Make a Difference for Local Food in Ontario — the 2nd Annual Ontario Food Hub Survey!

Your 2015 food sales numbers still matter! Help us to gather the evidence of Ontario’s growing regional food markets.

Receiving data for the 2015 business year and growing season would be of tremendous benefit—assisting funders and policy makers to better understand the challenges that you face.

We need a snapshot of your 2015 regional food sector activities so that we can better provide the facts—about important growing regional food markets and hubs—to agri-food sector policy-makers and funders.

The Nourishing Communities research group is conducting the second annual OMAFRA-funded survey to identify existing and potential regional food hub demand in Ontario. We need your input so we can provide the most up-to-date summary of food hub activity in Ontario for the 2015 growing season.

The goal is to enable you to get more local and/or sustainable food into the hands of consumers, apply for loans/grants, and give you a snapshot of your local food system. The survey results will also help funders understand more about community and business needs, where funding/resource gaps exist and how to effectively support operations such as yours.

We will be grouping the survey responses by regions to get a better picture of existing food systems and where there are more opportunities.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first survey of food hubs in 2014 – we are happy to share results.

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference 2016

November 22-23, Belleville ON

http://www.eastontlocalfood.com/eastern-ontario-local-food-conference-2016/

The Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference is just around the corner and this year’s focus is all about resilience in the face of climate change and other contemporary challenges.  Join us, and best-selling local food author and CBC columnist Sarah Elton, as we explore ways that Eastern Ontario local food and its producers, processors and influencers can meet those challenges and seize opportunities that are unique to Eastern Ontario local food.

This year’s conference includes:

  • Local Food Bus Tour:  An afternoon tour will highlight businesses in the Quinte region who are putting local food on the map.  Visit Sprague Foods, Barn Owl Malt, Wild Card Brewery, Enright Cattle Company, Potter Settlement Winery and Donnandale Farms.
  • Local Food Extravaganza (Tasting Event):  This showcase of local foods and beverages, representing the various culinary regions across Eastern Ontario, will tempt your taste buds into the conference’s first evening.
  • Keynote Speaker:  Drawing on her years of research and writing on food systems, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Sarah Elton will illustrate how Eastern Ontario’s local food system can be a part of the solution to serious global challenges. With inspiring examples from around the world, she will explore the idea of food system resilience – what it means, and how it can be applied locally.
  • Ignite:  Five minutes of back-to-back wisdom and inspiration from ten local food trailblazers.
  • Eastern Ontario Local Food 2050:  What does current scientific understanding predict when it comes to growing conditions in Eastern Ontario in the coming years? How can our agriculture sector prepare to meet challenges and access opportunities that might arise from these changes?
  • Economic Resilience for Local Food: How does a local food system create economic value both for its consumers and its producers? How does a shifting global trade environment affect our local food systems? Join this presentation and discussion with OMAFRA’s senior economist.
  • Global Realities, Local Decisions: Farming, food and beverage businesses can play a role in increasing our local food system’s resilience in response to global challenges. Hear from businesses about how these concerns have affected their local decision making.
  • Food Hubs:  “To Hub or Not to Hub” that is the question.  Explore what is happening with food hubs in Eastern Ontario and what it takes to plan a food hub that meets your community’s needs.
  • Designing Resilient Food Systems:  Hear from innovative farmers who are using infrastructure to improve the long-term resilience of their diverse operations.
  • The Municipal Role in Local Food: Local Food represents an economic development opportunity that municipalities may want to support. But where to start? Hear from jurisdictions that have developed good local food programs in keeping with the municipal role. Learn about resources that exist to guide your efforts and help evaluate your programs.
  • Business Decisions for Resilience: How can businesses plan and structure for economic resilience? How can that resilience benefit their communities? This session will provide examples of leadership in that field.
  • Marketing Local, Selling Local: Discover how one local campaign increases awareness of locally produced products & learn tips for getting your products into retail.
  • Costing & Pricing for Profit: Learn how to calculate your costs and price your products for financial success in retail and wholesale markets.

