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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Urban Organic Gardening Seminars 2018

It’s that time of year—time to hone those gardening skills.

The Canadian Organic Growers, Ottawa Chapter is once again hosting its Urban Organic Gardening Seminars. From the organizers:

“Learn about organic vegetable, herb, and edible flower gardening with experienced and qualified instructors. Three half-day, Saturday morning seminars will cover 9 different topics designed to help you plan, plant, grow, and harvest your own little slice of organic paradise in the city.”

Seminar topics include garden planning, seed starting, container and small space gardening, soil, compost, organic pest and disease management, seed saving and more.

See the COG website for details and registration. All seminars take place at the Hintonburg Community Centre (1064 Wellington St W.).

Thanks to Caitlin Carrol, Canadian Organic Growers, for the information.

Ottawa’s Local Food Scene

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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.

Organic Master Gardener Course

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Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Julia Dupuis, Canadian Organic Growers for the information.

What better time than the fall to upgrade your gardening skills?

Canadian Organic Gardeners is once again hosting its Organic Master Gardener course, running Saturdays from October 22 to December 3, 2016.

The course is for seasoned and new gardeners—really, anyone interested in and willing to invest in learning how to maintain a vegetable garden, container garden, ornamental garden, lawn or other patch of soil in an eco-friendly way, without pesticides or a lot of watering. The course helps understand the connections between soil, plant, human and environmental health, and shares practical knowledge such as plant selection, watering and composting.

For details and to register, visit COG’s website, or email them at office[at]cog.ca or phone 888-375-7383.

 

Just Food Start-Up Farm Program Information Sessions

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

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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.

 

Gardening Help—Spring 2016 Edition

Written by Denise Deby.

https://cog.ca/ottawa/
https://cog.ca/Ottawa/

Could spring finally be here? If you’re ready to start your garden soon, there’s help available.

Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa – St. Lawrence – Outaouais (COG-OSO) is running their Urban Organic Gardening Seminars series Apr. 12-May 3. Topics include growing organic vegetables, herbs, fruit and nut trees, bed and container gardening, seeds, soils, disease and pest management, and more. Sign up for one or more seminars, or do all 7. Check the website for the schedule and location.

The Community Gardening Network at Just Food is holding spring gardening workshops. The season starts Apr. 12 through May, and includes Herbal Tips & Tricks, Working with Nature in the Garden: Permaculture Principles & Design, Natural Pest Control and Companion Planting and Beginner Organic Vegetable Gardening. Dates and details on the website.

Friends of the Farm hosts Master Gardener Lectures from Apr. 5-May 17. They also offer gardening tours, a rare and unusual plant sale (May 15) and other resources.

Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton provides lots of help for gardeners of all skill levels. Check out their workshop on Garden Design for Evolving Realities (Apr. 23), and links to other advice and resources on their website.

Gardening workshops offered through the City of Ottawa include “Parent n’ Me” on May 7 and Organic Gardening on May 14.

Interested in creating a pollinator-friendly neighbourhood? A child-friendly fairy garden? Check out these and other events with the Ottawa Horticultural Society.

Want to delve into ecological gardening through permaculture? Check out the courses at http://www.eonpermaculture.ca/about-courses.

The Wild Garden has plant walks and workshops—see the website for details.

There’s a talk on “The Science behind the Amazing Things Plants Do” by author and horticultural professor Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott on Apr. 28. See the poster on the Just Food website.

The Ottawa Citizen maintains a comprehensive list of gardening events at http://ottawacitizen.com/category/life/homes/gardening.

Know of other events or sources of advice on gardening? Please let us know in the comment section!