April 2015


The four provincial land use plans that work together to manage growth, protect the natural environment and support economic development in the Greater Golden Horseshoe are currently under review.

We spoke with Fiona Nelson about the importance of this review and connecting the dots between the various related issues and opportunities.

The review is not only an opportunity for the public to speak up, but it also provides an opportunity for public education on the myriad of issues that different stakeholders face - farmers, cities, municipal planners, and citizens in general.

"We lose our farmers, and we lose our food," says Fiona.

Read more here, and be sure to provide your input by May 28th if you haven't already.

Halton Region's Annual Agricultural Forum saw innovation as its focus this year, providing attendees with information on some of the latest trends in agriculture, including new research, funding opportunities and the advantages of developing niche products.
Read more on our blog about Vineland's exciting research, and the Toronto Distillery Company's true grain-to-glass whiskey.

Gary Carr, Regional Chair, shares: "the forum showcased some of the latest agricultural innovations to inspire local operators to take their businesses to the next level. We look forward to continuing to work closely with these industries and support them at future forums."

Minister Leal meeting with Shandong Vice Governor and Minister responsible for Agriculture, Zhao Runtian, 
in Weifang, Shandong, China 

The province announced in a
 new release yesterday  that  Ontario's 2015 Agri-Food Trade Mission to China will result in increased exports for Ontario products and new investment opportunities for Ontario agri-food companies.


Ministers Jeff Leal and Michael Chan recently concluded the province's first ever Minister-led agricultural trade mission, accompanied by 20 Ontario businesses and organizations. China is a priority market for Ontario and is one of the province's key Asian markets.

One agreement secured was a $6 million agreement between Pillitteri Estates Winery and China-based Hare Wine Companywhich will bring more Ontario Icewine to China and help meet the growing demand for this signature Ontario product. The investment from Hare Wine Company will establish a new vineyard and build a new winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. 

Helping Ontario's agri-food businesses compete globally is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. Read more here. 

Food Waste Panel at the Green Living Show, taken by Josie Di Felice

The Toronto Food Policy Council partnered with this year's Green Living Show on a panel, "Appetite for Change: Food Waste Challenges and Opportunities".

The complementary presentations covered a variety of angles on food waste, from research to city waste to local opportunities.

Read our story here for more on the University of Guelph's research (which shows the average household wasted 4.51 kg of food waste per week), the City of Toronto's Long Term Waste Management Strategy, a farmer's perspective from Pfennings Organics, and meaningful examples of successful local efforts in the city that support local while simultaneously battling food waste.

Among many takeaways from the 45-minute panel, a focal one was certainly an encouragement for the consumer to eat and support "ugly" fruit and vegetables, a campaign that is picking up traction globally (e.g. in France, @UglyFruitAndVeg, and recently Loblaws). 

We spoke with My Sustainable Canada about their Public Purse Procurement (3P) Mentorship Program, which cultivates champions of local and sustainable food purchasing to use the buying power of public institutions to put public dollars toward the public good.

The first cohort launched in 2014 included mentees from a hospital, university, long-term care home, and college: 

* Health Sciences North, Sudbury
* Queen's University, Kingston
* Sunnyside Seniors' Services, Region of Waterloo
* Humber College, Toronto

A review has now been conducted for the first cohort, finding that 43% of the cohort's $10 million buying power is now spent on local food! Read more here.

Janet Horner, Executive Director,
Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance