty Girl) and this is the story of my garden in the city, in a small yard. I want to show my son where his food comes from, and it’s not the grocery store! Instagram. Youtube trailer.

Local Food News — Ontario

Ontario Farmland Trust, Farm tour and Annual General Meeting, June 27

Take a tour of the farm we are working together to protect and learn about the site’s ecology and farming activities Enjoy afternoon tea and fresh strawberries. Ontario Farmland Trust post.


Every Week A Local Food Week

Meet Kelly Deline: Along with other family members she owns a pickle grading station. They bring in cucumbers in season, grade them and ship them off to other places, like the United States to be made into pickles. At one time those pickles were pickled in Ontario, but that’s another story. Today Deline and her relatives have their own line of pickles, and as she explains the situation, it just sort of happened. Blackburn AgriMedia story.


Toronto Food Strategy: 2015 Update

In comparison to even 100 years ago, our food system is remarkable. Virtually any fruit, vegetable, grain, meat, fish is available on Toronto’s supermarket shelves twelve months of the year. The Internet makes nutrition information easier to access than ever before. But there are many signs that our food system is not meeting the needs of many Torontonians. Report.


New Ontario cheese production facility in the works

Vaughan-based Quality Cheese Inc. has received a grant of $1.2 million to help it buy leading edge cheese making equipment, the Ontario government says in a June 3 news release. The funding will help the company improve competitiveness and meet increasing consumer demand for its specialty cheeses and convenience products. The project will enable the company to retain 22 full-time and temporary jobs and create an additional 70 jobs, the release says. Better Farming story.


Tracing the origins of Ontario’s best steaks

The province gave nearly $950,000 at the beginning of this month to family-owned meat processor VG Meats and quality food retailer Longos, to work together to further develop Ontario’s beef market. The announcement, made during Local Food Week, served as yet another reminder that this province values the homegrown products that consumers want and can easily understand. VG Meats believes quality and traceability are intrinsically linked. So does Oakville-based Value Chain Management International. Guelph Mercury story.


Canada’s Strawberry Capitol: Eat, drink and buy local

Norfolk County is Canada’s leading grower of strawberries, and this small community on Lake Erie is asking you to eat, drink and buy local. About 35 farmers grow 500 acres of strawberries in Norfolk County. From Strawberry Lager to Strawberry Fest, the people of Norfolk County celebrate this sweet fruit in a variety of ways. Farms hold open house events. Wineries serve strawberry sangria tastings. Restaurants include fresh strawberries on their menus. People can also pick their own strawberries and enjoy them with ice cream. Canada News Wire story.


Chef Kevin Durkee Cheesewerks

“We designed the restaurant to be focused on the best products. Being Canada’s only restaurant dedicated to cheese, we’re 100% cheesy. We make sure everything is quality and locally sourced. We try to maintain a mix of incredible food and good fun!” Website.


Pan Am athletes fuel up on local food

When hungry baseball teams competing in this summer’s Pan Am Games break for lunch at the ballpark, they’ll be eating potatoes grown in a tiny hamlet in Norfolk County, corn plucked from fields near Lake Simcoe and wild fish pulled from the waters of Lake Erie. Much of the food served to athletes and officials at the international event — whether at sports venues or the athletes’ village — will come from the very province or country hosting the Games, say the companies tasked with fuelling thousands of elite competitors and their entourage. Inside Brockville story.


Grocer does the shopping for busy consumers with ‘click-and-collect’ service

In a bid to better serve time-starved consumers, Loblaw Cos. is bringing a new service to its Ottawa area stores that allows people to buy groceries online and then schedule a pickup time at a store that suits them. The click-and-collect service has been operating for a year in Toronto suburbs and has proven massively popular, the grocery chain says. Ottawa is the second market to get the service, starting Friday with the Loblaws Barrhaven store at Strandherd Drive and Greenbank Road. Ottawa Citizen story.


Local Leadership Matters: Ontario Municipalities Taking Action to Strengthen the Greenbelt

The latest research from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation looks at a mix of initiatives and tools 30 municipalities are using to enhance Ontario’s Greenbelt. The report surveyed dozens of municipal officials. The results emphasize the many ways communities are directly and indirectly helping to achieve the objectives of the Greenbelt—enhancing valuable natural heritage sites, supporting agriculture, increasing tourism, and strengthening local economies. Greenbelt Foundation post.




Living Architecture Tour

Toronto abounds with green roofs and walls, but most people aren’t aware since living infrastructure is often hidden atop buildings or behind closed doors. This tour reveals our city’s vegetative roofs and walls.  Living architecture offers a cornucopia of benefits, which you can experience by looking, smelling, touching and listening. #LivingArchTOur helps Torontonians and visitors to our wonderful city experience these benefits for themselves. Website. Map.

Local Food News — Ontario

New local food week good for business say ag groups

Representatives from some of Ontario’s agricultural organizations say that, despite the fanfare, Ontario’s “Local Food Week” is about sharing information about the industry with consumers and highlighting the benefits of supporting local farms. In that spirit, Wuermli says her organization has partnered with Farm and Food Care to “kick off” the week’s inaugural run with a media tour of a beef feedlot near Alliston. While the tour is not an open event, Wuermli says Farm and Food Care and Beef Farmers of Ontario focused on urban media sources, such as Canadian Living, in their invitations; those in attendance, she says, come from a variety of different professional backgrounds ranging from chefs and food bloggers to dietitians and other media persons. Better Farming story.


A local food hub looks to locate at Gallipeau Centre

The idea is to bring food producers, processors, buyers and distributers together to merchandise local food – locally. It’s not a new idea; in fact food hubs as they are called are a fast growing phenomena. “Smiths Falls is right in the middle, and we’re looking to the Gallipeau Centre for food processing space,” said Bill Dobson, reeve of Montague Township and member of the Two Rivers Food Hub’s working group. “The former Rideau Regional used to prepare 9,000 meals a day they have incredible facilities.” Inside Ottawa Valley story.


Add one million acres to Ontario’s Greenbelt and create Ontario’s first Food Belt

Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt (MLGB) – mayors and councillors from across the GTA – urged the Ontario government to take some bold actions and stand up for Ontario’s green spaces, watersheds, farmland and natural heritage systems. The MLGB co-Chairs – Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Ajax Mayor Steve Parish and Toronto Councillor Glenn DeBaeremaeker – were at Queen’s Park today to urge Ontario to take the following steps: Expand the Greenbelt by an additional 1 million acres; Create Ontario’s (and Canada’s) first Food Belt consisting of 200,000 acres for farming; Reduce red tape for municipalities who want to grow the Greenbelt in their communities. City of Guelph post on behalf of Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt.


Sowing seeds of success: Local farmer honoured with community award

Ian Stutt didn’t come from a farming family. He grew up in Montreal and originally moved to Kingston to study global development at Queen’s University. Yet over the past eight years he has made quite the impact on the local farming community, and on March 7 was named Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year by the Frontenac Soil and Crop Improvement Association. The award recognized his leadership in assisting fellow farmers and promoting the local food system, while at the same time balancing a successful business at his own organic vegetable farm, Patchwork Gardens, which he operates yearround with his wife, Megan Joslin, and business partner, Eric Williams. The Land Newspaper story.


Vibrant agri-food sector hinges on farmland preservation

For Ontario farmers – and Ontarians who rely on local food  ?  farmland is our greatest and most important resource. But despite the vast and diverse area of land that makes up Canada’s second-largest province, less than 5% of it is suitable for food production. And once farmland is gone, it’s never coming back. That’s why the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is calling for the protection of Class 1, 2, 3 and 4 – the land that supports most agricultural activity. The OFA is also calling on government to protect a farmer’s ability to farm when urban expansion and aggregate extraction are occurring on or next to a farm. Ontario Federation of Agriculture release.


