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.

Ottawa Fall Tree Festival, Our Moment to Lead and More

Written by Denise Deby.

http://treefestottawa.org/
http://treefestottawa.org/

There are some great eco-events happening in our city right now.

Our Moment to Lead

As part of its efforts to encourage Ontario to adopt an effective environmental bill of rights, Blue Dot Ottawa is hosting Our Moment to Lead on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Learn what you can do to support Ontario as a leader on environmental rights. It’s at Claudette Cain Park, 660 River Rd. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Whether or not you attend, you can have a say in Ontario’s public consultation on an environmental bill of rights. The Blue Dot movement is a David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice initiative; they provide a template for input here. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has some useful information here.

Ottawa Fall Tree Festival

Tree Fest Ottawa celebrates people and trees in our city. This year, they’ve organized the Ottawa Fall Tree Festival, featuring an impressive array of activities all about trees and the people and groups who protect and promote them. The Festival runs every Saturday from Sept. 10-Oct. 15 (10 a.m-5 p.m.) in Brewer Park by Brewer Pond, and includes photography and art exhibits, guided walks, food and drink, ecosystem talks and much more. Check out the schedule here.

Green Energy Doors Open

Green Energy Doors Open, an initiative of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, showcases sustainable energy systems and technologies. The public is welcome to tour homes, see green properties by bike, and visit the energy showcase. It’s from Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 at various sites around the city.

Also this weekend: Bug DaySavour Fall613flea and Capital Pop-Up. Let us know in the comment section what you check out.

Sustainable Cities Community Classroom

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to David Mazur-Goulet, OREC, for information.

https://www.facebook.com/events/222239941478660/
https://www.facebook.com/events/222239941478660/

How can cities, with their significant environmental footprints, be sustainable?

The Ottawa Renewable Energy Coop (OREC), Octopus Books and delegates of the EU-Canada Municipal Cooperation on Urban Policy are addressing that question in a discussion on cities and climate solutions.

They’ll share “real world examples of people coming together with the common goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

It’s on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 7-9 p.m. at Octopus Books’ Centretown location (251 Bank St.), $5 or pay what you can.

For more details and to register, see OREC’s or Octopus Books’ websites.

100 Renewable Energy Paddle

Posted by Denise Deby.

Greenpeace Ottawa https://www.facebook.com/GreenpeaceOttawa/photos/gm.238211796537803/1298247666871189/?type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/GreenpeaceOttawa/photos/gm.238211796537803/1298247666871189/?type=3&theater

Greenpeace Ottawa volunteers are organizing a paddle on Dow’s Lake this Sunday, May 15, 2016.

They’re inviting people to come out and join the call for a 100% renewable energy future–one that doesn’t include the Energy East pipeline. Everyone is welcome to bring canoes, kayaks and/or decorations (think “break free” or tulip festival).

For details, see the event page.

 

 

Bike to Work Month 2016

Posted by Denise Deby.

Image courtesy of EnviroCentre
Image courtesy of EnviroCentre

 

If you’re keen to green your commute, spend active time outdoors and support cycling in the city, why not sign up for Bike to Work Month in May?

Bike to Work Month promotes and celebrates cycling. Beyond the joys of biking itself, the campaign, which is organized by EnviroCentre, provides incentives like prizes for participation.

You can sign up at http://www.biketoworkottawa.ca/en/ and log your bike trips. (My suggestion: You can log work-related trips even if you don’t commute regularly to a workplace.)

You can also start a workplace team, or book a “lunch and learn” workshop on commuting or basic bike maintenance. The website has other resources and links, too.

EnviroCentre says last year during Bike to Work Month, 2,500 Ottawa participants collectively cycled more than 300,000 km, equivalent to seven times around the planet. That’s impressive! Every little bit helps reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gases, and helps make our city healthier and more vibrant.

See you on the bike routes!

 

Earth Day / Book Day / Every Day

Written by Denise Deby.

Happy Earth Day! by Kate Ter Haar on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/6956228782/in/photostream/
Happy Earth Day! by Kate Ter Haar on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/6956228782/in/photostream/

April 22 was Earth Day. Earth Day draws needed attention to the environment, but sometimes it comes with a lot of hype, too–for example, by companies promoting yet more consumption of their stuff, or association with things that have very little to do with sustainability.

