What’s the Best Way to Grow Ontario Organic?

…from OCO:

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) needs your input!

Ontario boasts over $1 billion in sales of organic foods and yet only 2% of all agriculture in the province is organic. Why is the organic sector in Ontario growing so slowly in relation to demand?  How can government and the industry help Ontario businesses capture this growth opportunity?

Help guide the future of organics in Ontario.  

Take OCO’s survey by January 28th for the chance to win prizes!

Read more

Organic agriculture key to feeding the world sustainably

Study analyzes 40 years of science against 4 areas of sustainability

Researchers have concluded that feeding a growing global population with sustainability goals in mind is possible. Their review of hundreds of published studies provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, be profitable for farmers, protect and improve the environment and be safer for farm workers.
Washington State University, Feb 3, 2016
Read more

Kitchen Table Talk: Local food dialogues

What could be more important than feeding ourselves daily? Do you ever wonder how food is grown in the farmlands around you? Perhaps you’re wondering what it means to be ‘organic’ and how you can afford it? What does it mean to be sustainable? Are genetically modified foods good for us and the environment that supports us? How do you save your own seeds?

KIM FELLOWS (Sunday January 18th, 2015) 1:30pm at Kitchener Public Library, Meeting Room A

Title of Talk: The World of Pollinators: What’s the Buzz?
Description of Talk: Why should we care about buzzing insects? Kim will draw you into the world of pollination and how it relates to issues of food security.

DR. RALPH MARTIN (Sunday January 25th, 2015) 1:30pm at THEMUSEUM

Title of Talk: The Dynamic of Responsible Consumption and Sustaining Food Production

Description of Talk: Food production capacity depends on healthy soil, clean air and water, sufficient biodiversity and appropriate adaptations to shifting climatic conditions. Creative options are needed to go beyond simply producing more of what consumers have become accustomed to, at low prices. What food is really needed and how can it be preserved and stored? How can food waste be reduced? How can farmers be fairly compensated to sustain their agro-ecosystems and their families?

ANN SLATER (Sunday February 1st, 2015) 1:30pm at THEMUSEUM

Title of Talk: Moving Towards Food Sovereignty
Description of Talk: An overview of the current situation of farms, farmers and agriculture in Ontario followed by a discussion of how we can all be part of the movement towards food sovereignty.

Ile-de-France – A regional strategy for sustainable and local agriculture

In a region that comprises of 49% agricultural land, the regional government of Ile-de-France (where France’s capital city Paris is located) has recently developed a strategy to better protect this land and connect it with local producers and consumers. The Ile-de-France regional strategy for sustainable and local agriculture recognises that in order to have green cities, there must also be access to local and organic agricultural products. In order to achieve this, the strategy consists of three central pillars:

  • Protect farmlands and make them more accessible to agricultural project leaders

  • Encourage the agro-ecological transformation of existing farmlands

  • Develop and promote local industries

Read more

Fortnightly Feast

Farmland Forever Campaign

To celebrate their 10th Anniversary, the Ontario Farmland Trust has launched a $1 million Farmland Forever fundraising campaign. With this campaign, they will be able to nearly double the amount of farmland under agricultural protection easements. Currently more than 20 farm owners are waiting to donate easements. The Farmland Forever campaign will also give OFT more capacity to support farmland policy development and expand research and education for improved farmland protection across Ontario.
** And from now until December 31st, every donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Metcalf Foundation!! **
In this season of giving, why not save some land for a future farmer?

Conference on Sustainable Food Choices Livestreamed

LiveWell for low-impact food (LIFE) is a project which aims to contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the EU food supply chain and demonstrate what healthy, sustainable diets could look like for different European countries.
Over the last three years, LiveWell for LIFE has worked with members of the multi-sectoral Network of European Food Stakeholders – which represent key stakeholders from across the EU – to reduce the impact food consumption has on the environment.
‘On our plate today: healthy, sustainable food choices’ is LiveWell’s concluding conference. Here they’ll look at the need for a global food strategy, and the role policymakers and business leaders alike play in encouraging sustainable food consumption.
To learn more about the project, please visit livewellforlife.eu
Watch the entire conference live online.

