Urbanites it is your turn! Rooftop Farms!

Finally, urban-dwellers can participate in the enriching experience of being a gardener!

Amanda Kwan, the financial post, wrote about the greenhouses and farms up on top of those giant buildings. What could be better than using that space efficiently?

Here is an exert:

Sitting on top of an office building in Montreal is a 31,000-square-foot greenhouse. Inside are rows of hanging vines and trays bearing tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, which are all grown hydroponically with no pesticides.

You can read the whole post HERE. It is a very interesting read!

So, any urban-dwellers that love to garden out there? What do you think? Is this a plausible idea?

Tweet @OliviaRutt or leave a comment below!

Advertisements

The new best cafeteria!

Okay, so I am going to let you in on a little secret. I went to a high school, where we actually had a chef who tried to use the freshest and local ingredients. Our cafeteria actually won best cafeteria in the country one year way back when. Unfortunately, he retired. However, in my last year of high school, Chef Jess came along and really changed how our school saw food.

He started out with selling fair trade coffee. He then moved on to other, bigger and yummier things. He then opened up the Food School, right inside of the high school!

WOW!

His design is to use the local food in his school and his ingredients for the food that he and his student make.

Not only that, but Chef Jess is encouraging the students at the school to think actively about the food they eat. He offers a healthy alternative to the cafeteria.

“Starting with the purchase of local, bulk produce from farmers in the mainly rural area of the high school the students learned that food acquired at this time of year, when the bounty is high, is less expensive and, if preserved correctly, better tasting by far than anything bought in a grocery store,” he explains in a Canadian Press article.

This program, as well as the fully functional store (The Pantry) and the catering business (Cater Wellington) are not the only projects Chef Jess has in mind.

He is hoping to open a school-run sustainable farm. “It’s great to talk about and learn about real food, so we started this [project],” he said back in September at the Taste-Real Field Dinner.

He also told me that, it would include an auto class that will work on tractors and building hand tools that you would see in the garden, including alternative fuel systems. A landscaping class will look at horticulture and greenhouse management. A philosophy and English class will be geared toward sustainable agriculture. This idea will be wrapped up into a four-credit semester.

What a great way to teach the younger generations about being self-sustainable!

A round of applause to Chef Jess for this amazing idea. As an alumnus of the school, I cannot wait to see it in its operation!

You can check out the food school HERE

Comments about this story? Tweet me @OliviaRutt of leave one below!

Green Being Farm

Wow, check out this amazing farm located in Ontario! this incorporates everything i have been talking about over the last few months!

Here’s an exert from their site:

Green Being Farm is a little piece of heaven located east of Neustadt, Ontario. We raise animals outdoors, on pasture, with the highest regard for their needs and their impact on the environment. Our name, Green Being, reflects this — we allow animals to BE the creatures they are meant to be, and so we raise them in a way that does not compromise their dignity, or that of the environment. We strive to give them a happy stress-free life, feeding them only high quality certified organic grain, and allowing them complete access to green forages.

You can check out their website HERE

Great stuff!

Tweet @OliviaRutt or leave a comment below

Out of the Garden

Wow, Okay, so I came upon this beaut of a recipe!

It is from: Fit from Conception

If you are not a big fan of breakfast food like me, this might do the trick.

Ingredients:
  • Cream cheese
  • Icing sugar
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Butter
  • Blueberries – which are so perfect in Ontario
  • Sandwich maker (I’m sure you could use a frying pan, but the sandwich maker sealed everything in which was perfection)

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese with icing sugar (to taste – I didn’t want it super sweet)
  2. Butter outside of bread
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture on the inside of one slice of bread
  4. Place butter side down on sandwich maker and top with blueberries
  5. Place second piece of bread butter side out on top
  6. Close lid
  7. Grill for about 1 minute

Can I just say this sound AMAZING! This is on my list of recipes to try!

View the original post HERE

A great local food Documentary

WOW! Can I just say that this was an AMAZING documentary! I was hooked from the very beginning. I didn’t even want to pause it to answer my phone.

This documentary really dives into how the local food movement works.

It shows what local food is, how restaurants use local food, the local vs. organic fad, how meat factors into it, and how local and organic labels are used improperly. It also talks about what is next for local farmers.

If you have 30 minutes, I highly recommend this video!

LOCAL – A Short Documentary from Christian Remde on Vimeo.

What’s Canada’s part in the Local Food Movement?

You can’t deny how awesome Ontario corn or Ontario strawberries are! I live for them every spring and fall. Other than privately owned food markets, it is hard to see how Canada plays a role in the local food movement. Canadian Co-operative Association released an article that goes into detail about the different ways Canada is involved in Local Food.

Here are a few highlights:

This research shows that Canada is home to a vibrant local food movement, with initiatives in every province

It defines local food initiatives as “food organizations, activities, and businesses that support the creation of local food systems in which food is grown, processed and sold within the same geographical region.