Growing Good Food Ideas: upStream Aquaponics

The York Region Food Network is embracing soil-less agriculture as part of building a healthy food-secure community. YRFN’s project, upStream Aquaponics in Newmarket, is a water-based soil-less agriculture system that replicates a natural system that recycles byproducts from living fish to fertilize edible plants. The facility was built over a year and started production in August 2013, growing a variety of lettuce mixes that are being sold to local restaurants in Newmarket as well as being used in YRFN programs. Sustain Ontario post. Video.


Tri-Cities Gleaners Guild

A very old practice is laying down new roots in Waterloo Region! The Tri-Cities Gleaners Guild is looking for volunteers of all kinds! Tired of seeing your fruit trees drop rotten fruit all over your yard? We can help! Love eating freshly picked food and spending time with like-minded people? Harvesters will receive 1/3 of the harvest to enjoy themselves, as well as the satisfaction that hard work and friendly companionship brings! Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.


Local Food Expo at Oakville‐Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

Halton Healthcare Services (HHS) is celebrating Local Food Week, designated from June 2-6, by hosting its first Local Food Expo on Wednesday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oakville‐Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) auditorium, located in the lower level of the hospital. “We are very excited to be able to host our first food expo at the hospital, and we hope it will be the first of many. We invite everyone from all our HHS communities, as well as our staff, physicians and volunteers to come out and join us,” explains Marianne Katusin, HHS Manager, Operational Readiness ‐ Food Services. “What a great week to learn about the local food chain in Ontario and see how we are incorporating local foods into our hospital menus. Come out and taste samples, purchase sweet treats and talk to the growers and manufacturers themselves.” The Independent Free Press story.


Feastival — London’s Premier “Local Food” Event

London Training Centre Presents London’s Premier “Local Food” Event. Our 5th Annual Fundraiser at the farm where we grow food ecologically is a Feast in the Field in support of our Local Food Skills program. Feastival is London’s most unique celebration of local seasonal food – a food experience not to be missed. London Training Centre post.


Go Fish! Ontario Family Fishing Events run July 5-13

Ontario Family Fishing Week gets underway this weekend, and clubs and service organizations across the province are getting ready to host family-friendly events. During the week of July 5 to 13, fishing derbies and festivals will be running in more than 50 communities, including several in the Toronto area. The popular initiative is designed to bring families together in the outdoors to enjoy fishing on one of Ontario’s more than 250,000 lakes and countless rivers and streams. Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters news release.




“This is a life-wrecking event” — Margaret Atwood

Our idyllic village has become ground zero in the fight to preserve Canada’s fast-disappearing farmland and natural areas from sprawling mega-developments — all because the Ontario Government made a special loophole in the ‘Ontario Places to Grow Act’ allowing a private developer to turn Midhurst from a village of 3,500 into a city of 30,000. We started a petition demanding the Ontario Government close this unprecedented loophole and save Midhurst. Through the magic of twitter, Margaret Atwood found out about our petition and was inspired to lend her support!. Margaret Atwood explains. Change.org petition.

Locavore News — Ontario

McConnell Foundation Announces New Institutional Food Procurement Fund

The program will fund projects that will build on public institution’s purchasing of healthy, local and sustainable food to transform existing food systems: “Hospitals, long-term care facilities, universities and schools have a critical role to play in food system change, both because they are publicly funded and because stakeholders such as students, patients, doctors and parents can influence the purchasing policies and practices of these institutions toward greater sustainability.” Sustain Ontario post.


Why Food Literacy Matters

Reviewing the Conference Board of Canada’s “What’s To Eat” Report. The report looked at why food literacy is important, how an increase in food literacy can affect household food choices and what differences in knowledge exist between socioeconomic and cultural subgroups. As household food purchasing behaviour and nutrition knowledge drive government and industry food policies, giving all Canadians the tools to build their food literacy skills will greatly influence how our food system grows to become more sustainable and equitable in the future. Sustain Ontario post.


