Local Food News — Ontario

Opportunities for Growth: An Urban Agriculture Toolkit

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

 

Innovative tech helps Holland Marsh growers protect crops

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

 

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

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

 

Sudbury food strategy consultations hear from local restaurateurs

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

 

Humber offering courses and workshops on Sustainable Urban Beekeeping

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

 

Dairy Goat Farm Management Program

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

 

Ontario Local Food Report

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

 

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

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

 

Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

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

 

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

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

 

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Province approves boundary deal

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

Local Food News — World

This Robot Could Be the Future of Home Farming

Real Clear Future post.

 

At the VDNKh park in Moscow, Workhaus design an educational “Urban Farm”

Larger than the entirety of Monaco, the VDNKh is a trade show and amusement park in Moscow that houses, alongside other things, a slew of historical national pavilions and teaching spaces. Recently, an urban farm was added to the site, intended to serve as both a leisure space and an educational opportunity for children and adults. Designed by the Moscow-based studio Wowhaus, the project includes a completely new building and several pavilions set in a bucolic landscape. Archinect News story.

 

‘Speed Dating’ For Farmers And Chefs: ISO A Perfect Local-Food Match

Ashley Heaney and Mark Heaney, from Green Acres Family Farm in Gapland, Md., are sitting in a booth on one side of the room, looking expectant and a little tense. They have a cooler full of eggs from their pasture-raised chickens beside them. This is their chance to show off those eggs to a collection of big-city chefs. They’re here for matchmaking, though not of the romantic sort. It’s an annual “speed-dating” event where farmers get set up with chefs, in an effort to put more local food on restaurant tables. NPR story.

 

Sacramento County OKs birds, bees and farm stands with urban ag ordinance

Residents of urban and suburban Sacramento County will be able to legally grow and sell crops, keep bees, and raise chickens and ducks at home under an urban agriculture ordinance that county supervisors unanimously passed Tuesday. Proponents say the new legal framework will make life easier for small-scale farmers and provide fresh food in areas that lack full-service grocery stores. Sacramento Bee story.

 

KSG’s Farm to Fork Initiative Kicks off in University College Cork

For the first time in an university in Ireland, students and staff at University College Cork gathered at the Quadrangle as the first harvest of vegetables and herbs from the KSG UCC Farm to Fork programme arrived on campus by tractor and trailer on Tuesday, 27th September.

The Farm to Fork initiative, developed by KSG Catering in partnership with UCC, is the first of its kind in any university in Ireland with crops being grown on the university land and then harvested for use in the campus restaurants. Ireland’s Foodservice Platform  post.

 

Holy Cross Events to Focus on Forgotten Ethics in Food Movements

The “locavore” movement makes a moral argument that locally-sourced food is healthier, more environmentally sustainable, kinder to animals, and saving local farms. But whether you buy your food from a supermarket or the local farmer’s market, Gray argues, predominately low-wage and non-citizen workers grew it. These workers lack protection of labor laws, are discouraged from assimilating in their communities, and are often afraid to speak out about their conditions. Gray, an associate professor of political science at Adelphi University, asserts that by romanticizing agrarian values in local farming, food critics and local food advocates are ignoring the “institutional marginalization” of farmworkers. Her conclusions are based on 10 years of field research in the Hudson Valley, where the farms supply New York’s upscale restaurants and farmer’s markets. Holy Cross News blog.

 

Hawaii lawmakers say locavores want unpasteurized, raw milk

Citing increasing demand for local food, a group of state legislators in Hawaii is supporting a bill to allow the sale of raw milk in retail stores, but only if it has “a label that warns about the risks of consuming unpasteurized milk, especially to children and the elderly.” “The legislature finds that consumers’ food preferences have shifted toward locally-produced food in recent years,” the bill states. “Additionally, many small farms have the capability and desire to offer unpasteurized dairy products to consumers that seek locally-produced dairy products.” Food Safety News story.

 

Leading the ‘shop local’ revolution with cafe, bakery and market rolled into one

The Midlothian town has suffered various economic setbacks but the local community is determined to see the Storehouse play a vital part in revival of the town centre, with more that 700 people contributing a total of more than £100,000 in shares for the venture. The Storehouse will have a Breadshare Community Bakery, the Lost Garden Foodhall, a café and an indoor market with a community area. The National story.

 

Here’s thought for food

Shifting from industrial to sustainable food systems is the focus of conference in Whangarei next month, this would mean growing more produce locally, rather than importing it and it would promote a shift from eating processed “industrial” food to fresh local produce. Keynote speakers are Anne Palmer, programme director, food communities and public health at Johns Hopkins University who will share an overview of how local food initiatives are transforming food access in the US, and Professor Barbara Burlingame of Massey University, who will talk on her vision for public health in the 21st century which involves embracing the agenda of sustainable development. New Zealand Herald story.

