About Phil

Research Associate, Nourishing Ontario

How Green is My Alley

…from Wayne Roberts:

Why the Low-Hanging Fruit of Food Security, Urban Agriculture and Community Development Can Be Found in Parks, Boulevards, Alleyways, Schoolyards and Institutional Lawns

I remember when my food career was just beginning during the 1990s, and urban agriculture was considered radical and weird because so few people thought of cities as places with enough space to grow food.

Today, urban agriculture on public land seems just as radical and weird, because so few people have even thought about how much land governments own, how much could be made available for food production, and how many public benefits could be harvested from that decision.

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Ontario Campus Food Report Card

Student Feedback Survey
Are you a student at a university in Ontario? Here’s your chance to tell the world how you feel about campus food!
When we talk about sustainable food, we mean food that “does not compromise the environmental, economic, health or social well-being of present and future generations” (Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy Group, 2017)
When we talk about local food, we mean food produced or harvested in Ontario, including forest or freshwater food, and food and beverages made in Ontario if they include ingredients produced or harvested in Ontario. (Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 2013)
Brought to you by the Campus Food Report Card, a project by Meal Exchange with support from the Greenbelt Fund and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Read more, or take the survey

Recorded webinar presentations now available online

Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy:

Relocating social and ecological values in food systems

The Nourishing Communities research group is conducting community-based research investigating food initiatives that operate within the social or informal economy, intended to address food security and community development; benefit marginalized communities, including low-income groups, Aboriginal people, youth and women; and provide important environmental stewardship services. We presented initial reflections and case studies from regions across Canada in three 90-minute webinars, available as recorded webinar presentations now through these links:

March 1, 2017 – Eastern Ontario [recorded webinar]

March 14, 2017 – Northwestern Ontario [recorded webinar]

March 15, 2017 – Atlantic Canada and the Northwest Territories [recorded webinar]

 

 

 

 

The Social Economy of Food and the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy

The webinar Strengthening Ontario’s Food System: A Collaborative Approach (March 9, 2017) is now available online (YouTube). The webinar summarizes the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy (OFNS), and presents the rationale and evidence for 25 priority policy options within three strategic directions: healthy food access, food literacy and skills, and healthy food systems. The webinar also provides a snapshot of programs and policies currently underway that support the OFNS, including a summary of the case studies from the Nourishing Communities research into Social and Informal Economies of Food.

 

Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy of Food – Atlantic Canada and Northwest Territories Webinar

Wednesday March 15 at 12:00 EST

Join us for reports from four unique community-based research cases in Atlantic Canada and the Northwest Territories, where the most prized goals challenge the accepted wisdom of economic primacy.

Seed Saving in Atlantic Canada (Seeds of Diversity and partner organizations)

  • Conserving seed resources and related skills/knowledge
  • Preserving endangered local varieties of seed
  • Strong collaboration among seed savers, seed banks and libraries, and local seed companies
  • Contributions to biodiversity, knowledge conservation, social capital and food security

FarmWorks Investment Co-op

  • Investing in local food economy
  • Provincial policies both make community investments possible and pose barriers to local food business
  • Strengthening economic and social sustainability
  • Mentorship and preserving/sharing food and business skills/knowledge

JustUs! Centre for Small Farms

  • Farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing
  • Preserving and sharing food skills and knowledge
  • Engagement of marginalized groups
  • Urban-rural and global north-south connections

Kakisa, NT

  • Building a community garden
  • Sharing traditional knowledge
  • Fostering Food sharing networks

ACCESSING THE WEBINARS

The webinars are facilitated through Carleton U, using the ‘Big Blue Button’ platform:

(Platform opens at 11:30 am on March 15, webinar starts at 12:00)

Accessing the webinar:

  1. Go to: http://edc.bigbluebutton.org
  2. Enter your full name
  3. Select the room: Big Data and Agriculture
  4. As a Viewer please use the password: participant
  5. To join the voice bridge for this meeting: click the headset icon in the upper-left (please use a headset to prevent noise).

To join this meeting by phone, dial:

(613) 317-3321 (1-855-215-5935 toll free)

Then enter 29302 as the conference pin number.