The Fourth Annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

What is local? Some describe anything within a 50 or 100-kilometre radius as local; others include anything grown in Ontario or made in Canada as local. What was clear at the conference was that foodies want what they want, and business owners can’t afford to ignore them. Buying local is not a trend that is going to disappear.
Be unique. Grow your business as big as you want. Food hubs and sharing ideas and distribution processes are great ways to leverage your growth—as the master of your own destiny you can still remain niche while becoming mainstream. Read more

Taking Stock of the Mobile Good Food Market

“Basically the jury’s still out on how to operationalize it and make it sustainable, even for a nonprofit that’s subsidized,” says Debbie Field, executive director for FoodShare Toronto, the organization that runs the Mobile Good Food Market. “I don’t think that it’s actually working for anybody who’s doing it right now.”
The biggest value of mobile markets, she says, might be in demonstrating that there is a demand for healthy food in even the poorest neighborhoods. “It’s not that low-income people aren’t interested,” Field says. “They will buy the food if we can get it there. What FoodShare is proving is that people will buy this food and what we have to do is figure out logistically how to get it into communities.” Read more

Healthy food out of reach for many

If you suspect it cost more over the past year to buy groceries and cook even basic healthy meals at home, you’re right, according to new study. The 2014 Food Cost Survey released by the Brant County Health Unit reveals that the cost of eating healthy food for a family of four is now $193.85 a week in Brantford and Brant – or $839.37 out of the monthly budget. That’s an 8% increase over last year’s figure of $179.50 per week, or $777.19 a month. “The reality is that many families in our community can’t afford basic healthy food after paying for housing and other living expenses.” Read more

La Montañita Co-op: Fresh, Fair, Local and Organic!

La Montañita, a consumer cooperative, believes in the shared benefits of healthy food, sound environmental practices and a strong local economy with results that justify the resources used.
The Co-op is a leader in the local foods movement! We support local farmers through the Food-Shed Project. This initiative helps local farmers and producers get their products into more markets. Over 1,100 local products from 400 local producers make it to small community grocers, restaurants, and commercial kitchens as a result of the Co-op Distribution Center.
We know local, but we call it community. We serve our membership, but we also collaborate with farmers, local food and environment advocates, and educators to build community awareness about the links between food, health and the environment. Read more

Seeding the Future

SEED CONNECTIONS CONFERENCE

November 7th, 8th, 9th, 2014 
MacDonald Campus of McGill University, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec

The Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network (ECOSGN) Seed Connections conference is a fully bilingual event bringing together farmers, seed-savers, seed companies, community gardeners, researchers, and experts on organic seed production to share knowledge, skills, and experience over a packed, 3-day agenda!

Brought to you by ECOSGN, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and Seeds of Diversity Canada

 

Seed Facilitation Fund

The goal of the Seed Facilitation Fund is to help build a diverse and resilient seed system by strengthening the capacity of ecological vegetable seed and field crop producers. The Fund provides financial support to organizations and individuals who share the values and goals of our program, and who are undertaking initiatives that help advance the following objectives:

  • To increase the quality, quantity and diversity of ecologically grown Canadian seed
  • To promote public access to seed
  • To facilitate information-sharing and collaboration among individuals and organizations committed to advancing an ecological and diverse seed system in Canada
  • To respect, advance, and promote the knowledge of farmers in seed and food production

Applicants may submit proposals for a maximum of $8,000per project. In total, approximately $200,000 will be allocated across the country in 2015.

TIMELINE
This call for proposals is launched October 6, 2014
The deadline for applications is November 17, 2014
Click here for applications and details

 

Atlantic Canada Regional Seed Bank

from the Herald News, October 20, 2014
A seed of survival was planted at Dalhousie University’s agriculture campus on Monday.

“Up to 10,000 plant species or maybe more are at risk of extinction,” said Stephanie Hughes, regional co-ordinator for the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

That said, Hughes and partners Dalhousie, USC Canada and Seeds of Diversity Canada announced the first regional seed bank in Atlantic Canada, to be housed at the university’s plant and animal science department. The bank is intended to help farmers create a stronger local food system, while focusing on high-quality, diverse, local seed that has agronomic, historical and cultural importance to the region.
Read more

 

Fortnightly Feast Vol. 4

Notice Board

The call for abstracts for the 5th AESOP Conference on Sustainable Food Planning is now open. The conference will focus on innovations in urban food systems, with specific sessions on flows, land and governance.
Abstract submission deadline is June 15, 2013.

Social Innovation Pop-Up Lab, March 21, 2013 – Brantford
Finance, Farms and Food – Exploring new ways to organize and raise money for sustainable food system projects. If you are interested in some new ideas and can travel to Brant County on March 21, we encourage you to participate in this learning event. Come out to hear from a variety of organizations on how they are using new tools and approaches to raise money for sustainable food projects. Details.

Petition to Support local food & good jobs in Ontario
The Premier of Ontario has committed to re-introducing a stronger Local Food Act to support our local farmers and eaters.  We think the government can do more to create jobs in Ontario like they’ve done with sustainable energy, by supporting the fast-growing local sustainable food sector, while making the province a more awesome place.  Please sign if you agree and want more diverse local food!

draft Ontario Local Food Act, from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, with funding from the Metcalf Foundation, and building on work done by Sustain Ontario and it’s members.

Greenbelt Fund Green Papers: Volume 5
Access: Aggregating Ontario Product
Historically, farmers in Ontario have delivered their produce directly to local grocery retailers, restaurants, and institutions. This practice has largely disappeared for two reasons. First, distributors emerged as a one-stop shop for restaurants and institutions to obtain product, eliminating the need for multiple suppliers. Second, as franchises and corporate foodservice companies became more dominant, fixed contracts with select distributors to supply categories of products have become the norm. Read more

New  2nd edition of the Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management [pdf]
Brian Caldwell, Dr. Eric Sideman, Abby Seaman, Emily Brown Rosen, Dr. Tony Shelton, and Dr. Christine Smart

Upcoming WEBINARS

Partners from the Intervale Center, the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) will discuss farmland matching programs, helping farmers access capital, and the structure and challenges of continued support for graduates.

Title: NIFTI Webinar 6 – Transitioning Farmers Off the Incubator Site
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT

Food policy councils are becoming an effective way to foster healthy food environments in communities across the country.  Join us for an in-depth examination of the successful Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

Title: Food Policy Councils: Improving Healthy Food Retail in a City
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Limited retail access to healthy foods affects the dietary patterns and health outcomes of many Americans.  Join us to learn how new research and evaluation practices are helping to generate innovative solutions that stimulate change in local communities.

Title: Food Access & Health Impacts: Trends and New Research
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

New to us

Australian Food Hubs Network – understandizng, promoting, experimenting with introduction of Food Hubs to Australia
The AFHN is a collaboration of individuals from diverse backgrounds, who are bound by … the vision of fair, sustainable and resilient food systems for all Australians.
We recognise the severity of the many social, ecological and economic challenges our food systems face, locally, nationally and globally. We are convinced of the urgent need for transformative changes in these systems. Read more

Shocking

Could a simple green calorie label make people see nutrition-poor foods as healthier?

 

New Organic Master Gardener course in Toronto

February 5-March 21, 2013

Location: Evergreen Brick Works, Classroom 2W, 550 Bayview Avenue
Through examining the connection between soil health, plant health, human health and environmental health, this course will address sustainable land management practices to maintain plants in the urban landscape. Continue reading

Canadian Organic Growers basic inspector course

COG is co-sponsoring an IOIA Basic Inspector Course March 4-8th, 2013 in Guelph, ON.If you are interested in becoming an inspector, working in the organic industry, or just want a better understanding of the Canadian Organic Standards and inspection process–this may be for you!Deadline to apply is January 21st.More information: http://www.cog.ca/news_events/inspector/