Local Food News — Ontario

Manure and Markets – Ranting Down on the Farm

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

It’s time to uncoop the urban chicken debate

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

Grocera offers online shopping for local food

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

Community farm moves into National Capital Commission greenbelt land

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

Ontario craft brewers launch self-guided ‘discovery tours’

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

Fourth annual celebration of local food stops in Oil Springs

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

Orillia Lakehead prof explores food policy

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

Taste Tested : Homemade Cherry Soda

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

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

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


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

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


Feeling the Heat: Ontario Greenhouse Gas Progress Report 2015

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

Local Food News — Canada

Who do Canadians trust with their food? Local growers get top marks, new poll finds

The exclusive Ipsos poll for Global News shows the vast majority of Canadians (83 per cent) said it’s important they know where their food comes from. When it comes to what food producers Canadians trust the most, local growers and farmers get top marks, with 95 per cent saying local markets and butchers are doing a good job ensuring the quality and safety of their food products, followed by 94 per cent saying the same for produce and wheat farmers. Global News story.


NDP’s Local Food Act aims to get more B.C. food into hospitals

The B.C. NDP plans to introduce legislation this week to promote local food consumption in B.C. and set requirements for local products at public-sector facilities, such as hospitals and residential care homes. The Local Food Act is meant to ensure an increased and stable demand for local food, improve public awareness of B.C.-made food, and bolster the province’s food security, among other goals. NDP Agriculture critic Lana Popham said one of the changes would be requiring 30 per cent of hospital food to be from B.C. CBC News British Columbia story.


Insights from the first Food Environments in Canada Symposium and Workshop

The Food Environments in Canada Symposium and Workshop took place in Saskatoon, SK from May 21-23. The diversity of the speakers as well as of the audience members provided a rich outlook of the state of food environment research in Canada. Those present at the conference included local community organizers, faculty in various Canadian universities, scientists, public health representatives, as well as graduate students in fields of sociology, public health, planning, and food systems, among others. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.


Farming School Grounds

Some wondered if school farms would be a viable economic model and wondered whether they would resolve the distribution challenges of buying from local farmers. Others were curious to see if the farms would more readily engage youth and school staff in their food system. As these schoolyard farms grow, the clearest successes have been in hands on education and leadership skill development. Farm to Cafeteria Canada post.


Localize program comes to Toronto

In recent years, grocers have been keen to highlight the number of local offerings they sell. But one program has taken it upon itself to actually rate the “localness” of these products. Three-and-a-half years ago, Meghan Dear launched Localize because she was frustrated with not being able to tell where the food she purchased came from. With the Localize program, products are accompanied by bright orange Localize labels that carry scores out of 10 for their “localness.” Canadian Grocer story.


Food and the City

It’s an exciting time for food in Halifax.  In recent years, Halifax has joined the long list of Canadian cities that are engaging with food security and community food project. Across Canada, there are over 60 municipal food policy initiatives. Inspired by these initiatives, the Halifax Food Policy Alliance (formerly the Halifax Food Strategy Group) was born.  Nearly two years ago a group began meeting with the goal of getting food on the municipal agenda.  A formal steering committee was formed in September 2014 with representatives from the city of Halifax, Capital District Public Health, Ecology Action Centre, United Way, Seaport Farmers Market and the community at large.  Our current work includes the creation of toolkits for communities to undertake a food assessment, research into and support for policy initiatives and program to support healthy food systems in Halifax, and the completion of a Halifax-wide food assessment. Haligonia.ca post.


Food Is Better, When You Know the Facts

Localize removes the awkward barriers that keep people from knowing more about their food. We empower shoppers to make quick, educated choices while helping grocers better communicate what the local products are in their store. Our labels highlight key details about every product, and our Localize score gives you a quick measure of how local a product is to you. Website.


Municipal Food Policy Entrepreneurs: a preliminary analysis of how Canadian cities and regional districts are involved in food system change

Municipalities and regional districts are key players in the Canadian food system. In a cross-Canada survey, we found that 64 local and regional municipalities are working to improve the food system, using a mix of municipal policies, programs and civil-society interventions. Still more Canadian municipalities are engaged in food systems work, but operate without the benefit of the types of organizational arrangements identified in this research. Report.


Local food, beer and art coming to the historic uptown Saint John building

Three New Brunswick businesses are teaming up to bring a mix of local food, beer and art to an historic buildingin uptown Saint John. Historica Developments, owners of the Canterbury Carpark, a Victorian-era commercial building in the Trinity Royal district of Saint John, announced Thursday that Picaroons Traditional Ales, Real Food Connections and a Buckland Merrifield Art Gallery will occupy the main floor of the building. “We have local food, local beer and local art. I really don’t think it gets much better than that,” said Brideau. CBC News New Brunswick story.


Community Food Security Hub Newsletter

This Community Food Security Hub newsletter contains information about their partners and research projects, including food costs across Canada and Sustainable-Local Food Systems in Manitoba. Newsletter.




Farmed and Dangerous

Innocent sheep, and my heritage flock in particular, stood for everything good. Shropshires are symbolic of our ancestors, pioneers, history, peace, old-fashioned farming, homesteads, real food and family values, longevity. How could a federal government agency wreak such a horror upon these precious things? Edible Toronto story.

Local Food News — Ontario

The Social Bar and Table Leading the Way with Buying Local

The Social Bar and Table in Port Hope is the first Northumberland restaurant to be designated with the Ontario Tourism Alliance Feast ON program. The Feast ON designation is awarded to applicants who purchase at least 25% of their food and beverages from Ontario producers, as well as a commitment to participating in local food events and partnering with local food and beverage providers. “The designation is a proud accomplishment for The Social”, says Manager Jeff Bray, who understands the importance of keeping it local. “The Social buys over 55% of our product from Ontario suppliers”, says Bray. NorthumberlandView.ca story.


Mr. Lou Rinaldi: It’s an honour for me to speak today about an outstanding restaurant in my riding of Northumberland-Quinte West. The Social Bar and Table in Port Hope has been designated by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance’s Feast ON program. This designation is awarded to applicants who purchase at least 25% of their food and beverages from Ontario producers. They must also commit to participate in local food events and partner with local food and beverage providers. The Social Bar and Table buys over 55% of their products from Ontario suppliers. I’m thrilled that they are one of five restaurants chosen to participate today at Queen’s Park at the 2014 Premier’s Summit on Agri-Food. The Social Bar and Table will be showcasing local products from Linwood Acres Trout Farm, Burnham Family Farm apples and North Gate Organics produce. Please take time to stop by the agri-food summit reception later on this afternoon downstairs, which focuses on Ontario’s finest producers and demonstrates how important it is to buy local and know where our products are coming from. The Social Bar and Table is located at 26 Ontario Street in Port Hope. Please stop by when you’re in the riding. And don’t forget: Good things grow in Ontario. Ontario Hansard (record of debates in the Ontario Legislature) November 27, 2014.

Renewed interest in old-fashioned skills

Home canning is undergoing a renaissance among a growing number of consumers who want to know what’s in the food they eat. Entries in the home crafts categories at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair exceeded 400, up from last year, said Peter Hohenadel, the fair’s director of agriculture and food. Recent additions to the 92-year-old fair include salsa, heritage pickles and jam plus two youth categories for those under age 18. Western Producer story.

Renfrew event joins local farmers with buyers of local food

A Renfrew-area farming forum has done more than connect farmers with buyers. It also gave farmers ideas on how to improve their farms. The Community Futures Development Corporation and the Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative held the Renfrew County Local Food & Farming Forum on Sept. 16, giving farmers a chance to meet representatives from daycares, schools, municipalities, hospitals, food markets and other food purchasers in an effort to help farmers sell their products locally. Beef and vegetable farmer Marshall Buchanan said there were some great leads for new markets for his food, but he also left the forum with a way to increase productivity. Farmers Forum story.

CK Table Tops In Ontario

A Chatham food tourism event has won a provincial award. CK Table was nominated for tourism event of the year by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Association. The event beat out three other finalists and was announced the winner during last night’s awards banquet in Collingwood. Co-founder of CK Table Paul Spence describes the event as a dinner that features farmers, building dialogue around local food so that consumers and farmers can educate each other and create more conversation about getting local food into restaurants and grocery stores. BlackburnNews.com story.

Artisanal cheese, please

Promoting and encouraging innovative local food projects is one of the priorities assigned to Toronto Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts, the parliamentary assistant to the provincial agriculture minister. Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal says in his letter to Potts the parliamentary assistant’s specific responsibilities include promotion and encouraging innovative local food projects “that celebrate the rich diversity of food produced and made in Ontario” and working with ministers and partners to continue engaging with rural stakeholders to deliver effective programs, such as the Rural Economic Development program, and services to rural areas. Better Farming story.

Local food app now available

If you’re interested in eating healthier and adding more local food to your diet, an interdisciplinary team of researchers and partners in London and Kitchener-Waterloo has launched an iPhone app to help. Smart Appetite has been developed collaboratively by the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) at Western University, the London Training Centre, Brescia University College, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Old East Village Business Improvement Area. “The goal of our app is to remove barriers to finding local and healthy foods, which will help drive the local food economy,” said Jason Gilliland, director of Heal and a professor in Western’s Faculty of Science. Londoner story. University of Western Ontario post.


