All posts in category “Food Security”

  • Raising a Glass to Food Literacy with Garage D’Or Ciders

    Thanks Shutterstock!

    This post was sponsored by the Greenbelt Fund. What does that mean? I was paid to write about a topic of my choosing inspired by the most recent story published in The Toronto Star related to Ontario’s Greenbelt. The ideas, interviews and writing are my own. The Greenbelt Fund fact-checked all information, including numbers and statistics, about the Greenbelt in this post before publication.

    There’s a landmark on the other side of the Welland Canal that my daughter points out every time we drive by.

    “Fruit farm!” she yells from the back seat whenever we pass the shuttered Werner’s Fruit Farm stand on Lakeshore Road.

    She wants to stop at the red plywood hut and buy peaches, plums, apricots and raspberries, just like we did every week in the summer. Enter Killjoy Mom.

    “We ate all the fruit last summer. We have to wait for more to grow,” I say.

    She got equally excited on CSA pickup days this winter at Creek Shore Farms in Port Dalhousie.

    “We go see Amanda and Ryan? They give us carrots?” she’d ask every Wednesday when I picked her up from day care.

    At nearly three, she knows the names of most of the folks at our local food stops. Olivia also loves to help me water my community garden plot, too. And she stands next to me in the kitchen, taking on the important job of stirring, or raiding the utensil draw so she can pretend to whip up something  of her own. Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds, Food Security

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  • Peach Tree
  • Meet four Niagara food entrepreneurs who want to feed you

    Small Batch Co. Granola from its early days in 2014.

    This post was sponsored by the Greenbelt Fund. What does that mean? I was paid to write about a topic of my choosing inspired by the most recent story published in The Toronto Star related to Ontario’s Greenbelt. The ideas, interviews, writing and editing are my own. The Greenbelt Fund fact-checked all information, including numbers and statistics, about the Greenbelt in this post before publication.

    There’s more to education than the three R’s.

    At Mohawk College in Hamilton, there are also the three P’s: production, preparation and procurement. They aren’t related to anything learned in a classroom. Instead, they’re all about what’s on students’ plates come lunch, and they offer a lesson about the importance of local food.

    Production teaches students about growing food. Preparation is about cooking what they grow. And procurement is about buying it, particularly food with origins close to home.

    With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Greenbelt Fund, Mohawk is leading a project to create a common model for that third P, local food procurement, for Ontario’s 24 community colleges.

    Public institutions from schools and hospitals to universities and government offices have talked for years about how they crave more local food in their cafeterias. Here at home, Brock University sources regional ingredients when it can for the daily offerings served on campus. The French fries there, which were a real weakness of mine when I worked at the university, are made with potatoes that have local roots.

    This weekend, a story in the Toronto Star talked about some of the  inroads made when it comes to getting local food into schools, and the recognition by students that cooking and eating good food grown nearby matters as much as math class.

    Offering local food doesn’t merely nourish students’ bodies. It feeds their imaginations and plants the seeds for fruitful careers in food. And Niagara, which is on the southwestern periphery of the Greenbelt, is fertile ground for such career ambitions.

    The Greenbelt is two million acres of land protected from urban sprawl.  It’s bigger than all of Prince Edward Island. That makes it one big insurance policy we’ll have some of the best farmland to continue providing us many local meals in the future. It also makes it one giant muse for people pursuing careers in food.

    Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds, Food Security

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  • Peach Tree
  • Grape Expectations: Meet fruit scout Michael Kauzlaric

    Michael Kauzlaric of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.

    An apple a day keeps the doctor away. It also keeps fruit scout Michael Kauzlaric at work.

    Kauzlaric travels the world on behalf of the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, looking for the next big thing in fruit for farmers to grow and for everyone to eat.

    In the latest episode of Grub, he dishes on finding great fruit and determining whether we should make room for it in Canadian orchards and grocery stores. He’s got his eye on new (to these parts) varieties of apples, pears and table grapes.

    Vineland is a testing site for six new varieties of green and blue table grapes to grow locally. I sampled three when I interviewed Kauzlaric last fall. I’d invite them into my kitchen — and belly — anytime. They were lively with flavour unlike those woody orbs from faraway places.

    I also sampled different varieties of Pink Lady apples that Kauzlaric is growing at Vineland. My fingers are crossed one of them proves itself perfect for Ontario’s growing seasons. I love me a Pink Lady. I’d love her even more if she were from around here.

    Another Cut from Grub

    The previous episode of Grub is about terroir in beef, in case you missed it. Niagara chef Michael Olson and Marty Carpenter from the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence discuss the sense of place in steak. It’s an unexpected subject for a vegetarian me, but the influence of the natural elements on flavour fascinates me. I need to do an episode on terroir in tofu some day, if only because I’m a huge fan of alliteration.

    Happy listening!

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    Category Food Finds, Food Security

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  • Peach Tree
  • Garden City Food Co-op fundraiser enters final stretch

    The Garden City Food Co-op is nearing the end of its capital campaign and is at risk of falling short.

    My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.

    Sandy Middleton envies other neighbourhoods in St. Catharines.

    They all have something her downtown community doesn’t: a full-service, professional grocery store.

    That means when she needs a can of tomatoes to make supper, she has to get in her car and try her luck with traffic on Geneva Street, Fourth Avenue or through Old Glen Ridge to get to a store that sells what she needs.

    She’d much rather walk or bike, both possibilities if there was something closer to home.

    “I believe in a smaller footprint,” Middleton said. “Downtown St. Catharines should be no different (than other neighbourhoods).”

    Read the rest of the story

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    Category Food Security

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