On March 30th, the Ontario government mistakenly identified community gardens as recreation activities for closure (READ HERE), as opposed to essential food services, where tens of thousands of people across Ontario grow food for their households.
Please send your own version of the letter below to your local MPP ASAP today, and copy Just Food at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can see how many letters are coming in.
If you are a member of a community garden, please say which garden you belong to, and why it’s important to you to access food through your garden plot.
To [name of your Member of Provincial Parliament or all MPPs if you are a City-wide service],
Everyone is working hard, and we are trusting this is just an oversight, but please immediately remove outdoor community gardens from the list of closures for recreation activities released on March 30th, and place them on the list of essential food services in Ontario.
Thousands upon thousands of families rely on community gardens to produce food for their families each year. In Ottawa, we have a conservative accounting of 7,000 people relying on community gardens to supplement their food during the growing season. There has been a major increase in demand for this service since the beginning of COVID-19. People throughout the province have already invested in their seeds, and started seedlings, for this growing season.
This model of community food production is seen as integral to the COVID-19 response in countries throughout the world, particularly as food prices increase and global food supplies are increasingly uncertain. Food banks also receive tonnes of much-needed fresh food in Ottawa from local community garden efforts. Community gardening availability should be enhanced, not limited, especially at this time.
We all take safety seriously. We support community growing with clear protocols that WORK in gardens to maintain public safety, agreed to by public health officials. The Ottawa Community Gardening Network at Just Food is working with public health departments to achieve such safety protocols and is a key partner in communicating critical public health messages to our communities. However, we must not identify community gardens as recreational activities, as for many, many people community gardens are essential ways that community members access their food.
Please take immediate action to clarify for everyone in Ontario that community gardening is an essential food service.
It’s not too late to become a host location for the 2020 Agri-Art Tour! On September 5,6 &7 host farms across the region will be open to the public, with vendors and artists on site to deliver a market-style experience. For details and to register, go to https://www.agro-on.ca/pages/agri-art-tour
Join the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network and Just Food for an information session about regional farm and food tours in 2020 that will interest farmers, processors, food producers, artisans and artists across Eastern Ontario!
The Agri-Art Tour 2020 will take place from September 3-5 across eastern Ontario. If you are interested in hosting or being a vendor at a host location, come to one of the following info sessions:
WHEN: Tuesday, February 25, 7-8:30 pm
WHERE: Manotick Community Centre Activity Room
WHEN: Friday, February 28, 7-8:30 pm
WHERE: Just Food Farm Red Barn, 2391 Pepin Court, Ottawa
Lacto-fermentation such as making kimchi and tabasco style hot sauce
Fermenting beans and peas for making miso and tempeh
Grain fermentation varieties, including no-sweetener-added desserts such as sweet rice ferment or jiuniang, and using grains in vegetable lacto-fermentation
Dairy ferment such as kefir
Fermented drinks using SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) or the likes, such as kombucha and ginger soda
History and background on fermentation
Health perspectives and science – connection of fermented food and human microflora/microbiome
Kitchen setup, equipment and specialty utensils
Food safety and regulatory framework
Worldwide applications and innovations in using fermentation in farms and food businesses
Canadian market and potential
Tasting and demonstrations
The goal of the workshops is to inspire local farm and food businesses to innovate – by using the ancient art of fermentation to transform local and fresh produce into new products and ingredients that taste great, are good for health, and contribute to stronger businesses in this region.
Presented by Chi Garden, with additional guest fermentation business.
The trainers – Sun Shan and Li Bo of Chi Garden – both grew up with rich family traditions for making fermentation. Equipped with education in biology and biomedical research, being world travelers and now farmers in Canada, plus years of practice making various ferments and bringing fermented vegetables to the farm market in Ontario, the trainers will deliver an interactive training to inform and inspire a new generation of fermentation practitioners and businesses.
Interested in fermentation training for your home?
This training is designed for local food businesses, including restaurants, processors and farms only. We will offer hands-on training geared towards eaters and home chefs later in the season. Please send us a message at email@example.com if you are interested, and we will contact you directly when the courses are coming out.
Join us on Nov 12 and learn about the steps involved in starting a community garden. How to search for land, what is essential when starting a community garden, the supports that are available, tips for organizing the garden, and much more!