 

No sunlight, no soil, no problem: Vertical farms take growing indoors

Inside a windowless warehouse once used for paintball, with planes heading to nearby Newark airport overhead, an industrial park in New Jersey seems an unlikely place to find fresh locally grown produce. With LED lights standing in for the sun, and cloth replacing soil, the plants grown at AeroFarms are not your typical greens. “This is fully controlled agriculture and allows us to understand plant biology in ways that, as humans, we’ve never achieved,” said AeroFarms CEO and co-founder David Rosenberg, standing in front of rows of kale, arugula, lettuce and other leafy greens. CBC News story.

 

Reuters Media Award to Boost Sustainable Ag Coverage

Through May 31, 2017, The Thomas Reuters Foundation and Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition are calling all journalists, bloggers, freelancers, and individuals covering a variety of food issues to enter for a chance to win nearly US$11,000, an all-expenses paid media training program, and access to an audience one billion strong. The Good Food Media award is striving to promote comprehensive coverage—judges will consider both published and unpublished written journalism, video, and photography. Submission guidelines and applications are available at www.goodfoodmediaaward.com until May 31, 2017.

 

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Hormel Finds a New Recipe for Success

Hormel’s best-known product is Spam. It’s easy to joke about a company built on meat that comes in a can, but it turns out that Hormel is having the last laugh. For the past 10 years, it has been on a tear. Revenue has increased from $5.4 billion to $9.3 billion, boosting its ranking in the Fortune 500 by nearly 100 spots, to No. 304 this year. Earnings have more than doubled, the dividend has almost quadrupled, and the stock has returned roughly 400%. The growth has been fueled by a flood of new products: everything from peanut-butter snacks to single-serve turkey sticks to a food-service burger made with chicken, quinoa, and, yes, kale. All were developed in Austin—proof that innovation is defined by people, not zip codes. Fortune story.

Local Food News — Ontario

An Evening with Green Bronx Machine’s Stephen Ritz! May 16

Learn more about how NYC’s Green Bronx Machine is transforming students’ lives through experiential education and access to fresh, school-grown food! Hear about the incredible results of this dynamic program and how FoodShare, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and LoyaltyOne will be bringing our very own Good Food Machines to life in schools across Toronto this fall! Eventbrite free registration.

 

Local ‘superheroes’ gather for card launch, with proceeds going to the Warming Room

The six local personalities were dubbed Community Superheroes by Kawartha Local, a company that sells locally produced products. And on Saturday, that first run of Peterborough Trading Cards was released at the local eatery. The written content tells a bit about the superheroes’ background, their super power, what inspires them, what they aspire to, and the job they’d hold in a parallel universe. Proceeds from the cards benefit the Warming Room, which offers a place to sleep for those in need. Peterborough Examiner story.

 

Crunch time in Havelock

The distinctive sound of crunching apples and carrots filled the Havelock Belmont Public School gym Tuesday as students and staff celebrated the goodness of healthy eating and Ontario-grown produce during their annual Great Big Crunch chomp down. The event capped off Nutrition Month and was a timely reminder of the healthy eating choices provided through the school’s Breakfast Program, which is part of the wider Food For Kids Peterborough Student Nutrition Program. Inside Belleville story.

 

If the label says ‘Made in Canada’, you can be assured those are Ontario-grown tomatoes

The important thing to understand as a consumer is to buy tomato products with the ‘Product of Canada’ label. If you do so, whether you buy a company’s own brand tomato product, or a private label tomato product, if the can or bottle says ‘Product of Canada’, then the tomato products inside that container will have come from either Chatham-Kent or Windsor-Essex areas. Chatham Daily News story.

 

Bottling Canada’s Food Policies

The NFU, both here in Ontario and nationally, has been calling for food policies that support farmers’ financial sustainability and insure eaters’ access to Canadian food for years. In our submission to the federal pre-budget consultation, we noted that food prices are increasing “because grocers must buy imported products using expensive US dollars. Canadian farmers, farm workers, food processing companies and consumers would all benefit from reinvestment in Canadian fruit, vegetable and livestock/meat production and processing capacity that is distributed across the country. The NFU would like the upcoming budget to include measures to safeguard the space for domestic food production for the long-term.” Exchange Morning Post opinion..

 

Former tech entrepreneur adds local food to his business menu

Mr. Schwartz spends a lot of time thinking about food, making it part of his business and investments. While he became best known for his role as chief executive officer at Descartes Systems Group Inc., a Waterloo tech company that rose to prominence at the start of the Internet era, these days he makes private investments in real estate and entrepreneurial businesses. Several of those businesses have an interest in food, including an investment in a Waterloo restaurant group. He has also been involved with the Stratford Chefs School for years, another example of his keen interest in food, where it comes from, and how it is delivered to the consumer. The Globe and Mail story.

