Ontario hosting a Farm-to-School Challenge

Great Stuff Ontario! The Ontario Farm-to-School Challenge encourages schools to purchase Ontario-grown local food and food products for their student nutrition programs, cafeterias, hospitality/culinary programs and other events.

This is a great way to get students engaged more in what they eat and where that food is coming from. By starting early, and developing habits, eating local food will become more natural as they grow older.

You can learn more about it HERE

Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave a comment 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!

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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

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.

Out Of the Garden: BBQ Potatoes

BBQ Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple in the Canadian diet. That is not necessarily a good thing, as starch is just another form of sugar. So instead of making French Fries, mashed potatoes, or double baked potatoes, make this really amazing and yummy side dish.

All you need is:

  • 1 Yukon gold potato per guest. Use Yukon golds because the skin is very thin and is usually eaten. If you don’t have those in your garden, that is okay.
  • Garlic olive oil
  • Lots of thyme (we use fresh from our herb garden)
  • And salt and pepper

All you need to do is:

  1. Put the potatoes in the microwave – 5-6 minute per 3 potatoes
  2. Cut them in half brush with garlic olive oil on the cut side
  3. Add salt and pepper and lots of thyme
  4. Place face down on BBQ
  5. Until cooked and cut side is toasted

Enjoy the yummy potato recipe, It’s my favourite!

Food Prices

Where does the money you spend on food go?

Although this is US dollars and US spending, Canadians should still think about their food dollars. In Canada, especially in the northern regions, food can be much more expensive because of transportation costs.

If those who could bought local, the food dollar would be going directly to the farmer.

What do you think? Is this an accurate way to depict where the money goes? Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave me a comment.

Click the image for larger image