Urban Agriculture Course Series

The Chang School is offering students who complete the four urban agriculture course electives in the Food Security program official University recognition of having completed a course series in Urban Agriculture. This offer is open to both new and past students. Those students who have already taken some of the urban agriculture courses can return and complete the course series. Likewise, certificate students can add a specialization in urban agriculture to their Food Security certificate. Ryerson University course information.


Beer Belly: The Greenbelt’s Bursting Beer Industry

The demand for local beer is paralleled with the surge in farmers growing local hops, such as recent Greenbelt Fund grantee, Bighead Hops. Hop farmers now feed their supply to more than 53 breweries across Ontario, where the crop is mulched, fermented and transformed into lagers, ales, porters, wheat beers, stout beers and pilsners. Greenbelt Foundation post.


Permaculture Design Certificate Course

Jennifer and Tim at All Sorts Acre are offering an 8 month, 100+ hour Permaculture Design Certificate course at their place near Guelph. The course runs one weekend a month from April until November. You will experience the natural cycle for all seasons. The course covers all of the standard PDC material set out by Bill Mollison, and extends it to cover areas that are relevant to our climate and living situations. It doesn’t matter where you live – an apartment, house, farm, or cottage, all aspects of life can be improved with permaculture – from landscape and garden design to handling livestock to business structures, we will be exploring them all. Course outline.


Urban Fruit Propagation Workshop

Learn what fruit grows well in the GTA – in your backyard, balcony or rooftop garden.  Join us for this one-day intensive workshop where you will learn the basics of urban orchard design, four methods of fruit tree propagation, and how to collect, store and root fruit cuttings. Learn about exotic varieties like pawpaw, persimmon, asian pear, & heartnuts. Foggy River Farm Eventbrite post.


Community Workshops TO

Community Workshops TO is a free resource that connects community groups and agencies with skilled workshop facilitators from across the City of Toronto. Through this site you can connect with dynamic facilitators offering workshops on a wide range of subjects, or sign yourself up to offer workshops in your community or throughout the city. Community Workshops TO promotes local resilience by creating training opportunities that build healthy, dynamic and environmentally sustainable communities. Website.


New Land Use Planning Policies Released

Ontario released the Provincial Policy Statement 2014. This is the government’s consolidated policies for growth and development in Ontario’s communities — providing for consistency and better, smarter planning across the province, while giving municipalities flexibility to ensure their plans meet their unique needs. Different regions of the province face different challenges and the Provincial Policy Statement 2014 offers greater flexibility in how policies are applied in northern and rural communities to help them continue to prosper. Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing news release. Provincial Policy Statement.


Ontario’s Greenbelt, Nine Years and Growing

“The Greenbelt protects our land and water for today and for future generations – this was something that Peter Orphanos strongly believed in when he first began this process. I applaud the leadership Mississauga has taken in fulfilling Peter’s legacy by moving one step closer to protecting more land as part of the urban river valley designation,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “Everyday we see the positive attributes that surround us in Ontario’s Greenbelt. By expanding the protected area, we all win.” Greenbelt Foundation press release.


Hands-On Urbanism: How to Make a Difference, January 9, 2104 – March 7, 2014

The exhibition “Hands-On Urbanism. How to Make A Difference” is devoted to a history of ideas of appropriating land in urban space and reveals potential for initiatives by citizens willing to take action in crisis situations. The symposium is conceived of as both an exchange of ideas and case studies and a collaborative working towards the production knowledge. A keynote lecture by Elke Krasny on Friday, 02.28.2014, will give a historiographic overview on Hands-On Urbanism since the mid-19th century. Practitioners, architects, curators and community organizers, will share their work from a practical standpoint and talk about challenges they are currently facing which require them to think outside the box and to enter into new, and at times unexpected, alignments and collaborations. A symposium will take place on Saturday, 03.01.2014. Centre for City Ecology post.




