Ottawa’s Local Food Scene

westboro-farmers-market-d-deby

Written by Denise Deby.

It’s a great time to thank local food producers and to celebrate the many sustainable food initiatives in our region.

Food markets are wonderful places any time, but particularly enjoyable when they’re so filled with colourful and diverse produce. OttawaStart has a list of local markets here. This is also an excellent time to visit an apple orchard or pumpkin patch.

Check out Ottawa’s new Seed Library, which launched at the Ottawa Public Library’s Nepean Centrepointe branch this year. You can find out more here, or in this article. The Seed Library is part of the À la carte Food Literacy Project, a partnership of the Ottawa Public Library, Ottawa Public Health, MarketMobile, Ottawa International Writers Festival and Just Food bringing food information and activities to various spots around town.

As part of À la carte, the Ottawa Public Library and the Ottawa International Writers Festival are also teaming up to host three events on food literacy on Oct. 14-15, 2016. Authors and community leaders will look at antidotes to mass-produced, chemical-laden food, and ways to foster healthy, sustainable and accessible local food. The events also support the Parkdale Food Centre.

It’s discouraging to see the growing need for food banks in Ottawa, but heartening to see the increasingly diverse and creative ways that food centres are connecting people with fresh, healthy food–like the Community Harvest program, in which local growers produce food for centre clients, and other initiatives to enhance knowledge and raise awareness of nutritious food and food justice.

Chew On This! is a campaign to raise awareness about the hundreds of thousands of people in Canada who don’t have access to healthy food, and the need for a federal anti-poverty plan. Watch for volunteers around the city handing out snacks and information on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.

Just Food is a hub for local food knowledge and action. The organization hosts everything from a working organic farm and farmer training program, to Ottawa’s community gardening network, to a local food guide, and more. They’re also behind Local Freshness, a new site that connects consumers to local food, brought to you by Savour Ottawa Online, Le Marché de l’Outaouais and Ottawa Valley Food Coop. Just Food’s newsletter has comprehensive coverage of what’s happening in Ottawa re local and sustainable food—you can sign up for it here.

Another great way to keep up with all things local food is Edible Ottawa magazine. The photos alone are swoon-worthy, but there’s also great coverage of the places and people who produce and prepare our food. For example, check out recent articles on social enterprise Thirteen Muesli,  local forager Scott Perrie and permaculture farm Rainbow Heritage Garden. The magazine is available free at food-related shops around town, or you can find it online.

Let us know of other good food initiatives you’re aware of. Et bon appetit.

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