Some Canadian food news

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Posted by Grace

Bumper crop … in the city
Montreal Gazette, Monique Beaudin

MONTREAL – It is the very beginning of rush hour, and cars and trucks are speeding along busy d’Iberville St.

But in a little alley beside them, things are moving at a much slower pace.

A bumblebee languidly buzzes from flower to flower on an eggplant, and sunflowers wave in the hot breeze.

The plants are part of the Jardin du marché rue Ontario, a temporary garden that sprung up this year a block from the Frontenac métro station east of downtown. Volunteers have been harvesting their tomatoes, zucchinis, herbs, beans, and cabbages and distributing bumper-crop overflow to people living in the neighbourhood.

The garden – about 25 metres long and six metres wide – adds a splash of green to an intersection with parking lots on three of the four sides, said Marie-Ève Voghel Robert, who got permission from her local borough to close part of the alley and plant the garden during the spring.

It’s the kind of project Montrealers have been seeing more of in the past couple of years as interest in urban agriculture booms. There are chickens laying eggs at community centres, volunteer gardeners sharing the work and the harvest in 45 collective gardens across the city, and vegetables growing on top of the Palais des congrès convention centre.

Calgary schools to ban junk food in 2012
CBC News

As of 2012, all Calgary public schools will be junk food free.

No sweet, salty, or deep fried snacks will be sold on the grounds.

Chocolate bars, fries, high energy sport drinks, and even instant noodle soups are on the hit list – while muffins, fruit juices, vegetable soups and yogurt get school board approval.

Superintendent Naomi Johnson says city public schools have slowly eliminated low nutrient foods but in four months the transition will be complete.

“We have to model good behavior and part of that is to remove things that are unhealthy and we’re poised to do that in January,” said Johnson.

How Ontario’s Greenbelt is failing farmers-and the local food movement
This Magazine, Chelsea Murray 

Robert Beynon’s dairy farm sits just north of the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, on one of the southernmost edges of Ontario’s greenbelt. It’s a small operation (40 cows, 350 acres) set back off of busy Bathurst Street. Behind his 150-year-old brick farmhouse and squat green dairy barn stretches a patchwork of bare fields, still muddy in mid-April. It’s the kind of pastoral scene city dwellers naturally think farms look like.

What those urbanites likely wouldn’t picture is what surrounds Beynon’s piece of rural paradise. Across the road, on the east side of Bathurst, sprawls MacLeod’s Landing, a 1,400-unit subdivision of looping streets and oversized homes. Houses bleed north onto former agricultural land-much of which Beynon’s family used to farm. He’d like to expand his property, but it’s boxed in on one side by the development, and on another by land slated to become a cemetery. Besides, he says, “The land’s too expensive, and you wouldn’t want to set up a bigger dairy operation next to a subdivision. Everyone loves the idea of living in the country, but they don’t really want to live beside somebody milking a couple hundred head of cows.” Later he wonders aloud, “And who wants to farm in the city when it comes down to it?”

Hi, I’m Paul and I caught your dinner: Food tracing takes off
Wency Leung, Globe and Mail

When it comes to the safety and sustainability of your food, how much do you really want to know?

Would it help, for instance, to know that Dean MacDonald caught the frozen sockeye salmon you’re planning to eat for dinner with a gill net in Barkley Sound? Or that he’s been fishing for 21 years, that his home port is Maple Ridge, B.C., and that he landed with your salmon in Bamfield on July 30? Or maybe you’re curious to know that his vessel is named Old Style, number 26622?

Guelph serving up a food swap – with a twist
Dakshana Bascarmurty, Globe and Mail

If you’re the kind of person who brings Rice Krispie squares to a potluck, a food swap – the hot new foodie event – might not be for you.

Guelph, Ont., is the latest city to organize one, a gathering at which sophisticated home cooks trade jars of mango chutney for sourdough starter at scheduled gatherings. The event takes place on Oct. 5.

The trend has taken off in the usual foodie cities in the United States – New York, Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. Toronto recently played host to the Toronto Underground Market, where dozens of chefs and home cooks sold Scotch eggs and salted caramel macaroons to the hungry hordes.

Ontario court rules against raw milk farmer
Globe and Mail, Jessica Leeder

The future of Canada’s most prominent raw milk advocate has turned sour.

Dairyman Michael Schmidt was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges related to distributing unpasteurized milk from his farm in Durham, Ont. The verdict, written by Mr. Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice, reverses a decision made last year by a justice of the peace, who acquitted Mr. Schmidt of the same charges.

Liberals propose regional economic development funds, local food legislation
Susan Mann, Better Farming

The Ontario Liberal Party’s rural platform will mean real measurable progress for the province’s rural families, says Ontario Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell.

Called Forward Together, it’s a plan to “help rural families meet the challenges we face as we emerge from the global recession,” she says in a press release announcing the plan. 

NDP pledge to buy Ontario-grown
Susan Mann, Better Farming

Legislation to ensure the government buys Ontario produce when making food purchases and securing more shelf space at the LCBO for local wines are promises that can be found in the New Democratic Party’s rural platform.

“A New Democratic government would bring change that puts farmers and their families first,” Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath says in the rural section of their platform document. The rural portion is called ‘Change that works for rural Ontario.’

Food safety system earns Canadians’ trust: survey
Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are the most confident; Quebec and British Columbia residents are the least
Susan Mann, Better Farming

Canadians’ confidence in the country’s food safety system has increased slightly this year compared to 2010, according to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency survey.

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing in the spring, found that 68 per cent of Canadians gave the system a favourable confidence rating. That’s up from 65 per cent in 2010 and 60 per cent in 2008.

“Confidence in the food system comes from a variety of reasons with the top reason being that Canadians have faith in the food safety system,” it says in the survey report released Thursday.

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