New Funds for Outdoor Community Hub at the Just Food Community Farm

Just Food Community Farm Outdoor Hub

The Canadian Government —via the Canada Community Revitalization Fund— along with co-funding partners at the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard, Just Food, City of Ottawa Rural Affairs and NCC have funded new outdoor community spaces, including a large pavilion and balcony, as well as a four-season, geothermal greenhouse, at the Just Food Community Farm. The accessible, open-air balcony and covered pavilion, along with the demonstration greenhouse, will immediately create important multi-use spaces, to bring community together safely, provide program/meeting space for diverse groups, permanent home for a weekly farmers’ market, and education/demonstration spaces.

COMMUNIQUÉ de presse suivre

Ongoing, updated info about visiting Just Food Community Farm

Rules change throughout each season. Please check back regularly.
Each person visiting the Just Food Community Farm is responsible for knowing and following the rules.
Guest visitors to the farm visit at your own risk, and if not following the rules will be considered trespassing and asked to leave.

Rules for visiting Just Food Community Farm

  • All current COVID rules must be followed including 2 metres distance and masked when this is not possible.
  • This is not a dog-park. Dogs are not automatically allowed on the property and Just Food is not responsible for problems arising from dogs on the property.
  • No dogs allowed in areas marked prohibited. Note: Areas can change year to year and longstanding farmers are allowed dogs in prohibited areas, and will have ribbon on their leash.
  • Any dogs must be leashed around ALL other active garden areas, noting new North end garden site. Dogs are prohibited from all garden fields.
  • ALL feces must be removed off the property immediately.
  • All dogs must be under instant control at all times, and must not negatively affect other people, dogs, animals, wildlife, vehicles, etc. If not, your dogs are not welcome.
  • No one can drive on the farm roads (past the parking lot) unless in a vehicle registered with a farm project on site, with a vehicle permit showing in the window.
  • No one can bike through the property (new rule, given 2020 level and speed of bike traffic) as too many children, dogs, people and vehicles. You can walk your bike through the farm when visiting.
  • Rules posted on all signs on the farm must be followed.
  • Farm gate is closed to vehicles every evening and does not open at a regular time.
  • Open Hours for walkers change and in part, reflect daylight hours.
  • Current hours for walkers: 6:30am-8:00pm
  • Hours between May 1 – September 30: 6:30am-9:00pm

This is a functional farm, nursery and program area.
Just Food staff and Board, as the lease-holders for the property, are responsible for stewarding the land and since inception, have strived to maintain a vibrant, inclusive community space to meet multiple interests.
In order to do so, and as the lease-holders, we have the only say on who can access the farm at any point.

Here’s to a vibrant, safe space for diverse activities for all people engaged at the JFCF!

2021 CSA Farm Guide

Are you looking for fresh produce from a local farm to your table, all summer long? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes are a great way to connect with and support local farmers, by ordering your seasonal produce in advance. CSA farms usually offer weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables. CSA shares can also include meat, flowers, fruits, herbs and eggs.

Visit our 2021 CSA Farm Guide for a list of farms in this region with shares available for 2021, and then search our Buy Local Food Guide map to see if there is a CSA farm near you. 

In a CSA, the farmer grows food for a predetermined group of eaters. Eaters enter into an agreement of purchase with the grower prior to the start of the season. The farmer gains a guaranteed market, and the consumer gains high quality, fresh food as it becomes available.

Don’t wait! CSA shares sell out quickly, and are limited. Farmers have seen increased community support and interest in their shares, with orders being placed earlier in the season than usual due to the increase of demand for delivery options during the Covid-19 pandemic. Become part of the buy-local movement, and support local agriculture!

Input into Ottawa City Council’s decision on the urban boundary expansion

Tomorrow, Ottawa City Council will meet to vote on recommendations made at a joint meeting of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and the Planning committee, in late January. The recommendations include the selection of lands slated for development in a new, expanded urban boundary. These decisions are significant, difficult to overturn, and therefore will have a lasting impact on our city.


