Growing Good Food Ideas

Whether you’re in Ontario, Oklahoma or Oxley, UK, if you are inspired by sustainable farming, eating local and nothing less than transforming our food system, check out the videos on Sustain Ontario’s new microsite, Growing Good Food Ideas.

While all these film shorts, made by Powerline Films, focus on Canada’s most populous (for now) province, the stories are global, and show the power of farming and the potential for change. Enjoy!

Vote ON Food and Farming

The Vote ON Food & Farming campaign has officially launched. (Seems I was a bit premature last week.)

Created by Sustain Ontario, Vote ON Food & Farming aims to raise awareness of key food issues that touch on health, the environment, kids, communities, farmers, and jobs.

All Ontarians, no matter where you live, are asked to promote food and farming as important election issues in the upcoming provincial election (Oct. 6, folks).

The Vote ON site is worth a visit. Take the pledge to vote for a candidate who supports food and farming issues, and then let all the candidates know how you feel.

Curious where each party stands on food and farming? Check out the Report Card to see which parties have policies and which come up dry. The findings might surprise you.

Take the Good Food Quiz to test your own knowledge. It’s a bit of an eye opener how many people rely on food banks in Ontario, and how little income farmers make.

If you’ve got some bright ideas or solutions of your own, submit your Good Food Idea, in writing or video, and let others bask in your genius. (No, really, we need to get the discussion going. Submit your ideas.)

Get informed & get involved. After all, it’s your health – environment – kid – community – job at stake!

What strikes me is that even if you don’t live in Ontario, you know that these same issues affect your province or state just the same.


That said, if you are in Toronto this weekend…

Not Far from the Tree and Spadina Museum are hosting City Cider, an opportunity to sip freshly pressed, local apple cider in a heritage orchard. Music, food, activities too!

When: Sunday, 18 September, 1 pm – 5 pm

Where: 285 Spadina Road

Cost: only $5


Something good is happening. It’s happening slowly, but it is happening nonetheless. People – institutions even—are beginning to see that having accessible healthy food is a necessity, something worth fighting for, and do-able.

In the US, the Huntington, West Virginia school made famous by chef Jamie Oliver’s tough love reality TV show “Food Revolution,” in which Oliver lambastes school directors for the poor quality food served to students, has now overhauled its food services to provide local, fresh, made-from scratch meals. And they achieved this in only two years. Today, the school is pretty much a model for what can be done.

And while hard-core foodies of various stripes may look down their noses at popular, for-the-masses TV shows like Food Revolution, the movement seems to be catching.

Here in Canada, with the new school year just started, schools throughout Ontario have implemented widespread improvements to the food available in cafeterias and in vending machines to help combat childhood obesity. Gone are the French fries, candy bars and colas. Say hello to baked potato wedges, thin crust multi-grain lo-so pizza, and juice.

While I think cafeterias could go farther in their step towards healthier meals, this is undeniably a step in the right direction.

Even hospitals are jumping in –- that last bastion of inedible food. In Scarborough, Ontario, a hospital has undertaken a one-year experiment to improve its food services and provide fresh, local food and scratch cooking to its patients.

Get the picture?

Even the higher ups, those who may arguably gain in the short term from lowering standards and cutting corners,  recognize the value of food and the connection between food and health.

Times are changing. Food is becoming a mainstream issue. In the upcoming provincial elections happening throughout Canada, I encourage voters to make food an election issue.

In Ontario, visit Sustain Ontario to learn more about their Vote ON Food campaign.

In other happy food news:

If you’re in Toronto this weekend, it’s the 27th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival. Free event!

Where: 235 Queens Quay West

When: Friday 4 pm – 9 pm

Saturday 12 pm – 9 pm

Sunday 12 pm – 7 pm