Attention: News / Southern Ontario Reporters/Editors / Food / Environment / Agriculture
Old MacDonald Changed His Farm
Greenbelt Foundation provides grants for innovative projects
Toronto September 30, 2010 Everyone knows that old MacDonald had a farm, but so do the Chin’s, the Singh’s, the Yu’s and the Granowski’s. However, it’s not just the farms that are changing – it’s also the food. They are growing everything from apples to okra and calaloo - bringing in new crops to meet the needs of Ontario’s diverse population. The Greenbelt Foundation is proud to support local food initiatives, innovative organizations and new Canadians in farming.
“The face of the farmer and the food grown in the Greenbelt are both changing. Now when visiting a farmers’ market you can see that products increasingly reflect Ontario’s diversity,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
One Grantee, The Stop; has commissioned a project at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre where they currently test a crop of ethno-cultural produce including long green beans, calaloo, okra, and fuzzy melon. After completing just their first harvest, researchers say they are learning a lot and are in the process of perfecting the growth of these new crops for market in the coming years.
“This project is one of the most exciting that I have had the pleasure to play a role in. This is really something important for the future of a local sustainable food system in the Greenbelt that reflects what people are actually eating,” said Ahmed Bilal, researcher at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.
Every year, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation gives out grants to enterprising, thought-leading organizations. Recently, the following innovative groups were selected to receive funding:
- Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy - Possibility Flows Here Project - $75,000
This project reviews, assesses, and promotes the importance of water policy and practices across the Greenbelt. It also identifies recommended reforms to the existing policy, legislative framework and potential municipal best practices to protect water quality and quantity.
- Environmental Defence - Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Project - $300,000
This organization coordinates the activities of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance to respond to issues that impact the integrity and permanence of the Greenbelt. The Alliance advocates for Greenbelt expansion, increases support for the Greenbelt in the Greenbelt during the 2010 municipal elections, and organizes a campaign to advocate for property tax laws supporting Greenbelt farmers.
- FoodShare - Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network Project - $75,000
The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network supports regional collaboration, knowledge-sharing and professional development among market organizers. The Network also conducts research on increasing markets’ customer base, coordinate promotions for markets and pilot Greenbelt-grown food demonstrations at markets throughout the season.
- Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee - Agri-Food and Agricultural Strategy - $15,000
The grant is for the committee to develop a ten-year agricultural strategy and action plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The study will review demographics, economic impact, and trends in agricultural production for the area, interview key agri-businesses, and, explore a number of emerging opportunities, a mutually beneficial relationship with cities, and policy support to sustain agriculture and plan for growth in a near urban environment.
- International Cool Climate Chardonnay Association - International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration - 30,000
The project is a three-day world class wine and food celebration in Niagara to be held in July 2011. The event will showcase Ontario wines, aiming to create a sustainable market for Greenbelt wineries and growers.
- Royal Botanical Gardens - Cootes to Escarpment Park Project Part II - $50,000
The project implements the visionary “Cootes to Escarpment Park System Plan.” This unique project aims to act on recommendations for increased public outreach through marketing and communications strategies and develop land securing strategies.
- The Stop Community Food Centre - New Crop Animation: Bringing Greenbelt Fresh to the City Project - $88,000
The collaborative including The Stop Community Food Centre, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, and the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association increases the viability of Greenbelt farming by supporting Greenbelt farmers to grow crops suitable for the traditional cuisines of major multicultural communities in the Greater Toronto Area through crop testing, knowledge exchanges, farm trips and tasting events.
“From Greenbelt wines and farmers’ markets, to clean air, water and land conservation, this round of grants parallel Ontario’s diversity,” said Mausberg.
Wrapping around the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario a better place. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable organization established to support the vitality of Ontario’s Greenbelt. For more information about Ontario’s Greenbelt visit www.greenbelt.ca.
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Shelley Petrie, Grants Director, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
spetrie – at – greenbelt – dot – ca or 416.960.0001 x 308
Susan Murray, Communications Director, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
smurray – at – greenbelt – dot – ca or 416.960.0001 x 310