 

Local food funding cut

The recent Ontario Budget included cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) budget. A drop of 3%, from $943 million last year to $916 million for 2016, includes the elimination of the Local Food Fund. This was a three-year initiative, with funding of up to $10 million per year, designed to support the agri-food industry in the province. All intakes for the Local Food Fund are now completed and applications are no longer being accepted. The North Grenville Times story.

 

Food Charters in Ontario and Beyond

A Food Charter is broad community statement and/or a set of goals that describe how the members of a specified geopolitical community want their food system to be maintained.  By including the voices of various stakeholders, Food Charters encourage a broad base of support, cross-sectorial collaboration, and community connection.  Used as an education piece, Food Charters raise community awareness about food system concerns and weaknesses, and offer a platform for public discussion and advocacy.  Most importantly, Food Charters are not binding policy statements, but instead act as inspiration for how to develop local food policy and or initiatives for the community. Sustain Ontario post.

 

Sustainable Farm Coalition Building On EFP Framework

The Sustainable Farm Coalition is using the 25 year old Environmental Farm Plan as a basis for it’s whole farm sustainability program. The coalition includes at least two people who were involved in the EFP’s creation – Doctor Gord Surgeoner and Harold Rudy. Rudy says while there are a lot of sustainability programs already in place and being worked on, they all appear to have different requirements and approaches. He argues that creates duplication, mixed messages and a lot of paperwork for farmers – especially if they have to deal with multiple programs. Blackburn AgriMedia story.

 

Ontario turning greener with tree planting programs

Anyone who questions whether Ontario farmers are conservationists should count the trees being planted for windbreaks with land stewardship technician Amanda Blain. Earlier this year, Blain, who’s with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority in Chatham, ordered 34,000 more trees than in 2015 for the tree-planting programs she administers on behalf of the province for farmers and rural landowners in Kent, Middlesex and Elgin counties. Owen Roberts in FCC Express.

 

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A teacher growing green in the South Bronx

A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York’s tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own. TED talk.

Local Food News — World

From Farm to Table, via the Bronx

The huge Hunts Point produce market that stretches across more than 100 acres in the Bronx is the largest such food exchange in the world. The stalls that are loaded with fruits and vegetables from around the globe have sales of more than $2.4 billion a year. But only a small fraction of that produce comes from New York and New Jersey, which makes no sense when many local midsize and small farms are struggling to stay in business and consumers want fresh, local food. Historically, it has been difficult for local farmers to pay the fees or follow the arcane rules of consignment necessary to sell in the Hunts Point market. The solution is for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to work together to build a regional wholesale farmers’ market on underused property in the Hunts Point complex. The New York Times editorial.

 

An indoor agriculture startup is bringing ‘local farming’ to every corner of the US

Indoor agriculture refers to an increasingly popular form of crop cultivation that happens inside, making it less of a traditional farm and more of a manufacturing facility. Where traditional farms rely on irrigation systems, soil and sunlight, indoor farms use LEDs or high pressure sodium lamps, and grow in hydroponic or aeroponic systems. Without bugs, proponents say, pesticides can be reduced and the overall product is not only more controlled but healthier. The Guardian story.

 

locavores.ca

Here you find locally grown produce that you can buy directly from the producers. Website (translates from German) This locavore database has the essential attribute (ease of use for the eater) which could allow it to become the “go to” database for all those marketing food locally – editor.

 

Is Eating Lettuce Really Worse For The Environment Than Eating Bacon?

A recent study, and the various blog posts and news articles covering the study, seems to make a baffling and contradictory claim: It is possible that adjusting our diets from meat-heavy to produce-heavy could actually result in an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. This flies in the face of almost every assumption and previous study, but the writing is clear as day. One image caption on the study’s press release states it in no uncertain terms: “Eating lettuce is more harmful to the environment than eating bacon.” Modern Farmer story.

 

How Flow Hive Crowdfunded $6.4M for Its Honey-On-Tap Beehive

Who would have imagined that a new beehive product would be the largest grossing Indigogo project of all time? In late February, Flow Hive’s Indiegogo campaign surpassed its $70,000 goal within 8 minutes of launching, raising $2.18 million in the first day alone. A week later, it broke the record for the most funded Indiegogo campaign to date. With 20 days left to go, Flow Hive has raised $6.4 million from close to 14,500 backers. Food+Tech Connect story. Website.

 

From Farmland to Golf Course and Back Again

Most importantly for our purposes, more golf courses have closed than opened every year since 2006, meaning that the total number of golf courses has been decreasing for eight years. Hundreds of courses are closing every year. (The theories why this is happening range from the lack of a superstar, a la Tiger Woods, to the declining state of the American middle class.) This leaves big chunks of fairly desirable land, carefully tended and often with water and electrical hookups, sitting unused, all around the country. And a curious thing has begun to happen: That land is being turned into farmland. Modern Farmer story.

