Written by Denise Deby.

Ottawa River from Victoria Island D Deby (2)

You already know about the Parliament Hill events, the neighbourhood barbecues, the fireworks. Here are a few other ways to make Canada a more liveable and just place:

1. Learn more about this country of ours by reading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The Commission sets out what happened at residential schools and recommends how non-Indigenous and Indigenous people can renew their relationships based on understanding and respect. Make reading the Executive Summary a Canada Day or summer project; listen to Indigenous people across the country reading excerpts of the report.

2. Chances are there’s a river or lake near your Canada Day celebration, and chances are it’s not protected by law from industrial pollution or other risks. Ask the Canadian government to reinstitute protection of lakes and rivers (in the 2012 “budget bill” they reduced the number of protected lakes and rivers from 2.5 million to just 159). Read about Gwich’in ultramarathoner Caribou Legs’ run from Vancouver to Ottawa calling for protection of water, and sign the Council of Canadians’ petition to the federal government.

3. Youth from the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi and from Wakefield and Chelsea are paddling the Gatineau River from Maniwaki to Ottawa together, arriving at Victoria Island on July 1. Learn more about Chimeda, “a journey of unity and love for our waters,” and their efforts to protect the watershed for everyone, here or here. (Also take a few minutes to read about the significance of Chaudière Falls and Chaudière, Victoria and Albert Islands in the Ottawa River.)

Guest post written by Carol Burnup, EnviroCentre.

"3D Green Energy" by StockMonkeys.com  http://www.stockmonkeys.com/ Chris Potter on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

“3D Green Energy” by StockMonkeys.com http://www.stockmonkeys.com/ Chris Potter on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Since March, EnviroCentre has been hosting monthly workshops to Ottawa residents on a variety of topics ranging from basic bike maintenance, understanding utility bills and misconceptions about draftiness and windows.

Given that two of the major areas contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in Canada come from the energy sector, such as heat and electricity generation, and transportation, the workshops aim to educate and empower residents on aspects of home energy efficiency and getting around more sustainably, so they can make changes within their own lives and contribute on a grander scale to the problem of climate change that faces us all.

The next workshop is coming up this Thursday, June 25 and is on the theme of how an energy assessment can help you plan your next reno. Register now for this workshop!

Or learn more about EnviroCentre’s other workshops.

About EnviroCentre

EnviroCentre is a local Ottawa-based environmental non-profit that helps residents, families and businesses save energy and money while reducing their impact on the environment.

With a goal of greenhouse gas reduction, EnviroCentre focuses its efforts in improving building or home energy efficiency and sustainable transportation.

To learn more, visit: http://www.envirocentre.ca/.


Written by Denise Deby.

CSA share

A few posts ago I wrote about where to obtain CSA shares of vegetables and other foods from local farms.

There are plenty of other ways to get fresh, local produce on your plate. Here are a few:

Savour Ottawa Online

Savour Ottawa Online is a weekly service that lets you select and order food from local producers and pick it up at the Parkdale Field House. With Savour Ottawa, you visit the online marketplace, choose whichever products you’d like, and your order will be ready for pickup on the designated day a few days later. There’s everything from vegetables and meats to baked goods, prepared meals and personal care products.

Ottawa Good Food Box

A group of Ottawa organizations got together a few years ago and decided to create a way for people to obtain groceries closer to home and at affordable prices. They launched the Ottawa Good Food Box, which buys in bulk so members can get fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices. Not all of the food is locally sourced, but organizers strive to obtain produce as locally and affordably as possible. Anyone can participate in the monthly service, which offers a range of box sizes and types (including an organic box). Check the map to find the closest distribution site near you.

Good Food Markets

Good Food Markets bring food to communities that are underserved by regular grocery stores. At the markets, you’ll find a variety of fruits, vegetables and dry goods, as well as music and other community activities. Check the website for locations and dates.

Market Mobile

The same group that brought about the Good Food Markets has launched Market Mobile, kind of a grocery store on wheels that brings healthy, affordable food to even more neighbourhoods. Find the schedule and locations on their website.

More local food sources

Ottawa’s numerous farmers’ markets offer fresh produce and other foods as well as a sense of community. Sometimes area farmers have farm gate stands where you can buy local, too. Check out Just Food’s Buy Local Grow Local Food Guide for more options.



Written by Denise Deby.

Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival poster image

Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival poster image

The Summer Solstice Aboriginal Festival & Competition Pow Wow is here again. The free outdoor festival runs Friday, Jun. 19-Sunday, Jun. 21 in Vincent Massey Park.

It’s a great place to experience Aboriginal music, dance, art and more, with an  impressive line-up of performers. Other highlights include living culture and traditional games pavilions, a sports-themed family fun zone, an Ontario endangered species show with Little Ray’s, and a Colour Run with proceeds to Odawa’s drop-in centre.

This year the festival is partnering with Solar-on-Site (solar energy), Aquaholics (water refill station) and Greyhound (shuttle); there’s a new bike parking station, too. Kudos to the festival, too, for providing free education programming to thousands of elementary school students every year.


Written by Denise Deby.

This work by David Suzuki Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. http://davidsuzuki.org

This work by David Suzuki Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. http://davidsuzuki.org

A rare chance to hear David Suzuki in person is happening this Friday, June 19, 2015.

The renowned scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster will be at Centretown United Church at 7 p.m. to present his newest book, Letters to My Grandchildren.

Check Octopus Books’ website for details and ticket information. (Tickets sold out early for his talk last year.)

The event is co-sponsored by Ecology Ottawa, Canadian Organic Growers-Ottawa St Lawrence Outaouais, National Union of Public and General Employees, and Public Service Alliance of Canada – National Capital Region.


Guest post written by Katherine Forster, Native Flora Program Coordinator, Friends of Petrie Island.

Garden Days English 2015

Want to get inspired about more natural landscaping?  Wondering what native plants you can introduce to support wildlife?  Curious about whether wildflowers would look good in an ornamental garden?  Then check out a new free event in Ottawa that is a collaboration between four local native plant gardens on the weekend of June 19th to 21st!

Ottawa’s Native Plant Garden Days offers opportunities to visit the four gardens over the three days, starting on Friday June 19th.  Two gardens: the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s landscaped gardens in Manotick and Friends of Petrie Island’s wildflower garden in Orleans will be staffed that day so that visitors can ask questions and learn more about natural landscaping and gardening for wildlife.  On Saturday, the public is encouraged to visit the gardens for self-guided tours.  At each site there will be different resources such as pamphlets, display boards or signed garden beds and/or plants.  (Petrie Island will have limited access on the Saturday due to the Carivibe event so there will be no Native Plant Garden Days events held in Orleans on that day.) Many of these resources will be available in French and English.  On Sunday, three of the gardens will be staffed: Fletcher Wildlife Garden, the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Friendly Demonstration Garden and the Friends of Petrie Island’s wildflower garden.

These four Ottawa gardens provide examples of native plants in different settings, from lovely backyard flower gardens and larger landscaped yards to a more naturalized setting where you will find flowers popping up in fields, smaller natural beds and along walking trails.  This is a great opportunity for people to either visit the garden that is closest to their home or to tour all four locations in one day, so that they can enjoy the variety of these Ottawa native plant gardens. And in case someone misses this June event, all four gardens are open during the warmer seasons for the public to visit at any time.

For more details on the Native Plant Garden Days event including times and locations, please consult the website: www.nativegardensottawa.ca.


Written by Denise Deby.

CSA bounty - D Deby

Fresh vegetables, from a local farm to your kitchen: that’s community-supported agriculture (CSA).

With CSAs, you pay a farm for a “share” in what it produces over the season, and the farmers provide you with a regular order of fresh vegetables, usually every week.

CSAs are a great way to eat local; many of the farms are organic. You’ll also be supporting local food producers, who benefit through a more stable income source. Of course, you’ll be getting a variety of healthy produce, usually vegetables and herbs. Some CSAs allow you to order eggs, poultry, beef or other products.

Most CSAs offer half-shares or a range of share sizes depending on how much you think you can use. They usually also have ways to work around your holidays, if you’re away for part of the summer.

The producers often include newsletters with recipes, organize farm visits or have other ways of engaging their customers, so you get to try new foods as well as get to know more about the people growing the food.

There are more farms than ever offering CSAs around Ottawa. Farms usually deliver to drop-off points around the city, so you can look at their offerings and find one that delivers near you.

You can search for CSAs on Just Food’s map at http://justfood.ca/buy-local-food-guide/Ottawa C.S.A. also provides a map of CSAs by drop-off point and lists several local CSA farms. There’s also the Ontario CSA Farm Directory at http://csafarms.ca/index.html. I’ve had CSAs from Roots and Shoots and from Karen Farm at the Just Food Farm, but as you can see there are lots of options. Farms and CSA offerings vary, so check that too.

Here’s a list of CSA farms I compiled, in alphabetical order, with links to their websites. Check the websites or contact the farms directly to confirm whether they’re offering CSAs—and do let me know if I’ve missed any.

Arc Acres

Aubin Farm

Busy Beaver Farm

Beat Greens Garden

Bluegrass Farm

Britannia Backyard Edibles

Bunching Onions

Bryson Farms

Carrot Boots Farm

Covenant Farm

Day Brighteners

Ekoroot Farm

Elm Tree Farm

Emabel Farm


Ferme aux pleines saveurs

Ferme Lève-tôt

Foster Family Farm

Funny Duck Farms

Gableridge Farm

Grazing Days (beef)

Herbivor Farm

Heritage Harvest Farm

Jambican Studio Gardens

Juniper Farm

KLEO Karen Community Farm

Knotty Bottoms Farm

Luxy Farm

Mike’s Garden Harvest

Our Farm

Our Little Farm

Rainbow Heritage Garden

Riverglen Biodynamic Farm

Riverside Garden

Rochon Gardens

Rock-N-Horse Farm

Roots and Shoots Farm

Roots Down Organic Farm

Saffire Farms

Teamwork CSA / Maplelane Farm

Threefold Farm

The Veggie Underground

Waratah Downs Organic Farm

Whitsend Market Garden

The Wild Garden (wild food and herbs)




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