Urban Development on Prime Agricultural Land

In that joint meeting in January, a motion passed which would remove 106 hectares of low quality land that was selected by City planners to be added within the new urban boundary — on either side of Bowesville Road south of Rideau Road— and replace it with an equivalent amount of prime farmland that is currently within both the ‘untouchable’ Agricultural Resource Area and the newly proposed Gold Belt.

The proponent of this land swap said “…it would be a 15-minute community except for that one glaring hole that now exists. On the south side of the rail line we’ve had to exclude a tract of land that is designated agricultural. And I voted to protect agricultural lands, like you all did. It’s important that I stand by that principle. However, at this point, it doesn’t really make sense in Riverside South.”

It is precisely at points like these that all Councillors must stand by the principle—if it is to have any meaning. Every time that Council is asked to sacrifice prime agricultural land, the circumstances are described as exceptional. To the extent that, in Ottawa, it is no longer exceptional to hear the sacrifice of prime farmland to urban expansion described as exceptional. 

Now is the time for Councillors to do something truly exceptional: to stand up for the principle they supported unanimously nine months ago—to defend agricultural land from urban expansion—when it actually matters, when they have a real, tangible, significant expanse of prime farmland, some of the best farmland in the city, within their power to preserve.

Make no mistake, this land swap opens the door to future expansion and development on prime agricultural land. The proposed ‘Gold Belt’ offers only nominal protection, and that protection is already mocked by this land swap before the belt is even implemented.


This is not Transit-Oriented Development

And Council should not be swayed by arguments that this land swap represents ‘Transit Oriented Development’, their opportunity to complete a 15-minute community around the Bowesville transit station. It is not.

The joint committee was swayed by the claim that the millions of dollars already invested in Bowesville station would be wasted unless this prime farmland is developed into residential properties within walking distance of the station. This is not true – the fact is that this prime farmland is not within walking distance of the station, because the land within walking distance of Bowesville Station is already contained within the new urban boundary! All of the land immediately south of the new station, on either side of Bowesville Road, is Category 1 land already designated for urban expansion. 

The station, which is under construction, will be located 300 metres east of Bowesville Road. The nearest corner of the block of prime farmland that would be sacrificed by this motion is over 1 km from Bowesville station. Any residential properties built on this block of prime farmland will be between 1 km and 2.5 km from the station. The block of pass 2 land already recommended by staff for inclusion, which was swapped out in this motion, is all closer than 2.5 km from the station.

There is no ‘win’ here for walkability, for 15-minute communities, or for ‘Transit-Oriented Development’: there is only the loss of a large block of the best agricultural land inside the City of Ottawa.

Now that it actually matters, councillors must stand by the principle that they all supported less than a year ago, reject this flawed recommendation, and reverse the permanent loss of prime farmland that it represents. 

(Questions or comments please contact phil@justfood.ca)

Ironic Developments: Sacrificing Agricultural Land for a Food Distribution Hub?

In an opinion piece, Civic Action Ottawa has advocated for sacrificing farmland along the 416 and 417 to create space for distribution facilities—using a passage in the addendum to our 2012 community-developed Ottawa Food Action Plan to conclude “We do not have a farmland issue in our region; we have a problem with the access and distribution of our local harvests.” 

Just Food firmly believes in the need for more investment in infrastructure to support non-profit and for-profit wholesale distribution of foods from coast-to-coast-to-coast as well as regional food. In addition to providing increased community food security, this infrastructure would help both businesses and public buyers (e.g. hospitals, universities) to access more food from farms in this region, supporting stable livelihoods and resilience in the regional rural economy. 

However, we also clearly know that City planners have identified more than enough industrial land—in the existing City plan and in the current proposal—to build multiple large-scale distribution terminals over the coming decades.  

With the continued rate of loss of viable farmland, farmland preservation remains a cornerstone of community food security.  We most certainly do not need to permanently remove from production yet more agricultural land in this area. Future generations would not thank us.