 

Why We Need to Uber-ify Food Distribution

For local food, the most common response to the distribution question is to build new food hubs. But physical food hubs require warehouses and warehouse staff, fleets of trucks and delivery teams, robust sales teams, and good software to keep everything organized. This requires intensive time and capital to start up, and profit margins in the food business are so low that these food hubs need to achieve serious scale fast just keep the lights on. Rather than building from scratch, we need to bring together the pieces that already work to create one synergetic system. Food+Tech Connect blog.

 

Urban Farming is Booming, But What Does it Really Yield?

Midway through spring, the nearly bare planting beds of Carolyn Leadley’s Rising Pheasant Farms, in the Poletown neighborhood of Detroit, barely foreshadow the cornucopian abundance to come. It will be many months before Leadley is selling produce from this one-fifth-acre plot. But the affable young farmer has hardly been idle, even during the snowiest days of winter. Twice daily, she has been trekking from her house to a small greenhouse in her side yard, where she waves her watering wand over roughly 100 trays of sprouts, shoots and microgreens. She sells this miniature bounty, year round, at the city’s eastern market and to restaurateurs delighted to place some hyperlocal greens on their guests’ plates. Leadley is a key player in Detroit’s vibrant communal and commercial farming community. Food & Environment Reporting Network story.

 

LEAF in 2015 – delivering more sustainable food and farming

Facilitating sustainable farming knowledge generation and exchange is one of LEAF’s overarching core activities.  We work with farmers, the food industry, scientists and consumers to inspire and enable sustainable farming. Annual Report.

 

A Start-Up That Aims to Bring Back the Farm-to-Vase Bouquet

Where Christina Stembel lives in California, she is surrounded by flower farmers, yet 80 percent of the flowers sold in the United States are imported. She is trying to help change that percentage with her San Francisco-based company, Farmgirl Flowers. “I think that the local flower movement is where the local food movement was about a decade ago,” Ms. Stembel said. Consumers are starting to become aware of where their flowers come from and purchase accordingly, she said. The New York Times story.

 

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Farmer who hid castle behind bales of straw says he can’t knock it down as bats have moved in

A farmer who hid his illegally built four-bedroom castle behind straw bales claims it cannot be knocked down because it is home to protected bats and newts. Telegraph story.

Local Food News — World

Fresh perspectives on produce packaging

The majority of consumers who buy local food, according to Mintel’s report Locavore: Attitudes toward Locally-sourced Foods, do so for product freshness and support of the local economy. Only one third of respondents think buying local offers a better food value. This is of particular interest in a post-recession economy, and suggests that local shoppers are willing to sacrifice cost savings to achieve the other two ends. Packaging Digest story.

 

An Interview with MISFIT Juicery

We sat down with Ann Yang and Phil Wong of Washington D.C.’s MISFIT Juicery to talk about passion, purpose, and process. Ann and her business partner Phil  shared their aspiration for changing the food system and their practice of repurposing ugly, wasted, surplus produce into healthy, natural, locally sourced cold-pressed juices. SeeSearch interview. Website.

 

$1100 / 1br – Apartment on close-in urban farm

The space: Basement apartment in private home. Separate entrance. New professional construction. 600 sq. ft., 1 bedroom (actual bedroom with a door–this is not a studio in disguise). 1 bathroom (w/ shower, no tub). Full kitchen (sorry, no dishwasher). New, bright windows (including legal egress window in bedroom). Free washer and dryer in separate mudroom shared with homeowners. Large fenced double-lot (urban farm) shared with homeowners. Apartment maximum occupancy is 2 people. Craiglist post.

 

From Jail to Farm to Table

With the exception of Carlisle, everyone who farms here has spent time behind bars. Ten people are each being paid twenty dollars an hour for their part-time work, and they’re also buying into the business with sweat equity. The produce is sold to a variety of local restaurants and to the local school district. Elaine Brown, the project’s founder, has far greater ambitions, though. The farm is the first piece of what she hopes will eventually be a thriving network of businesses that are coöperatively owned and run by formerly incarcerated and, as the project’s Web site puts it, “effectively unemployable” individuals. Her long-term plan includes a grocery store, restaurant, fitness center, and tech-design firm, all nestled under five stories of affordable housing. Some coöperatives across the country hire former inmates, but this vision is unique. The New Yorker story.

 

The Swedish Meal Kit Startup That Inspired Blue Apron, Plated And HelloFresh Speaks Out

The meal kit is a relatively simple business idea: take a box and fill it with fresh food at the portions needed for a dinner, then ship it. And while all three startups launched U.S. operations around the same time in the summer of 2012 (HelloFresh opened up shop in a handful of European countries, where it does the bulk of its business, in the months before), they all credited the inspiration for the idea to a trailblazer little-known in America, the Swedish startup Linas Matkasse. HelloFresh parent company Rocket Internet in Berlin, and later Blue Apron and Plated’s founding teams, all saw Linas Matkasse reach $45 million in annual revenue serving Sweden’s less than 10 million people. “The market was ripe,” says Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg. Forbes story and interview.