Smart APPetite For Local Food Sources

The makers of a new app hope it will help you source local, healthy food in southwestern Ontario. Western University partnered with several London-area groups and a registered dietician to create Smart APPetite. Social Sciences Professor Jason Gilliland says it responds to a growing trend to work locally grown foods into their diets. Social Sciences Professor Jason Gilliland says the app went through a lot of testing before they took it live. Ontarians currently spent $18-billion a year on food from outside the province. Experts say if everyone shifted $10 of their weekly food budget toward local food, it would create 10,000 new jobs in Ontario. BlackburnNews.com story. The SmartAPPetite app is available for download at www.smartappetite.ca.

The gift of gleaners: Leftovers turned into millions of snacks, soup servings

There’s more slicing and dicing at the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners plant than an old Ginsu knife commercial. Volunteers are chopping apples and squash for dehydrated snacks for kids. But wait. There’s more. With all the dicing and dehydrating done on surplus vegetables since August, the Leamington-based charity is almost ready to start making soup mixes to combat hunger here and overseas. Windsor Star blog.

When will the entire Local Food Act will be proclaimed?

“We shamed you into finally proclaiming the section for increased access to local food through the tax credit for farmers who donate to community food programs, food banks, churches and other groups like that,” Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett told Ag Minister Jeff Leal this morning in the Ontario Legislature. “But you still haven’t proclaimed other parts of the bill. You speak of being open and transparent, but today you should be publishing your first annual report on local food in Ontario. Minister, today is your opportunity to be open and transparent. Why are you saying one thing and doing another?” Toby Barrett, MPP Haldimand-Norfolk post.


Watch growth in the Golden Horseshoe

A 40 second animation shows changes in urban development and protected areas in the Golden Horseshoe from 1945 to 2014. Greenbelt animation.

Locavore News — Ontario

Small Town Cheese Maker Seeks a Big Province’s Support – 2014 Young Entrepreneurs Award

In 2013, shortly after it first began producing cheese, a Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese product was named best firm cheese at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. This is a testament to the hand-made quality that has put the local cheese plant’s tasty products in high demand across Ontario and garnered interest from the rest of the country. The producer’s cheeses are in such demand from both consumers and grocery chains that the company’s current annual production capacity of 30 tonnes can no longer meet consumer appetite for its products. Gunn’s Hill wants to boost production by adding a new 2,000 square-foot, climate-controlled curing and aging space to their existing building. Winning the $100,000 Grand Prize would allow the plant to build this addition, thereby doubling production, doubling its workforce, and creating a new line of premium aged cheeses. Contest finalists. Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese project. Website.


Seed to Sausage celebrates annual “Day of the Pig”

The Day of the Pig is about inspiring the customer to discover new trends in food. It promises to be a terrific event for the whole family: tasting, sipping and listening to local music. The piggy party showcases some of Canada’s best artisan food producers. Meet local chefs from Atomica, Le Chien Noir, Olivea, Bread and Butter Bakery and Slow Taco, a food cart from the county. Eat food prepared by great chefs, see all sorts of cooking and drinking demonstrations, such as Michael’s Dolce jams, Bush Garden Farmstead Cheese, Back Forty artisan cheese, Bier Markt from Toronto, seared burgers from Enright Cattle beef and Seed to Sausage bacon. Metroland Kingston Region story.


Celebrate Local Food Week with the Mustard Seed Co-op’s Grand Opening

The timing for our Grand Opening couldn’t be better, as that week is also the first-ever Local Food Week in Ontario. Come celebrate Local Food Week with Hamilton’s only co-op prioritizing local, wholesome food! Meet our producers, listen to great Hamilton-area bands, sample delicious local food, get dug in with kids’ activities, and participate in producer and partner demonstrations. Website.


What’s Next for the Local Food Act?

The fall of Ontario’s provincial government and the announcement of an election on June 12, 2014, raise some important questions regarding food and farming. What food and farming issues will be in the party platforms? Will candidates in regions and ridings across the province make healthy food and farming a priority in their campaigning? What will happen to the unproclaimed portions of the Local Food Act? Sustain Ontario post.


Transition+, mayor send healthy message

Many members of the Transition + food group wing were on hand for the short ceremony that was used to proclaim June 2-8 as Local Food Week in Cornwall. And there was a special guest in attendance — Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger, who planted a zucchini in front of the Justice Building on Pitt Streetin a small vegetable garden. The key day that week is Sat., June 7, with several events going on as part of the Incredible Edible Plant Festival. There’ll be a plant giveaway outdoors near the Justice Building. “Last year we gave away (over 350) plants – tomatoes, beans, strawberries, peppers,” Carriere said. “They were in three gallon containers, people didn’t need to replant them.” Standard Freeholder story.


