Since 2013, 665 schools have collectively distributed over 1.6 million pounds of fresh, Ontario produce, representing over $1 million in Ontario root vegetables and $600,000 in Ontario apples. Over $910,000 has been paid to Ontario farmers for product and delivery.
Students raise funds by selling bundles of fresh, Ontario-grown potatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes and apples. “Schools return to participate in Fresh from the Farm year after year, achieving significant profit for their school while helping to create a more supportive nutrition environment,” reports Cathy O’Connor, project co-ordinator with Dietitians of Canada, one of the program’s partners. “The top selling school this past year – Timmins Centennial Public School – raised over $9,000 in profit!”
“As we launch the fifth season of the Fresh from the Farm campaign to include new school boards and First Nations communities in Ontario, we continue to be amazed by the growth of the program. It would not be possible without the collective effort of all our partners including the volunteers, schools and farmers that make it happen,” states Dan Tukendorf, program manager, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association.
The program was designed to provide schools and students a healthy fundraising alternative. Fresh from the Farm supports and integrates several Ontario government priorities, including Ontario’s Food and Nutrition Strategy, 2017, The School Food and Beverage Policy and the Local Food Act, 2013.
“Our government is proud to invest in programs like Fresh from the Farm which help boost local food literacy with students across the province. I encourage Ontario students and families to take part in this unique fundraising program and learn more about the good things grown in our province, while supporting our growers and building up our schools,” says Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Students fundraise September 5 through to October 11 with deliveries scheduled throughout November. Parent volunteers bundle produce the same day the Ontario grower delivers the product to the school.
Fresh from the Farm provides an ideal opportunity for schools to introduce the topic of agri-food and healthy eating into the classroom. Interested parents, educators and students can contact their school principal to enrol at www.freshfromfarm.ca/Enrol.aspx
But now some New Zealand farmers have invented a new kind of potato they claim has 40 percent less carbs.
Farmer Andrew Keeney told Three's The Project that the Lotato, as it's been called, is grown in Pukekohe and Ohakune, and created by cross-breeding other varieties. READ MORE
"Every year we are thrilled to see how the Buy Local program is helping to boost producer and processor market success, and I'm proud to say that our award recipient tonight exemplifies this achievement," said IAF director Alistair Johnston. "This project continues to have a profound impact, not only on the local agrifood market but on B.C.'s economy."
Naturally Homegrown Foods is home to the Hardbite line of potato and root vegetable products, the only potato chip to be produced and processed in B.C.
Seeking to differentiate Hardbite in the highly competitive snack food category, Homenick launched a unique and bold Buy Local rebranding campaign that marketed distinctly west coast lifestyle attributes and offered transparency to locally-sourced ingredients.
"It's wonderful to be recognized for our efforts to promote local foods and create jobs in B.C.," says Homenick. "Since 2014, Naturally Homegrown Foods has tripled sales, which means triple the procurement of raw vegetables from the local marketplace."
The BC Buy Local Award of Excellence recognizes one outstanding producer or processor based on the achievements of the best Buy Local marketing project--the campaign that was the most creative, strategic and effective in increasing sales and consumer engagement.
This year's winner was announced on June 8th at the BC Food Processors Association's FoodProWest Gala in Vancouver.
In addition to the winner, the Selection Committee recognized two Honourable Mentions-- Merissa Myles, Co-Founder of Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt, for using Buy Local funding to connect with grocery buyers, celebrity chefs and consumers about the benefits of buying 100% BC milk dairy; and Robert Pringle, CEO of the United Flower Growers Cooperative Association, who spearheaded the 'Flowerful BC' initiative to encourage consumers to 'pick local' when buying plants and flowers.
"We are proud to recognize the achievements of our nominees and the opportunities they are driving, not just for the agrifood industry but for local consumers and the B.C. economy," said Johnston. "We are continually inspired by the ingenuity of our project partners and their success in motivating British Columbians to buy local."