 

‘Refoodgee’ App Connects Berlin Locals With Refugees Through Food

A group of German tech entrepreneurs wants to help refugees in their country by providing them with an enriching way to receive meals and make connections to their new communities. Five members of Berlin-based startup Memorado created “Refoodgee,” an app that helps pair newly arrived refugees with the city’s locals based on food preferences and shared languages.

The Memorado team built the app during #HackWeek15, a hackathon hosted by the startup that ran from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 in Werbellinsee, Germany. The conference was focused on creating apps to help refugees entering the country with aspects of their daily lives, and “Refoodgee” was one of the products that came out of the event. Huffington Post story.

 

Do you know about bioregional eating?

There’s a growing trend in sustainable food that sort of fine tunes locavorism. Sourcing from within bioregions is the one of the big food trends for 2016, according to Forbes, and although eating bioregionally has a lot in common with locavorism, it’s not the same. What are bioregions and how can paying attention to them help us eat and live more sustainably? Here’s a primer. Mother Nature Network blog.

 

2016 Food Trends: Being Brand Agnostic, New Proteins, Delivery Shifts and 5 more

“Local” has been one of the biggest trends in the supermarket aisles for almost ten years. It is an unsustainable trend as weather conditions and climate change force changes to the sourcing of foods. Think bioregions. Nature defines the regions for what crops and livestock grow and thrive best in which climates, and we will see changes accordingly. Think about this: California farmers moving to Georgia because of the cost of water, and more wines coming from South Carolina. Produce growers moving to Peru. Forbes story.

 

In answer to criticism of the ‘Locavore’ movement

In the last 20 years, the amount of locally grown foods consumed in the American diet has tripled, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it now comprises 2 percent of the food consumed in the country. As with anything that’s popular, some have seen fit to attack this trend. Why do they do this? Do they find locavore talk of “terroir” pretentious and therefore annoying, or do they seriously believe, as some critics argue, that local food enthusiasts pose a threat to the planet? The Herald Journal post.

 

LEAF Sustainable Farming Review

The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is a management tool for farmers. The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is a self-assessment on-line management tool to help farmers farm more sustainably. It enables them to monitor their performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and set targets for improvement across the whole farm. Linking Farming and Environment (UK) post.

 

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The Locavore: Attitudes toward Locally-sourced Foods – US – February 2014

As local claims become more widespread, product marketers will need to develop a means to authenticate provenance. Exploring a system of official certification and communicating a transparent path to market information to interested buyers will be necessary to stand apart from the competition. Mintel Academic listing (expensive).

Local Food News — Canada

Chef Boban On Sustainability

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

 

Knives and Forks set to feed local food economy

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

 

Local foods prepared by top chefs get rave reviews in Labrador

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

 

Wolfville celebrates food and film as Devour festival gets underway

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

 

Demand doubles for Tree Island Yogurt in past year

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

 

Why cities are the future of sustainable food

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

 

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

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

 

Cape Breton Food Hub finishes first season of deliveries

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

 

Soil Mate: Linking consumers with local food growers

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

 

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

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

 

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Best before dates lead to waste by consumers

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

Local Food News — World

Oslo builds its bees a highway of flowers

Oslo is transforming a strip through the city into a series of bee pastures — parks, and green roofs, and balcony flower beds — each a short flight from the next. I like to imagine that from the air you could look down and see ribbon of blossoms, stretching from one side of the city to the other. polli.no According to the Guardian : Oslo’s “bee highway” aims to give the insects a safe passage through the city, lined with relays providing food and shelter – the first such system in the world, according to the organizers. Today Eco story.

 

Pittsburgh urban farming takes ‘big step forward’ with new ordinance

Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday making it cheaper and easier for residents to get permits to raise chickens and goats and keep beehives. The ordinance replaces a 2011 urban agriculture zoning law that charged city residents fees totaling $340 and required a hearing process that could take 10 to 12 weeks. Now, homeowners and renters can bring a site plan detailing a desired coop, apiary or other animal structure and get a permit in a single day for $70. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story.

 

Tax break sowing the seeds of urban agriculture growth

One recent rainy afternoon, Aaron Roland stood on his Potrero Hill vacant corner lot with sweeping views of downtown San Francisco and the Bay Bridge, bit into a kale leaf he picked from the permaculture garden and explained how he once turned down a $2 million cash offer for the 0.11-acre property. Roland, 57, a family doctor who lives in the Mission, is San Francisco’s first property owner to obtain a tax break under the new Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program. For the next five years, his property-tax bill will total $80 not $35,688. San Francisco Examiner story.

 

Wherever you are, Eat Well.

The Eat Well Guide® is a curated directory of over 25,000 hand-picked restaurants, farms, markets and other sources of local, sustainable food throughout the US. Website.