Hospital food overhaul urged

A UK-based “better hospital food” advocate is bringing his campaign to Ontario, calling for fresh, local food to be served. In the UK, more than 82,000 patient meals are wasted daily, said Jackson, who’s with a group called Sustain. Its campaign for better hospital food began in 2012 and aims to get the UK government to introduce mandatory nutritional, environmental and ethical standards for food served to patients in England’s hospitals. The worst offenders are microwaved meals, often in one dish. Ottawa Sun story.


We can’t eat subdivisions, quarries, highways or pipelines

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, has challenged the leaders of Ontario’s other parties to sign the Food and Water First Pledge. “We can’t eat subdivisions, quarries, highways, or pipelines,” says Schreiner. “Aggregates just aren’t very nutritious.” Schreiner, who grew up on a farm, was an early champion of the local food movement. He was the first political leader in Ontario to speak out against the Melancthon Mega Quarry. Northumberland View story.


BRANT AGRICULTURE: BCFA asks the candidates

The slow wet spring has proven a challenge to many area farmers making for a very hectic spring for thousands of Ontario farmers. In light of this, the Brant County Federation of Agriculture (BCFA) has chosen to change the format and nature of our all-candidates meeting this year. With the assistance of The Expositor we are presenting each of the candidates with three questions pertaining to agriculture within the riding. The candidates’ responses are printed below as part of the special annual feature on local agriculture. Brantford Expositor post.


A look at some agricultural party platforms

Many of the promises each of the four parties running in this June 12 provincial election have some key policies that are different from each other but they also overlap on some issues. National Post story.


Foodprints: a Path to Resilient Food Systems – web and video launch

Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR) and FoodShare are teaming up to bring you a night of mingling and making things happen as we launch a new video series highlighting local solutions to food-security challenges, both at home and abroad. Learn about ways people are reconnecting with their food and exchange ideas on how you can get involved in your community. FoodShare post




Documenting the Marsh Mucker’s Tale

The Holland Marsh is unique – not only because of its organic soils, but because of the co-operation and the partnerships that exist, said Jamie Reaume, Executive Director of the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association. Those partnerships – with King Township and the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Conservation Authorities and the Federal government – made it possible to film “The Marsh Mucker’s Tale,” the first documentary to look at agriculture in the Holland Marsh, and the people who farm the area. On June 4, 2014 at 6 p.m., the story of the Holland Marsh and its farming community will premiere on CBC’s Documentary Channel – making it one of the very first features highlighting Ontario’s farming and food sector, from the perspective of a wide range of farmers. Bradford Times story.

Locavore News — World

Meath Food Series

The Meath Food Series is an innovative Food adventure! Wander round at your leisure and sample the culinary delights of our Royal County in the summer and autumn months! Website.


Food glorious food – Galway Food Festival begins today

Galway Food Festival, the annual event celebrating the city as a good food destination, highlighting food provenance, sustainability, and healthy eating, opens today and runs throughout the Easter Weekend. Over the weekend, more than 100 restaurants, food outlets, and food producers will participate in more than 70 individual events, cookery demonstrations, talks, debates, taste trails, and family events. There will be a strong focus on local and west of Ireland producers and produce as the festival seeks to encourage and promote increased trade for local food outlets and suppliers. Galway Advertiser story.


Study looks at the impact of buying local produce on local economies

The motto ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ has long been a guiding tenet of the sustainable food movement. But does acting locally really make a difference and if so, what kind of difference? That’s just what a team of economists set out to explore in the study Linkages Between Community-Focused Agriculture, Farm Sales, and Regional Growth, published in Economic Development Quarterly (2014). Their results revealed that yes, direct farm-to-customer-sales in the form of farmer’s markets and farm visits do make a difference – but what kind of difference depends where the farms are located and on how well local communities have built up an supply chain to support this kind of local buying. Food Tank post. Study.


A Local Food Act for Australia – the Conversation continues

On 20 March 2014, the Conversation published an article authored by Dr Nick Rose entitled “Let’s Reap the Benefits of Local Food over Big Farming”. By 16 April 2014, this article had been read over 6,300 times and shared hundreds of times across social media. It generated 84 comments directly, from farmers, journalists, researchers and others. AFSA is working with partners and stakeholders in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania to promote the concept of a Local Food Act in each of those states, which meets key challenges and priorities for a fairer and more sustainable food system. Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance post.


Briefing 1892: Earning a livelihood on a small acreage

Keep set up costs low. Add value by direct marketing and/or processing.  Avoid borrowing money by growing the business incrementally as surplus capital becomes available from profits. Avoid livestock production, unless value can be added to the product. Small is Successful Creating sustainable livelihoods on ten acres or less. RuSource Briefing 1892. Ecological Land publication.


The Wharf House puts local suppliers on the map

Award-winning Gloucester restaurant, The Wharf House, has launched a new feature on its website pinpointing local suppliers on an interactive map, to demonstrate the low food miles travelled to achieve its acclaimed menu of modern British and European cuisine. Dubbed a ‘veritable who’s who of Gloucestershire and regional food and drink suppliers’, the likes of Severn and Wye Smokery, Charles Martell’s Single Gloucester cheese, Martin’s Meats, Tracklements’ condiments and Tyrell’s crisps all feature on The Wharf House menu. SoGlos story.


John Jeavons, a Leader of the Homegrown Food Movement, Is Recognized For Incredible Contribution To Humanity

John Jeavons has been working for 42 years researching and promoting backyard food production.  He is the author of the best-selling book  “How to Grow More Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine” which has over 550,000 copies in print in seven languages.  He has authored or helped create over 30 publications to enable people in all regions of the world to grow a balanced diet on a small plot of land. Digital Journal story.


Local Food, Lifts and a Passata Pulp Partnership

As much and all as I don’t spend lots of time in lifts, they can certainly be a great meeting place.  Here’s how it unfolded yesterday. It began with the obligatory “no you first , no you first ” exchange until we were in and rolling. Andrew was his name and he asked if I was “that gardening guy “. Shook on that and the conversation went on. I mentioned that I had been at #tomatofestivalsydney yesterday in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens and it had involved heirloom tomato tasting with Clive Blazey and the team from Diggers Seeds, passata and sun-dried tomato making workshops with Pietro Demaio, panel discussion about heirloom vs hybrid tomatoes, best in show sauces and relishes, seed saving techniques etc etc. Andrew said how he was actually making passata with his wife over the weekend. Costa’s World post.


New Local Food Procurement Guide for School Nutrition Programs

Last week, the Farm to School Programof USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published Procuring Local Food for Child Nutrition Programs, a guide to help K-12 schools operating one or more Child Nutrition Programs with identifying and procuring locally grown and produced food for use at school cafeterias. Using examples from school districts, State agencies, and farm to school organizations around the country, this multi-part guide provides information on:

  •          menu planning basics and ways to integrate local foods
  •          fundamental principles of procurement such as “full and open competition”
  •          formal and informal procurement processes
  •          the variety of potential sources of local product and mechanisms to procure these products
  •          the application of geographic preference, and
  •          special topics such as donated foods. Weather Underground post.


Emerging Faith in Food Production

Nearly two out of three consumers (65 percent) still want to know more about where their food comes from, according to a new follow-up white paper, “Emerging Faith in Food Production,” by Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) FoodThink. This white paper, built from a 2014 study, is a comparative analysis of consumers’ changing food production perceptions since our 2012 research titled, “Building Trust in What We Eat.” New data shows that the industry is starting to move in the right direction. FoodThink post.




Costa’s World

Costa is a vibrant change maker, a connector of people, a voice for reason, a lover of nature, and, perhaps above all else, Costa is a teacher and also the new host of the ABC’s Gardening Australia program. A landscape architect and permaculturalist, Costa’s real passion is food.  Costa has an infectious energy and ability to relate to everyone he meets.  Everyone feels comfortable around Costa because, with Costa, what you see is what you get. Website.

Locavore News — Ontario


Stories from the Mobile Good Food Market

Improving Food Access tells the story of the Mobile Good Food Market in its first year of operation, and some of the profound impacts in improving food access for the communities served. You will also read about the experiences of program Coordinator Afua Asantewaa, as well as stories from customers at the Mobile Good Food Market facilitated by storytelling researcher and photographer Arlene Moscovitch. The Mobile Good Food Market has shown that people will buy produce as long as it is fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate and available nearby. We also hope it will generate other healthy food access solutions for diverse communities across Toronto. FoodShare report (2.29 MB PDF).

Bill to Promote Local Food Passes Final Vote

Ontario is moving forward to help promote the good things that are grown, harvested and processed in Ontario with today’s passage of the Local Food Act, 2013. The new legislation is part of a strategy to build Ontario’s economy by making more local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants. This will create jobs and expand the province’s agri-food sector. Province of Ontario news release.

Local Food Act Passes

The government says it will increase local food awareness and boost sales by setting local food goals and targets in consultation with sector partners. The Act includes a 25 per cent non-refundable tax credit for farmers who donate surplus harvest to eligible community food programs, like food banks. The Ontario Local Food Act requires the government to produce an annual local food report on its activities to support local food. Blackburn Agrimedia story.