Today this true green gardening pioneer is receiving the recognition he deserves, as he will be presented with the Henry Teuscher Award as part of the 20th Great Gardening Weekend at the Montréal Botanical Garden.
Among his most noteworthy accomplishments, of course, are Les jardins du Grand-Portage, in Saint-Didace, where Yves and his wife, Diane Mackay, offered country-style meals for many years.
In this two-acre space, he created an organic vegetable garden and designed English- and Oriental-style gardens where he grows medicinal and ornamental plants as well as vegetables and herbs.
Many interns have joined him there over the years to further their training and draw inspiration from this great visionary's experience.
After meeting Brother Armand Savignac in the 1980s, Yves began producing seeds as well. His daughter Catherine, who launched her own company called Semences du Portage, now handles the marketing aspect, offering open-pollinated organic heritage seeds grown by her parents in Saint-Didace and by other Quebec producers.
From the outset, Yves' books on horticulture became key reference works on organic gardening in Quebec.
They are regularly updated and republished, and have continued to influence new generations of gardeners. He has also made it his mission to educate others about health and food self-sufficiency, and has appeared on many television and radio programs as a columnist or guest expert.
In fact, the interest among today's youth in ecology and healthy eating is due in part to pioneers like Yves Gagnon and their devotion and enthusiasm in communicating their values, even at a time when they were not so popular.
The traditional English style cider is produced from apples grown in the Sea Cider's own orchards.
The Sea Cider Bittersweet beat out nearly 200 other ciders entered into the competition held in Sonoma County, California on May 5th.
Off dry and rich in tannin, the Sea Cider Bittersweet impressed the judges with its rich yet balanced style and a complexity that results from use of well-cultivated traditional cider apples.
Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse is located in Saanichton, British Columbia.
All the medal winners can be viewed at: http://www.dbiwc.com/results/cider/_2017_Resultslist.php
A grand opening celebration and ceremonial apple tree planting was held among local dignitaries and industry stakeholders on May 16th to celebrate the conclusion of the year-long renovation.
Jim Clark, President of Thornbury Village Craft Cider and Brew House commented, "We are thrilled to be able to open our doors to the public following our extensive renovations. Everyone involved in the project is proud of the results and we're confident that our historic location will become an important landmark in the area, both for local residents and tourists."
The century-old cider house is nestled in the heart of Ontario apple country, which has over 7,500 acres of apple orchards in the surrounding area.
The event, held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre, was organized by Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI). The proceeds help fund academic scholarships and research focused on priorities of the grape and wine industry.
Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Gerald Klose was honoured with the Cuvée Vineyard of Excellence Award that evening, which is presented by BASF Canada Inc. and recognizes a grape grower who promotes excellence in vineyard practices.
Klose was selected by an expert panel for maintaining a high level of quality in his Chardonnay vineyard.
The Tony Aspler Cuvée Award of Excellence, honouring those who further the aims and aspirations of Ontario’s wine industry, was presented to award-winning wine journalist Ian D’Agata. He was recognized as a “great ambassador for Ontario wines on the world stage.”
The VQA Promoters Awards, which recognize individuals who support VQA wines through promotion or education, were also announced at Cuvée and given out April 19 at CCOVI’s Experts Tasting.
The 2017 winners are:
Lifetime Achievement: Roberto Martella, owner of Toronto’s Grano Italian restaurant, for routinely promoting VQA wines in his establishment.
Education: Barb Tatarnic, manager of Continuing Education and Outreach at CCOVI, for her commitment to advancing wine education over the past two decades.
LCBO: Melissa McFadden, customer service representative in Owen Sound, for her comprehensive product knowledge and eagerness to promote VQA wines.
Media: Angela Aiello, founder and editor of Toronto’s iYellowWineclub.com and editor at Chloe magazine, for vibrantly promoting VQA Ontario in countless print, television and radio appearances.
