Pilot Project announcement on October 14 in Niagara-on-the-Lake. From left, Phil Tregunno, chair of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers, Jim Bradley, MPP St. Catharines, Wayne Gates MPP Niagara Falls, Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of Friends of the Greenbelt, Lord Mayor Pat Dart, Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Last week the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation announced a $400,000 investment in the Niagara tender fruit industry.
Not only is it the largest investment we've made in the last five years into the province’s agricultural sector, it will also result in 13,000 new tender fruit trees in Niagara, and is projected to provide an injection of roughly $4 million into Ontario’s economy.
All that to say - we're pretty excited.Read more
Program assistant Sam Cheuk "giving it a go" at the Regent Park Community Garden
Like most people working from an office, I get a palpable itch to be out and about while envying all that golden cascade of sunlight peeking through the office shades in summertime. Murphy’s Law dictates that when I do get the chance to be out and about for work, as I had last week jumping location to location to see one of the grants I oversee in action, the weather would refuse to cooperate.
I'm currently overseeing The Stop’s New Canadians Go Greenbelt! grant, run by Peter Mitchell, one of the most active Greenbelt Champions the Foundation's worked with. At the time I joined Peter on-site, his team had already completed the delivery of ethno-cultural crop seedlings: bok choy, napa cabbage, Chinese and Indian eggplants, Indian and Thai hot peppers, okra and bitter melon, to 14 community gardens across the GTA. These community gardens—often situated in ethnically-mixed, low-income neighbourhoods—are meant to help subsidize food costs and increase access to fresh, healthy vegetables for neighbourhood residents.Read more
*This article originally appeared in the Ontario Planning Journal. Vol. 29, No. 5, 2014. See PDF.
Ontario’s Greenbelt turns 10 next year.
While there are many gains to celebrate, it is also time for the province to begin its legislated review of the three plans that make up the Greenbelt. While any birthday is time for reflection, a 10th birthday is notable and an important time for review.
The Greenbelt Act and Greenbelt Plan were passed with much fanfare in 2005. While there was some loud opposition especially from affected landowners and some municipalities, the plan received significant support from conservationists, planning experts and the public.
Since then the Greenbelt has enjoyed huge public approval. It is consistently the government’s most popular environmental initiative garnering more than 90 per cent support.
Did the 2-million acre Greenbelt live up to its expectations? I suggest an unqualified “Yes.”Read more
Agriculture in Norfolk County, Ontario.
Many people think of farmers as the average white male in his 50s, inheriting the farm from generations of family tradition on hundreds of acres of land. While this may be the case for most farmers and is indeed becoming a demographic challenge, a new trend of first generation farmers is growing. For some, entering the business is popular, especially when involved with farmers’ markets.Read more
Value-added activities, such as preserving and canning raw produce, enhance farm viability.
On February 27, 2014, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation in collaboration with the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance hosted a workshop on Value-Added Agricultural Policies. Value-added activities such as secondary processing, agri-tourism, and related farm sales are increasingly recognized as a diversification strategy that can enhance farm viability.Read more
My family moved from Toronto to Durham when my sister and I were only six months old. We bought a house in Pickering down near Frenchman's Bay. The house had a huge backyard to play in and overlooked a fallow farmer's field. A crew of ten other kids our age lived within shouting distance of our house. We played in Petticoat Creek Conservation Area in the summer, fall, winter, and spring—always racing home when the streetlights started to come on.Read more
On Wednesday, September 18, a group of us drove out to the 30th Annual Grape Growers of Ontario celebrity luncheon, an event we have supported since 2006. This year’s luncheon featuredbest known for his hit TV shows on home do-it-yourself such as House of Bryan and Disaster DIY.Read more
It's no suprise that food and farming in Ontario's Greenbelt is a primary issue represented at the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic and so we felt it appropriate to have our Friends at the Greenbelt Farmer's Market Network write a guest blog to share their role in this.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2013
Pilot Program Reduces Costs for Farmers, Increases Environmental Benefits
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation have partnered to promote innovative, economic farming practices that support the environment.Read more
These days it’s not only farmers, food activists and chefs that are advocating for local food production. Everyday consumers are asking for local produce on their plates. For Ontario’s growing number of newcomers, this could mean okra, bitter melon, and yard long beans alongside the now ubiquitous crops of previous immigrant communities like potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce. While backyard and community gardeners have long been representative of Ontario’s changing demographics, commercial farms are starting to catch on too. Through funding to Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the World Crops Project, The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has been supporting Greenbelt farmers in their transition to some of these new, diverse crops.
Recently, as part of a tour coordinated through the Diasporic Foodways Conference held at U of T, I helped facilitate a tour to both a farm and garden in hopes of exploring the evolving intersection of local food and the newcomer communities that have settled in and around Ontario’s Greenbelt.Read more