Manure and Markets – Ranting Down on the Farm
I met up with 3 fellow ecological farmers in a tomato field last week while I was delivering sustainable flowers for local event. In general, the feeling among the farmers I talked with is somber. Even though there is so much hype out there right now about ‘local’. Even though all the research suggests consumers are turning to more healthy food choices, the local organic farmers I spoke with are just ‘not feeling the love’. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post by Theresa Schumilas.
It’s time to uncoop the urban chicken debate
But first, why keep chickens in the city? For the last six years, our family has enjoyed cooking and baking with fresh eggs — as wonderful as backyard tomatoes and cucumbers from within the 50-foot diet! My kids enjoy watching the hens pecking around in their outdoor cage. I enjoy the daily routine of feeding and watering. There are other hen-keepers who registered with city hall in 2009 who also reap the benefit of eggs coming out of their backyards. We organized three annual Chicken Coop Tours to which members of the public were invited — those who came were always very supportive. Waterloo Region Record post by Matthew Bailey-Dick.
Grocera offers online shopping for local food
A pair of young entrepreneurs believe they are among the first in Canada to connect people with sources of local food using online shopping and home deliveries. Patrick Valoppi and Niket Soni founded Grocera in February and now deliver fresh bread, meat, vegetables, fruit and snacks five days a week to customers around Waterloo Region. They fill orders at Herrle’s Country Farm Market, Sabletine Fine Pastries, Pure Organic Foods and the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market. They mark up the food and drive the orders to their customers. “The orders are just coming to the point where we have to hire extra people to help because right now it is Patrick and myself,” Soni said. Waterloo Region Record story.
Community farm moves into National Capital Commission greenbelt land
This isn’t the community garden in your local park – thanks to a lease from the National Capital Commission, Just Food farmers have found a home in Ottawa’s greenbelt. Last week, the farming non-profit signed a 25-year lease for 150 acres of the National Capital Commission’s greenbelt land. “This city-wide resource will support food and farming in Ottawa for decades to come,” said Just Food board chair, Patricia Ballamingie. The land is intended to be a producing farm, but it will also be a hub to educate residents on how food things are grown and re-connect them with agriculture. Ottawa Metro News story.
Ontario craft brewers launch self-guided ‘discovery tours’
The association representing Ontario craft brewers has launched self-guided “discovery tours” in and around the province’s protected Greenbelt region. In addition to breweries and hops farms that welcome visitors, the routes take in cheesemakers, craft cideries, farmers markets and restaurants showcasing local food. One itinerary along the south shore of Georgian Bay, from Owen Sound to Kimberley, includes three breweries, three cideries and a hops farm. CBC Hamilton story.
Fourth annual celebration of local food stops in Oil Springs
Saturday’s sold out Food Day Canada dinner, served under a tent at the Oil Museum of Canada in Oil Springs, began four years ago with a show of hospitality. “It started on a whim, actually,” said Tracy Ranick, with the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation. Food writer Lynn Ogryzlo was planning to be in Sarnia-Lambton on that year’s Food Day Canada, a national celebration of the country’s food, and local officials offered to arrange a dinner for her. “And, in a few weeks it turned into a dinner for 80,” Ranick said. It was held at the Smith Homestead farm in St. Clair Township, featuring a menu built around locally grown and raised food. Sarnia Observer story.
Orillia Lakehead prof explores food policy
Food is the focus of Lakehead University’s latest ‘In Conversation’ event. Dr. Doug West will lead a panel discussion to explore how and why a local food procurement policy could be established in Orillia. “There are plenty of benefits to implementing this kind of policy,” explains West. “We hope this event helps to raise awareness of the importance of local food policies, while pioneering a change in attitude that would support a more sustainable community.” Simcoe.com story.
Taste Tested : Homemade Cherry Soda
I’ll be honest with you, the first time I made this soda it exploded out of the bottle and all over my friends (it still tasted delicious, just in case anyone was wondering). I have since learned that the amount of time you allow the yeast to be active is very important. Give it no more than twelve hours, and then stash it away in the fridge. The only ingredient here that most won’t have heard of is dry Champagne yeast. The good news is that not only can this yeast be found at any brew shop (wine, or beer), but it also costs next to nothing for a package that’s five times the amount needed for a small batch of soda. Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance post by Feast ON Communications Coordinator,
Five Things You Didn’t Know About the Local Food Act 2013
The first annual Local Food Report was released at the beginning of June, as an outcome of the Local Food Act 2013-legislation that is the first of its kind in Canada. Having read this short report, I wanted to present some highlights. As it turns out, there are some pretty cool initiatives that are planned or are already underway as an outcome of the Act. I found the following initiatives from the Local Food Report intriguing, and have included links to more information (where applicable), for those who are interested. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post by Brittany Bruce.
The Value Of Nature For Agriculture — A Farmer’s Perspective On The ALUS Program
When Gunther Csoff became a participant in the Alternative Land Use Services program, he never imagined the benefits would be so diverse. One of the unexpected dividends came for Asian squash. The 2011 season was the first the Csoffs’ grew Asian squash so they didn’t have good traditional knowledge of bee populations, but Csoff knew that neighbours who grew cucumbers needed to bring in hives for pollination. His ALUS planting of 10 acres of prairie grass also included some wild flowers. Last summer when walking in the area, the bees were obvious. “The field was literally buzzing when the bees were there.” He didn’t need to pay for bees to be brought in. Alternative Land Use Services post.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
Feeling the Heat: Ontario Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2015
It looks like Ontario is finally “feeling the heat” on climate change policy. Until recently, the government’s decision to close its coal-fired power plants was Ontario’s main contribution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Encouragingly, though, the Ontario government is now preparing to take the first of many necessary steps towards meeting its 2050 GHG reduction target (80% below 1990 emissions levels). Environmental Commissioner of Ontario news release.