Hospitality: Mike Fish, sommelier and owner of London restaurant Glassroots, for 10 years of promoting VQA wines and for hosting London’s only all-Canadian wine list.
Retail: Brian Hanna, sommelier at Prince Edward County’s Huff Estates Winery, for sharing his deep knowledge about Ontario wines in a way that educates, promotes sales and enriches the lives of those around him.
To further student engagement, long-time Cuvée Education Advocate sponsor BASF Canada Inc. also sent the 20 top oenology and viticulture students from Brock University and Niagara College to the event.
“As the Cuvée Education Advocate, BASF is thrilled to provide an opportunity for some of Brock University and Niagara College’s best oenology and viticulture students to network with future employers, colleagues or even customers at the Grand Tasting event,” said Scott Hodgins, BASF Crop Manager (Horticulture, Professional & Specialty Solutions), on the importance of providing the valuable learning opportunity for students every year. “The development of the Canadian wine industry has been built on innovation, and we continue to support the new innovations that these students and others will bring to drive the industry forward.”
When reflecting on what the experience meant to her, Alexandra Gunn, a third year OEVI student at Brock University, said: “It is an incredible honour to represent Brock as a top Oenology and Viticulture student within the program — an opportunity I wouldn’t have been able to experience without the generous support of BASF.”
Second-year Niagara College Wine and Viticulture student Amelia Keating-Isaksen said she was “pleased to go to Cuvée because of the known prestige of the event, as well as the connections and people attending.”
Brock University’s second year student Catherine Cahill summed it up by saying: “Being acknowledged affirms my hard work, dedication and passion for Oenology and Viticulture. Receiving such an incredible opportunity encourages me to continue to work hard towards my dreams.”
Visit cuvee.ca for emerging details and dates for Cuvée 2018.
As the local food movement took hold, owner Will Rootham-Roberts started seeing increased interest in locally made and sourced small-batch gourmet condiments. He recognized an opportunity for the family-owned company to expand and offer Ontario farmers the possibility of creating and selling shelf-stable jams, jellies and sauces from their own locally grown produce.
But he needed help turning that vision into reality – help he received from Bioenterprise in the form of a grant from the Bioenterprise Seed Fund.
“Thanks to Bioenterprise, we were able to expand our processing capabilities and undertake a direct marketing campaign to promote our services to potential customers,” said Rootham-Roberts.
Bioenterprise introduced Rootham Gourmet to one of its Corporate Partners, MacGregor Marketing and Communications Inc., who guided them through a highly targeted direct mail campaign.
The success was beyond expectation – Rootham Gourmet gained 25-30 new clients in only two short months, expanded their production from three days weekly to five, increased the hours of their existing employees, and hired new staff.
“This funding was crucial and the immediate cash infusion allowed us to accelerate our growth very rapidly,” said Rootham-Roberts. “We hit our target of doubling our gross sales but did so in only one year instead of the projected two.”
Many farms, intrigued at the idea of being able to sell product year-round but who weren’t ready to take on a co-packing project in 2016, are now reaching out to Rootham-Roberts to start planning for the coming season.
The seed funding also helped the company dedicate some resources into product development with Longo’s, and they’ve since landed a significant contract with the retailer.
“Bioenterprise was excellent to work with, offering strong, personalized service. Their staff was always there to lend a hand and provide information and support,” Rootham-Roberts said, adding Bioenterprise was also able to flow funds rapidly to get work underway quickly.
The Bioenterprise Seed Fund helps support the growth and expansion of start-ups and small-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural technology sector within Southern Ontario.
Through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Government of Canada is providing Bioenterprise with up to $4.84 million to deliver the Bioenterprise Seed Fund and Innovation Guelph’s Fuel Injection program.
The Bioenterprise Seed Fund provides innovative southern Ontario businesses in the sectors of agriculture, agri-food, as well as sustainable and environmental technology with up to $30,000 non-repayable seed financing (to be matched by the recipient company), coaching and mentorship. These resources will help companies to advance their market objectives, create jobs, attract investment, and foster economic development.