Reflecting on Earth Day this year made me want to think bigger–about the earth’s complexity, the way good writers or artists can express it. When I learned that April 23 is World Book Day, that clinched the idea of a post on books.

Of course, there’s a lot of great literature—fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction—on the environment, so here’s just a tiny sample:

The Lorax: The incomparable Dr. Seuss speaks for the trees, inspiring kids and adults alike to do their part, however big or small, for the environment.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein: a big-picture yet often personal book about how changing the way we organize our economy and society can help us transform our world for the better.

The Big Swim: Coming Ashore in a World Adrift, by Carrie Saxifrage: a book that reflects on nature and life through the author’s personal experiences.

The Ecoholic books by Adria Vasil, and Toxin Toxout by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith:  Practical help for living and consuming sustainably.

The Once and Future World by J.B. MacKinnon, The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill, The Oil Man and the Sea by Arno Kopecky and Happy City by Charles Montgomery are just a few more examples of compelling books that blend storytelling, history and evidence to give us a big picture of the earth and living as humans within it.

I’d love to hear what eco-books have inspired you!

April Environmental Events in Ottawa

Written by Denise Deby.

Ottawa-March 27, 2009-First Flowers 6 by Douglas Sprott on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/dugspr/3397985880/
Ottawa-March 27, 2009-First Flowers 6 by Douglas Sprott on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/dugspr/3397985880/

April is always a busy month for environment-related events. Here are a few coming up:

For inspiration about acting on climate change:

Development and Peace, the Canadian Religious Conference, Equiterre and Citizens for Public Justice are holding a talk on Paris Climate Conference: And After? along with the film This Changes Everything. It’s at Saint Paul University (223 Main St.) on Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2016.

Catch This Changes Everything again on Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2016 at Carleton University with a screening hosted by Carleton Climate Commons Working Group, 350 Ottawa, Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op and Carleton Cinema Politica.

Also on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Impact Hub Ottawa hosts What’s next after Paris? Community action for a post-carbon future. Panelists Mitchell Beer (Smarter Shift/The Energy Mix), Mike De Souza (National Observer), Andrea Flowers (City of Ottawa), Graeme Cunningham (Bullfrog Power), Janice Ashworth (Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op) and EnviroCentre’s Carbon 613 will talk about getting involved in creating a sustainable world.

Ottawa hosts a National Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation for industry, governments and organizations Apr. 12-14, 2016.

For inspiration on understanding and protecting nature and ourselves within it:

Local conservation biologist and author Robert Alvo launches Being a Bird in North America at Octopus Books (Glebe) on Saturday, Apr. 9, 2016. It’s a book that uses humour and science to provide a new perspective on birds.

Celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall will be speaking in Ottawa on Monday, Apr. 11, 2016 about her lifetime of research and her sustainability work with youth. (Proceeds from the event support the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada’s conservation, humanitarian and youth programs.)

The City of Ottawa is hosting Engaging Citizens in Science to showcase groups that are involving people in understanding and documenting nature. As well as speakers Dr. Jeremy Kerr (University of Ottawa, co-founder of Bumblebeewatch.org) and Andy Kenney (University of Toronto, Neighbourwoods Program), several groups will present their citizen science and research initiatives. It’s on Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016.

The film Love Thy Nature, coming to the Mayfair Theatre Apr. 10, 11 and 13, 2016, explores humanity’s connection with the natural world.

On Thursday, Apr. 14, 2016, Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees plays at the Mayfair. The documentary follows scientist and environmentalist Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she explores ancient trees. (See http://www.cacor.org/ for details.)

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club has several upcoming birding and other events. Check details on their website.

For inspiration on making Ottawa a more sustainable city:

Janette Sadik-Khan led New York City’s program to create safer, more liveable streets, and wrote about the experience in Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution. She’ll be speaking in Ottawa on Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2016 at Streetfight: NY’s Urban Revolution Comes to Ottawa, a discussion organized by Ecology Ottawa and other groups.

Of course, April 22 is Earth Day. Check for events at https://earthday.ca/.

To stay up to date with local environmental events, check out the great event calendars at Green Ottawa, Ecology Ottawa and Transition Ottawa.

http://ecologyottawa.ca/2016/03/16/streetfight-new-yorks-urban-revolution-comes-to-ottawa/
http://ecologyottawa.ca/2016/03/16/streetfight-new-yorks-urban-revolution-comes-to-Ottawa/