Locavore News - Ontario, April 21, 2010

Locavore News — Ontario
Plumbline by Elbert van Donkersgoed
Perspectives on good food and farming
April 21, 2010

‘Local food’ producers named Outstanding Young Farmers

Steve and Lisa Cooper of Zephyr were named the 2010 Ontario Outstanding Young Farmers at a banquet in the Ramada Inn in Belleville on March 30, out of six finalists from among a record 36 nominations for the prestigious award. As adverse weather, low commodity prices and a smaller cattle market hampered their prospects for financial <http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com/fullstory.htm?ArticleID=10812&ShowSection=AgriProfile> stability, they decided to put in a market garden in the late 1990s. With the addition of a corn stand, they tried their hand at direct marketing. In 2000, they sold the cattle and replaced them with meat goats. They converted the cropping area of the farm into an on-farm store and an agri-entertainment area with a corn maze, kids’ play area, fall festival and recently a pick-your-own section. Local Food Plus, an organization that certifies farmers engaged in local sustainable food production and helps them connect with buyers, approved their farm and its products. Eastern Ontario AgriNews story <http://www.agrinewsinteractive.com/fullstory.htm?ArticleID=10812&ShowSection=AgriProfile.

Hunt Club pushes local food

You know the buy local food movement has gone mainstream when it takes over the London Hunt and Country Club. There were lots of pickup trucks in the prestigious club's parking lot Monday as it held Local Food Connection - an annual event similar to a trade show for farmers and other primary producers who want to hook up with restaurateurs, retailers and processors in the hunt for locally produced food. Monday's producers, from across Southwestern Ontario, offered a variety of vegetables, meats and herbs as well as rainbow trout, elk and quail. London Free Press story <http://www.lfpress.com/money/2010/03/29/13396161.html.

As health problems pile up, Toronto creates a new urban food strategy

The board of health is proposing a new food strategy that hopes to provide families across the city with better access to food. The public health department released its consultation paper this week and hopes to have some solid ideas presented to city council by the end of the spring. David McKeown, Toronto’s medical officer of health, told the Globe:The food system that we have now, broadly, was developed in the postwar period and was really designed to keep prices low and maximize the amount of food that goes out there. But that food, despite the fact that food prices are relatively low historically, is still not affordable for people who are of low income. Toronto Life story<http://www.torontolife.com/daily/daily-dish/read-all-about-it/2010/02/17/as-health-problems-pile-up-toronto-creates-a-new-urban-food-strategy/.

How did Real Food for Real Kids begin?

While searching for the ideal child care centre for our son Max, we discovered a shocking consistency. Every centre we visited served the same type of food: processed, frozen, and canned convenience foods. Very little of it was fresh – and almost nothing was cooked from scratch. Dissatisfied, I made and sent snacks and lunches with Max every day. The caregivers at the centre spoke so highly of his food that the director began talking with me about ways to increase the healthiness of snacks. Because it was clear that the catering program these kids needed didn't exist, we wondered what it would take to create something totally different. We thought that little bodies would be better built with meals made from fresh, all natural, and locally grown food. We called our model Real Food for Real Kids. So then we did the only sensible thing: we took out a second mortgage on the house, quit our other jobs, hired some amazing people, and went through a full-scale rethink of child care food service. Featured Mompreneur<http://www.blushmom.com/ForMom/FeaturedMompreneurLuluCohenFarnell/tabid/567/Default.aspxon Blush website.

The future of food

Lori Stahlbrand's energy and optimism outshine the gloom of statistics she is determined to change.The hurdles of disappearing farmland, peak oil, and the disenfranchisement of farmers seem undaunting after a conversation with the creator of Local Food Plus."We're run off of our feet with interest and inquiries," she says. "It really buoys you up."The nonprofit organization, based in Toronto, works as a kind of matchmaker, helping to establish relationships between farmers and the institutions, food retailers and restaurants nearby that want to support them. Local Food Plus sets standards for everything from animal welfare, labour practices, soil and water conservation to the distance that the food has to travel from field to plate. Close to 200 farmers have signed on since the organization began five years ago, along with about 80 food outlets and the University of Toronto's St. George campus."The town of Markham was the first municipality to be certified," says Stahlbrand. "They felt very strongly that just looking at local food is not enough. Hamilton Spectator story <http://www.thespec.com/go/food/article/753450.

Nottawasaga Futures launches centre for environmental ideas

Nottawasaga Futures plans to make South Simcoe a leader in a new, environmentally friendly economy. The organization, in partnership with York University and the South Simcoe Economic Alliance, launched the South Simcoe Green Economy Transition Centre last Friday at The Club at Bond Head. The launch ceremony also highlighted some green initiatives from throughout the community. Holland Marsh Growers’ Association executive director Jamie Reaume spoke of how the organization brought in the non-profit group Local Food Plus to certify many of the association’s members as sustainable farmers. “This was an opportunity, not a challenge,” he said, noting the farmers were already stewards of the land and Local Food Plus helped build on what was already taking place.Simcoe.com story <http://www.simcoe.com/community/alliston/article/658680.

Food deserts in Toronto?

Many Toronto residents live in "food deserts", places where fresh and affordable food is not available. Low income people and newcomers to Canada are often isolated in high rise buildings, far from the good food that they need. United Way member agencies FoodShare and West Hill Community Services have partnered to create the East Scarborough Festival Market which brings affordable produce to isolated neighbourhoods, helping residents improve their personal and family diets. Debbie Field, Executive Director of FoodShare shows us how local markets are also helping to break down social isolation.

Sustainable Local Food Certificate at St. Lawrence College

This certificate explores the practices, principles and philosophies involved in local food system development. The focus is on increasing both academic and hands-on knowledge of regional food initiatives across Canada, alongside international best practices. There is a specific concentration on applied learning, online networking, and community research. This certificate is the first of its kind in Canada, providing a cutting edge advantage when competing for work in the sustainable local food sector. Participants are welcome to take any individual courses they like.  For the certificate, you will need to complete the 6 required courses. Spring/Summer Semester, 2010 (May 14th- August 20th) St. Lawrence College Part Time Studies <http://www.sl.on.ca/parttime/OnlineCredit-SustFood.htm>



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