Growing Food for Health

Exploring the therapeutic benefits of food gardens at Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital, in Alexandria, Ontario

As a leading innovator in the delivery of hospital rehab services, Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is home to an expansive therapeutic garden, established as an extension of the Stroke Rehabilitation department. The garden has been expanding slowly since 2011, and this past year—in collaboration with Project SOIL—the growing area almost doubled in size. In 2015, the garden team produced over fifty varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers, using SPIn techniques, organic practices.

While they are consistently imagining ways to expand production and in-house use of fresh food, the team at HGMH is also looking to future projects — including working with researchers at Carleton University to develop tools to assess the preventative and therapeutic benefits of edible gardens.

You can find the full case study here!

Organic agriculture key to feeding the world sustainably

Study analyzes 40 years of science against 4 areas of sustainability

Researchers have concluded that feeding a growing global population with sustainability goals in mind is possible. Their review of hundreds of published studies provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment and be safer for farm workers.
Washington State University, Feb 3, 2016
Read more

National food strategy: Are we there yet? (Waterloo Region Record)

With a new federal government and new Agriculture Minister (Lawrence MacAulay) in Ottawa, many people are deliberating on the notion of a national food strategy for Canada. In recent years, many Canadian political parties, think tanks, and trade associations have recommended Canada’s need for such a strategy. In fact, most of us by now have lost count of how many strategies have been proposed. Nonetheless, many in the industry question whether Ottawa will set priorities to develop a national food strategy. Read more……

LOFC is Hiring! Executive Director Search

This position manages and coordinates the activities of the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network. This position is responsible for fund-raising and financial management of the Network, monitoring expenditures and meeting the budget requirements as agreed to by the Steering Committee. The person is responsible for regular reports to the host Ontario Natural Food Co-op’s General Manager that can be forwarded to or summarized for the ONFC Board. Read more

Workshop: Growing Hops in Eastern Ontario

With an explosion in craft breweries in Ontario, as well as strong demand for locally sourced ingredients, now is a perfect time to consider the option of growing hops for commercial sale. In this workshop, you will learn from provincial researchers and experienced growers and brewers about:

  • Market demand for hops: who is buying, and what do they want?
  • Growing hops: start-up costs, sourcing materials, soil management, weed and pest control, harvesting, etc.
  • Processing hops: do you need to process? What are your options?

Lunch will be provided by Bruce Wood, Chef at Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company.

When: March 21, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm

Where: Two Rivers Food Hub, 361 Queen St, Unit 5000, Smiths Falls, ON

Cost: $30

To Register: or contact Katie Nolan at 613 258-8371


This event is organized by the Two Rivers Food Hub, Just Food and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Food Policy Article Series: Exploring Stories of Local Government Food Systems Planning and Policy Innovation

On behalf of the Growing Food Connections team, we are excited to announce the addition of 5 free publications to the Exploring Stories of Innovation series, a series of short articles that explore how local governments from across the United States are strengthening their community’s food system through planning and policy. These include:

  1. City of Burlington and Chittenden County, Vermont
  2. City of Cleveland, Ohio
  3. City of Minneapolis, Minnesota
  4. City of Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas
  5. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Beginning in 2012, Growing Food Connections (GFC) conducted a national scan and identified 299 local governments across the United States that are developing and implementing a range of innovative plans, public programs, regulations, laws, financial investments and other policies to strengthen the food system. GFC conducted exploratory telephone interviews with 20 of these local governments. This series highlights some of the unique planning and policy strategies used by some of these urban and rural local governments to enhance community food security while ensuring sustainable and economically viable agriculture and food production. The first four articles in the series featured:

  1. City of Seattle, Washington
  2. Baltimore City, Maryland
  3. Cabarrus County, North Carolina
  4. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

For more information…..

Grow Local! Grow Strong!

The Local Organic Food Co-operatives Network hosts an annual Assembly bringing togethe farm and food co-ops from across the province. The Assembly is an event in which emerging and established co-operatives explore possibilities for collaboration and affirm aligned visions for sustainability, stewardship and co-operation. The 7th Annual Assembly of the LOFC Network promises to be a great event. Two Full days of peer-to-peer workshops and facilitated open space sessions, nourished by healthy and delicious meals in a cozy retreat setting.

February 23-24, 2016 at Ignatius Jesuit Centre, Guelph, Ontario

Read more on the LOFCN website

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Partnership Event – February 22, 2016 at Loyola House
Ignatius Centre, Guelph, Ontario

Fair Financing for Local Food and Farms” is a full day session and a partnership event with the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario and the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network. The various workshops and plenaries will explore innovative and adaptable forms of finance. Conversations with lenders and funders will explore various financing sources and how to build meaningful dialogue.


Special Forum: The rise of flex crops and commodities: implications for research (Journal of Peasant Studies)

As a concept and phenomenon, ‘flex crops and commodities’ feature ‘multiple-ness’ and ‘flexible-ness’ as two distinct but intertwined dimensions. These key crops and commodities are shaped by the changing global context that is itself remoulded by the convergence of multiple crises and various responses. The greater multiple-ness of crops and commodity uses has altered the patterns of their production, circulation and consumption, as novel dimensions of their political economy. These new patterns change the power relations between landholders, agricultural labourers, crop exporters, processors and traders; in particular, they intensify market competition among producers and incentivize changes in land-tenure arrangements. Crop and commodity flexing have three main types – namely, real flexing, anticipated/speculative flexing and imagined flexing; these have many intersections and interactions. Their political-economic dynamics involve numerous factors that variously incentivize, facilitate or hinder the ‘multiple-ness’ and/or ‘flexible-ness’ of particular crops and commodities. These dynamics include ‘flex narratives’ by corporate and state institutions to justify promotion of a flex agenda through support policies. In particular, a bioeconomy narrative envisages a future ‘value web’ developing more flexible value chains through more interdependent, interchangeable products and uses. A future research agenda should investigate questions about material bases, real-life changes, flex narratives and political mobilization.

For more information…..


Thought for Food Initiative

Transdisciplinary research towards more sustainable food systems

[Ref. CfP 2015-07]


Agropolis Fondation, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso signed in October 2015 a Partnership Agreement expressing common objective of contributing to address sustainability of agriculture and food systems issues by collectively supporting international scientific projects from developed and developing countries.

Under the overall theme of “sustainable agriculture and food systems,” the Thought for Food initiative Open Call for Proposals covers two strands, namely: (a) Diverse agricultural production for more sustainable food systems and diets; and (b) sustainable food processing for more sustainable and healthy diets.

Under this collaboration, the three European foundations will support collaborative and multidisciplinary scientific research projects and research projects with a capacity building component in a common effort to contribute to the understanding and promotion of a holistic approach to sustainable food systems.

For more information… TOR_CfP_Thought_for_Food[2]