Key Players in local food initiatives:

  • Restaurants and Chefs
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • Grocery Stores
  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • Foodbox Programs

With over 2,300 local food initiatives identified and more to be discovered, communities in Canada have begun to establish local food systems that are secure and environmentally sustainable. Every province in Canada has been touched by this movement and has proactive groups promoting the qualities of locally grown food.

I encourage you to read the report, HERE. This report is from the 2009 fall harvest, so I am sure that Canada has grown exponentially in local food initiatives, but it is interesting to see exactly how Canadian are reacting to the local food movement!

How are you reacting to the local food movement? Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave a comment!

Out of the Garden: Roast Carrots

Roasted Carrots

Have too many carrots from your garden? Feel like you are eating steamed carrots, carrot soup, and raw carrots? Well, this very simple recipe can get your taste buds singing.

All you need is:

  • 1lb medium sized carrots
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tbs of thyme
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 or three garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 /2 cup Parmesan

All you need to do is:

  1. Cut carrots into 1 inch sections
  2. Cut asparagus into 1 – 11/2 inch section bottom inch off
  3. Put into bowl
  4. Pour ½ cup of olive oil
  5. Sprinkle thyme
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Mix all ingredients
  8. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet in oven 380oF for 30 min top rack preferred
  9. Top with Parmesan cheese

Mmmm… Enjoy these delicious carrots , there are one of my favourites!

Some Benefits and Drawbacks for Local Food – A reaction Part II

In the article I mentioned yesterday, it covers some benefits, but also discusses some problems with the local food systems in place.

To start off, here are the good things the author mentions:

  1. Environmental benefits through more sustainable production systems reduce transport externalities – in this case, they eliminate food kilometers or food miles in the process of eliminating the greenhouse gases produced when transporting goods.
  2. Economic benefits though greater incomes for farmers and more financial contributions to local economies – Farmers are able to cut out the intermediary and sell directly to the consumers, receiving a majority of the profit.
  3. Social benefits through greater trust and connectedness between and within consumers and producer groups – people are more likely to eat well when they make conscious decisions about food.

The author also touches on some issues that need to be fixed before local food can be in any policy.

  • Problems with diseconomies of scale – how can local farmers compete with multinational cash crops?
  • Problems with personal work benefits and aspirations – when people are attracted to greater incomes it is hard for people to stay in their local business.
  • Problems with upstream and downstream jobs – how many jobs will be lost in the supply chain?
  • Problems with energy efficiency – how can small food businesses be encouraged to be energy efficient?
  • Problems with pathogenic bacteria – can localized food business protect from bacteria? What if it wipes out a crop?
  • Problems with policies – in what way can policies be adopted to help local food systems?

What do you think of these problems? Can they be fixed? Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave a comment

Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Local Food: A reaction Part I

So, I found this article that really laid out the good and bad of local food. This article was written in the UK for the University of Essex, although it makes mention to North America. For me, this article was written to urbanites, or rural people that don’t own enough land to farm.

It goes into detail about the options for localizing food and the relationship between farmers and consumers.

Of its nine choices for people to get local food, I realized there were those options in my area!

Community Supported Agriculture – consumers pay growers for a share of the total farm produce, and growers provide a weekly share of food of a guaranteed quality and quantity. The Ignatius Jesuit Centre is a community shared farm outside of Guelph, Ontario. One of its main ideas centres around a community farm and selling shares for its crop yield.

Box Schemes – emphasise that payment is not just for the food, but for support of the farm as a whole. They are able to give jobs to more people.

Farmer’s Groups – these farms are used in a way that everyone contributes their knowledge to one farm.

Consumer Groups and Cooperatives – consumer groups are an important way to get good food to urban groups with no direct access to farms and the countryside.

Farmer’s Markets – sell produce directly to a consumer; also include farm shops and pink-your-own enterprises. Brantford has a wonderful farmer’s market right in the heart of the city.

Community Gardens – home gardens and allotments have long been important for home food production. They provide food for poorer urban groups and other important products such as wood, flowers, and herb. Brantford also has a community garden, where you can buy plots to plant for harvest or plant flowers. They also have a shed where any leftover food goes, and you can purchase it.

Clear Labeling – this option is to answer the question: can the food on the shelves be trusted? With clear labeling, or local food can solve this.

Food Webs and Local Shops – where have all the mom and pop shops gone? When shops move out of towns and villages, something important is lost. Mom and pop shops had people more conscientious about what they were eating.

Slow Food system – is all about slowing down the pace in communities. It started in Italy over concerns about fast food. They seek to protect local production from being driven into extinction by global brands. To do this they increase pedestrian zones, reduce traffic, encourage restaurants to offer local products, directly support local farmers, increase green spaces in cities, and conserve local aesthetic traditions.

In Part II I discuss the problems that this article has come up with dealing with local food.

How have you used the local food systems in your area? Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave a comment.