Landmark Start-Up Farm

The Landmark Start-Up Farm, in Flamborough, is an on farm training opportunity ideal for beginning farmers transitioning into their new career. This farm will serve aspiring new farmers from the Hamilton, Ancaster, Burlington and Flamborough regions, providing shared resources in a supportive environment. FarmStart offers ¼ acre – Test Cropper plots. March to November. FarmStart post

Urban Agriculture Action Plan for Toronto

This report updates the current scope of urban agricultural activities undertaken by City Divisions and Agencies and identifies short and long term strategies that would advance urban agriculture in Toronto. To advance urban agriculture in Toronto, it is recommended that the City adopt the Toronto Agricultural Program and Workplan to be led by the Deputy City Manager, Cluster A, and supported by a joint City-Sector Steering Committee that includes representatives from City Divisions, Agencies and the urban agricultural community. The report also summarizes how the Parks Plan 2013-2017 responds to the GrowTO recommendations and how City Planning will continue to work with the City-Sector Steering Committee on Urban Agriculture to explore planning issues, barriers and opportunities associated with urban agriculture. Toronto Staff report.

Nutrition pilot program pedals local produce to kids

When the kids at St. Patrick’s Elementary School breakfast program bite into an apple, they know exactly how many “food miles” it travelled. A new harvest pilot program, 3Acres, is delivering fresh, locally sourced foods — by bike — to a handful of school nutrition programs across Hamilton. The program is run by Tastebuds, Hamilton’s Student Nutrition Collaborative. Hamilton Spectator story.

New Maple Product Bottled in Arthur

An Arthur couple has started a new business bottling maple sap before it’s boiled into syrup. Keith and Lorraine Harris started Troll Bridge Creek in 2009. It markets the maple water under the KiKi label. KiKi means ‘tree energy’ in Japanese. Today it’s available in 250 stores across Canada. The Harris’s produce an original maple sweet water from their Arthur operation as well as three flavoured versions – maple blueberry, maple strawberry and maple cranberry. Blackburn News story.

Step Up to the “Plate” with the 2014 Local Food Challenge

Public institutions are getting ready to step up to the plate with the 2014 Local Food Challenge. With support from the Ontario government, the Greenbelt Fund created the challenge to inspire systemic change in hospitals, schools, universities, long-term care facilities, and more to increase local food offerings. The challenge will fund impactful projects that put more local food onto plates. Friends of the Greenbelt news release. Application.

Worth tweeting

Food Hub In The Works For Grey County

The idea is to move farms up the economic ladder, closer to the consumer. That’s how Hugh Simpson describes the Grey County Food Hub being proposed by the Chef’s Forum Advisory Committee. Simpson says consumers are asking for something like this because they want to know more about the food they eat and the people who produce it. He says farmers would benefit because they’d be closer to the consumer, which means there’s the potential for a better profit margin for their products. The Chef’s Forum concept would create a central, convenient and well-equipped collection centre where farmers could take their products. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

The true costs of suburban sprawl

Moving to the suburbs often means a need for a second car. Even economical cars cost about $10,000 a year to own. Other, less quantifiable costs include long commutes, increased emissions, higher risk of road accidents, fatigue and less home time. In municipal terms, there are the increased infrastructural costs and their maintenance in comparison to more compact development. While trunk-line infrastructure and expressways are paid for by provincial governments, these costs are, of course, passed on to all taxpayers. Globe & Mail opinion.


Why are farm kids so healthy?

A new study from the National Farm Medicine Center seeks to find why farm kids are healthier than their city cousins. According to the American Farm Bureau, the study will look at why childhood exposures unique to farm environments promote immunologic development that limits the severity of childhood allergic diseases and asthma. The Center, along with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, will follow 200 babies from the Marshfield, Wis., area over the next two years. Half of the babies will be from farm families and half from rural families not living on farms. The Bullvine post.

Locavore News — Ontario

Growing Food in Boulevards Part II: Growing Our Own!

I was inspired by Krista Long’s post about Growing Food in Boulevardsand decided to take action soon after reading it.  Our piece of boulevard was especially ugly.  For some reason the city had replaced most of the grass along our street but neglected to replace the patch in front of our house!  It had a few weeds growing in it and occasionally I would mow those weeds but mostly it was just an extremely compacted, pitiful piece of useless land.  Useless, that is, until…. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.

Good Food Education Resource Guide

This Good Food Education Resource Guide offers tips and ideas from a number of leaders doing good food education work.  The guide also reviews and shares stories about these organizations that are located in Ontario and beyond. Along with these exemplar success stories and challenges, the guide examines different ways to do good food education work and the types of activities that organizations engage in. It also includes a great variety of recommended resources, including links to web-based toolkits and curriculum resources, book titles, and other websites of interest. Guide.

