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
Looking for some Halloween family fun? There are plenty of activities to look out for all over the Greenbelt this year for kids of all ages.Read more
Farmers’ market customers are looking for more value added and prepared foods, preserves, more variety, and more early spring and late fall produce. This information led us to pilot the New Products Program 2012, a microgrants initiative for farmers to invest in new crops and new products.
The program has been a great success so far, striking a chord with farmers in and around the Greenbelt. The grants offered small amounts of funding which gave farmers the incentive or “added-push” to bring new, innovative products to farmers markets. Feedback from these small-scale farmers has been incredibly positive, as they have expressed their appreciation for the Greenbelt Foundation’s financial and moral support.Read more
Learn, network, train, tour… Summit programming is an action-oriented combination of workshops, panels, keynotes, tours, networking events and professional development opportunities.
Register now for the 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit, August 15 – 18 2012 in Toronto. The 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit will connect you with inspiring experts from across the spectrum of urban agriculture.Read more
Deep in wine and tender-fruit country in Niagara, father and daughter Ernie and Linda Grimo are growing another kind of crop. Grimo's Nut Nursery produces a huge variety of nuts, popular, obscure, native, and exotic. For more than 40 years the Grimo family has been raising nut seedlings for sale and in the process they have developed into their own research station, continuously testing new varieties, pushing the boundaries of what can be grown in Ontario, and selecting the hardiest, most productive trees.
May marks the beginning of the farmers’ market season. Your weekly market starts up, familiar faces reappear, and your neighbourhood is reenergized after the long winter months.Read more
Innovative planning aids advancement of food, farming and environment
By Lilian SchaerRead more
Courtesy of Ming Pao Daily News
The brilliant sun smiled upon rich fertile soil as the earth welcomed new varieties of world crops to the famous Fairmont Royal York Hotel rooftop garden. David Garcelon, Executive Chef at the Royal York Hotel, is adding fresh new ingredients to his menu this summer, thanks to Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in partnership withOntario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. This collaboration, which started in 2010, enables the testing of new world crops in Vineland research fields and on farms in Ontario’s Greenbelt.Read more
Courtesy of Ahmed Bilal, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre
Another growing season is here and it’s going to be exciting! My plan is to get more involved in gardening this year and to grow my own food. I intend to get down and dirty not just with the usual, conventional seeds but with those special world crop seeds like okra, callaloo, fuzzy melon…AND bitter melon! Bitter melon is one of the super foods, rich in iron, containing twice as much beta-carotene as broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach and twice the potassium of banana. Medical research shows that it also regulates blood sugar levels. Now the best part is I can use it in a stir-fry, stew, or curry. It can also be steamed, braised or pickled. Adding to its amalgam of nutritional awesomeness is its natural pest deterrent properties. Who wouldn’t want to grow a crop like that?Read more