Facilitator: Irena Knezevic, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University

For questions of additional info, please contact pmount@wlu.ca

For more details on the project and webinars

Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy of Food – Northwestern Ontario Webinar

Relocating social and ecological values in food systems

Tuesday March 14 at 11:00 a.m.

Join us for reports from four unique community-based research cases in Northern Ontario, where strengthening local food initiatives builds community purpose, identity and connectedness. Thus, challenging the accepted wisdom of externally-driven, profit-oriented economic primacy. All case studies have emerged as place-based and contextual.

Willow Springs Creative Centre (WSCC) https://www.willowsprings.ca/

Judi Vinni, Founder and Director of WSCC and Rachel Kagegamic, MSW student at Lakehead University

Willow Springs Creative Centre is a progressive social purpose enterprise that provides inclusive art, therapeutic gardening and food programs, services and training. They partner with professional artists, people trained in horticultural therapy and gardening, skilled cooks and bakers, and other talented facilitators. Their home base is nestled in the rural village of Lappe northwest of Thunder Bay, in the historical international Co-op built by local Finnish homesteaders in 1934.

Four key innovative local food related initiatives:

  • Soup and Artisan Bread initiative operates on a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) model where customers pre-pay for their weekly subscription prepared by local students facing barriers to employment who participate in a training program to connect to and work with locally sourced food.
  • Harvest Share is an urban gleaning project where youth, staff and volunteers turn would-be-wasted fruit into preserves and other products such as cider and sauce for sale at the WSCC weekly market. Profits are used to support the soup and bread training program
  • Willow Springs’ Farmers Market provides access to a local market for Lappe-area producers. The market is a joyful meeting place that incorporates food, art activities and music.
  • Horticulture Therapy and Gardening works with a variety of partners such as schools, organizations service disabled community members, retirement and long-term care facilities to deliver therapeutic gardening programming.

Foraging as a Social Economy in Northern Ontario: A Case Study of Aroland First Nation, Arthur Schupp Wild Foods, Nipigon annual blueberry festival, and the Algoma Highlands blueberry farm.

Researcher: William Stolz, master’s student in Enivronmental Sciences, Lakehead University Interviews with Sheldon Atlookan, Aroland Band Councillor and organizer of blueberry social economy initiatives, Norma Fawcett, Founder of the Nipigon Blueberry Blast, Arthur Schupe, forager of local edible mushrooms and blueberries and Trevor & Tracy Laing, founders and owners of Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberries

Four contexts for foraging are presented to demonstrate distinct foraging practices that all contribute to building social capital, community resilience and innovative diversification of the economy.

  • The Aroland Youth Blueberry Initiative (AYBI) began in 2008, when community members decided to try and sell some of their surplus berries as a fundraising activity to help the youth. In Aroland berry picking is a way of life that can be traced back many generations.
  • Norma Fawcett, an elder of the Lake Helen Reserve, a part of the Red Rock Indian Band, had a vision of establishing a blueberry festival to celebrate and honour the blueberry. The idea was supported by the Nipigon Chamber of Commerce and plays a significant role in introducing people to how and where to pick blueberries, encourages awareness of a free, highly nutritious food source, boosted community connectedness and builds community pride in a locally available food source.
  • Arthuer Schupe is a second generation forager for local blueberries and mushrooms. His intergenerational knowledge of foraging has now branched into marketing fresh and dried morels, chanterelles and blueberries.
  • Algoma Highlands Wild Blueberry Farm, is a first in Northern Ontario. This farm is a natural, sustainable, low-bush wild blueberry farm located near Wawa, Ontario that produces quality fresh and processed blueberry products including jams, blueberry horseradish sauce and blueberry barbecue sauce.

 

Bearskin Lake First Nation

Rosemary McKay, Chief of Bearskin First Nation and Esther McKay, master’s student in the northern environment and cultural program, Lakehead University and a member of Bearskin Lake First Nation.

This case study explores both local food acquisition as a traditional practice for thousands of years and the challenges of food acquisition from a northern store and a local food co-op. Findings have demonstrated that social economy began as a way of life, not as an off-shoot of the mainstream industrial economy. Concepts of social economy and food sovereignty merge within this context. Identity is deeply embedded in the land which is the traditional giver of food.

