Fortnightly Feast

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Sudbury food co-op poised for expansion

…The goal is to make Eat Local Sudbury a regional hub for local food distribution with the added offshoots of increasing awareness of local food production, supporting local farmers, and boosting the economy. The funding will be used to develop a three-part business plan to expand both its retail facilities and its programming to accommodate a much larger volume of food. Read more

The need to ‘grow’ more topsoil

from the Guelph Mercury, Ralph C. Martin:

When I hear a big, hairy audacious goal, I expect drum rolls and trumpets, or if it’s really big, tubas. There was not even a piccolo adagio when Abe Collins, a Vermont farmer, educator and consultant shared his passion for topsoil formation and grazing at the Ecological Farmers of Ontario Conference, held earlier this month in Guelph. Nevertheless, the audience was all ears. His big, hairy goal? He expects a community, near Lake Champlain, to blanket their watershed in deep topsoil in a decade. Read more

CED Net National Jobs Postings include many food jobs

  • Communications and Marketing Manager, Community Food Centres Canada
  • Nova Scotia Organic Market Research Assistant
  • Entrepreneurship and Marketing Coordinator, Le Santropol Roulant
  • Farm Co-Manager, Le Santropol Roulant
  • McQuesten Urban Farm Community Animator
  • Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • CSI’s Desk Exchange Animator Program, Centre for Social Innovation
  • Ecological Gardening Internship, Harvest Moon Society, Clearwater  Manitoba

Read more

NGFN Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014

Food Hubs are delivering on their promise of enabling identity-preserved, primarily local and regional food to enter the wholesale market, enabling small and mid-sized farms access to buyers that would otherwise be unattainable.

But aggregation and distribution of food is a very thin-margin business, and hubs take on additional expense working with smaller farmers, providing technical assistance, and other grower and community services. Are food hubs able to support themselves with their operations? What are industry-standard financial and operational benchmarks for food hub businesses?

Read more and see webinar here

Growing Public Food — *NEW* Case Studies

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Guest blog from Project SOIL

Project SOIL 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 farmland is limited and expensive. By encouraging and facilitating these partnerships, we aim to test the potential for growing mutually beneficial relationships, while increasing the production and consumption of fresh food.

With funding from the New Directions program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, we have started five pilot initiatives, producing food on-site at health care, social service and educational institutions. There is significant interest in the project, and many institutions across the province are contemplating or starting their own food production pilots. However, the pathway from pilot to viable core program can seem lengthy and fraught with challenges.

To support these initiatives, and provide useful examples from which to learn, we have produced four in-depth case studies of existing models that have achieved significant annual production:

These case studies represent food production models that developed over years, and required time, resources and commitment to achieve significant scale. In each case study, we document the history, resources, partnerships and lessons that enabled each to grow and prosper in their own way.

For more information, and to download pdf versions, please visit our Case Studies page, or contact Phil Mount ( or Irena Knezevic (


Local Food Fund Re-opens — Briefly!

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Important Update on the Local Food Fund

(OMAFRA) Following a successful launch and high interest in the Local Food Fund, the program was temporarily paused on July 1, 2014, while the ministry undertook a review of the fund’s design. The review provided an opportunity to look at ways to improve the fund’s objectives and make any necessary adjustments needed to best target and support Ontario’s local food initiatives.

As a result of the review, a funding cap will be implemented for ‘for profit’ businesses. For-profit businesses will now be able to apply for a maximum of 50 per cent funding, however they are encouraged to apply for less.

The program review is now complete and the ministry will begin accepting new applications on November 24, 2014. To be considered eligible, an application must be submitted between 9:00 a.m. on November 24, 2014 and 11:59 p.m. on January 16, 2015.

The fund supports projects in four categories:

  • Regional and local food networks;
  • Enhanced technologies, capacity and minor capital;
  • Research and best practices; and
  • Education, marketing and outreach

To be considered eligible, an application must be submitted between 9 a.m. on Nov. 24 and 11:50 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2015.

For more information: Visit the website
Telephone: 1-877-424-1300

4e colloque annuel de la Chaire Unesco « Alimentations du monde »

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Vendredi 30 janvier 2015 (08h30-17h30)
à Montpellier SupAgro
(Amphithéâtre Philippe Lamour)
2, place Pierre Viala – 34000 Montpellier

Après s’être intéressé successivement aux termes d’une alimentation durable, à l’approvisionnement des régions urbaines puis aux nouveaux modes de consommation, le 4e colloque international de la Chaire Unesco « alimentations du monde » se penche sur l’histoire et les futurs de nos alimentations. Que nous apprennent les pratiques et mouvements alimentaires d’hier (aux sources préhistoriques de notre alimentation, les disettes du Moyen-Âge, les plaisirs de table, les diffusions alimentaires “d’ailleurs”) ? Que sait-on ou que peut-on anticiper sur les alimentations de demain (nouveaux produits, nouveaux usages, nouvelles gastronomies) ?

