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

Upcoming Webinars

Collective Impact and Community Economic Development
September 23, 12 pm Eastern

Canadian Community Economic Development Network
Increasingly, community organizations are engaging in collaboration as a means to try and solve some of the most complex issues that they face. But these challenging issues require a new approach, a new framework.

Join internationally recognized trainer and community builder Liz Weaver for a workshop that provides participants with an overview of collective impact and how this approach can enhance the impact of community change efforts. Read more

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: CHOOSING THE RIGHT SYSTEMS FOR YOUR FOOD ENTERPRISE

September 24th at 2PM Atlantic / 10 AM Pacific

Food Business Bootcamp – Food Secure Canada
Choosing a mobile device these days can be overwhelming, never mind selecting the best information technology system for your food business. Yet understanding both your needs and the range of options to meet them can save you critical money in both the start up and ongoing phase of your operation.
Saloni Doshi, Strategy Consultant with New Venture Advisors.
Read more

 

Food Hub Benchmarking Study 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM ET

The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration
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

 

Measuring Your Local Impact

September 25th at 1-2 PM Pacific

BALLE (the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies)
Place matters, people matter, ownership matters… and how we measure them matters.
Local leaders are constantly asked to quantify their impact on their communities for funders, partners and standard reporting. The challenge is knowing the right questions to ask and having useful, accessible tools that are relevant for the New Economy.
In this free webinar, hear what BALLE is learning from our network leaders, hands-on case studies from two BALLE fellows, and an update on the Quick Impact Assessment for Localists, a new online tool BALLE is piloting in partnership with B Lab to help conveners measure outcomes among businesses in their communities. Read more

 

Communities Defining Quality Collective Impact

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2014 – 16:00 TO 17:00
Over 49 communities are working together through the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network to define quality collective impact. Join this online panel discussion to learn about the proven, rigorous approach these communities are using to build civic infrastructure and hear stories about how cross-sector partnerships on the ground are implementing innovative approaches to support the unique needs of every child.

The Case for Food Hubs

From Food in the Hills:

The food hub concept, which is gaining traction throughout North America, holds the solution to a problem that continues to bedevil the local food movement, and that is lack of infrastructure. How can local growers, farmers and artisans aggregate, process, market and share their goods? How can they get what they grow and produce from their fields and home kitchens to the consumer’s dining table and local institutions? Food hubs are the missing link in the local food chain. Read more

Fortnightly Feast – vol. 12

Focus on Urban Agriculture

Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture for Resilient City-Regional Food Systems
Marielle Dubbeling’s post on the Landscape blog, about the role that urban and peri-urban agriculture can play in enhancing the sustainability and resilience of urban food systems. Read more

The Sustainable Food Cities Network
From its evolution as an event organised by the Soil Association and Cardiff University and hosted by Bristol City Council in 2011, the Sustainable Food Cities Network has become an alliance of public, private and third sector organisations that believe in the power of food as a vehicle for driving positive change. Read more

New Agriculturalist Focus on… Urban Agriculture
Urban agriculture is being increasingly recognised as an important strategy to respond to a number of key challenges – including poverty, food security and nutrition, unemployment and the management of wastes and wastewater. Read more

Food Hub Movement Gaining Momentum Across Michigan
While the creation of a food hub in your community may seem like a no-brainer, they require careful planning and an investment from all of the stakeholders in the local food system. Read more

And in the category of coolest name ever, in Cowpens, SC: Thicketty Mountain Farms!

Fortnightly Feast – vol. 11

For the faithful reader of this post, and those interested in the creation of sustainable regional food systems, here are two wonderful sources of news, information and events:

Locavore News

The Locavore News Editor, Elbert van Donkersgoed, puts together concise but informative summaries with links to only the most interesting and relevant stories about local food on the internet. These stories are carefully separated into three separate weekly posts, with  Ontario-based, Canadian and international versions. Information about Locavore News is available on the Terra Coeur website. This includes an archive of past issues of Locavore News.  To add your address to the Locavore News distribution list, send an email to: Plumbline-subscribe@terracoeur.com.