Farms Tied into Tourism Group’s Offerings

The tourism group for Southwestern Ontario is tying local farmers into a new culinary magazine. The magazine will include five themed, mapped itineraries offering self-directed getaways across the region. Each itinerary will tie together a weekend of local culinary experiences linked to local farmers, chefs, winemakers and brew masters. Ontario’s Southwest Culinary Magazine will be inserted into the September issue of Food and Drink Magazine. Blackburn News story.

Agriculture critic hosts local talks on Local Food Act

When the provincial legislature reconvenes in the fall, Progressive Conservative agriculture critic Ernie Hardeman hopes to have some local food issues on the table. His goal is to host a series of roundtable discussions with local farmers. The ninth such discussion took place yesterday in Northumberland, Hardeman said, and he expects there will be several more — and at the end of the day, he hopes to get the consumption of local foods up and imported foods on a decline. Northumberland Today story.

Kids approve local food

When it comes to the best in local Ontario food, 430 kids can’t be wrong. That’s how many Toronto children taste-tested the city’s Make It Local: Kid-Approved Local Food Recipe Book, profiled Wednesday at the downtown Danforth Child Care Centre. The 14 easy-to-use recipes are based on 50 to 99 per cent Ontario-grown produce that the city’s Live Green Toronto organization calls “affordable and easy to find.” Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.

Seed to Market Educator Workshop, August 29

Field to Table Schools is excited to partner with you and your school community to offer you and your staff the opportunity to experience first-hand, the way in which we get students of all ages excited about good healthy food. Our full day, on-site train-the-trainer sessions are open to both elementary and youth educators who want to know more about integrating Food Literacy into their classroom. Details.

Course: Digging Into Farming: Planning Your New Farm Business

The Digging into Farming Course is intended for prospective farmers who are ready to stop dreaming and start developing realistic goals, clarify their farm vision, evaluate their options, and to begin identifying the resources and knowledge they already have and those they need to acquire. You will come out of this course with a greater understanding of the different assets, skills and resources needed to launch a new farm business, access to a range of available resources and learning opportunities, a broader peer group, as well as connections to local and technical coaches, mentors and advisors. FarmStart Training and Resources Coordinator at rebecca@farmstart.ca.

OSCIA: Grasslands Program Win-Win for Farmers, Environment

Joan McKinley of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association says it’s a win-win program. She says the Grassland Habitat Farm Incentive Program benefits the farms that participate and the grassland species the projects support. The program now has more funding for its third run this year. Blackburn News story.

Former Site 41 land protected for farm use

After more than two decades of uncertainty, the land formerly known as Site 41 has been permanently protected for agriculture and natural heritage. The more than 250 acres of Tiny Township farmland had been designated for a landfill site until last year. As the land sits atop an aquifer, there was a public outcry and plans for a landfill were nixed by Simcoe County council, which then split the property into four parcels, with three being declared surplus. Two of the four parcels have now been sold to an area farmer – subject to farmland conservation easements – thanks to an agreement between the county and the Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT). The easements are registered on the title for each property and will protect farming and forestry on these lands for life. The Barrie Advance story.

Biodynamic Farm Tour – September 29th 3:00 – 6:00 pm

Invitation from Michael Schmidt and Elisa Vander Hout to visit  Glencolton Farms located at 393889 Concession 2 Durham. Come and experience the farm, talk to Michael and Elisa about their experience with biodynamics and watch the milking. Information 519-369-3578.


Kids can Cook!

Last summer, I (Candace Wormsbecker) worked with my friends to make these videos for simple recipes from local foods. Make them with your kids for twice the fun…enjoy the preparing and the eating! Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post, Tomatillo Salsa, Spinach Dip.

Locavore News — Ontario


Local Food Act called ‘stepping stone’

A leading global food securities expert calls Ontario’s tabled Local Food Act a good first step in food — and job — security. “This is a foundation stone that will be made more concrete in subsequent years, but right now it sounds pretty aspirational,” said University of Guelph professor Evan Fraser. “This is a great piece of legislation that will be seen as a stepping stone. Community groups and workers in the province’s agriculture sector call the act a good first step. CBC story.

How Community Gardens Contribute to Healthy and Inclusive Neighbourhoods

Region of Waterloo Public Health (with support from Ellen Desjardins) published a major study of community gardens in late May. The report shares the stories of local gardeners and documents the several benefits of this increasingly popular health promoting activity. The report is based on hearing the stories of 84 gardeners in Waterloo region. The report is full of gardener profiles and quotes. It also contains an updated map of community gardens in Waterloo Region as well as a timeline of the history of the development of community garden. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post.

