In this new publication, Nourishing Communities researchers Alison Blay-Palmer, Erin Nelson, Phil Mount and Mike Nagy add depth to the results of the annual province-wide food hub surveys that you’ve seen on these pages over the last several years.
Drawing on more than five years of research into food hub innovation in Ontario, Canada, this chapter explores the limits to the aspirations of food hub actors in both logistical and structural terms. Specifically, the authors report findings from a 2015 survey of more than 185 food hub-related innovators as well as 22 case studies in Ontario.
While the goals for those working to develop sustainable local food values chains are in keeping with principles of fair, green, healthy and local food they are limited by a lack of resources including financial, infrastructure and network capacities. This chapter looks to both the Basque region and Scotland’s Good Food Nation approach as examples that can help to create more fertile ground in Ontario by providing models of scale appropriate policies that offer more financial resources, build relationality, and strengthen networked capacities for food hub innovation.
Black Duck Wild Rice, located in Curve Lake First Nation is a social enterprise involved with seeding, harvesting, processing and educating about manoomin or wild rice—a traditional food of the Nishnaabe people. Black Duck Wild Rice is enacting their Indigenous rights and is working to restore Indigenous food sovereignty for their community and within their traditional territory. These steps are taken as an antidote to the impacts of settler colonialism that the Mississauga Anishinaabeg have and continue to face daily in cottage country across the Kawartha Lakes Region, the Trent Severn waterway, and particularly in contested spaces such as Pigeon Lake. The resurgence of manoomin is an important step in the process of the reconciliation—and reconcili-action!
“…the answer needs to be more active. Reconciliation needs to be a process. Nishnaabe people have shared, to the point that they are doing without the basic necessities, such as healthy traditional foods and the means to access them within their own traditional territories. So there has to be a re-sharing, sharing right from the top to the bottom. This is the process of reconciliation.”
In the latest case study in the Social and Informal Economies of Food series, Paula Anderson and James Whetung explore the transformation of Black Duck Wild Rice from a small, private, for-profit business to a multi-faceted, community-integrated social enterprise sharing seed, knowledge and an element of control through community seeding, harvesting and processing of natural food resources.
Manoomin means the good seed or sacred seed in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway language). The Anishinaabeg have maintained a relationship with manoomin, caring for it, harvesting it, eating it, trading it, honoring it for generations upon generations. It is considered one of the central lifeways of the Anishinaabeg and in essence has defined who they are for millennia. Their intimate reciprocal relationship with this plant is affirmed in their ceremonies, songs and stories and integrated into their practices.
Imagine if every time you purchased $100 worth of groceries, your grocery store donated $25—or 1/4 of their ‘harvest’—to their local food bank. This is the scale of charitable benefits that Hidden Harvest supports in Ottawa.
Hidden Harvest‘s impactful new video describes the benefits of gleaning to the uninitiated, and follows with a series of recommendations challenging municipal political leaders to make their community’s future “the most sustainable future it can be”. The video captures the essence of the Nourishing Communities Hidden Harvest Case Study by Chloé Poitevin DesRivières, released earlier this year. The case study found that, along with benefits to local food access agencies and processors,
the services Hidden Harvest offers to the community and the city by creating alternate means to feed people, manage renewable resources, developing green infrastructure and diverting waste from landfills, speak to the aims of different city offices, including community and social services, energy planning, and forestry services.
This new video makes the case that the exceptional value in the public services produced through largely voluntary labour deserves the support of public officials.
In November, Carleton University’s Faculty of Public Affairs hosted a discussion of the book at Irene’s Pub in Ottawa. Moe Garahan (Just Food Ottawa), Jay Garlough (Hidden Harvest Ottawa), and Faris Ahmed (USC Canada) commented on the book and discussed their own work in transforming food systems. One of the highlights of this engaging evening was Faris’ response to the book in the form of spoken word. It was so good, we went back to record it!
Below you will find Faris’ performance. You can also find the entire audio on YouTube.
Tommy Wall is an incoming graduate student in Carleton University’s Communication Studies program. He interviewed Faris, and produced and edited this piece.
Hidden Harvest—the latest case study from The social economy of food: Informal, under-recognized contributions to community prosperity and resilience—tells the story of Ottawa’s fruit-and-nut gleaning initiative. Since 2012, Hidden Harvest has used food tree harvest events and outreach activities to enhance community food security and sovereignty, as well as local ecologies and economies.
Hidden Harvest is a for-profit social enterprise that aims to legitimize and support the practice of harvesting fruits and nuts in urban areas. The organization has developed a model through which to increase access to—and availability of—fresh, healthful foods hyper-locally in Ottawa, as people harvest from their own (or nearby) neighborhoods.
This report, by Tina Yeonju Oh, evaluates the approaches to the Cost-Share model that have been implemented in Cumberland County and Cape Breton. In addition, this report looks at other subsidized food box models in Atlantic Canada to compare differences, findings, and operational practices.
“We hope that results from this report demonstrate that ethical alternative food systems are possible and can be empowering, sustainable, and economically beneficial to local and rural communities.”
Join us on Wednesday, January 31st at 12pm EST for a free webinar exploring results from research conducted between 2014 and 2017 on sustainable food hubs in Ontario.
In this webinar, Katie Nolan (OMAFRA), Kendal Donahue (OMAFRA), Phil Mount (JustFood) and Alison Blay-Palmer (Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems) will discuss the Ontario Food Hub surveys that were conducted as part of an OMAFRA New Directions funded project. Showcasing the infographics created with the information collected, the presenters will highlight lessons learned and future research directions. Following the presentations, there will be time for a Q&A.
As part of an OMAFRA-funded research project that examined the role of food hubs in building food system resilience in community value chains, researchers at Wilfrid Laurier’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems conducted two province-wide surveys of local sustainable food hubs in Ontario. We surveyed food producers, processors, and distributors to find out how they defined local food, if/how they thought food hubs added value to food chains for producers and communities, where food hub funding is coming from, what kinds of expansion opportunities they could identify across the value chain, and how food hubs might increase local sales.
Our Food Hub Survey page has been updated with the latest results from the 2016 survey. We have also added a Food Hub Infographics page, where you can find these results summarized visually. The Food Hub Infographics are an excellent tool for anyone interested in learning more about food hubs in Ontario, and we invite you to share them with your networks.
Food Hub Webinar January 31, 2017
To continue the discussion about how food hubs add value to local food systems, we will host a webinar to discuss the Food Hub Survey results and infographics with panelists Alison Blay-Palmer (Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems), Katie Nolan (Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs), and Phil Mount (Associate Director of Just Food). Keep your eyes on this space for the time and log-in details!