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.

Fortnightly Feast

Sustain Ontario’s Upcoming Network Meetings: Setting Directions for 2017

Sustain Ontario’s Networks will be meeting virtually to set directions for 2017. Old and new members welcome to join  to help determine ways to achieve each network’s priorities for 2017.

Network Meetings:

To read more, or register for the meetings

The kids are not alright

The Heart & Stroke 2017  Report on the Health of Canadians  examines how industry is marketing unhealthy food and beverages directly to our children and youth, and how this is affecting their preferences and choices, their family relationships and their health. Read more

Ontario Public Institutions and On-site Food Production: Visualizing the Future for Health Care

For three years, Project SOIL has used case studies, pilot projects and visioning sessions to investigate the viability of on-site food production at public institutions, through collaborative arrangements with local food producers.

Over that time, interest in food production on public land has continued to grow, with schools and universities, health care institutions and seniors residences, community food centres and food banks, as well as public agencies—from conservation authorities to crown corporations—making land available for food production. Read more

Re-imagining sustainable food planning, building resourcefulness: Food movements, insurgent planning and heterodox economics

8th Annual Conference of the AESOP ‘Sustainable food planning’ group, 2017
Hosted by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University, CoventryUK
…Planning for sustainable food production and food provision is more than ever urging us to look for more effective, equitable and just approaches that radically change not only the way we grow food, but the very core of our living space.This 8th annual conference of the AESOP sustainable food planning group is dedicated to discussing ideas, approaches and practices that can help to re-invent food planning in light of the need to build a resourceful, agroecological, urbanism. Read more

Deadline Extended to February 6: AFHVS/ASFS Annual Meeting and Conference, June 14-17, 2017 at Occidental College

The conference theme, “Migrating Food Cultures: Engaging Pacific Perspectives on Food and Agriculture,” invites us to reflect on and engage with the entirety of the Pacific region. The conference setting of Los Angeles, California, is a dynamic, diverse, and multiethnic global city that serves as a gateway, destination, and waypoint. Much of the food itself in California is produced in part by migrating workers and immigrants; indeed, the food scene in Los Angeles is the result of migrating food cultures. Read more

New Intake Added for Final Year of Growing Forward 2 Program

As the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Funding Assistance Program for producers moves into its final year, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs want to be sure there are still plenty of opportunities for Ontario producers to make on-farm improvements. GF2 is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial initiative designed to encourage innovation, competitiveness and market development in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector through cost-share funding opportunities. GF2 is delivered to producers by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), and will start to wrap up early in 2018. Read more

Strong Public Support for the Growth Plan

A January 2017 poll by the Greenbelt Foundation and Environmental Defence shows Ontarians strongly support the Growth Plan and protection of farmland.
9 in 10 respondents agreed that new growth should be directed to already-built up areas. Read more

The Community-Focused Rural Economic Development Program is Open for Applications

The Rural Economic Development (RED) program helps rural communities remove barriers to community economic development, through support for planning and implementation projects that benefit rural Ontario.

The program is now open and will accept applications until March 31, 2017. A second intake is scheduled for July 31, 2017 to September 29, 2017. Read more

My Sustainable Canada’s Local Food and Ontario’s Long Term Care Sector Report

This report documents the current state of local food usage in Ontario’s long-term care sector. Most of the 600+ homes in Ontario do not track local food usage and many report barriers to adding these items to their menus. With an estimated annual raw food spend in excess of $210 million, Ontario’s long-term care sector represents a significant opportunity for local producers. Read more

DIG (Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community)

A new case study from our ongoing ‘Social Economy of Food‘ research highlights DIG (Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community). Compiled by Mary Anne Martin, DIG was collected through interviews with the president of DIG, the coordinator of one of its member projects and one organization that has benefitted from regular delivery of produce from a member garden. In addition, it draws on documents and observations from: DIG’s website, its member projects, its annual general meeting, an executive meeting and a meeting of the Durham Food Policy Council (of which DIG is a member). As a participatory action research initiative, this research involved a collaborative project with DIG and the Durham Food Policy Council that analysed municipal policy in Durham Region to assess its support for urban agriculture and food security. The findings from the policy research also informs this report. Read or download the report!

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.

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

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.