People’s Official Plan calls on Ottawa City Council to defer urban expansion decision

PRESS RELEASE
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

(OTTAWA) – Representatives from the People’s Official Plan¹ – a coalition of community and  environmental groups focused on strengthening climate action and equity in Ottawa’s new Official Plan – are calling on Ottawa City Council to defer a major decision regarding urban expansion. Currently, Council’s decision is scheduled for February 10, as it meets to vote on urban expansion recommendations from the January 23 Joint Meeting of the Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. 

Council should send the staff report back to the Committee until it has successfully addressed the following concerns:

  • Decisions related to unceded Indigenous land must be within a transparent, robust, inclusive reconciliation protocol. An appropriate protocol would centre on broad Indigenous engagement and benefit, and not be based on a rushed development process within age-old colonial processes that continue to drive wedges between communities;
  • Failure to account for the greenhouse gas emissions and related public costs of options, despite declaring a climate emergency; 
  • The Joint Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee’s disregard of the unanimous council directive to not even consider prime agricultural land in this urban boundary expansion; and
  • Poor quality and duration of community consultation on many dimensions of the new Official Plan, particularly the Growth Management Strategy.

“These major decisions are being rushed for no reason other than political expediency”, says Paul Johanis, Chair of the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital. “We were already concerned that the City has approved an urban expansion even though no expansion is the better option in response to the climate emergency. The long-term implications of COVID-19 are not taken into account in this plan and the massive (250 pages plus Schedules) draft Official Plan only circulated at the end of November is clearly not ready for primetime. Bungling into a controversy over Indigenous rights and land claims is the last straw. We call on the City to, at a minimum, adopt the staff recommendation to take the time to properly assess the implications of the expansion options that were proposed, or, even better, to extend the deadline they arbitrarily set for completing the review of the Official Plan. Climate justice, reconciliation and the well-being of all our communities deserve our best shot.”   

“Respectful consultation takes time. It has become clear that the City has not yet meaningfully consulted with all the Algonquin communities. This should take precedence. Indeed, the Province legally requires that the City engage and coordinate with Indigenous communities on land use planning matters”, said Angela Keller-Herzog, co-chair of Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES).

“Expanding the urban boundary to include 450 hectares that rates poorly under Council’s own methodology, is not sound public policy”, says Alex Cullen, President of the Federation of Citizens Associations. “We urge Council to take the time needed to properly consult with all affected stakeholders and to make a sound, evidence-based, decision”.

One Planet Living, the sustainable development framework put forward for the Tewin proposal by the Algonquins of Ontario, with funding from Taggart investments for the purchase of the land, is an aspirational label that relies on members to monitor their own progress. It lacks the rigor of independent assessment,” says Daniel Buckles, Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University. “The Zibi development, which is the only other project in Canada with the label, has already had to push back its target for zero carbon energy. It would be risky for the City to count on developers with little prior experience in this arena to hold themselves accountable to sustainability goals.” 

“Over 106 hectares (250 acres) of the best farmland in the City of Ottawa was added into the proposed new urban boundary at the last minute without proper debate, illustrating the problems of a rushed process.  The evidence shows that this land swap is not supporting ‘Transit-Oriented Development’”, says Phil Mount, Associate Director, Just Food and member of the last Land Evaluation Area Review (LEAR) conducted by the City of Ottawa. “Councillors should not be discarding the principle that they unanimously supported less than a year ago—to defend agricultural land from urban expansion without exception.”  

“We know urban sprawl is a climate killer,” said Robb Barnes, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa. “Council voted for more sprawl in May 2020, but there is still time to minimize the damage caused by this decision. The current process – rushed, with minimal consultation and completely lacking analysis on climate impacts – means council is flying blind on one of its most important votes this term. We need council to step back from the brink.”

Ottawa City Council’s upcoming vote on urban expansion is part of a broader series of decisions affecting Ottawa’s new Official Plan. The new Official Plan is the city’s major land use and policy document, meant to guide development of the city until 2046 and beyond. Council is currently slated to vote on the new Official Plan in June 2021.

1. People’s Official Plan member organizations who endorse this message include: Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES); Ecology Ottawa; Greenspace Alliance for Canada’s Capital, Federation of Citizens Associations and Just Food.

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