 

Jackson presses winemaking into sustainability innovation

Wine making in Sonoma County, California, is older than the settling of the West, but some wineries in this tradition-steeped industry are moving fast into a future of zero waste, scant greenhouse gases and sustainable agriculture . Jackson Family Wines, the maker of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay, La Crema pinot noir, Stonestreet cabernet sauvignon and 27 other brands, appears to be leading the way, based on recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , early certification as a sustainable winegrower and being named the green company of the year by the beverage industry. Today Eco story.

 

Rooftop farming: The next steps for development

Urban agriculture is becoming increasingly popular. A recent assessment of rooftop farming in Barcelona shows differing attitudes towards the practice, and provides important recommendations for the development of agricultural policy for the 21st century, such as including food production as a potential use of rooftops in planning legislation. Science for the Environment report.

 

Life cycle study demonstrates the long-term costs of everyday crops

The environmental and economic costs of a selection of common crops have been determined by a new study, which hopes to improve agricultural sustainability assessments in Europe. The researchers used life cycle analysis on organically farmed tomatoes and pears, and intensively farmed wheat, apples, and lettuce to show the overall impact of agricultural methods. Science for the Environment report.

 

Urban Ag Grows Up: World’s Largest Rooftop Farm In Chicago

The Chicago project is the brainchild of the New York-based urban agriculture pioneer Gotham Greens. The company’s flagship rooftop greenhouse operation in Brooklyn yields more than 100 tons of fresh produce annually and it also has another Brooklyn location designed to pump out 200 tons annually. The Chicago facility is going to produce about 500 tons annually, so that’s a giant step up. Clean Technica post.

 

Medact: Mobilising Health Professionals For More Sustainable Food System

Stemming from the British medical peace movement that emerged in the 1950s and 60s, the charity was originally set up to work on war, conflict, nuclear non-proliferation and human rights.  However, recognising that climatic and environmental change threatens to reverse many of the health gains made in recent decades, Medact’s remit has broadened and now includes work on energy policy, divestment and sustainability. A new focus of its work is on food systems. Food Climate Research Network interview.

 

Dutch citizens just sued their own government for not stopping climate change

A judge in The Hague said the state must “ensure that the Dutch emissions in the year 2020 will be at least 25 percent lower than those in 1990.” The ruling was a victory for the Urgenda Foundation, an environmental group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of nearly 900 Dutch people. They said that the government has a duty to protect its citizens against looming dangers, including the effects of climate change on this low-lying country, which is threatened by rising sea levels. Grist article.

 

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The Future Of Food:  We Decide!

Feeding the planet is the biggest challenge our generation has to face. With EXPO 2015 focusing on exactly this, the world is looking to Milan for answers. That’s why, Slow Food and the Slow Food Youth Network are organizing ‘Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed The Planet’ from October 3-6, as EXPO will be coming to a close.  We invite you to be part of this unique event on the future of food and farming, which will bring together thousands of young people from all over the world who will be equipped to develop new initiatives to redefine the future of food. Website.

Local Food News — World

The foodie traveller … on the revival of Native American cuisine in Minneapolis

Travel across the US and the cuisine doesn’t change much from state to state. It has a reputation for being sodium-filled, sweetened and glutenous (though, arguably, delicious) food. But chef Sean Sherman, known as the Sioux Chef, is hoping to redefine what we think of as “American” food. At his newly launched Minneapolis food truck Tatanka, named after the American bison, dishes are made with ingredients that could be found living or growing locally before the arrival of European settlers. So you can forget processed sugars, wheat flour, beef, chicken and pork, Sherman serves wild rice and taco-style cornflour cakes with bison, turkey or rabbit, topped with wild greens and washed down with maple water. As well as being truly American, the food is super-healthy, organic – and local. The Guardian story.

 

For chefs and foodies, big data could be the new secret ingredient

The Chef hat is just one application gaining more mainstream attraction for IBM Watson, a ground-breaking cognitive system so far more synonymous with ambitions for revolutionizing healthcare and education rather than anything as basic as kitchen recipes. Watson stepped into the national spotlight in 2011 with its winning performance on the decades-old TV game show Jeopardy as an artificially intelligent computer able to recognize and respond to questions posed in natural language rather than tech speak or code. Watson can do this thanks to the advancement of machine learning, a newer subset of computer science rooted in massive sets of big data. ZD Net story.

 

Food Hubs: An Antidote to 21st-Century Food Problems?

The humble life of the average tomato reveals how broken our food system is. The tomato starts out in Mexico, picked green and unripe by an underpaid farm worker then sprayed with chemicals to help it endure the long journey ahead while artificially “ripening.” The first leg of the journey is a 2,500-kilometre trip by truck to California where the tomatoes are sorted, boxed and stickered. Then they are jostled into another truck destined for Canadian grocery stores, arriving a few thousand kilometres later still hard and mostly tasteless. Meanwhile, a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed red tomato is waiting at your local farmer’s market, where the vendor, smiling and friendly, conceals the chronic stress of a life at the edge of bankruptcy. Epoch Times story.