The attendance of at least one garden coordinator at a How to Start a Community Garden workshop is a requirement in order to receive funding through the Community Garden Development Fund. The coordinator must have attended a workshop in one of the past 3 years.
Registration is required as space is limited. When: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 from 6:00pm-8:00pm Where: Just Food Farm in the Big Red Barn | 2391 Pépin Court RSVP: Email firstname.lastname@example.org *on RSVP please identify the general area where you plan to set up a community garden, and summarize your work to date, if applicable.
Join us at Just Food Farm for our Annual Picnic this Sunday! We will be hosting a variety of events including; free lunch, wagon rides at 10:15, 11, 11:45, and 12:30; farmers’ market, kids’ activities, field walks, and more. Bring your family and enjoy a day at our farm.
WHEN: Sunday August 25th, 10 am – 2 pm WHERE: Big Red Barn, 2391 Pepin Court
1. July 28th and August 11th, 18th and 25th | Sundays at the Just Food Farm
Join us on the Just Food Farm for Sunday Farm Days, there’s something for everyone!
Yoga in the barn from 9:45 – 11 am
Farm Tours: The Canadian Organic Growers will be offering tours on July 28th and August 11th from 10 am – 12:30 pm
Kids activities on August 11th, 18th, and 25th
Don’t forget to check out our farmers’ market from 10 am – 2 pm, run by our very own farmers for some amazing vegetables, herbs, honey, preserves and more! Bring you and family, as well as a lunch to enjoy!
WHEN: Sunday July 28th and August 11th, 18th, and 25th WHERE: Just Food, 2391 Pepin Court
2. Every Sunday | Yoga at the Just Food Farm
Join Bee at the Just Food Farm for a traditional yoga class for all levels of skill and ages! The class will include physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.
WHEN: Sundays 9:45 – 11 am WHERE: Big Red Barn at Just Food, 2391 Pepin Court, Ottawa It’s free, or by donation with all proceeds going to the Just Food Farm.
ABOUT THE TEACHER: Bee has been a yoga practitioner for 8 years and teaching for 5 years. She is a farmer and educator at Cadence Ecological Farm at the Just Food Farm, and is deeply interested in the role of holistic health while developing sustainable communities.
3. Every Sunday | Just Food Farm Stand
Join us on Sundays this summer from 10 am – 2 pm until October to enjoy the fresh produce of the season! Every week, a number of farms will be selling their fresh produce, condiments, sweet and savoury treats, and much more! The Farm Stand is located at the Just Food Farm, 2391 Pepin Court. Enjoy the first summer bounty of organic food from local farmers with us while supporting new farmers. For more information, click here.
4. July 28 and August 11 | Free COG Tour at Just Food Farm
The Canadian Organic Growers (COG), in partnership with Just Food, is hosting free tours where participants will have a chance to visit 3 different farms on site and shop fresh produce at the Farm Stand afterwards. Learn about about how each farmer got started, what they grow, and the unique aspects of their business, from bees and chickens to diverse vegetables. Folks of all ages are welcome! Please note that there will be a fair amount of walking on uneven ground and in direct sunlight.
WHEN: Sunday July 28 and August 11, from 10 am – 12:30 pm (sun or rain) WHERE: Just Food Farm, 2391 Pepin Court FARMS ON TOUR:
July 28: Capital Greens, Karen Farm, Bird and Bee
August 11: Capital Bees, Chi Gardens, Cadence Ecological Farm
Spread the word about this great opportunity by printing off these posters (July 28 and August 11) and posting it in your workplace!
5. Volunteer to Grow Food for the Local Food Bank
Want to help support the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard? Join a team of volunteers who give back to their community by helping grow fresh produce at Just Food Farm’s Plant-a-Row, Donate-a-Row Garden (PARDAR) for the food cupboard. Gardening can be done when it suits you. You will also have a chance to learn basic gardening skills or share your gardening expertise. For more information or to join the team, email email@example.com.