With Climate Change, What’s Better For the Farm Is Better For the Planet

Often, feeding the world in the face of climate change is viewed as a solely technological problem.  If we could just get farmers new and improved drought resistant seeds, the argument goes, or more fertilizer, yields could rise and everyone could eat. But researchers at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) – a global consortium of major agricultural research groups with almost 10,000 scientists and staff around the world – says very low-tech adaptation and mitigation strategies for farmers is essential in the face of changing weather.  In fact, many of the methods farmers can use to adapt to increased variability will also make their farm more resilient. Forbes post.

Locavore News — Ontario


Cheung’s offers market spot to local food vendors

Owners of Windsor’s first Chinese herbal medicine store are making an investment in the city’s culinary future by offering to pay season-long rent at the Downtown Farmer’s Market for up to 10 local foodpreneurs. In launching Food Ventures, Steven Cheung, owner of Cheung’s Trading Co., is hoping to spark interest in local foods, healthy and holistic living and food sustainability by paying vendor rents as well as chipping in with a range of additional resources and incentives to help people come up with creative and nutritious food items to sell at the market. The Windsor Star story.


Fresh, Healthy, Local Food Coming to Toronto Hospital Thanks to George Brown College

An innovative collaboration between George Brown College and St. Michael’s Hospital means more fresh, healthy meals made from local food will be on the plates of patients, staff, and visitors. With support from the Greenbelt Fund, and funding from the Ontario government, George Brown College, has partnered with St. Michael’s Hospital to develop a certification course for hospital foodservice staff. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post

Grey Local Food Project Celebrates Milestone

Grey County farmers are making headway in getting their products into the GTA. The Grey County Chefs’ Forum links producers with commercial food buyers and chefs locally and in the GTA. It’s been up and running for a year now. A recent gathering at Grey Roots Museum marked that milestone. The Chefs’ Forum gathering at Grey Roots also launched a series of videos, each highlighting a local food producer. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

Greenbelt Fund grants announced

Local Food Plus and Sustain Ontario were two of the Toronto-area organizations getting grants from the Greenbelt Fund and provincial government last month for projects to ensure more local food is served and distributed in the province. Local Food Plus received $15,000 for a new project designed to assess the market demand for delivering a brokerage service for local and sustainable foods. Broker services are used in the food industry to access hard-to-reach markets and pose an alternative to companies having to hire a sales force, the release says. Sustain Ontario received $10,000 in funding to work with two to three municipalities to create implementation plans for local buying programs. Sustain Ontario is a province-wide alliance of diverse sectors that promotes healthy food and farming. Better Farming story.

Teacher ambassadors bring food, farming and careers to Ontario classrooms

A team of new Teacher Ambassadors is ready to help bring a taste of food and farming into Ontario classrooms. Developed by Ontario Agri-Food Education (OAFE) with the support of an investment from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), the Teacher Ambassador program aims to deliver career lessons with an agri-food focus and encourage high school students to consider careers in the sector. And its outcomes have the potential to benefit the agribusiness sector, students and teachers alike. Agricultural Adaptation Council post.

More Local Food Sourcing From Grey, Wellington

The latest round of Greenbelt Fund grants will have an impact on some farmers in Grey and Wellington counties. 100 kilometer Foods Incorporated is getting a 195 thousand dollar grant from the fund. That money will see them significantly expand their operations and local food distribution with a daily pick-up and delivery system. The expansion includes sourcing food from farms in Grey and Wellington Counties. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

Building a brand for made-in-Ontario artisanal cheese

Ontario’s dairy farmers are leading an industry initiative to develop a new branding concept for artisanal cheese in the province – one they hope will one day be as successful and recognizable as the Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA) in the wine industry. The resulting brand will identify artisanal and specialty Ontario cheeses at the retail level, assuring consumers they meet strict standards for quality, processing method and ingredients. Agricultural Adaptation Council post