  • Scaling out is sharing with the community; and scaling up is with other First Nations accessible by winter roads and air. Stewardship values are the driver, not market economy
  • Adaptation to traditional sharing is innovatively augmented with sharing within community through Facebook and penny auctions
  • Hunting and harvesting festivals enhance social capital and resilience by rebuilding knowledge and skills of traditional diets
  • ‘Law of the land’ with in-depth feedback of local ecological system including humans is a distinctly separate paradigm from government policy and regulations of mainstream economy

Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op (CLFC) http://cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com/

Jen Springett, President of Cloverbelt Local Food Coop; Allison Streutker, Psychology student at Lakehead University

CLFC is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder co-op that creates food accessibility through an online farmers’ market with five pick-up locations. CLFC connects communities with local goods via distribution sites spanning 350 km across Northwestern Ontario. There are 130 producers serving 1000 plus members including two First Nations and local organizations that support local food.

Objectives

  • Increase visibility & accessibility of local foods available for purchase
  • To educate our community & surrounding areas about the benefits of eating locally
  • To increase local food sales

Projects

  • NWO Local Food Map (2015-2017 nwofoodmap.com
  • The Education Co-ordinator facilitates local food classroom and community education and workshops to enhance local food skills including food preservation to extend the availability of local food
  • Crowdfunded Community Greenhouse for use by local school classes, community organizations and for producers to extend their growing season.
  • Agriculture Co-ordinator facilitates salad bar program, funding for on-farm intern, NWHU apple and carrot projects for school nutrition program

Facilitators: Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Connie Nelson, Professor, Director of Food Security Research Network, Mirella Stroink, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, Lakehead University

The webinar is facilitated through Carleton U, using the ‘Big Blue Button’ platform:
Accessing the webinar:  (Platform opens at 10:30 am EST on March 14, webinar starts at 11:00)
2. Enter your full name
3. Select the room: Big Data and Agriculture
4. As a Viewer please use the password: participant
5. To join the voice bridge for this meeting: click the headset icon in the upper-left (please use a headset to prevent noise).
To join this meeting by phone, dial:
Then enter 29302 as the conference pin number.

For questions of additional info, please contact pmount@wlu.ca

For more details on the project and webinars

Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy of Food – Eastern Ontario Webinar

Relocating social and ecological values in food systems

Wednesday March 1 at 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Join us for reports from four unique community-based research cases in eastern Ontario, where the most prized goals challenge the accepted wisdom of economic primacy.

1) DIG (Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community)
Mary Drummond, President of DIG and Chair, Durham Food Policy Council and Mary Anne Martin, PhD student in the Joint Trent-Carleton program in Canadian Studies

Key DIG case study themes:

  • the recognition of community expertise
  • the role of supportive and restrictive municipal policies
  • the benefits and pitfalls of relying on unpaid labour,
  • a focus on fostering community
  • the development of alternatives to dominant economic logics and practices

2) Black Duck Wild Rice (BDWR)
James Whetung, Curve Lake First Nation, Founder of BDWR, and Paula Anderson, PhD student in Indigenous Studies, Trent University

Black Duck Wild Rice (BDWR) is a family run community-based social enterprise for wild rice processing, including a maple wood roasting machine, a barrel wild rice huller and a drop winnower. James and family have been long-time advocates for wild rice and its place in developing a more local/regional diet; one that is based off of what this “place” has to offer.  BDWR provides “green” seed for other First Nation communities wishing to re-establish/ restore their traditional manoomin beds within their traditional territorial waterways and has recently acquired a set of canoes that local people can borrow to encourage them to go out and re-establish their relationship with this food.

3) Hidden Harvest
Jay Garlough (Co-founder, Hidden Harvest), Trish Ballamingie (Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University), and Chloé Poitevin DesRivières (Doctoral Candidate, Geography/Political Economy, Carleton University)

In this webinar, Jay will introduce Hidden Harvest Ottawa – a for-profit social enterprise that aims to legitimize and support the practice of harvesting fruits and nuts in urban areas. Groups of volunteers participate in insured harvest events, organized by trained neighbourhood leaders. The bounty is split between the nearest food agency, the homeowner, the volunteer harvesters, and Hidden Harvest Ottawa—who leverage their share to raise funds for the initiative from local restaurants and processors. Chloe will then touch briefly on key Insight themes (Building Adaptive Capacity; Increasing Prosperity; Increasing Social Capital; and Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Trish will conclude by reflecting on the broader conceptual significance of this case study.