Avec notamment : Michel Bras (chef gastronomique, Aveyron), Gwenaëlle Goude (Bioarchéologue, CNRS), Raul Matta (sociologue, Université libre de Berlin), François Menant (historien, École normale supérieure), Florent Quellier (historien, Université F. Rabelais, Tours)… Programme définitif début janvier

Inscrivez-vous (ici)

Lire la suite

Ecological Farming Internship Opportunities

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from Nicola Inglefield, CRAFT South-West Ontario

CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) is an informal, member-driven network of farmers that offer internships on their organic and ecological farms. It is now the time of year when we begin sharing our available internship opportunities with folks who we think would be most interested in participating.

Many people who apply to internships on CRAFT farms are students from environmental, biological, and agricultural fields of study, as well as political science, international development, and food science disciplines. Whether the goal is a summer of exploration or a school co-op placement (or both!), CRAFT member farms offer internships that provide hands-on learning experiences where interns gain practical skills, while learning about themselves in the process.  As a two-time alumnus of the CRAFT program, I highly recommend it!

For details of Ecological Farming Internship Opportunities (pdf).

For more details and farm contact information, visit our website.

Fortnightly Feast

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Farmland Forever Campaign

To celebrate their 10th Anniversary, the Ontario Farmland Trust has launched a $1 million Farmland Forever fundraising campaign. With this campaign, they will be able to nearly double the amount of farmland under agricultural protection easements. Currently more than 20 farm owners are waiting to donate easements. The Farmland Forever campaign will also give OFT more capacity to support farmland policy development and expand research and education for improved farmland protection across Ontario.
** And from now until December 31st, every donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Metcalf Foundation!! **
In this season of giving, why not save some land for a future farmer?

Conference on Sustainable Food Choices Livestreamed

LiveWell for low-impact food (LIFE) is a project which aims to contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the EU food supply chain and demonstrate what healthy, sustainable diets could look like for different European countries.
Over the last three years, LiveWell for LIFE has worked with members of the multi-sectoral Network of European Food Stakeholders – which represent key stakeholders from across the EU – to reduce the impact food consumption has on the environment.
‘On our plate today: healthy, sustainable food choices’ is LiveWell’s concluding conference. Here they’ll look at the need for a global food strategy, and the role policymakers and business leaders alike play in encouraging sustainable food consumption.
To learn more about the project, please visit
Watch the entire conference live online.

The Fourth Annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

What is local? Some describe anything within a 50 or 100-kilometre radius as local; others include anything grown in Ontario or made in Canada as local. What was clear at the conference was that foodies want what they want, and business owners can’t afford to ignore them. Buying local is not a trend that is going to disappear.
Be unique. Grow your business as big as you want. Food hubs and sharing ideas and distribution processes are great ways to leverage your growth—as the master of your own destiny you can still remain niche while becoming mainstream. Read more

Taking Stock of the Mobile Good Food Market

“Basically the jury’s still out on how to operationalize it and make it sustainable, even for a nonprofit that’s subsidized,” says Debbie Field, executive director for FoodShare Toronto, the organization that runs the Mobile Good Food Market. “I don’t think that it’s actually working for anybody who’s doing it right now.”
The biggest value of mobile markets, she says, might be in demonstrating that there is a demand for healthy food in even the poorest neighborhoods. “It’s not that low-income people aren’t interested,” Field says. “They will buy the food if we can get it there. What FoodShare is proving is that people will buy this food and what we have to do is figure out logistically how to get it into communities.” Read more

Healthy food out of reach for many

If you suspect it cost more over the past year to buy groceries and cook even basic healthy meals at home, you’re right, according to new study. The 2014 Food Cost Survey released by the Brant County Health Unit reveals that the cost of eating healthy food for a family of four is now $193.85 a week in Brantford and Brant – or $839.37 out of the monthly budget. That’s an 8% increase over last year’s figure of $179.50 per week, or $777.19 a month. “The reality is that many families in our community can’t afford basic healthy food after paying for housing and other living expenses.” Read more

La Montañita Co-op: Fresh, Fair, Local and Organic!