Gallegly and his research partner, Mahfuz Rahman, released two new varieties of tomato.
The tomatoes, identified as West Virginia ’17A and West Virginia ’17B, were obtained by breeding the tomatoes known as the West Virginia ’63 and the Iron Lady.
Gallegly developed the W.Va. ’63 tomato in the 1960s as a tomato resistant to late blight, a plant disease usually caused by fungi. The Iron Lady tomato, developed by Martha Mutschler-Chu of Cornell University, also resists late blight but also Septoria lycopersici, a fungus that causes spotting on leaves.
Gallegly said the stink bug, specifically the marmorated stink bug, is the likely cause of Septoria increasing on tomatoes.
“We just crossed the two tomatoes and in the second generation in the field, we made selections for fruit type, yield, taste and so on,” Gallegly said. “So we came up with two new varieties.”
Through their evaluation, the two tomatoes should have a higher tolerance to Septoria leaf spot and better fruit quality.Tomatoes are a specialty of Gallegly, who turns 94 this month.
He came to the University in 1949 as an assistant professor and was hired to become the vegetable plant pathologist for the state.
He spent his first fall and winter at the university collecting varieties of tomatoes and potatoes. The next year, he planted varieties of the two vegetables and discovered late blight was severe that year. So much so that he had zero tomato yield.
“That told me I had to go to work on trying to control this disease,” he said.
After 13 years of screening the vegetables and research, he came up a new tomato in 1963 — the West Virginia ’63.
Gallegly officially retired from the University in 1986 but earned emeritus status and kept a presence at the college to continue research and teaching.
On March 24, the two new tomatoes were unveiled during the annual Potomac Division of the American Phytopathological Society meeting in Morgantown. READ MORE
September 23, 2015 - Ontario beekeepers now have access to a new production insurance plan that will help them manage financial loss from winter bee colony damage.
Production insurance is part of a suite of business risk management programs designed to help farmers manage losses due to events like weather, pests and disease. The costs of these programs are predictable, stable and shared by producers and the provincial and federal governments.
The new Bee Mortality Production Insurance Plan gives participating beekeepers the confidence and security to reinvest in their operations, encouraging greater innovation, profitability and job creation and provides them with the same financial support that beekeepers in other provinces receive.
"The new Bee Mortality Production Insurance plan recognizes the importance of healthy bees to the livelihood of individual beekeepers and the sustainability of the beekeeping industry," says Tibor Szabo, president of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association.
To participate, beekeepers must be registered, operate in accordance with the Bees Act, and implement best practices to ensure bee health. The Bee Mortality Production Insurance Plan will begin November 1, 2015 and will be administered by Agricorp.
The new Bee Mortality Production Insurance Plan is the first production insurance plan developed for a commodity other than crops and perennial plants. The Plan is also part of a broader pollinator health strategy.
July 28, 2015 - The Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is pleased to announce the formation of the Advisory Group for the Supporting the Advancement of Women in Agriculture project. This project will examine and address critical barriers to advancement facing women in the industry. Based on these results, there will be a strategic program developed and implemented to support improved access to leadership opportunities and strengthened business success for women working in agriculture.
As the project moves forward, the Advisory Group will provide feedback around key lines of enquiry to ensure meaningful outcomes for the agricultural community. This includes identifying subject matter experts to participate in the research, development and validation activities. Members will also assist in guiding the progress of the project for the next two years and as findings come in will provide feedback on proposed research instruments, tool drafts, report drafts, and other project elements.
The Advisory Group is comprised of professional and entrepreneurial women and men in the agriculture industry with an interest in advancing women in leadership roles. Members were drawn from senior management and executive positions in farm businesses, agricultural associations and agribusiness. They provide a balance of representation from across Canada as well as a cross-section of production areas, business focus and industry associations. The members include:
- Heather Broughton, Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta, Agri-Food Management Excellence Inc.