Local food sources beef up

The growing trend of eating locally sourced food has been making headway in Timmins over the past two years, through the Downtown Timmins and Mountjoy Independent Farmers’ Markets. But Taste of Timmins, an organization specializing in promoting the trend, has made unprecedented headway over the past month. The Fishbowl restaurant has started to utilize locally sourced beef from Mattagami Heights Farm in its burgers with resounding success. Rosalia Rivera, head of Taste of Timmins, hopes to capitalize on this landmark moment to expand this trend to more area restaurants.  Timmins Press story.

Regional Council Endorses Food Charter

Regional Council voted unanimously to adopt the Waterloo Region Food Charter at today’s meeting of Council’s Community Services Committee. The document had been pitched to Council by the Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable, which has been developing the Charter through public consultations for several months. The group will now take the document to area municipal Councils, businesses, organizations, and individuals to seek broad endorsement of the Charter. “We’re proud to have the commitment of Regional Council to a healthy, just, and sustainable food system,” said Brendan Wylie-Toal, Co-Chair of the Food System Roundtable. Presentation to Waterloo Regional Council. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post. Waterloo Region Food Charter

Planning for Agriculture in the Rouge

In late February I received a call from Parks Canada to advise me that the land transfers from Provincial to Federal ownership were nearly complete. The lengthy delay was resolved by an agreement to follow Ontario ecological standards rather than the more relaxed Federal standards. Progress on creating an Agriculture and Food Hub on the agricultural lands within the new Rouge National Urban Park will soon resume. For a better understanding of the immensity and potential of the project, please take a look at The Pickering Lands. This first-class 7-minute video is a “must-see”. A great example of the type of projects these lands could host is shown in the award winning Feeding McGill project. This 3-minute video shows how Montreal university lands are being used to transform the university’s food services. From David Cohlmeyer’s March newsletter.

Growing Good Food Ideas

Sustain Ontario and Powerline Films launched the second round of Growing Good Food Ideas videos to an enthusiastic full room at Queen’s Park on Wednesday April 24, 2013. The event featured special remarks by Premier Wynne as well as several video partners, including the LOFC Network‘s Animator, Hannah Renglich, highlighted by clips from the newly released videos. Local Organic Food Co-ops Network post.

Focus on Food: Pathways to Youth Employment

Focus on Food: Pathways to Youth Employment is now available online. This manual shares information about FoodShare’s Focus on Food Youth Internship Program, including how it works and how its placement model has become part of an effective, successful youth employment program. Details.

‘Food truck alley’ to bring more variety to Hamilton

Ever had a craving for a grilled cheese with a side of kettle corn followed by a fresh baked cupcake? This summer, if all goes as planned, you’ll be able to get all your favourite Hamilton food truck grub in one convenient location. Dubbed ‘food truck alley,’ a portion of land on Aberdeen Avenue at Longwood Road South is currently being leased to host local food trucks throughout the spring and summer when they don’t have other obligations. Graeme Smith, owner of Gorilla Cheese, and Mike Pitton of Southern Smoke Truck teamed up to lease the land. Their trucks are there every Thursday already, but they hope by the summer there will be at least one truck there at all times, every day of the week. CBC Hamilton story.

Help define county food goals

For about two years a diverse group including organic and conventional farmers, folks from various agencies, etc. -O.M.A.F.R.A., Conservation Authority, United Way, Food 4 All, Milk for Moms, municipal councillors, Sustainable Cobourg, Northumberland Federation of Agriculture, Northumberland County transportation and economic development have been working together to prepare a Northumberland County Food Charter. Our primary goal is to build a safe, secure, sustainable food system for all residents. Cramahe Now post.

Ontario PCs seek to add food literacy to Local Food Act

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives announced on Monday their plan to put forward an amendment to add food literacy to the Local Food Act. Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Ag Critic notes that the announcement was made after the governing Liberals said they would welcome amendments to the bill.  While the bill has yet to reach second-reading, the PCs wanted to make their amendment idea pubic. The concept of food literacy was first outlined in the PCs agricultural white paper, which was released earlier this year. “When the bill goes to committee, we will put forward an amendment to open the Education Act and include food literacy as part of the education curriculum,” explains Hardeman. Farms.com story.


MPPs Debate Local Food Act

I just want to ask us all to reflect a little bit on our experiences of local food. If I think about a time before it was conscious to me that I was eating local food or not, I can remember being really very excited in the summer when August would come, because that was the time when we could get corn. We could get Ontario-grown corn. We would go to pick up—or my dad would pick up on the way home from his office—local corn at Mr. Topper’s farm in Richmond Hill. That was his name, and he was just north of Elgin Mills. We only ate corn in August. We didn’t eat corn any other time of the year. I don’t even know if it was available in stores, but certainly my father had a complete prejudice about Ontario corn: That was the best-tasting corn, and that’s the only corn we should eat. Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne speaking in the Ontario Legislature.