La Montañita, a consumer cooperative, believes in the shared benefits of healthy food, sound environmental practices and a strong local economy with results that justify the resources used.
The Co-op is a leader in the local foods movement! We support local farmers through the Food-Shed Project. This initiative helps local farmers and producers get their products into more markets. Over 1,100 local products from 400 local producers make it to small community grocers, restaurants, and commercial kitchens as a result of the Co-op Distribution Center.
We know local, but we call it community. We serve our membership, but we also collaborate with farmers, local food and environment advocates, and educators to build community awareness about the links between food, health and the environment. Read more

Food Hub News from Michigan

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The Center for Regional Food Systems at MSU has recently produced some very useful resources on food hub and food systems development — and the latest is no exception. The Michigan Food Hub Network is a learning community that helps Michigan food hubs to meet their business goals by working cooperatively with public and private partners. The Michigan Food Hub Network: A Case Study in Building Effective Networks for Food System Change (pdf) provides an overview of the network’s creation, implementation, short-term outcomes, and lessons learned in the first 30 months of operation. Download the pdf



Supply Management and Dairy News

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The last month has seen some interesting developments in the discussion around both supply management and the dairy industry. Here are a few highlights:

Vers une gestion de l’offre 2.0 au Canada

Document de réflexion de l’Union paysanne

Le document Vers une gestion de l’offre 2.0 au Canada propose des pistes de réflexion sur les enjeux reliés au système de gestion de l’offre au Canada et ses impacts sur les fermes, les paysans et la relève agricole.

Depuis 10 ans, la gestion de l’offre des produits agricoles canadiens voit les critiques se multiplier à son égard. Que ce soit la valeur prohibitive des quotas, le manque d’espace pour les nouveaux agriculteurs ou encore les entraves au commerce, les flèches ne manquent pas.

Traiter de l’ensemble des récriminations envers la gestion de l’offre et de leurs possibles solutions dans un seul document charcuterait inévitablement le propos. Du fait de son gigantisme, de son importance, et aussi de ses différences entre les provinces, il importe de cibler des parties de la gestion de l’offre afin de mieux en traiter. C’est le choix que nous avons fait en ciblant une tangente qui traverse l’ensemble du Canada, c’est-à-dire une lente cartellisation de la gestion de l’offre.
Lire la suite

U.S. Organic Dairy Politics: Animals, Pasture, People, and Agribusiness

Bruce A. Scholten
Since 1950, production of U.S. dairy cows has risen 250 percent, while the longevity of cows has plunged alongside the number of family farms. Additionally, farmers have had to respond to lower farmgate prices and commercial pressures by intensifying production with agribusiness technologies, including genetically modified hormones and antibiotics to fight disease and illnesses brought on by dairy cow confinement. This book examines the current resistance to corporate agribusiness being waged by organic dairy farmers, cooperatives, and consumer activists—commonly referred to as the ‘Pasture War,’ which resulted in strengthened USDA National Organic Program policies. Recent power shifts in the USDA, weak labeling laws, and dairy advertisement which blurs boundaries between conventional and organic food demonstrate the need for farmers to cut out the middlemen in dairy chains from cows to consumers. Read more

New Research Chair in Public Policy for Egg Farmers

History professor and UWaterloo’s AVP, External Research, Bruce Muirhead has just been announced as the first-ever research chair in public policy on behalf of Egg Farmer’s of Canada, an agricultural organization dedicated to the promotion and management of egg production across the country.

Professor Muirhead will be developing a research program in public policy that relates to the current and future challenges faced by Canadian egg farmers, providing historical context to the growing conversation about the value of supply management for all Canadians. Read more

Malthus Revisited

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Guest post by Gisèle Yasmeen. First published on iPolitics Nov. 28, 2014.

“Malnutrition is the number one cause of disease in the world. If hunger were a contagious disease, we would have already cured it,” said José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, a week ago.

“Feed the world” was the refrain of a pop song which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Thirty years ago, I was among a lot of young people who suddenly became aware that feeding the world is a question of politics as much as production. With the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s Second International Conference on Nutrition ending in Rome on November 21, once again the West is being faced with its responsibility to confront the problem of hunger. Read more

Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide for the Ontario Landscape

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The School of Environmental Design and Rural Development has received an Excellence in Planning Award from the Ontario Professional Planners Institute for its publication Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide for the Ontario Landscape. The award was received at Queens Park on Nov. 7.

The SEDRD project to develop the stewardship guide was led by Profs. Wayne Caldwell and Karen Landman, with contributions from a number of graduate students, including PhD student Paul Kraehling. Dozens of community members and groups also contributed to the project, which received funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph.

The Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide for the Ontario Landscape covers issues from water and natural heritage protection to energy conservation. Read more