- Chantelle Donahue, Vice-President Corporate Affairs, Cargill Limited
- Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst, NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba
- Susan Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald & Co, Canadian AgriWomen Network
- Rebecca Hannam, Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program, Rural Ontario Institute,
- Dr. Laura Halfyard, Sunrise and Connaigre Mussel Farms, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Association
- Brenda Lammens, Agri-Food Management Institute, Canadian AgriWomen Network
- Geneviève Lemonde, AGRIcarrières
- Iris Meck, Iris Meck Communications
- Debra Pretty-Straathof, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, World Farmers Organization (WFO) Standing Committee on Women in Agriculture
- Lis Robertson, Canadian Association of Farm Advisors
- Kim Shukla, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
There will be ways for others to get involved in the project as well. In the near future CAHRC will be announcing sub-groups focused on specific areas. There will also be social media groups through Linked-In and Facebook formed to allow for greater connection and communication throughout the project.
June 5, 2015 - Ontario has launched its first-ever Local Food Report, which measures the province's progress in bringing local food to more tables across the province.
In 2013, Ontario passed the Local Food Act, 2013 which aims to increase awareness of local food, nurture local food markets and foster vibrant food-based economies across the province. The Act also commits to an annual report on the province's local food activities, goals and accomplishments.
“The Local Food Act and the release of its Local Food Report today is a welcome guiding light in our outreach to Ontario’s next generation of food providers," says Colleen Smith, executive director of Ontario Agri-Food Education, Inc. "With [government] support, Ontario Agri-Food Education continues its 25 year legacy of agri-food literacy to help reach these important goals.”
The first ever Local Food Report highlights some of the actions taken to promote and celebrate local food this year, including:
- Setting food literacy goals to increase the number of Ontarians who know what local foods are available, who know how and where to obtain local foods and who know how to prepare meals made with local food.
- Providing a tax credit to farmers for making food donations to food banks and student nutrition programs.
- Piloting a fundraising initiative that helps the province's schools to fundraise by selling Ontario-grown fruits and vegetables to families.
- Distributing more than 800,000 copies of Foodland Ontario's local food recipe calendar in 2014.
The inaugural report will help the province track future progress in meeting its local food goals.
Supporting local food and strengthening the province's agri-food sector is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest public infrastructure investment in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
The Local Food Act, 2013, is part of a broader strategy intended to increase demand for Ontario food, creating more jobs and boosting the agri-food industry’s contributions to the economy.
Ontario’s agri-food sector supports farmers, communities and the economy which employs more than 780,000 Ontarians and contributes over $34 billion to the province’s economy.To raise awareness of local food, the Local Food Act proclaims the first week of June each year as Local Food Week.
For more than 38 years, Foodland Ontario has connected with families on how to recognize, prepare and love local foods.
January 29, 2015 - The Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Task Force (LTF) has elected Mark Wales as its new Chairperson and is moving forward with the recommendations of its Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan to address agricultural industry worker shortages.
“It is my pleasure to chair the Labor Task Force. We have a broad-based, growing group representing all commodities and value chains and we are rolling up our sleeves, coming together to work on solutions for agriculture and agri-food labour shortages,” says Wales. “Through the Labour Action Plan we have a roadmap forward addressing our workforce shortages which have been identified as the number one risk affecting the agriculture and agri-food industry today.”
Wales, a horticulture farmer from Elgin County, Ont., is also the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) Chair, representing the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
The Labour Task Force was established by the Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) Value Chain Roundtables in 2012 to examine issues of agriculture and agri-food labour management and shortages; recently the LTF transitioned to become a CAHRC Committee. Participation in the AAFC Value Chain Roundtable process and composition of the LTF is made up of a diverse cross-section of agricultural representatives covering everything from primary production, lobster and meat processing to ornamental horticulture production. These agriculture and agri-food value chains are a powerful driver of the Canadian economy representing eight per cent of the GDP.