Sustain Ontario

Along with a huge amount of information on their policiespolicy papers, consultations and campaigns, Sustain Ontario also has three streams of food news: from SO, from their member organizations, and from around the world. You can also subscribe to have Good Food Bites sent to you every Wednesday, or to receive monthly updates about the work of the Alliance and opportunities to support food and farming in Ontario.

 

6 US Regional FOOD HUB models

Seems to be all food hubs, all the time – particularly south of the border, where state and local planning and economic development efforts appear to be following the lead of the USDA in advocating the value of these regional food hubs:

NC   Are Food Hubs the Key to Expanding Regional Food Systems?

WI   Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative and institutional procurement

The Good Food Fight in Guelph-Wellington

Guest Blog:  Erin Nelson, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Guelph
Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship / Research Shop

On Monday, June 24th, Nick Saul – co-author of The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement – came to Guelph for the official launch of his book. The event was held at Lakeside Hope House, and was sponsored by the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition, the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table, The Bookshelf, Community Food Centres Canada, and Random House.

It was a steamy evening, but more than 150 people braved the heat to come hear Nick tell the story of The Stop. He spoke passionately about shifting from a charity-based model of fighting hunger to one that recognizes the dignity of all people, and the empowering, healing, and unifying potential of food. He explained how the Community Food Centre movement can help turn that ideal into reality, by creating physical spaces for people to connect over food, by growing it, learning about it, sharing and celebrating it. He also encouraged the audience to politicize food, and advocate for food system change not just as consumers, but as citizens. Using the history of labour rights – such as the weekend – that were fought for and won as an example, he argued that we need to become “food fighters” in order to make change happen in our communities.

The message sparked an engaging Q&A session that probably could have continued all night long had it been allowed to (and had Nick not needed to get home to Toronto). The discussion was moderated by Brendan Johnson, Executive Director of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition. Brendan is also a member of The Seed Community Food Hub Committee – a Poverty Task Force working group aiming to build a community food hub in Guelph-Wellington. The night served as an opportunity to share some of the work that The Seed has been doing over the past two years to support changes to the local emergency food system, and to introduce the group – and its vision – to the wider community.

After the formal part of the evening was over, people gathered in the Hope House café to continue the conversation (and buy signed copies of Nick’s book). Even without air conditioning the room buzzed with energy until well after 9pm, as people chatted with Nick and with each other about a wide range of topics, including what a community food hub might look like in Guelph-Wellington. Members of The Seed – including the Poverty Task Force, the Food Round Table, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the Guelph Community Health Centre, and the University of Guelph’s Research Shop – were on hand with information about their work, and with a sign up sheet for people interested in getting involved with the initiative.  Of course there was also excellent food for everyone to enjoy, provided by local businesses Green Table Foods and With the Grain.

By the end of the evening there was no doubt that people had been inspired and energized by the talk, and by the discussions and exchange that happened afterwards. At one point during the night, Nick mentioned that he saw no reason why there couldn’t be a community food centre one day in Guelph-Wellington. Surely many of those who were in the room left thinking about the role they could play in making that happen.

If you’re interested in receiving updates about The Seed Community Food Hub Committee and getting involved in its work, please contact info@gwpoverty.ca.

Regional Food Hub Planning

The Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board has presented the results and recommendations of a six-month feasibility study of a proposed food hub to serve Allegany, Cattaraugus, and Chautauqua county farm and food producers.

The research and report have been undertaken by Anthony Flaccavento, an economic development consultant and farmer who pioneered a local food hub in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee. This report is incredibly detailed, and is a must-read for those interested in developing their own regional food hub.

Free Access to Academic Articles on Sustainable Food Systems

Research from the Nourishing Ontario research group is currently available online, in a special issue of Local Environment, including free access to the introduction:

Sustainable Local Food Spaces: Constructing Communities of Food

This includes 10 papers (details here) from our recent Ontario-wide research project.

