A Day full of Promise for Ontario’s Small-Flock Growers and Supply Management Programs

(Artisanal Chicken Ranch, Part I)

After years of pressure from independent small-flock chicken farmers, as well as from NFU, PFO, Sustain Ontario, and Eat Local Sudbury, and after province-wide consultations on what to do with new growth opportunities, Chicken Farmers of Ontario has crafted a potentially marvellous new Artisanal Chicken Policy (pdf 276 kB), and released it yesterday.

CFO to grow local food communities with new ‘Artisanal Chicken’ program launch

BURLINGTON, ON – July 28, 2015 – Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has announced a portfolio of new programs that will support expanded business opportunities for chicken farmers and offer Ontario consumers even more choice in accessing locally grown, high quality chicken. The new business opportunities were developed following the recent farmer, public and industry ‘Allocating Growth’ consultations, and includes an ‘Artisanal Chicken’ program which will appeal to smaller, independent, family farmers looking to meet local markets. Read more

This means the former Small Flock Exemption policy —which remains at 300— is now the Family Food Program, language that will more clearly align with the intent of the exemption: on-farm consumption or farm-gate sales.

The Artisanal Chicken Program on the other hand “…is directed at those farmers who are interested in growing between 600 and 3,000 chickens annually for select target markets such as local farmer markets.”

The closing date for submissions for 2016 Applications is September 4, 2015.

CFO will also be creating a quota-based Local Niche Markets program for those wishing to graduate from the Artisinal Program “to support those larger niche or regional markets of 6,000 chickens or more per year”.

Gary Larson, 1983… And as with any such program, the devil will be in the details. There are already questions about the fine print—like how will “traditional methods” fly with On-Farm Food Safety Assurance and Animal Care Programs, to provide mutually acceptable, appropriate and complementary levels of on-farm safety, security and viability?

The dust has yet to settle on this newly released policy. Hopefully, we will have some answers to relay in Artisanal Chicken Ranch Part II…

The Food Hub Future

The Future of Local Food for the Region

March 25, 2015

Day long “Scaling Up Wholesale” workshop organized by Eat Local Sudbury Co-op. Cap the day off with PRESENTING THE DESIGN: A REGIONAL FOOD HUB

The time has come to present the design for the NEW Regional Food Hub to be built by Eat Local Sudbury Co-op. Learn more about our region’s unique Food Hub model that incorporates local food aggregation and food education for consumers, producers and wholesale purchaser.

Presentation is FREE to attend.

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LOCAL FOOD MINGLE AND MASH

When: Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Where: The Motley Kitchen, 70 Younge Street, Sudbury, ON
Time: 5PM-7PM
Cost: $15.00, tickets can be purchased at Eat Local Sudbury (176 Larch St., Sudbury, ON).

Before the ‘Regional Food Hub Presentation’ join us at The Motley Kitchen for some local food and beverages. We want to meet and chat about how the community can participate in the future of local food for the region. After your dinner stay for the presentation of the NEW Regional Food Hub. See you soon!

*Free for ‘Scaling Up Wholesale Workshop’ attendees*

Fortnightly Feast

Sudbury food co-op poised for expansion

…The goal is to make Eat Local Sudbury a regional hub for local food distribution with the added offshoots of increasing awareness of local food production, supporting local farmers, and boosting the economy. The funding will be used to develop a three-part business plan to expand both its retail facilities and its programming to accommodate a much larger volume of food. Read more

The need to ‘grow’ more topsoil

from the Guelph Mercury, Ralph C. Martin:

When I hear a big, hairy audacious goal, I expect drum rolls and trumpets, or if it’s really big, tubas. There was not even a piccolo adagio when Abe Collins, a Vermont farmer, educator and consultant shared his passion for topsoil formation and grazing at the Ecological Farmers of Ontario Conference, held earlier this month in Guelph. Nevertheless, the audience was all ears. His big, hairy goal? He expects a community, near Lake Champlain, to blanket their watershed in deep topsoil in a decade. Read more

CED Net National Jobs Postings include many food jobs

  • Communications and Marketing Manager, Community Food Centres Canada
  • Nova Scotia Organic Market Research Assistant
  • Entrepreneurship and Marketing Coordinator, Le Santropol Roulant
  • Farm Co-Manager, Le Santropol Roulant
  • McQuesten Urban Farm Community Animator
  • Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton
  • CSI’s Desk Exchange Animator Program, Centre for Social Innovation
  • Ecological Gardening Internship, Harvest Moon Society, Clearwater  Manitoba

Read more

NGFN Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014

Food Hubs are delivering on their promise of enabling identity-preserved, primarily local and regional food to enter the wholesale market, enabling small and mid-sized farms access to buyers that would otherwise be unattainable.

But aggregation and distribution of food is a very thin-margin business, and hubs take on additional expense working with smaller farmers, providing technical assistance, and other grower and community services. Are food hubs able to support themselves with their operations? What are industry-standard financial and operational benchmarks for food hub businesses?

Read more and see webinar here

Fortnightly Feast

Growing Food Connections food policy database to help communities strengthen food systems

Municipalities and counties got a big boost today with the unveiling of a searchable database with more than 100 newly adopted innovative, local government food system policies that can be shared and adapted across the country. The Growing Food Connections Policy Database, hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, will assist local governments as they work to broaden access to healthy food and help sustain local farms and food producers.

Growing Food Connections, a federally-funded research initiative to strengthen community food systems nationwide, has compiled over 100 policies governing issues as diverse as public investment in food systems, farmland protection, local food procurement and food policy council resolutions. The database is a comprehensive catalog of enacted food policy. By drawing upon partner resources and networks, the database provides a vast resource of policies that have been implemented and are currently being used by communities. Furthermore, it provides inspiration for communities looking to start building their own food policy. Read more

Candidates weighing in on food and farming

Guelph Mercury, October 21, 2014

Earlier this month, the Guelph Wellington Food Round Table — in collaboration with Sustain Ontario — asked all of the candidates for trustee, councillor and mayor to participate in the Vote on Food and Farming survey. Because food and farming touch so many important areas of our lives, and shape our regional character, economy, culture, and communities, the survey has six broad questions related to the economy, health, the environment, access, education and collaboration — along with key actions that will shape the future of food and farming in this region.

A week after sending out the survey, we have had responses from 26 of the 44 “active” races (not acclaimed) from all eight municipalities in Wellington; from every ward in Guelph; and from 10 mayoral candidates (including four in Guelph). This is the most active and engaged regional response in the province. Read more

Keeping it Local with Nick Weir of Stroudco Foodhub

Stroud Life, October 20, 2014
ONE of Stroudco’s largest suppliers is Stroud Community Agriculture (SCA) which farms 23 acres of land around Hawkwood College overlooking Stroud. SCA was established 14 years ago by a group of volunteers who wanted to provide an alternative to the supermarket system by building a direct connection between the people growing the food and the people eating it. They started off by growing vegetables on less than one acre and sharing produce amongst the small group of supporters who set up the farm community. SCA is now a thriving, community-run social enterprise with over 230 household members around Stroud who collectively pay all the costs of the farm including the wages of three full time farmers. In return the SCA members receive a weekly share of the produce harvested from the farm. Read more

Eat Local Sudbury working to offer more local food in region

Local food hub to offer food to other parts of northeastern Ontario
CBC October 14, 2014
Eat Local Sudbury is in the process of developing a business plan to expand its local food hub to other areas in northeastern Ontario. The new areas to have service include LaCloche-Manitoulin, North Bay, Temiskaming, Muskoka and parts of Algoma. According to Eat Local, a local food hub helps with the collection, storage, processing and distribution of local food.
The plan, called the Eat Local Sudbury Food Hub Business Plan project, is moving forward after the co-op received $17,200 from the province’s Greenbelt Fund. The Managing Director of Eat Local Sudbury, Peggy Baillie said demand for local food continues to grow. “More and more people are gaining interest in terms of local food and wanting access to it, including institutions, schools and public health facilities. This plan is trying to address those needs.”
Read more

Food Banks Canada & RFDA deliver fresh food to First Nations

Thunder Bay’s Regional Food Distribution Association is part of a pilot project to send fresh food north
CBC October 21, 2014

A group of First Nations in northwestern Ontario is getting fresh fruits and vegetable this month, thanks to a pilot project between Food Banks Canada and the Regional Food Distribution Association. Volker Kromm is the association’s executive director. He said statistics show one in five Aboriginal people, living on reserve don’t get enough to eat, and nearly half of those people are children. Kromm said, through the partnership with Food Banks Canada, he was able to purchase $20,000 worth of fresh groceries to take to some First Nations communities that are accessible by road. He said he was transporting everything from potatoes to granola bars to cantaloupe. Read more

WEBINAR

Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands: Challenges and opportunities of on-site food production

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT
In Ontario, several institutions are already producing food on their properties as a way to generate revenue; supply nutritious fresh food for consumption (by staff, patients, students, etc.); provide skills training and therapeutic benefits; and build social enterprises. This webinar will share how project partners at health care, social service and educational institutions went about getting gardens off the ground at their institutions, as well as some of the lessons we learned in the first year of working with pilot projects across the province. Read more