6. Watch Ottawa Experts on Using Food as a Gateway to a Healthy, Sustainable Lifestyle
On a segment of Ottawa Experts, an interactive show which hosts local industry experts on various topics, Jenny Emmans, Chair of Just Food, and Amber Westfall of Wild Garden, operating out of Just Food Farm, discussed their journeys in learning and discovery about the local food and the nexus between food systems and health. For Jenny, it began with the growing question of what we are putting in and on our bodies as she explored the ingredients of the products she was using or consuming regularly. Amber was looking to expand her local diet and reduce her footprint. Both touch upon some great opportunities for residents to learn more about foraging, gardening, and consuming local food in the Ottawa Region.
Support Just Food by purchasing your rain barrel from us this year for your food growing needs.
Just Food only has a few terracotta rain barrels remaining for $55. We are confident that this is the best price on the market right now. For more details, click here and if interested, email Himani at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pickup.
Support Just Food, conserve water and save money. Contact us today!
Other Community News and Events
8. Farmers’ Markets in the Region
Look down the list for the closest farmers’ market opening near you to buy and support local farmers!
Parc Du Portage, Gatineau (corner of Laurier and Victoria Streets)
Every Thursday, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, May 30 – October 10
9. Saturdays until August 31 | Garden Promenade Tours
Discover the dozens of gardens in the region along the Garden Promenade! Whether you wish to do it alone or hire a pro to show you the way, the Garden Promenade offers a broad range of options for a multilingual guided tour or at your own pace while visiting the city’s famous attractions.
Do you like working with kids and talking about sustainable agriculture and food security? The Canadian Organic Growers’ Ottawa-St- Lawrence-Outaouais Chapter is looking for a fully bilingual workshop facilitor to join their Growing Up Organic garden and farm-based education program in Ottawa. The program works wth schools to develop edible gardens as educational tools for students. The position is home-based and averages 20 hrs/week. Click here to view the job description.
11. Eat Healthy with Canada’s Food Guide
Want to make more healthy choices while eating, but not sure where to start? Snapshots of the food guide are now available in 28 languages for you read through and start making better consumption choices for your mental and physical health. You can also subscribe here for their newsletter to get the latest healthy eating updates, recipes, and more.
12. Tasty Ways to Cut Down on Food Waste
Want to learn different ways to use all parts of your groceries? Food Tank has made a list of 11 ways to make the most of common food waste, including:
13. Reduce Our Kids’ Exposure to Marketed Unhealthy Food and Drinks
With the marketing of unhealthy food items on the rise, kids are being targeted because they are particularly vulnerable to the marketing techniques being used and the number of ads they see throughout the day. This is leading to changes in food choices and preferences.
Bill S-228 (Child Health Protection Act) came close to being passed prior to the Senate’s summer adjournment. It had the support from both the Senate and the House of Commons; however, the bill failed to pass overall. The bill would have limited advertisement of food high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats to kids under the age of 13. Now it’s up to us to create a food environment where kids are not being bombarded with advertisements and support them to make healthier choices. For more information on how to develop this, click here.
14. Canada’s New Food Policy with an Ambitious Vision
The anticipated food policy ‘Food Policy for Canada: Everyone at the Table’ was announced on June 17 by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau. With the acknowledgement that Canada needs to ensure reliable access to healthy, culturally diverse food for all Canadians, the federal government is investing $134 million to develop a vibrant and sustainable food system. Their key areas of focus also include reducing food waste and improving food security for Indigeneous and Northern communities.
Part of achieving the goal was the birth of the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council and the Local Food Infrastructure Fund. The Council will be focusing on bringing in the experts and diverse voices to address the current and future food issues. For residents, the fund will support community-led projects with the goal of improving food access.
As you start the growing season, do you want some advice or have questions about gardening? The Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton are a group of experienced gardeners with horticulture backgrounds that volunteer their time to help answer the public’s questions. They provide free, unbiased advice to home gardeners while encouraging good growing practices. They can give advice for both organic and conventional growing. Contact them by phone or email, listed here, or find them at clinics at local markets and fairs.
Are you interested in having a gardening workshop with your community? Email email@example.com for more information on topics and how to set one up.
At the free, “How to Start a Community Garden” workshop you will learn about the steps involved in starting a community garden. How to search for land, what is essential when starting a community garden, the supports that are available, tips for organizing the garden, and much more!