Local Food News — Ontario

Brock hosts cider industry boot camp

As more people raise a glass of craft cider as their drink of choice, Brock University is raising the bar on the beverage’s production. The Brock University Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) recently hosted Canada’s first and only internationally accredited apple and pear cider production program. The course, which ran last week, was an intensive five-day study of all aspects of making cider, covering fruit production, quality control, and how to turn fermenting apples and pears into a financially fruitful endeavour. Mostly, though, the intention of the program was to establish a benchmark of skills and knowledge for an industry exploding like a bottle over-fermented home brew on a hot day. St. Catharines Standard story.


Thunder Bay’s Good Gardening Box produces fresh crops in days

A gourmet mushroom starter kit is being added to the mix of seeds and seedlings in Thunder Bay’s Good Gardening Box. The box sells for $60, with $20 as a donation to the Good Food Box, a local food security initiative run by the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre. The box includes five heirloom tomato seedlings grown by local volunteer growers, vegetable seeds from Superior Seed Producers and heirloom seed potatoes and strawberry plants from Belluz Farms, along with the Northwest Gourmet Mushrooms starter kit. CBC News story.


Parks pop-ups feature Niagara tastes, sights

But last week, instead of telling me dinner was just around the bend, Mather Arch was where I ate my last meal of the day. It was the site of a pop-up dinner hosted by Niagara Parks, which put the invitation out by social media to eat, drink and be schooled in history and architecture at a spot many of us have likely only driven past en route to somewhere else. The dinner was part of Niagara Parks Commission’s Begin Here: Canada 150 at Niagara Parks celebrations. It was one of a series of meals Niagara Parks is planning in unexpected places this summer. St. Catharines Standard story.


Lunch served with Farm Feast Salad Bar at Oakville’s Oakwood School

Connecting schools to farms and children to their food is a simple idea that has inspired the spread of Farm to School activity across Canada, according to Nancy Rumple, communications director for Halton’s Food for Thought, which connected the program to the school. Oakwood Public School is the second Halton Food for Thought partner school to launch its healthy eating initiative. St. Dominic Catholic Elementary School launched the same program last fall. It’s aimed at getting more healthy local foods on the minds, on the plates and in the mouths of students by engaging students and communities in gardening, cooking, preserving, purchasing and serving healthy local foods at their schools, said Rumple. InsideHalton.com story.


Webinar: Community Egg Grading Stations, June 20

In 2016, Farms at Work published a great report on possible opportunities for community egg grading stations. Having access to nearby egg grading facilities allows Ontario producers with small flocks (up to 100 birds) to sell their eggs at farmers markets, and to retail stores off the farm.  This webinar will explore the research and may provide some ideas for your community! Cultivating Food Coops post.


Ontario Government funds poultry processing in Renfrew County

Among those chosen recipients is Pembroke’s Reiche Meat Products. The local agri-food business will be receiving $14,550 to support its mission to grow opportunities for local poultry. “The funds will cover about 30 per cent of the overall cost of adding a chicken processing line to our facility,” said Jeffrey Bennett, Reiche Meat Products owner. “Specifically, the funds will go towards the purchase of equipment along with training.” Pembroke Daily Observer story.


Four colleges launch pilot projects to bring more local food to campuses

Four Ontario colleges are launching pilot projects aimed at having more locally grown food available for students on campus. The pilot projects are part of a local food procurement initiative led by Mohawk College in Hamilton with financial support from the Government of Ontario, in partnership with the Greenbelt Fund. The initiative is aimed at encouraging colleges to buy their food from local suppliers in their communities. The initiative would promote healthy food options for students, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing transportation, and support local food producers. Canada NewsWire story.


Boreal launches local food project

College Boreal in Sudbury is one of four Ontario colleges launching pilot projects aimed at having more locally grown food available for students on campus. “Given the unique challenges our Northern sites face in regard to local food procurement, College Boreal is excited to be conducting a food origin audit as part of the local food procurement initiative led by Mohawk College,” Lyne Michaud, vice-president academic for College Boreal, said in a release. The Sudbury Star story.


Bring Home the World – Improving Access to Ontario’s World Foods

We know that local food has evolved to include a greater variety of products that speak to the diversity of Ontarians that call our province home. That is why as part of our Local Food Strategy, our government is putting a greater focus on helping expand consumer access and availability of locally-grown World Foods to make it easier for everyday Ontarians to Bring Home the World. I’m challenging all Ontarians to get involved and tell us how our government can help you Bring Home the World by reading our discussion paper and filling out a short online survey. Ontario Government (OMAFRA) post.


Local food love at Foodland Ontario Retailer Awards

Jeff Leal, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs and the minister responsible for small business, was also on hand to congratulate this year’s winners for their creativity and commitment to Ontario food. “Ontario’s grocery retailers play a fundamental role in helping raise awareness and demand for local food,” he said. He continued to say that when consumers buy local, they help boost the economy, create jobs and strengthen Ontario’s agri-food sector. Ontario products, he remarked, were second to none, renowned for their quality.

Minister Leal personally awarded three Vision Awards, recognizing grocery head offices for their corporate commitment to local foods. Canadian Grocer story.




FreshSpoke is reshaping the future of food

Our local food marketplace is on the cutting edge of an economic revolution known as the “sharing economy”, making it possible for us to get what we need from each other instead of large food enterprises and for revenue to flow through the local ecosystem, directly to the wallets of farmers and other producers. So fasten your seatbelts! FreshSpoke is dreaming big and driving forward with new features connecting field and fork in more ways than you ever thought possible. Website.