4) Ontario East Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS)
Phil Mount, Research Associate, Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

In recent years, higher input costs, lower margins, and an increase in cash cropping have all encouraged the conversion of idle agricultural land, pasture, and native grassland, into corn production—with important repercussions for wildlife habitat in Ontario. Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) is a non-profit program offering an innovative model for environmental conservation, by providing farmers with financial incentives for the ecological goods and services produced on their land.

Key ON East ALUS case study points:

  • ALUS pays farmers to retire land from agricultural production, and retain or convert it to a natural state
  • widespread benefits include carbon sequestration, improvements in water quality, and increased habitat for fish, wildlife, and pollinators
  • the program is voluntary, farmer-delivered, and community developed

Facilitator: Peter Andree, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Political Science, Carleton University

For registration and webinar access info, please contact pmount@wlu.ca

For more details on the project and webinars

Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy: Relocating social and ecological values in food systems

Webinars March 1, 14 and 15

The Nourishing Communities research group is conducting community-based research investigating food initiatives that operate within the social or informal economy, intended to address food security and community development; benefit marginalized communities, including low-income groups, Aboriginal people, youth and women; and provide important environmental stewardship services. We are presenting initial reflections and case studies from regions across Canada in three upcoming webinars:

  • Eastern Ontario – Wed March 1 at 10:00 a.m. EST
  • Northwestern Ontario – Tuesday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m. EST
  • Atlantic Canada and Northwest Territories – Wed March 15 at 12:00 EST

By ‘social and informal economy’, we mean a range of activities that are on the margins, loosely organized, and sometimes not even recognized as economic activities. Within the food sector, such informal, undervalued activities include self-provisioning, barter, food sharing, unpaid labour, environmental remediation and rehabilitation.

Capturing Outcomes

Specifically, the research asks whether and how a social economy of food:

  • increases prosperity for marginalized groups;
  • builds adaptive capacity to increase community resilience;
  • bridges divides between elite consumers of alternative food products and more marginalized groups;
  • increases social capital; and,
  • fosters social innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic diversification.

The webinars will present examples of initiatives that share foodways and/or re-introducing traditional practices; offer an alternative practice that challenges accepted values (e.g. therapeutic horticulture, seed saving, responsible community investment); share knowledge and networking to maximize impacts; and enable collective provision of basic needs.

For registration and webinar details, please contact pmount@wlu.ca

Because it matters! The Food Hub Value Chain Survey

Food Hub Value Chain Survey…from Mike Nagy, Survey Project Manager, Nourishing Communities, Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

Thank you to those who responded to our previous request.

We very much hope that those who have started the survey can complete it now and those who still have not had a chance to fil it out can do so as we are closing the survey on February 17th.

Receiving data for the 2015 business year and growing season would be of tremendous benefit to our study while assisting funders and policy makers to better understand the challenges that you face.   We have kept the survey open in hopes to receive much needed additional input.

Follow this link to the Survey:
Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser: https://uoguelph.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe3/form/SV_5cmyMK6xn6wpBFH?Q_DL=6YEfstRzT4gNIYl_5cmyMK6xn6wpBFH_MLRP_6xjfdEkdAVt0qQl&Q

We have also included a link that will provide you a comprehensive summary of the 2014 survey results with easy to read Info-graphics.  We hope that you find the results helpful. Please spread widely!

https://fledgeresearch.ca/resources-results/food-hubs-in-ontario/

Thank you for your participation, your input is highly valued.

AMI Food & Beverage Convention: Niagara 2017

The Agri-Food Management Institute and Innovate Niagara are partnering with a number of public and private agencies to bring together 400 food and beverage industry members looking to scale up and grow their businesses.

The Food and Beverage Convention: Niagara 2017 will take place at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on March 3rd

Read more