Local wine is coming to a farmers’ market near you

You’ll soon be able to buy Ontario wine at farmers’ markets in Toronto (and beyond). Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced that all Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wines will be legal for sale alongside local produce, giving Ontario grapes a new hand up, and making our lives about a billion times better. Wynne went on to try to ease the worries of — okay, I’m not sure who — by reassuring us the wine will be sold with the utmost “social responsibility.” The Mayor of Toronto smokes crack, but Ontario vinters will be on the level. Sounds about right. BlogTo post.

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference showcases knowledge and optimism surrounding Ontario’s largest business sector

Food processing is currently the largest business sector in Ontario, according to Jan Dines, business development officer at Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO). “They’ve surpassed manufacturing – we hear about plants closing and things,” Dines said. “So because food processing is providing that many jobs and that much investment and it’s growing, it’s one of the key sectors I’m focusing on.” Dines was one of the key organizers of the annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference, which was held in Kingston for the first time Dec. 2-3 at the Ambassador. In 2011 and 2012, the conference was held at the University of Guelph’s Kemptville campus. Our Windsor story.

2014 Farmland Forum: Toward Permanent Land Protection in an Evolving Policy Environment

The March 7 Forum will address the challenges of urban growth management and the protection of agriculture in Ontario’s near-urban farming communities, by asking: How permanent is farmland protection policy in Ontario? Are current policies effectively curbing sprawl and protecting agriculture? Can policy makers and community stakeholders work together more collaboratively to improve farmland protection? Details.


Bring Food Home Photos, Proceedings, and Presentations

Bring Food Home is Ontario’s sustainable food systems conference. This three-day event attracts leaders from agriculture, government, industry, education, and non-profit sectors to discuss groundbreaking initiatives and promising ideas for building a stronger future for food in Ontario and beyond.

Photos: Bring Food Home 2014 photo-sharing group on Flickr.

Access over 45 presentations on slideshare.com/bringfoodhome.

Locavore News — Ontario


Farmers in the Playground

Farmers in the Playground unites kids to their world by offering a program that teaches how to grow and eat good food, right in their own schoolyards! Common Roots Food Collective teaches all that “Dirt makes you grow!” Facebook page.

County endorses food charter

As organizations around the globe marked World Food Day on Wednesday, Oct. 16, Northumberland County supported a recommendation from The Food Charter Working Group in the county to develop a food policy committee and move forward to support local food production. There are now at least 20 Ontario communities doing the same thing to spur agricultural strategies, development of community gardens and pushing local food production and distribution, according to spokesperson Kimberly Leadbeater of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. Northumberland Today story.

Ontario Home to World’s Best Cheese

Just last week, it was announced that the best cheese in the world is actually made just a few hours outside Toronto. The creamy, gouda-style Lankaaster from Ontario cheesemonger Margaret Peters won top prize at the annual Global Cheese Awards in Somerset, England. Aged Lankaaster was just under two years old when crowned the winner among 167 categories including heavy-hitters like Parmigiano Reggiano.  The two-year-old Ontario cheese beat out hundreds of whey more established cheddars as well, to be crowned the Global Supreme Champion of cheese. Ontario culinary Tourism Alliance post.

A Big Toast to School Grown’s Biggest Garden yet!

In late 2011, FoodShare’s Field to Table Schools program was approached about an exciting opportunity: they were invited to tour an underutilized 16,000 square foot school rooftop. And so began the designing and dreaming of what would become an urban garden and education centre, the largest school-based project of its kind in the city. FoodShare post.