To register or for further details:

http://www.eastontlocalfood.com/eastern-ontario-local-food-conference-2016/

Considerations for Seed Security and Biodiversity Conservation in Newfoundland

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This research explores and assesses various perspectives on seed security issues in Newfoundland and is meant to inform the creation of an action plan for seed security work in Newfoundland in coming years. Drawing on ten interviews with individuals actively involved with seed saving and conservation, the report describes recent seed security efforts on the island and the current needs and assets. The unique conditions on the island include short growing seasons to harsh climatic conditions in the winter months, making the availability of locally adapted seed crucially important. Public interest in seed security is on the rise but local resources and funding to support seed activities is limited. The demand for locally sourced seed is significant but there are still few seed-savers. There is good seed access on the island and seeds are generally available at the quality and quantity farmers want and need, however, many seed varieties are considered to be very expensive. There is significant concern for endangered local varieties and erosion of genetic diversity, in particular with respect to Newfoundland heritage potato seed. The study could not conclusively determine the feasibility of developing a seed bank in Newfoundland.

This research was made possible by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through the Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged partnership and the support from the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and Echo Foundation. The findings presented here do not necessarily reflect those of the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, or Echo Foundation.

Please see below the full report:

considerations-for-seed-security-and-biodiversity-conversation-in-newfoundland

City and Regional Food Systems Planning and Design for Equity, Justice, and Power

Open Call for Submissions for a Special Issue of the Built Environment Journal

The Built Environment journal will publish a special issue to address how the growing engagement of the planning and design disciplines within city and regional food systems subverts, reinforces, or exacerbates inequities and injustices. Authors are invited to submit articles that explore how planning and design may be used to create and strengthen city and regional food systems, while explicitly considering imbalances in equity, justice, and power.

About the Special Issue 

The guest editors, Samina Raja, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University, invite submissions from scholars from across the Global South and Global North. Manuscripts from early career scholars, including tenure-track faculty members, post-doctoral scholars, and doctoral students are highly encouraged. The special issue is expected to include 12 articles, not including the editorial. The issue is expected to be published by fall 2017.

Authors are welcome to write about one or more sectors of city and regional food systems. Articles may focus on scholarship that addresses food systems at varying scales, ranging from small towns to large cities and regions. Manuscripts must address the following:

  • Concerns about inequities and injustices, including food, health, social, and economic inequities
  • The interplay between city and regional food systems and the built environment
  • Systemic and spatial exploration of city and regional food systems
  • Concerns about those most marginalized stakeholders in the food system, including low-income populations, people of colour, marginalized workers in the food system, and/or refugees and migrants
  • Ideas for change, including planning, policy, and design solutions

Prize for Early Career Scholar 

Published papers by early career scholars will be considered for a Best Paper Prize. Early career scholars include tenure-track faculty (e.g. Assistant Professors), post-doctoral scholars, and doctoral students. The author of the winning manuscript will receive an honorarium of $1000 (US), and the winning manuscript will be published as an Open Access article.

Submission of Abstract 

To have a manuscript be considered for the special issue, interested authors must submit an abstract of no more than 300 words (not including references) to editors by November 14, 2016. The abstract must describe the thesis or research question, the research design and research methods, and report key findings and recommendations. The abstract must demonstrate the link between the article and the focus of the special issue on equity, justice, and power in food systems. References must be cited using the Harvard system. Abstracts must be submitted in a Word document by e-mail to foodsystems@ap.buffalo.eduThe subject line of the e-mail must specify “[Author’s Last Name]: Built Environment Journal” and the abstract must be attached (in Word format). Authors whose abstracts are judged to be a good fit for the special issue will be notified by November 21, 2016 

Submission of Manuscript 

The full manuscript cannot exceed 5,000 words. Completed manuscripts will undergo a peer-review process prior to selection for publication. Complete manuscripts will follow the format and style of the Built Environment journal published by Alexandrine Press. Additional guidance will be provided to invited authors. Full manuscripts must be submitted no later than January 30, 2017.

Questions 

Send questions about content of the special issue to Samina Raja at sraja@buffalo.edu. Questions about the submission process should be directed to Enjoli Hall at foodsystems@ap.buffalo.eduPlease use the subject line “Built Environment Journal” in all e-mail correspondence.