 

More free articles!

As part of a celebration of World Environment Day, with the theme “Think.Eat.Save“, the academic publisher Taylor and Francis is offering free access for the month of June to a selection of recent articles, most of which relate to the development of sustainable food systems. You can access these articles here: http://explore.tandfonline.com/content/est/world-environment-day-2013.php

 

A permanent city council to promote local food production and consumption?!

Edmonton food council ready to plant roots

The 15-member advisory council, which will be chosen in June, will also have to look at difficult issues like raising chickens and bees in the city, or how to set up a food hub at the local community league, said Hani Quan, principal planner with the city’s new food and urban agriculture strategy. Read more

Upcoming Webinars

Baltimore: A Healthy Food Access Case Study

Thursday, May 16
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Baltimore offers an important example of a city that has successfully implemented an inter-governmental initiative to increase access to healthy and affordable foods in underserved neighborhoods.

This webinar offers an in-depth exploration of Baltimore’s healthy food retail programs and accomplishments including its virtual supermarket program, the financing of two recent healthy food markets, and a just released study mapping food quality in Baltimore food markets.

Presenters Include:

  • Laura Fox, Director, Baltimore Office of Chronic Disease Prevention
  • Amanda Behren’s, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future Maryland – Food System Mapping Project
  • Dana Johnson, Market Leader Baltimore, The Reinvestment Fund
  • Patricia Smith, Senior Policy Advisory, The Reinvestment Fund

Register here

 

Starting a Food Hub: Successful Hubs Share Their Stories

Thursday, May 16, 3:30 – 4:45pm ET

Free! Register Now

Food hubs hold great promise for a myriad of positive community impacts – economic development and job creation, farmland preservation, environmental sustainability… the list goes on.
But how do you start a food hub?
This webinar brings together the stories of the formation and first year of three different, successful food hubs. Our presenters are all founders of their hubs. They will share some of the best decisions they made … and some of the worst. What types of contacts did they feel really helped their business to thrive? How much money did they need, and how did they get it? Why did they choose their incorporation status? And more…
Panelists:

  • Sandi Kronick – Eastern Carolina Organics
  • Chris Hartman – Good Food Collective-Head Water Foods, Inc
  • Jim Crawford – Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative

Economic analysis of local and regional food systems: Taking stock and looking ahead

The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists cordially invite you to a public webinar
Monday, May 20th – from 3:00 to 4:30 pm EST

Brief Summary – To address the current state and future direction of economic analysis with regard to local and regional food systems, Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems and the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program convened a meeting of a group of economists and local food researchers on January 31 and February 1, 2013.   This webinar will provide a brief synopsis of the meeting outcomes, with a focus on questions one should consider when conducting or commissioning a study on the economic impacts of local and regional food systems.   There will be adequate opportunity for participants to weigh in with comments and questions to continue to inform the discussion on future economic impact studies of local and regional food commerce.

To get on the webinar, go to: https://connect.msu.edu/richpirog

The webinar will be recorded for those who are not able to participate on May 20th.  For additional information please contact:

Rich Pirog – Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems  –rspirog@msu.edu

Jeff O’Hara – Union of Concerned Scientists – johara@ucsusa.org

 

Resources to Create or Expand Healthy Food Retail: Public and Private Grant and Loan Programs

Thursday, May 30
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

This webinar will provide an overview of the “Find Money” section of the Healthy Food Retail Portal and provide examples of specific federal, state, and local resources that can be tapped to create or expand healthy food retail opportunities in underserved communities.

Presenters Include:

  • Pamela Porter, Executive Vice President, Strategic Consulting, Opportunity Finance Network
  • Christine Fry, Senior Policy Analyst and Program Director, ChangeLab Solutions
  • Khanh Nguyen, Portfolio Director – Healthy Living, The Colorado Health Foundation
  • Patricia Smith, Senior Policy Advisor, The Reinvestment Fund

Register here.