 

Michigan State University part of coalition to put more local food in school cafeterias, hospitals

How can Michigan farmers get more of their crops into the state’s schools, hospitals, universities and child care centers? Michigan State University and the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center want to help. The Ecology Center and MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems launched the Michigan Farm to Institution Network in Lansing on Thursday to help increase the percentage of local products being served in the state’s cafeterias. MLive.com story

 

Living Within a Limit is OK: Talking Resilience with Doria Robinson

The ultimate expression of this is that the church bought a 500-acre ranch in Fairfield when I was little, and [they] still have it to this day. There’s cattle, pigs, horses, and whatnot. They collectively run it, the church technically owns it and they bought that together with all their tithes, and they do projects and whatnot together. Looking back, it was a huge impact on me. Does it matter if you’re technically poor if you have community? If you have access to education, or access to ways of thinking that [allow] you to plan your way out of a situation? Resilience interview.

 

This year, the world comes to dine at Expo Milan

There are more than 150 restaurants, bars, food trucks and stalls at the Expo site. Italy alone accounts for somewhere north of 40 of them; in one area, run by the Eataly grocery and restaurant company, there are kitchens from 20 different regions of Italy. So you can snack on a cannolo filled with ricotta, artichokes and cured mullet roe from the Sardinian restaurant, follow it with fried olives from Marche, a plate of lasagna from Emilia-Romagna, a whole burrata cheese from Puglia and a few slices of the savoury chickpea flapjacks called farinata, and then wash it all down with a glass of sparkling Franciacorta from the Franciacorta booth, as I did one gloriously filling day, before heading to “Vino, A Taste of Italy” and its 1,300 wines. The Globe and Mail story.

 

Worldwide Permaculture Projects

This is the premier place to find out who is doing what, and where, in the permaculture world. You can search for projects by keyword, and/or filter to specific project types. You can even constrain your search by climate zone, so you can find others working in similar conditions as yourself. As you search, you’ll see pins on the world map below appear or disappear to reflect your search results, and you can either browse the project cards or click on map pins to go to individual project profiles. Worldwide Permaculture Network website.

 

Wayne State to test soil for Detroit urban farms

The WSU study is conducting more thorough tests at the notable Earthworks Urban Farm on Detroit’s east side and a few other farm sites, all of which have been tested in the past. What’s different, said Lawrence Lemke, associate professor of geology at WSU and one of the principal investigators in the study team, is that the new effort is sampling soil from many more spots within each farm. Specifically, the study will help create ways to develop reliable data on physical, chemical and biological contamination, particularly contaminants such as heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, food-borne bacteria and more. Lansing State Journal story.

 

The Food Activist Handbook: Big & Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community

Small steps can create big changes in your community’s food quality and food security, helping to get more healthy food to more people and support a better food system. Ali Berlow shows you dozens of things that anyone can do, from creating a neighborhood kitchen for preserving fresh food to mapping farmland, connecting food pantries with food producers, starting a school garden, and organizing a community composting initiative. Every action you take can help keep farmers on the land and family farms intact, keep money in the local economy, reduce the carbon footprint associated with food transportation, and preserve local landscapes. Amazon post.

 

SIPSCENE: The Newsletter of the Sustainable Intensification Research Platform

The first issue of SIPScene is out now. It includes all the latest SIP news, viewpoint articles from leading researchers in Sustainable Intensification and views from in and around the Platform. Newsletter.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

5 Steps to Feed the World and Sustain the Planet

A global plan, ambitious but doable, could double food production by mid-century and simultaneously rein in the emissions, deforestation and pollution caused by agriculture. Scientific American article (requires purchase to read more than preview)

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.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

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 — World

Alibaba, Ant Financial to Invest in Local Food Delivery

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and its finance affiliate, Ant Financial, have agreed to invest around $483 million each in a new venture — Koubei.com — which will initially focus on China’s fast growing food-delivery market. While the Chinese e-Commerce giant will transfer Taodiandian, its online food ordering and delivery platform, to the joint venture (JV), its financial arm Ant will merge its offline merchant services. Koubei was previously operated through Taobao, Alibaba’s retail marketplace. Zacks.com story.

Mother-daughter business Farm to Baby sells locally sourced, fresh baby food

Pratt joined forces with her younger daughter Amy Clark from New Bedford and together they whipped up delicious, fresh healthy purees made out of ingredients sourced from area farms. Now almost 2 years old, Massoud’s twins, Sophia and Charlotte, are healthy kids. They especially enjoyed the blueberry kale puree with yogurt, as well as the sweet potato, Massoud recalled.  “We think food is just so important,” she said. “We met up with area farmers and started to see the potential for providing healthy local food for children in the area.” South Coast Today story.

