The Basics: Food

Dig deeper into Ottawa’s food system at these upcoming events:

An Agrifood Policy for Canada: A Recipe for Food Justice?

The LISF-LEILA 2018 Thought for Food Interdisciplinary Conference, hosted by the University of Ottawa’s Laboratory for the Interdisciplinary Study of Food, has an impressive agenda that includes critical and historical perspectives on food policy in Canada, the roles of the finance industry and of community engagement in Canada’s food systems, shifting towards agroecology, movement building towards food sovereignty, food insecurity and food accessibility, and more. The free event takes place on Saturday March 17, 2018 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the University of Ottawa, Fauteux Building (FTX), room 147A.

Just Food Events

Just Food has plenty of great events coming up. Their First Monthly Red Barn Potluck (6-7:30 p.m.) and workshop on garden planning for seed saving (7:30-9 p.m.) happen on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

Just Food and The Sacred Gardener co-host the Story of the Madawaska Forest Garden on Sunday, March 25, 2018, 1-3 p.m. Steve Martyn, who co-founded the Sacred Gardener Earth Wisdom School, created the Algonquin Tea Company and much more, will give a sure-to-be-inspiring talk about his journey and humans’ relationship with the gifts of the Earth. Don’t miss it!

Just Food also celebrates its 15th anniversary with a host of fun events on Sunday, April 29, 2018 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Just Food Farm. See their website or Facebook page for details and registration for these and other upcoming events.

 

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Gifts that Won’t Cost the Earth

Image via Pexels Creative Commons Zero (CC0) https://www.pexels.com/

If, like me, you’ve been too busy with life to focus on seasonal pursuits (or blog posts–sorry about that), here are some earth-friendly (and local!) gift ideas that you can still find before the holidays.

The Maple Leaves of Kichi Makwa, a children’s book by local Algonquin elder, poet and storyteller Albert Dumont, addresses themes of nature, respect and support, and is written in Algonquin, English and French. Find it at Singing Pebble Booksonline, or from the author.

Escape from the Museum! is a mystery-adventure set in the impressive Canadian Museum of Nature, offered in collaboration with Escape Manor, that would make a fun gift for kids or adults alike. Groups can choose from two themes: “Back to the Fossils,” involving time travel to help some lost dinosaurs, and “Framed,” investigating a heist of specimens from the Mammals Gallery.  It’s an opportunity to explore the museum’s collections and spaces while solving challenges before the time runs out. (Escape Manor offers escape adventures at several other locations including Diefenbunker, downtown and at their Hintonburg location.)

These days it’s possible to find plenty of eco-friendly, locally crafted items around town that would make thoughtful gifts. One place to check out is Maker House. They have wall hooks made from fallen branches by Not Mother, a window planter made from reclaimed wood marked “less stuff more life” by Grains of Truth, and a framed vintage Ottawa map print, hand embroidered with a red heart, by Sadie & June, as well as much more. Plus, if you buy from Maker House during December, they’ll donate 2% of the sales to Parkdale Food Centre through the #craftchange program.

For more green gift ideas, see our past posts on Thingless GivingA Gift of ReadingGifts that Give Twice and Greening the Season.

Seasons greetings!

Written by Denise Deby.

Putting Yards to Good Use: Capital Greens

Image courtesy Capital Greens Urban Farm https://www.facebook.com/pg/CapitalGreensUrbanFarm/photos/

If you’d like to enjoy fresh, homegrown vegetables, make better use of your yard or garden and contribute to a local, sustainable food system in Ottawa at the same time, here’s an opportunity.

Capital Greens is a local business that transforms space in backyards into pesticide-free vegetable gardens. They do all the gardening work, and in exchange, yard owners receive some of the harvest every week. Capital Greens sells the rest to neighbours and local restaurants.

Capital Greens owner-operator Mathew Levinson started operations last summer in the Westboro/McKellar area, converting sections of lawn in area yards into gardens to grow leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, herbs and more.

Interested? Not sure? Capital Greens will provide a free yard appraisal to make sure the conditions and space will work. There’s more information and a contact form on their website. Some great pictures, too.

Let us know if you check it out!

 

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Mathew Levinson, Capital Greens Urban Farm for the information.

Just Food Start-Up Farm Program Information Sessions

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Paige Inglis at Just Food for the information.

farmer info session_socialmediasquare (2)

Last month I posted about Just Food’s Start-Up Farm Program, which makes land, equipment and training available at the Just Food Farm site for people to try local, organic farming for a year.

Just Food is hosting more information sessions for anyone who’d like to learn more about the program or is interested in applying this September for the 2017 growing season. The sessions are on Thursday, Aug. 25 and Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Blackburn Hamlet branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

More details on the program are at http://justfood.ca/start-up-farm-program/.

For other ways to learn about and get involved in supporting Ottawa’s local food system, check out Just Food’s other great programs, including the farm stand which sells fresh produce on Sundays from 10-3. Just Food is also hosting a picnic on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Just Food Farm picnic

Just Food Start-Up Farm Program

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Paige Inglis at Just Food for the information.

farmer info session_full

Ever wanted to try growing food for a living? Interested in scaling up your gardening or farm experience, or want to be part of Ottawa’s sustainable local food system?

Just Food’s Start-Up Farm Program is preparing for the 2017 growing season and will be hosting an information session on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Blackburn Hamlet library branch.

Just Food is a great organization that works on all things food security and sustainability in Ottawa, from farm to fork. They’ve been running the Start-Up Farm Program for several years, and some wonderful local producers got started through the program.

Participants get access to land, shared equipment and workshops on everything from crop planning to organic certification to harvesting to business planning. It’s a less risky way of exploring the field, so to speak–plus a way to meet other farmers and tap into Just Food’s networks.

See Just Food’s Start-Up Farm Program website page for more information about the program and criteria for applicants. You can also email startupfarm@justfood.ca with questions.

 

Seedy Saturday in Ottawa

Posted by Denise Deby.

Poster courtesy Seeds of Diversity https://www.seeds.ca/Seedy-Saturday/volunteers
Poster courtesy Seeds of Diversity https://www.seeds.ca/Seedy-Saturday/volunteers

It’s Seedy Saturday!

Shake off the snow and come out to buy or swap seeds–and meet some of the people and organizations promoting heritage seeds and local food production in the area.

The day includes workshops on:

  • Gardening even when you’re away during the summer;
  • Growing edibles;
  • Starting seed libraries;
  • Getting to 50% local food production in Ottawa by 2050.

Seedy Saturday happens at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre at Britannia Beach (102 Greenview Ave.) on Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Details and schedule at https://www.seeds.ca/events/. (You’ll also find links to Seedy Saturday and Sunday events in Brockville, Pembroke, Perth and other locations.)

Gifts That Give Twice

Written by Denise Deby.

Spruce needles by AKuptsova on Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/spruce-needles-tree-macro-branch-847388/
Spruce needles by AKuptsova on Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/spruce-needles-tree-macro-branch-847388/

In this busy season, we often worry about doing enough—seeing everyone we want to see, making enough food for holiday meals, finding just the right gifts for family and friends.

Of course, the most important gift this time of year—or anytime—is time.

Sometimes, though, you do want to give a little something to people. If you’re still looking for those last few gifts, why not consider thingless giving, or other ways of giving sustainably?

Or how about a sustainable gift that gives twice? A few examples:

Gifts that donate: Through USC Canada’s Gifts That Grow, you can send your loved one a card while supporting a farmer or school gardens. UNICEF Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and many other organizations have similar arrangements for contributing to sustainability on behalf of someone else.

Gifts that reuse: Recycled gifts, chosen with care, can be a great option. Right now, when you purchase used clothes, toys, Christmas decorations or other items from Ottawa Neighbourhood Services, you’re contributing to their work to make needed goods available to low-income, refugee and other people in Ottawa. Ten Thousand Villages has good fair trade items, like ornaments made from recycled paper, or jewellery made from reclaimed materials. Ottawa has lots of other places to find art and crafts made from upcycled materials.

Gifts that support local: When you buy local, sustainable products, you’re substituting earth-friendly for mass-produced “stuff,” while supporting local businesses. How about terra20’s suggestions of Winter Hand Balm from Purple Urchin, vegan soap from saaboon or recycled glassware from Out of Ruins or Artech Studios? Check out Planet Botanix, Rainbow Foods, the Natural Food Pantry, Whole Foods, Green Tree Eco-Fashion, Twiss and Weber and other shops for eco-friendly local goods.

Buying someone a CSA share—i.e., a weekly delivery of local produce from an area farm—is also an investment in the sustainability of our food system.

Gifts that support sustainable causes: Ottawa has quite a few social enterprises that support social and environmental good. For example, when you buy jewellery, toys or other items through Operation Come Home’s Repurpose store, you’re buying upcycled as well as supporting artists who are youth at-risk or homeless. When you buy Beau’s beer, which is sustainably made from organic ingredients, you’re also contributing to the causes they support with their profits. A purchase of greeting cards of Ottawa scenes from Causeway supports employment programs for people who are disadvantaged. (I picked some up at the Westboro Pharmasave.)

Keep an eye out for companies that donate to environmental causes. For example, when you purchase art at Studio Sixty-Six during December, 10% of the proceeds will go to the Ottawa Riverkeeper.

Have a wonderful holiday season!