Reel Food Film Festival Ottawa 2012

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

The Reel Food Film Festival is coming up again on March 22 and 29, 2012. Brought to you by USC Canada, Just Food, One World Arts and the Ottawa Good Food Box, the two films being featured promise an inspirational look at sustainable food and farming with a difference.

On Thursday, March 22, the Festival is screening To Make a Farm (2011, Canada), by Steve Suderman, about five young people who set out to become small-scale farmers. It’s “an intimate and practical exploration of farming and local food,” according to the film’s website.

Thursday, March 29 brings Land Awakening (2011, Canada), by Raúl Álvarez, who will attend the screening and answer questions afterwards. The film looks at farmers who have moved away from chemical agriculture to sustainable farming, and at humans’ relationship with food, nature and the land.

The Festival takes place at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch, 120 Metcalfe St.; doors open 6:00 p.m., screenings 6:30 p.m. Free admission ($5 donation appreciated). The aim of the Festival, which takes place twice a year, is to generate awareness and discussion about food issues.

Jane Goodall in Ottawa March 21, 2012

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and
environmental issues.

Fans of environmentalist and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall will be pleased to hear
that she’ll be in Ottawa on March 21 for a screening of Jane’s Journey, a film about her
work internationally, followed by a question-and-answer session and book signing. The
visit is part of a tour presented by the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada and the Canadian
Federation of Humane Societies. See
for more information. (For some inspiration, watch the 90-second film trailer at http://

Tree-planting Ceremony for Wangari Mathaai

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

In Minto Park, at the corner of Elgin and Gilmour Streets downtown, there’s a new sugar maple tree. It was planted this week to honour environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Muta Mathaai, who passed away on September 25, 2011.

Wangari Mathaai never lived in Ottawa, but her life’s work has influence and relevance here—and throughout the world. Dr. Mathaai was a Kenyan environmentalist, scientist, human and women’s rights advocate, political activist and parliamentarian.

Wangari Mathaai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 as a grassroots community-based tree-planting program to address environmental degradation and empower women; it’s become a global movement working for human rights, democracy, peace and climate justice as well. Her work was challenging, at times dangerous, but she persevered. “It is the people who must save the environment. It is the people who must make their leaders change,” she said, “So we must stand up for what we believe in.” Professor Mathaai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and has received dozens of other awards and recognitions.

To celebrate Wangari Mathaai’s life and achievements, the Nobel Women’s Initiative, an organization based in Ottawa that Dr. Mathaai herself helped found in 2004, along with Ecology Ottawa, hosted the tree-planting ceremony on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at Minto Park, with the High Commissioner of Kenya, Simon Nabukwesi, the Ambassador of Norway, Else Eikeland, and Mayor Jim Watson attending.

For Wangari Mathaai, sustainability, human rights, peace and justice were interconnected. “She did not put women’s rights, democracy and the environment into separate boxes,” said Liz Bernstein, Executive Director of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, at the ceremony.

Mathaai also believed that every person could take action. Ecology Ottawa’s Trevor Haché summed it up this way: “May this tree that we will plant today in the ceremony serve as inspiration and an important reminder to all Ottawa citizens that we have the power to effect change and we will always encourage our elected officials to do more to protect the planet.”


Trailer “I will be a hummingbird”! or


Trailer for Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Mathaai


Apartment613’s Support Local Month in Ottawa

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

The people at Apartment613 have lots of good ideas, but this time they’ve outdone themselves. They’re making November “Support Local” month in Ottawa. And they’re talking not just local food but also local musicians, artists, restaurants and businesses.

They’ve set up a series of events throughout the month—a list too long to replicate here but do check out their website. Some examples:

You can also let Apartment613 know if you have ideas for other events (email editors [at] apt613 [dot] ca with “Support Local” in the subject line).

Green Living Ottawa’s 200th Post

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues and was more surprised than anyone to realise she has just completed her 63rd guest post for Green Living Ottawa.

You’ll know if you read this blog that Alette Willis created Green Living Ottawa a few years ago as a way to share positive ways of living sustainably in Ottawa.

When Alette mentioned to me recently that this post would be Green Living Ottawa’s 200th, I couldn’t help but use it to say congratulations to her, and thanks – thanks for making this a space for information, conversations and inspiration on how we in Ottawa can live “green,” do what we can, and not feel alone in doing so.

Alette’s been living in Edinburgh, but had the idea to open up the blog to guest bloggers while she’s away, to enable Green Living Ottawa to continue. She’s warmly welcomed our contributions and perspectives, and keeps the blog going despite the time and energy it takes.

So congratulations, Alette, for over 4 years and 200 posts of Green Living Ottawa, and for making Ottawa (and beyond) better.