Guide Locavore: From Farmers Fields to Rooftop Gardens: How Canadians are Changing the Way We Eat

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And definitely health-wise come out ahead. So, we need better systems. So organizations like Local Food Plus are great because they act as this independentthird party.

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GreenHeroes: How are food trends shifting in Canadian cities? Can you give an example from your book that shows how regular folks are changing their ways? Sarah: In my book, I travelled across the country, to small towns, and farming communities, as well as big cities. Each chapter is an example of one piece of what we need to do to have a sustainable food system in this country. My favourite example of how regular folk changed things in their community was in an area in New Brunswick, north of Moncton , that used to be a farming community where they would grow Brussels sprouts for processing and freezing.

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The company that bought the Brussels sprouts could find them cheaper elsewhere, so they stopped buying Brussels sprouts from the farmers, so the farmers had no markets. Every little farm created their own little stand, and the community loved it and people came and bought their food. So they created an ecological standard for their group, now called the Really Local Harvest Coop , and now the farmers had to follow certain ecological criteria.

On the first day of the market, 10, people showed up, Now, 6, people come to market every Saturday. This was a radical change. Sarah: Urban agriculture is really important. But now we know this long distance food system is not sustainable, so now we need to figure out how to fix this problem.

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We need to feed everybody in these big cities. So we need to maintain peri-urban agriculture and then find ways to produce a little bit of food in the city. For example, on the day the market in downtown Dieppe, New Brunswick opened, ten thousand people gathered there. There are numerous signs that the local food movement is spreading.

For instance, there has been a rise in Community Supported Agriculture CSA programs whereby farmers offer subscription programs to the public. Members pay the farmer at the beginning of the season for a specified amount of food to be delivered throughout the harvest.. CSAs, as they are commonly known, began with vegetable farms and have grown to now include meat and eggs, fish, urban honey, freshly-baked bread and even cheese.

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What all these CSAs have in common is that they connect producers of fresh, local foods directly to the eating public in their areas. Chefs and restaurateurs have played a key role in the spread of the local food movement, popularizing seasonal eating, bringing back more traditional cooking techniques and demonstrating to the eating public how they might use these ingredients, recipes and methods at home.

Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens – How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat

On these menus one would find dishes made from all parts of the animal rather than only the most tender this is called nose-to-tail dining as well as vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale that, up until recently, were considered to be old fashioned. These farm-to-table establishments can be exclusive, serving a clientele willing to pay high prices for braised Brussels sprouts; however, there are farm-to-table restaurants of all price points. These chefs have inspired a new generation that continue to open restaurant s that serve local foods.

There has also been a shift in the way institutions think about food provisioning. Universities and colleges as well as some hospitals have written new procurement protocol stipulating how much of the food they serve should be local and sustainable. Some institutions, such as Ryerson University and The Scarborough Hospital in Toronto, have hired a chef to head up their food services and figure out how to make the food not only healthier for their patrons but also more sustainable for the earth.

Considering that the focus of the local food movement is to reconnect people with the source of their food, educators and parents have sought to start vegetable gardens on school grounds where young people can learn to grow food and better understand the cycles of nature. Some high schools have taken this idea further by creating urban farming programs, as well as cooking courses, whereby students learn to prepare the fresh ingredients grown by their schoolmates to sell in the school cafeteria.

More generally, there has also been a rise in urban agriculture. Not long ago, the term urban farming would have been considered an oxymoron, but thanks to the local food movement there are now many food-growing projects across the country. In some cases, these food-growing projects are designed to increase the availability of healthy vegetables in low-income communities. Also, many small businesses and social enterprises are starting food- growing businesses, typically producing vegetables in the city for sale.

The Indigenous food sovereignty movement is, in part, inspired by similar goals. Some of these efforts include the preservation and harvest of the camas bulb on Vancouver Island and hunting lessons in Northern Ontario that target a younger demographic and teach them wild food provisioning skills. The local food movement has been critiqued by economists who claim that a focus on the local is bad for trade and not necessarily better for the environment.

These critiques have inspired a sometimes strident debate between those who believe in local and sustainable food systems and those who support the long-distance industrial food system. Academic studies and data have offered support to both sides, and have fuelled the debate. This organization, as well as others, advocates for a national food policy. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Remember me. We might not see it, but when you go out and meet people around the world [who are working to change the system], it gives me the feeling that maybe we can turn this ship around. A: What we need to do is reduce the amount of resources our food system consumes to feed us.

Growing Food in the City - Urban Rooftop Farm in Downtown Toronto

We have to conserve water and use less of it. We have to protect our soil and make sure it has the biodiversity it needs.

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  6. We have to not use so many fossil fuels in production, transportation—in every stage, our system relies heavily on fossil fuels. We should rely on the sun. Q: What role does genetic diversity play in creating a sustainable food system? A: That was one of the most interesting and exciting chapters to write. I learned so much about the history of agriculture. For thousands of years, our ancestors built a food system with genetic diversity.

    They needed a plant that would be resistant. Q: How big a role do genetically modified organisms play, and what will happen in the future? Proponents of sustainable agriculture say that instead of being involved in the business of seeds, you should invest in the biodiversity of seeds.

    Q: How did you conduct your research for this book, and what particularly surprised you? I operated like a journalist, reporting from the field, reading reports and papers.