Mapping Nova Scotia’s Seed Collections Systems

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The seed collections system in Nova Scotia includes people from a wide variety of backgrounds and skill-sets working toward a similar goal – seed conservation as an important element of seed security. Data from nine interviews with individuals prominently involved with the seed network in Nova Scotia provide insights into the roles of various seed organizations including seed libraries, seed banks, gene banks, and seed companies. The project explores various aspects of their form and function, including their audiences, purposes, and their interactions, and barriers to interactions with each other. The current local seed movement is attributed to growing interest in and availability of local food, and is explored here as both a result of, and a new driving force behind the local food and food security movements. Interaction between various seed organizations is limited but mutually supportive. Project findings also provide insights about future directions of seed initiatives in the province, indicating that a greater number of geographically dispersed small seed libraries is highly desirable.

This research was made possible by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council through the Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged partnership, with additional support from the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network and The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. The findings presented here do not necessarily reflect those of the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network or The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

Access to the full article report-seed-collections-systems-final

 

Agricultural / Rural-Growth Economics Study of Remaining Pickering Federal Lands

Land over Landings RFP

CLOSING DATE AND TIME:
October 12, 2016, 3:00 P.M.

Land Over Landings wants a qualified firm to undertake a comprehensive study of the maximum agricultural economic capability, the rural growth opportunities, and other economic benefits to be had from restoring permanent agriculture to the remaining Federal Lands in Durham Region — while also ensuring the preservation of the area’s existing watersheds and natural habitat.

Land Over Landings intends to use the study report’s data and conclusions in future communications strategies, to make the case to political leadership and the general public that an agricultural and rural-growth economic vision exists as a viable alternative to an airport and other economic development on the remaining Federal Lands.

Please don’t hesitate to contact landoverlandings@gmail.com for the full RFP, or if you have any questions.

Canada’s migrant agricultural workers deserve full and equal rights. Here’s why

By Janet McLaughlin

Earlier this year, a quiet decision by Loblaw to remove French’s brand ketchup from its shelves was met by an unexpected firestorm of protest from angry consumers. In the weeks following, the brand rose from relative obscurity into superhero status over its local tomato origins. Over the course of 24 hours, Canadians told Loblaw loud and clear that they wanted local Leamington, Ont., tomatoes in the popular condiment gracing their barbequed eats this summer. A surprised Loblaw management team quickly reversed its decision.

Supporting local agriculture makes sense. Buying food produced close to home generates positive ripple effects for local economies, lowers greenhouse gas emissions and promotes Ontario’s food sovereignty and security. The great irony is that often our much-celebrated local food system relies on imported labour, under conditions in which exploitation can be ripe for the picking.

I’ve been doing research and health-based community work with migrant farm workers for over a decade. Travelling alongside workers between their Ontario workplaces and their homes in Mexico and Jamaica, I have been continually shocked and saddened by the long-term challenges they face as they spend their adult lives living between two countries.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, a specific stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which was originally designed to help employers fill staffing gaps when local labour supply is not available. While the Temporary Foreign Worker Program has seen some turbulent times as of late, its agricultural branch has more or less remained consistent over the half century of its existence.

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program involves workers (mostly, but not exclusively, men) from Mexico and the Caribbean coming to Ontario for up to eight months a year to work our farms. Some come for decades in a row, returning home to visit family for a few months each winter but never bringing them along to Canada. Children grow up viewing their migrant parents as occasional visitors. Unsurprisingly, depression, family strain and breakdown are common consequences of this type of arrangement.

Read more……

Job Vacancy: Research Associate, Food System Policy

The Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) is seeking applications for a one-year Research Associate position focused on food system policy.

About ISFS

ISFS is an applied research and extension unit at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). We investigate and support regional food systems as key elements of sustainable communities, focusing predominantly on British Columbia but also extending our programming to other regions. Our applied research focuses on the potential of regional food systems in terms of agriculture and food, economics, community health, policy, and environmental integrity. Our extension programming provides information and support for farmers, communities, business, policy makers, and others. Community collaboration is central to our approach.

ISFS employs a multidisciplinary team of agriculturists and researchers with expertise in food systems, agriculture, economics, farm business management, ecology, and public health. Our office is on KPU’s Richmond campus, located at 8771 Lansdowne Road, Richmond BC. The campus is served by rapid transit (Canada Line – Lansdowne Station), by which downtown Vancouver can be reached in about 30 minutes.