Organizers Hope To ‘Surprise’ With Grey-Bruce Foods

The Grey Bruce Agriculture and Culinary Association wants to surprise you. They think they can do that with this year’s Field To Fork Gala coming up later this month in Cargill. The Gala will feature a seven course meal, with each course created by a different local chef and featuring ingredients grown and raised on local farms. The Association’s Heather Frook says they’re finding that area chefs are very much in tune with the local food market. She says the trick is to get the public to come in so they can also find out what local foods are available across Grey and Bruce Counties. Blackburn News story.

Farming in Ontario’s Greenbelt: Possibility Grows Here.

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation released a study on the challenges and opportunities of farming in the Greenbelt. Research conducted through consultations across the Greenbelt concludes that most challenges to farming are universal across the province and not a result of the Greenbelt Plan. Key findings from the study include:

• Farmers appreciate the intent of the Greenbelt Plan; however some wish land was protected earlier and/or all prime farmland in southern Ontario was protected from development.

• Farms located in near-urban locations in the Golden Horseshoe face unique challenges. These include: multiple, disjointed regulations and policies from multiple levels of government that detract from the ability to do business efficiently; and expanding urban-based infrastructure that affects the ability to farm.

• These challenges are offset by the benefits, which include being closer to a large and growing market as well as having the ability to proceed with business investments knowing that neighbouring land will not be sold for development because of Greenbelt protection. Friends of the Greenbelt post. Study.

The time it takes

Since the summer before I started university several years ago, I have been growing vegetables in both a 15 X 20-ft. garden at home and in bushel basket containers which I have sold to people through my own small business. This past summer, I was able to further explore my interest in growing food (especially in alternative spaces) through a 200-hour internship with Young City Growers. Rachel Dyck post on Waterloo Region Food system Roundtable.

Bring Food Home 2013: Building Bridges Together, November 17-19, Windsor

Bring Food Home is Ontario’s biennial conference connecting those individuals and organizations who are working towards a sustainable food system. This year’s conference will run from November 17th to 19th and will feature a wide range of workshops, new farmer training, compelling keynote speakers and a feast of local flavours. “The Bring Food Home Conference is where the story of the new Ontario food system is being rewritten. This is the time and place for those who believe in a just and sustainable food system to join the composition.” – Mark Winne, Author & Community Food Activist. Registration.

Urban sprawl is destroying Ontario’s farmland

Political leaders must end sprawl and create higher-density communities surrounded by local greenbelts of protected farmland. Despite its huge area, Canada has relatively little dependable farmland. Good soil and a friendly climate are hard to find. So it seems like good news that on a clear day you can see about half the best agricultural land in Canada from the top of Toronto’s CN Tower. If we’re to feed our growing urban populations, having food lands close to where people live will be critical to sustaining local food security. David Suzuki and Faisal Moola opinion in the Toronto Star.

The Farm Planner

Join this detailed 11 session course to build a detailed farm plan to ensure your business is a success!  If you are thinking about starting your own agricultural business or Farmer Training at Everdale | farm plans courses business csa harvest shares crops rotation biodynamic local organicsmaking your current business more profitable, then the Farm Planner is the right course for you.  During eleven full day sessions spread over four months you will walk through all the necessary steps in building a comprehensive farm plan to ensure sustainable success.  You will be helped along the way by a diverse group of experienced presenters and expert mentors. Cost sharing is available for this course. Everdale post.


Moving Agriculture Away from Fossil Fuels

Eating meat is bad for the planet, right? That hamburger you’re contemplating for lunch comes from a cow that, most likely, was raised within the industrial agriculture system. Which means it was fed huge amounts of corn that was grown with the help of petroleum, the carbon-based substance that has helped drive Earth’s climate to the breaking point. In industrial agriculture, petroleum is not only burned to power tractors and other machinery used to plant, harvest, and process corn—it’s also a key ingredient in the fertilizer employed to maximize yields. Eating beef is particularly environmentally damaging: Cows are less efficient than chickens or pigs at converting corn (or other feed) into body weight, so they consume more of it than other livestock do. As a result, the industrial agriculture system employs 55 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of beef. Slate article.