Local food coming to Joe Bruno Stadium

The “Taste NY” campaign is teaming up with the Tri-City Valley Cats to bring locally grown foods from your fields, to theirs. Later on Wednesday, the state agriculture commissioner along with Valley Cats management will hold a press conference to announce a new “Taste NY” partnership. It’s meant to bring local food offering to Joe Bruno stadium concession stands for the 2015 season. News 10 ABC story.

Singapore Food Festival 2015 to serve up a fresh taste of tradition

Renowned chefs Violet Oon and Justin Quek are among the headliners of this year’s Singapore Food Festival (SFF), which celebrates the nation’s vibrant food legacy. The 2015 SFF is themed “A Fresh Taste of Tradition”, announced organiser, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Monday (Jun 29). Visitors can expect a spin on classics such as dry laksa and bak kut teh bisque. Ms Ranita Sundramoorthy, director of Attractions, Retail and Dining at STB, said this year’s theme is about preserving heritage cuisine but also recognising younger chefs. As Singapore turns 50 this year, “there’s a transformation not just in our country but also in our culinary landscape,” she said. Channel News Asia story.

Shoppers trade in big food brands for local and organic

Mike Zollner was headed down the road toward high cholesterol and blood pressure. Then he lost 50 pounds. His answer? Twice-a-week trips to farmers markets. “I talk to farmers in the markets about what’s in season and make delicious healthy food,” said Zollner, who is 36 and lives in Port Chester. “I didn’t want to go on any medication so I decided to do this on my own.” USA Today story.

Flower-farm open house touts ‘local,’ sustainable

About 100 people attended the open house at Adams’ Sunny Meadows Flower Farm on the East Side on Sunday to hear about how the sharpest-red and deepest-blue blooms rise from the farm. The open house is part of an annual series of farmers events held by members of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. Renee Hunt, the association’s program director, said tours, workshops and open houses are held each year to give farmers and consumers a firsthand opportunity to learn different practices from a variety of farmers. Columbus Dispatch story.

A campaign to grow UMass farming site

As the demand for locally produced food continues to grow, a proposal gaining traction in the Legislature would provide $20 million to help rejuvenate the University of Massachusetts agriculture extension site in Waltham, which has lacked funding for decades. State legislators are in the beginning stages of considering a $1.7 billion environmental bond bill that includes earmarking funds to revitalize the UMass site, which spans 58 acres over two plots along Beaver Street. The project is dubbed the UMass Center for Urban Sustainability. Boston Globe story.

Forest Grove Economic Commission focuses on promoting local food, drink industry with yearlong project

The Forest Grove Economic Development Commission plans to move ahead with a $24,000 project to promote the city’s food and drink industry. The project includes the development of a website, a social media campaign, and promotional events such as a restaurant month in Forest Grove, chef demonstrations at the Forest Grove Farmers Market, and an annual Farm, Food and Drink Expo Day. Events would also occur at local businesses and farms throughout that month. The Oregonian story.

Funding Offered To Small Local Food Enterprises

Small local food enterprises in Wandsworth have two weeks left to apply for funding and support from Urban Food Routes, a partnership that aims to support them in thriving and benefiting their local communities. Social enterprises or privately-run businesses in Wandsworth, whether they are just starting out or have been running for a number of years, can apply for support.  Enterprises can choose the type of support they need including business advice, mentoring, funding up to £8,000 and loan provision. Funded by the Mayor of London’s London Food Board and Seeds of Change®, and led by the Plunkett Foundation, the partnership also includes food-network London Food Link and social enterprise Growing Communities. Putneysw15.com Newsletter.

Green Acres, the Place to Be

Small rural communities are perpetually marketing themselves. Over four weekends, starting with this one and running through Nov. 2, ticket-buying visitors are promised an unvarnished glimpse of present-day country culture, organizers say, which includes being ferried by school buses to working farms, forests, kitchens, corrals and a speedway. There they will “behold” guides like Cynthia Creech, showing off her genetically rare breed of Randall cattle; Eric Johnson, training Border collies to shoo Canada geese off public fields; and Melissa Eigenbrodt, 46, the local postmaster, who can demonstrate the art of tracking deer — without a gun — by following hoof scrapes along the trail. The New York Time story.

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

Herring River // the local food report

Almost every town in Massachusetts has a Herring River or a Herring Pond or some sort of a herring run. River herring used to be ubiquitous: they returned from the sea to coastal rivers and ponds year after year in the spring to spawn. They still do, but in many places their numbers are down to single digits where they once arrived in the hundreds of thousands. There are all kinds of reasons for this: habitat degradation, barriers to fish passage, overfishing, poor water quality, by-catch during their time at sea. Diary of a Locavore Elspeth post.