Toronto, October 20, 2009 - The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation today announced a number of recent grants for projects that strive to make the Greenbelt stronger still. All 25 of the grants announced today aim to fulfill theFoundation's goal of preserving and enhancing the Greenbelt's agricultural, rural and ecological integrity.
"The Greenbelt is approaching its 5th anniversary stronger than ever. That's in no small part thanks to the creative and determined efforts of our grantees working hard in communities large and small across the Greenbelt," said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Foundation. "We're announcing these grants just as harvest season begins to wrap up. But for our grantees their work is just beginning. We look forward to watching their projects bear fruit in the months ahead. "
Below is a list of projects that have recently received financial support from the Foundation. They include farming and local food initiatives, environmental protection projects and a number of efforts that focus on communicating what is great about the Greenbelt.
Alternatives Journal - $10,000
With a focus on contemporary environmental issues, increasing awareness of the Greenbelt and encouraging discussion of key protection issues, Alternatives will profile the Greenbelt in six issues of the Journal.
Bike Train 2009: Greenbelt Express - $36,750
Bike Train will expand on the success of the first season of the Greenbelt Express, a service for travelers and their bikes between Toronto and the Niagara area of the Greenbelt, with more trips and enhanced information and guides on the recreational and tourism opportunities available in the Greenbelt.
Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment - $25,000
The Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment will work to protect the Escarpment's natural heritage through research and education efforts and by building partnerships with public and private sectors stakeholders, conservation authorities, and educators.
Credit Valley Conservation Foundation - $25,000
The Credit Valley Conservation Foundation will determine wetland restoration priorities and characterize and quantify key ecosystem services provided by wetlands in the Credit River watershed.
Ecojustice - $20,000
Ecojustice will lead a collaboration between Ontario Nature, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Earthroots to review provincial regulations for groundwater and wetlands. The group will assess the effectiveness of the Greenbelt Plan with respect to wetlands and groundwater conservation, and possible ways to improve protection.
FoodShare - $55,000
Using their existing distribution network of fresh produce programs, FoodShare will build awareness and connections to Greenbelt producers to increase the amount Greenbelt-grown food reaching Toronto community organizations, schools, and individuals. FoodShare will also work with Greenbelt farmers interested in community outreach to provide opportunities for education about the Greenbelt, its produce and the people who grow this great food.
George Morris Centre - $67,000
The George Morris Centre will partner with the municipalities of Hamilton and Niagara to perform a feasibility study on establishing a Greenbelt food distribution mechanism in these regions.
Grape Growers of Ontario - $20,000
The Grape Growers of Ontario will continue to host luncheons in 2009 and 2010 to launch the annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, an event attended by grape growers, wine makers and wine enthusiasts to recognize the contributions of growers and to celebrate the grapes, soil, and climate that contribute to Ontario's VQA wines.
Greenbelt Farmers' Market Network - $100,000
This new Network was created for market managers to share knowledge and help each other to run stronger and better-promoted markets by sharing vendors and other resources, better advocating for market-friendly policies at the municipal level, and conducting consumer and policy research to empower markets to identify and address common issues.
Greenbelt Green Energy Program for Agriculture - $250,000
Reducing farmers' dependency on fossil fuels is a priority of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, an organization leading the way towards the responsible economic management of soil, water, air and crops. This grant provides incentives for Greenbelt farmers to generate their own energy for agricultural use from renewable sources.
Hamilton Conservation Foundation - $2,500
This teaching garden in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, commemorating former Hamilton Conservation Authority Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Duncan, will be a place for visitors to observe and feel changes over time in the natural landscape and the wildlife species native to the valley.
Environment Hamilton Eat Local - $50,000
Environment Hamilton will work with partners to implement local food procurement systems in elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.
Lincoln Agricultural Society: Niagara Agri-Education Day - $25,000
The 150-year old Lincoln County Fair has welcomed a popular new addition to the festivities with the Niagara Agri-Education Day, an event where school children can taste, touch, feel and learn about common farming practices in the Greenbelt.
Local Food Plus - $200,000
Local Food Plus will work with community partners in Hamilton and St. Catharines to certify farmers, processors, restaurants and other organizations as suppliers and consumers of Greenbelt-grown, sustainably-produced food.
Niagara Escarpment Foundation - $10,000
The Niagara Escarpment Foundation lead a process with citizen's groups to review water issues and the work that is needed Greenbelt-wide to address them.
Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance - $10,000
The 2009 Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit is an event which highlights the abundance of opportunities for growers in the Greenbelt and provides an opportunity for farmers, chefs, owner-operators and other buyers and sellers of food to connect.
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention - $5,000
"Canada's premier horticultural event," the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention features educational sessions, speakers from around the world, a trade show, and food and wine events to celebrate all that is great in the Greenbelt.
Ontario Greenbelt Alliance - $375,000
The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance is a coalition of groups who are working together to strengthen the Greenbelt by forming partnerships with municipalities to expand the Greenbelt, clarifying a vision for further Greenbelt expansion, and continuing to serve as a vital centre for Greenbelt-related information.
Ontario Tender Fruit Marketing Board - $10,000
The CNE got a whole lot sweeter this year, as the Ontario Tender Fruit Marketing Board spread awareness of the Greenbelt by handing out Greenbelt-grown peaches to hungry visitors and recipe cards for people to make their own delicious treats when they bring home Greenbelt-grown peaches from their local store or market.
Durham Farmers Market Feasibility Study - $10,000
Oshawa may soon enjoy a year-round farmers' market, as developers are preparing a feasibility study and a review of best management models for a new market in downtown Oshawa which will help Greenbelt farmers reach new consumers.
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair - $140,620
At the 2008 Fair, a Greenbelt-themed kids' activity book with puzzles, games and coloring was given out to young visitors. In 2009, there will be a special Greenbelt Day at the Fair with children's activities, Greenbelt-grown meals featured throughout, and a chance for visitors to meet the groups doing great work around the Greenbelt, as well as the return of the popular wine competition where the best Greenbelt red and white wines are awarded.
Sustain Ontario: the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming - $15,000
With the help of Sustain Ontario's local food mapping and sector analysis, opportunities for food processing infrastructure will be researched and identified to help close Ontario's gap in fruit, vegetable and meat processing infrastructure to make Greenbelt-grown food a more viable option.
Share the Road Cycling Coalition - $3,000
Cycling is an important recreational activity in the Greenbelt. The Share the Road Cycling Coalition rode into this year's Ontario Bike Summit, taking part in an event bent on developing public policy frameworks for safe biking in Ontario.
St. Lawrence Market - $15,000
The historic St. Lawrence Farmers' Market has been serving customers since 1803, and adding Greenbelt messaging into the markets' communication materials remind market customers that Greenbelt farmers contribute immensely to the market.
Toronto Environmental Alliance - $185,000
This grant has three distinct parts, all related to bringing the Greenbelt into Toronto. The first phase produced two new Greenbelt grown food guides, one for Toronto's Middle Eastern community and another for the city's African-Caribbean community, building on the successes of the previous Chinese and South Asian guides. These booklets list retailers, markets and farms selling foods grown in the Greenbelt which are popular in the cuisine of these major ethnic groups. The second phase will result in the production of resource materials for municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals which encourage the adoption of policies favouring the procurement of Greenbelt-grown food. The final phase will grow the Greenbelt into Toronto by supporting new Greenbelt-friendly municipal policies, including the City of Toronto's Local Food Procurement Policy and the expansion of the Greenbelt to Toronto's rivers and valley lands.
For more information please contact Jennifer Story at (416) 461-6310 or by email at jstory-at-ourgreenbelt.ca