Position Overview

  • Contract:  35 hours/week for one year, with possibility of renewal
  • Salary: $25-27/hour dependent on qualifications and experience
  • Position start date: July 5th, negotiable for the right candidate
  • Application deadline: June 5th, 2016

Responsibilities and Tasks

The primary responsibility of the research associate will be project management and execution of the ISFS project: Building an accessible food system policy database for B.C. communities (please see the project overview below). This project has been conceptualized and initial work has been undertaken. The research associate will develop and execute a one-year work plan to achieve project goals and deliverables, which are:

  • An online, open access searchable bank of B.C. municipal policies related to food systems.
  • A report on findings from interviews with planners about what makes food system policy effective.
  • A set of indicators municipal governments can use to monitor their progress in advancing local food systems and policy development.
  • Workshop or webinar with planners, community groups, food policy councils etc. to launch/share the website, share findings from the interviews, and review the municipal indicators for monitoring advancement of local food systems.

The research associate will also contribute to a second project under way at ISFS, development of a Regional Food Systems Resources website.  Key tasks on this project include:

  • Management and supervision of the development of a resource collection (academic and non-academic resources that will comprise one aspect of the website.  This work entails collaboration with the project lead, and supervision of student employees.
  • Work with KPU’s Marketing Department to develop and test the website as it relates to the resource collection.

The research associate may also develop, in collaboration with other ISFS staff, a near and longer term food system policy and planning research program plan and funding strategy, and prepare grant applications. For the right candidate and dependent on funding there may be opportunity for contract renewal associated with this research program.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience

The successful applicant for this position must:

  • Hold a master degree in planning, policy, food system studies, or other relevant discipline
  • Be interested in local policy and sustainable food systems
  • Be experienced with project development and management
  • Have qualitative research experience and training
  • Have a demonstrated ability to conceptualize a complex project and effectively plan and execute steps to complete it
  • Have strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Have strong writing skills demonstrated by their lay and/or academic publication record
  • Have demonstrated their ability to work with a high degree of autonomy and with a multi-disciplinary team

The following will be considered assets:

  • Experience in a supervisory role including as a TA
  • Proficiency working with Atlas.ti qualitative software
  • Knowledge of the food system policy landscape of BC
  • Experience working in a municipal government setting or with municipal planners
  • Grant writing experience and/or training

For more information….

Food by Ward. Food Assets & Opportunities in Toronto. Toronto Food Policy

About Food by Ward

Food by Ward initiative documents food assets and opportunities, ward by ward, across the City of Toronto.
The Food by Ward initiative aims to:

  • Grow the City of Toronto’s appetite for using food assets to solve city problems;
  • Make it easier for City staff and officials to see and use community food assets strategically, and;
  • Inspire, support, and guide community Food Champions in their work.

Find your ward resource HERE.

At it’s most basic the Food by Ward resource helps Toronto residents answer the questions:

  • Where is my closest food bank?
  • Where can I find a community garden in my ward?
  • Where are the farmers markets in Toronto?

The resource also points to the unequal distribution of food assets across the city and addresses the barriers communities face when trying to find or start food programs. It tells the story of the incredible grassroots organizing around food that is happening across the city and makes the case that food should be considered as important as other urban infrastructure.

Across Toronto, communities are building food assets to solve city problems like poor access to healthy food, social isolation, and economic development, and to address food insecurity. Toronto’s food policy leadership is recognized globally. Vibrant markets, neighbourhoods, and restaurants attract millions of tourists. The food sector accounts for one out of 10 jobs in the city. A vibrant food movement has developed a mosaic of gardens, farms, kitchens, and community spaces centred on good food. Yet 12% of Torontonians are food insecure and over 896,900 people visited food banks in Toronto last year.

Food by Ward showcases Toronto’s food assets and activities, and calls for greater attention to food as an integral element of our urban system.

Food by Ward goals:

  • Highlight the complexity of food resources, networks, and systems in Toronto by mapping food assets.
  • Showcase food assets and activities in each ward to help City Councillors see food assets in their communities and
    integrate this into broader planning and decision-making at the City.
  • Build tools, skills, capacity, and channels so food leaders are able to move food priorities forward.
  • Strengthen and connect local and city-wide food networks to facilitate conversations on food with City Councillors
    and city leaders.
  • Advocate for the equitable distribution of food assets in all 44 wards across the city.

For more information……