The LTF released the Labour Action Plan with practical and achievable recommendations last spring and support for the Plan’s implementation has now grown to 45 industry partners. The group is working on an update to the Policy and Programs section of the Labour Action Plan, including a review of changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as it relates to agriculture and agri-food.
“We always recruit and hire Canadian domestic workers first,” says Mark Chambers, the LTF Policy and Programs Working Group Chair, who is Production Manager for Sunterra Farms, a family owned pork operation in Acme, Alberta. “However, finding workers to work and live in small rural communities is very challenging. We need more workers to meet current production demands and to take advantage of export opportunities offered by new free trade deals.
“Labour shortages are pervasive, affecting current operational success,” says Wales. “Canadian producers’ incomes depend on agriculture’s value-added advantage and Canadian consumers depend on us for healthy, reasonably priced food. To allow for continued prosperity and growth for our industry and the broader Canadian economy, it is urgent and essential that we continue to move forward with the Labour Action Plan to find short, medium and long term solutions.”
As the overarching organization for farm labour in Canada, CAHRC is also conducting research on agricultural Labour Market Information (LMI) to identify labour and skill gaps as well as the National Agricultural Occupational Framework (NAOF), an in-depth study of the exact jobs and skills involved in today’s agricultural workforce. These projects will help to better inform and connect industry, governments and academic institutions with agriculture’s workforce requirements which are integral to the success of the Labour Action Plan’s future activities.
“The Canadian Agricultural HR Council is pleased to lead the implementation of the Labour Task Force’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan,” explains Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst, Executive Director, CAHRC. “The Labour Task Force is a critically important mechanism that brings industry together to discuss labour related issues, recognize their inter-connectedness and collaborate to develop meaningful solutions.”
For more information on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Labour Action Plan or agricultural human resource management contact CAHRC at www.cahrc-ccrha.ca.
October 8, 2014, Regina, Sask – Farming in Canada is not what many Canadians think it is, according to Realities of Agriculture in Canada – A sector of innovation and growth, a new report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
In fact, the majority of farmers – 51 per cent – plan to adopt new, innovative technologies over the next three years, and 44 per cent are planning to expand their business.
According to a recent study commissioned by the federal government, Canadians have many misconceptions about the agriculture industry, including that it’s not innovative, is shrinking, it potentially harms the environment, and that family farms are becoming extinct.
“This is not Old MacDonald’s farm. Our new report debunks Canadians’ outdated view of the Agriculture sector,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president of agri-business.
“Agriculture in Canada is vibrant and innovative. The sector contributes over $100 billion to the economy and supports one-in-eight jobs,” added Mandy D’Autremont, CFIB’s senior policy analyst, agri-business and co-author of the report.
CFIB’s report outlines four key realities of farming:
- Reality #1 – Agriculture is innovative and modern
- Reality #2 –The agriculture sector is growing
- Reality #3 – Farmers are taking action to protect the environment
- Reality #4 – Farms are staying in the family
”This study highlights the ambition and optimism that make agriculture a major driver of the Canadian economy,” said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Our government will continue to partner with industry to invest in research and innovation, ensuring Canadian farmers remain competitive in the global market well into the future.”
The report adds the farmers’ voice, but the work doesn’t stop there.
“Beyond promoting the agriculture sector, government policies need to foster agricultural competitiveness. Farmers’ priorities for government action include further reducing red tape and the total tax burden, as well as increased focus on industry research, development and innovation,” concluded Braun-Pollon.
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Alberta Potato Industry Association Burgers & BeansWed Jul 05, 2017 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
2017 Potato Growers of Alberta Golf TournamentThu Jul 06, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Dead Weeds TourWed Jul 12, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
18th Annual Enology & Viticulture Conference & Trade ShowMon Jul 17, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM