CGN blog: Growing Up Organic

This is the fourth piece in an ongoing CGN’s blog. This blog will be filled with snapshots of the network, garden activities, garden profiles, coordinator profiles & more!

This post is about Growing Up Organic, a garden and farm-based educational program for children and youth.  The post is written by Nancy Moir at her blog Grown In My BackYard.

Parents and teachers, are you looking for a unique way to engage school-aged children in learning, teach them food skills and nutrition, and connect them with the environment?  Growing Up Organic (GUO) may have a solution for you!

GUO is a garden- and farm-based educational program for children and youth provided by the Ottawa, St. Lawrence, and Outaouais Chapter of Canadian Organic Growers.  Since its inception in 2007, GUO has enabled many schools across the region to build their own school garden programs. These gardens do more than produce delicious, healthy food; educators use them to foster experiential learning to meet their teaching goals.  They enliven the curriculum for students who feel disengaged or who could benefit from hands-on experience to help with their comprehension.

Implementing a school garden does not add to a teacher’s workload; rather it reduces it by providing a simplified, vivid, real-world model that can be used to teach almost any subject.  This program requires that students draw plans, calculate many different types of variables, engage in physical activity, and much more.  Students of all ages and backgrounds have expressed delight at working within a school garden and their schoolwork reflects this newfound excitement.  Through this, they acquire a solid understanding of the life cycles of plants, and an appreciation of the environment.

So, how does it work?  GUI hosts gardening workshops in the spring and fall that are free to OCBSB educators, and available to other schools for a fee.  In these workshops, GUO provides educators with an overview of the garden-based activities that they can facilitate in their schools. Their website offers a thorough overview of the preparation that should be undertaken before a garden is built. As well, each garden requires a support team of interested parents, teachers, and other community members.  GUO provides the information needed to fundraise, build, and maintain a school garden, and most importantly, to use as a tool within the curriculum.

GUO is more than just a repository of information.  Behind the website are the friendly faces of its facilitators and volunteer advisory committee (teachers, master gardeners, and stakeholders), who shape the program and provide support.  For more information, visit their website.


COG ECO FARM DAY 2018: Feb 24-25, Cornwall, ON

The Canadian Organic Growers are hosting ECO FARM DAY 2018 on Feb 24-25 in Cornwall, ON.  This year’s theme is ADAPTATION.

Feb 24: Keynote address, 40 exhibitor trade show, organic lunch and a dozen workshops relating to plants, livestock, and soils.

Also a reception dinner and screening of the new documentary Modified, by Aube Giroux, in partnership with Transition Cornwall+ and All Things Food.

Feb 25: ALSO JOIN COG for one of two full day, intensive and participatory workshops:

 Polyculture Livestock: Managing and optimizing health with multiple livestock species in a single pasturing system, with veterinarian Dr Hubert and Suzanne Karreman, of Reverence Farms and Café.

 The Permaculture Market Garden: Apply Permaculture principles without jeopardizing production, with Zach Loeks, author and farmer at Kula Permaculture Farm.

Check and and for details and updates

Become a Just Food Board Member!


Just Food seeks volunteers to serve on its Board of Directors!

Just Food seeks dedicated food systems volunteers to serve on our Board of Directors (terms are typically 3 years in duration, and can be renewed once to a 6-year maximum).

We welcome people from diverse backgrounds, and in this call, we are looking for one to three new Board members with some combination of the following:

  • Fundraising experience
  • Knowledge and expertise regarding food access among low-income communities
  • Advocacy experience related to food and/or agricultural policy

Just Food is led by a volunteer Board of Directors (“the Board”).  We are a working Board with the mandate to determine Just Food’s mission and policies, provide strategic direction and oversight of its activities, and ensure organizational accountability, to support our staff – who manage and perform the operations of the organization.  Please read the Just Food Policies and Procedures for detailed information on the role and responsibilities of Directors, and the Just Food Constitution and our Vision, Mission and Mandate for more information on Just Food and how it is governed.

All Board members must have:

  • Commitment to Just Food’s goals and values;
  • Ability to commit a minimum of 6 hours per month to Just Food (more for Executive Committee members); and,
  • Knowledge of local context (important).

Ideally, the new Board members will also have:

  • Experience in community-based non-profit organizational management;
  • Food system issues knowledge/analysis (desirable);
  • Background in one or another of Just Food areas of work; and,
  • Experience with Just Food (e.g., as a member, volunteer, and/or in another capacity).

Interested?  Please send us a paragraph (maximum 350 words) introducing yourself and your experience, and telling us why you think you could make a positive contribution as one of Just Food’s Board of Directors, along with a current CV, to: by February 7, 2018.  Interviews will occur shortly thereafter.

In your submission, be sure to create the subject line: Just Food Board of Directors – Expression of Interest.  All interested parties will be contacted.  The selected candidates would be presented as a recommended slate to Just Food members for election at the upcoming Annual General Meeting this March 7, 2018.

We look forward to hearing from you!

September 2017 Newsletter

September 2017 Newsletter

Food News and Events in the Ottawa Region

Just Food News and Events


1. Sept 14 – 17, Sept 21 – 24, and Sept 28 – Oct 1 | Three More Rural Fairs (Richmond Fair, Carp Fair, Metcalfe Fair) 

2. Sept 16 – 24 | Celebrate Organic Week 

3. Sept 24 | Enviro Cycle Tour 

4. Sept 24 | Seed Saving at the Ottawa Tool Library 

5. Sept 30 | Seed Cleaning Workshop 

6. Volunteer with Just Food 

Other Community News and Events

7. Sept 19 | The à la carte Food Film Festival 

8. Sept 24 | Farm Dream Design Workshop at the Kula Farm 

9. Sept 30 | Permaculture Farm & Edible Landscape Design 

10. Oct 12 | Eco Fest with Ecology Ottawa 


If you received this monthly newsletter from someone else and would like to receive it directly, sign up here. If you have a food or farm-related event or issue that you would like posted on this newsletter, send a request to

Although all volunteers and community partners of Just Food want to ensure Ottawa has a vibrant, accessible, sustainable food system, we have many diverse perspectives on how to get there. Just Food welcomes this diversity and believes that it is through working collaboratively with different opinions that we will arrive at a healthy food system for all. Any information that Just Food sends can include information from different community members and community partners and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Just Food.  If you ever have a question about any information listed here, please do not hesitate to e-mail or call 613-699-6850 x10.

Just Food News and Events  

1. Sept 14 – 17, Sept 21 – 24, and Sept 28 – Oct 1 | Three More Rural Fairs

Just Food in partnership with Ottawa 2017 as a part of the Agri 150 program would like to promote the following fairs. 

Richmond Fair – September 14 to 17

Fun for the whole family! The Richmond Fair showcases agriculture through arts, crafts, animals and more.  Plus, enjoy live music shows, aerial shows, rock climbing, reptile shows and BMX Bike shows!

More info – Click here

Carp Fair – Sept 21 to 24

154th Annual Carp Fair – where rural meets the City! There’s something for everyone: many livestock exhibitors, heavy horses parade, antique display, local artisans, petting zoo, pony rides, live entertainment and more! Bring your family out for a true agricultural experience!

More info – Click here

Metcalfe – September 28 to October 1

2017 will mark the 161st anniversary of this fall tradition, held annually in the Village of Metcalfe. Participate in a variety of events such as the demolition derby, the classic car show and the Fiddling & Step Dancing Competition.

More info – Click here


2. Sept 16 – 24 | Celebrate Organic Week

What is Organic Week? Canada’s National Organic Week is the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. Hundreds of individual events showcase the benefits of organic agriculture and its positive impact on the environment. Organic represents a vibrant alternative food system and an alternative option for clothing, personal care and cleaning products.


Wondering how you can celebrate Organic Week?

3. Sept 24 | Enviro Cycle Tour

Come experience the countryside by bicycle, and visit some of the eco-friendly businesses and public spaces in Ottawa’s rural area.

There are two options: tackle the entire 72 km route with your own bike, or bus part way and cycle the 21 km route with a bike provided by RentABike. Whichever route you choose, all attendees will get the pleasure of visiting Castor River Farm, a sustainable off-grid farm, SunTech Greenhouses, where vegetables are grown year-round, and W.A. Taylor Conservation area for a rest between, as you sample Savour Ottawa treats.

So, hop on and let your RentABike guides and local farmers bring you on a day full of fun, learning, and exercise!

This Agri 150 event is brought to you by Ottawa 2017, Ottawa RentABike, and Just Food.

Click here for more information.


4. Sept 24 | Seed Saving at the Ottawa Tool Library

Join CGN Coordinator Jordan Bouchard and connect with other makers at the Ottawa Tool Library. Learn foundational concepts to seed saving, with some specific instruction on some good beginner vegetables, as well as how you can contribute to your local seed libraries each year!

Click here for more information.


5. Sept 30 | Seed Cleaning Workshop

So you’ve figured out how to produce good quality seed, but now how do you clean it so that it looks like it does in a seed pack?  Join us on September 30 from 10:00 – 1:00 at Greta’s Organic Gardens and learn how to clean vegetable seed from resident expert Greta Kryger. As part of this workshop Greta will demonstrate what she uses to clean her seeds & you will get an idea of what will work at your scale.  This workshop is primarily for those producing vegetable seeds, but anyone interested in learning what goes into seed cleaning & production will learn a lot. Save your spot.

Register today!


6. Volunteer with Just Food

New Roots & Plant-a-Row, Donate-A-Row Gardening

Interested in trying gardening at a larger scale while contributing to a local emergency food cupboard. Just Food has a volunteer-driven garden on our site in Blackburn Hamlet. Come help harvest & weed the garden on every other Thursday in September (next up is September 21st) at 6:00 pm in Blackburn Hamlet at 2389 Pepin Court.

Let us know you’re coming by emailing us at

Experienced Tool Users Needed!

Two experienced people on cordless drills are needed to screw down the metal sheets at the base of the barn [ground level]—to assist with Just Food’s efforts to animal-proof the new barn reno!

CONTACT: Christine at

Barn Raising!

To assist with roof construction using pre-fab trusses. Looking for volunteers with or without construction experience to assist. Date in the next couple of weeks to be confirmed.

CONTACT: Christine at if interested.



Other Community News and Events



7. Sept 19 | The à la carte Food Film Festival

As part of the Ottawa Public Library’s food literacy and Canada 150 programming is presenting the à la carte Food Film Festival on Tuesday, September 19 at the Bytowne Cinema (325 Rideau Street). The event is free and no registration is required.

Please visit the food literacy webpage for more information.


8. Sept 24 | Farm Dream Design Workshop at the Kula Farm

If you’ve ever thought of moving to the country or you already own a rural property and you want to get back to the land, grow some of your own food and start building your vision – big or small

  • Take an in-depth tour of organic farm and a step-by-step look at how Kula Farm got to where they are today from a bare piece of land 8 years ago
  • Get a view into all of the time, money and energy saving lessons they’ve learned along the way
  • Get custom advice to properly scale your unique dream to your unique resources for success, including land, finance and environment; where you should be prioritizing your time, money and energy right now

Click here for more information.


9. Sept 30 | Permaculture Farm & Edible Landscape Design

Join a detailed tour of two sites with two local authors.  We’ll start the day with a quick intro on “what is permaculture?”.  The tour will visit Kula Permaculture Farm and Aster Lane Edibles.  Cost: $59, includes HST.

Click here for more information.


10. Oct 12 | Eco Fest with Ecology Ottawa

On October 12th 2017, at the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park, Ecology Ottawa will be celebrating their 10th anniversary by hosting EcoFest – Ottawa’s biggest gathering of the environmental community. Come celebrate! Hear from inspiring speakers, enjoy vegetarian/vegan food from local restaurants, sip on beer from Ottawa’s finest craft breweries, watch live art installations, bid on exciting auction prizes, network with like-minded Ottawa residents and explore all the innovative green businesses, organizations and initiatives Ottawa has to offer.

Click here for more information.

If you received this monthly newsletter from someone else and would like to receive it directly, sign up here.  If you have a food or farm-related event or issue that you would like posted on this newsletter, send a request to

Although all volunteers and community partners of Just Food want to ensure Ottawa has a vibrant, accessible, sustainable food system, we have many diverse perspectives on how to get there. Just Food welcomes this diversity and believes that it is through working collaboratively with different opinions that we will arrive at a healthy food system for all. Any information that Just Food sends can include information from different community members and community partners and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Just Food.  If you ever have a question about any information listed here, please do not hesitate to e-mail or call 613-699-6850 x10.


Bring Food Home 2017 – October 26 – 29!

Bring Food Home Upstream Collaboration

Bring Food Home 2017: Upstream Collaboration will be held at the University of Ottawa on October 26th to October 29th, 2017.

Visit for all the juicy details on this awesome four-day event!









The conference will  include inspiring speakers, local tours, engaging panels, hands-on workshops, and action-planning sessions in addition to networking opportunities and a Feast of Local Flavours. Bring Food Home offers a forum to share experience and expertise, build the capacity and cohesiveness of Ontario’s local food network, and plan and coordinate actions that will direct us in building a better food system in Ontario and beyond.

Upstream Collaboration, the 2017 conference theme will acknowledge the work and innovation being done in local food systems in Ontario.  This theme recognizes our collective need to bring together diverse sectors to generate action on food and farm issues, as well as the need to ask and answer tough questions about these issues. We will collaborate as an Ontario community to work on issues and grow stronger together. From food policy and food access to business support and the environment, the 2017 program will cover a diverse range of topics and make space for new and ongoing conversations. Over the three days, we will break down barriers, forge new alliances and support each other in working together for a better future.

Fall Harvest Art Exhibition – Now Accepting Submissions!

We are thrilled to announce the first-ever art show to be held at Just Food Farm! Just Food is seeking artists of all backgrounds and levels of expertise to submit their work for consideration in the Fall 2017 exhibition.  Those whose pieces are selected will have the opportunity to showcase their art in the newly renovated barn on-site, with the grand-opening occurring on hOctober 14t

For more detailed information about the venue and how to submit work, please see the submission form below

Submission Form

If you are interested in submitting your original art please send a photo of your work and a completed submission form to


NEW Community Space at the Just Food Farm!

Celebrating Ontario’s 150th Anniversary with Better Community Spaces in Ottawa-Orléans

Announcing new funds to create community space at Just Food Farm

MPP Marie-France Lalonde announced today that Just Food is receiving $246,800 of support through the Ontario150 Community Capital Program for their Barn-Raising Renovation to create a city-wide community asset at the Just Food Farm on the NCC Greenbelt. The Ontario150 Community Capital Program will help not-for-profit organizations, like Just Food, renovate, repair and retrofit existing community and cultural infrastructure. This support will be used to increase accessibility and maximize community use of public spaces, delivering better facilities for families in the community.

“Infrastructure is the backbone that supports community life. It gives us spaces to come
together, to be active or to honour our heritage, in this case, honouring our agricultural heritage. Our government is helping Ottawa-Orléans strengthen community infrastructure that makes a difference in our everyday lives.”
— Marie-France Lalonde, MPP for Ottawa-Orléans

“We are grateful to Ontario 150 and Trillium for granting us funds to create a community space by renovating the barn at the Just Food Farm in the NCC Greenbelt to connect community around food and sustainable agriculture in Canada’s capital for decades to come.”
—Patricia Ballamingie, Just Food Board Chair, local grant recipient

“The Ontario150 Community Capital Program will positively impact people right across the province by improving public spaces like parks and youth centres. Our investments in these important projects will build a strong social, cultural and economic legacy for our communities for years to come.”
—Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“I thank the Province of Ontario for its important contribution that will allow Just Food to restore and modernize their farm’s barn. This contribution will also assist the National Capital Commission with its efforts to preserve the Greenbelt’s rich rural landscape.”
—Dr. Mark Kristmanson, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission

Ontario is investing $25 million in the Ontario150 Community Capital Program to support 203 capital projects. In total, these investments are expected to result in almost 1.4 million square feet of renovated community space and more than 36,000 hours of additional availability for physical activity and arts programming.

Ontario is recognizing the historical significance of 2017 with Ontario150, a year-long
commemoration that will honour Ontario’s past, showcase the present and inspire future

The Ontario150 Community Capital Program is one of three Ontario150 grant programs that will promote community engagement, empower young people and contribute to economic growth.

The Ontario150 Community Capital Program is administered by the Ontario Trillium
Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s largest granting

The Ontario Trillium Foundation uses research to guide decision-making and relies on
community-based volunteers across Ontario to review applications and guide granting

In celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary, the province has also released a new
recording of A Place to Stand (Ontario Song), the province’s unofficial anthem. The 50-year old song has been refreshed to instil a sense of pride and belonging for all.

Investing in local communities for Ontario’s 150th anniversary is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


Buy Local Food Made Easy with Local Freshness

Launch during Ontario’s Agriculture Week Oct 3-9th, 2016 

Ottawa-Gatineau-Renfrew, October 3, 2016 – The Table agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais, Just Food and the Ottawa Valley Food Coop are pleased to launch the first regional portal dedicated to helping eaters find local food products.

On this portal, eaters from Outaouais, Ottawa and Ottawa Valley will find important links in one place to identify local producers and locate where they are selling food – at the farm-gate, at restaurants, and/or online. Indeed, this portal unites for the first time Savour Ottawa, Outaouais Bite Into it!, Ottawa Valley Food Coop, Outaouais Gourmet Way, Just Food’s Buy Local/Grow Local Guide, and Marché de l’Outaouais.

All year round many local food products can be found either at the farm, in restaurants, in shops or online. This portal will make life easier for customers wanting to buy local food and experience agro-tourism in our region.

“For the first time, organizations dedicated to the promotion of local producers and local food from both sides of the Ottawa River unite to help customers find local products with one click. The Table agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais is proud to be part of this innovative initiative that brings two provinces closer through one unifying goal: put local food at the center of the customers’ plate.” said Sylvain Lefebvre, Chair of the Table agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais.

“A perfect way to celebrate Agriculture Week in Ontario – Oct. 3-9th – we encourage both tourists and residents alike to use this portal as a springboard to visit the incredible farms, farmers’ markets and restaurants in our region that showcase regional food. In fact, not just this week, but all year round! Local Freshness allows you keep updated, with regional Buy Local maps at your fingertips, to help plan your next local food adventure”, said Patricia Ballamingie, Chair of Just Food.

“Demand for buying local food online is increasing, and the Local Freshness portal makes finding this option even easier”, said Daniel McCarthy, Chair of Ottawa Valley Food Coop. “From meat and poultry to honey and maple syrup, to frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables, to prepared food and household items, the options from local farmers and processors in this region are growing all the time for year-round product. See for yourself!”

Tourists and residents will be able to visit as well as follow the initiative on Facebook.

Sponsors of this initiative include Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, City of Ottawa and the Trillium Foundation of Ontario – all three funders have been long-standing, strong supporters of local food in this region.

“The support we grant to Canadian businesses that focus on innovation clearly demonstrates our commitment to advancing sustainable growth and prosperity in Canada. That is why we are pleased to support the Local Freshness initiative, which will help local enterprises develop new business partnerships and showcase local products,” stated the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions.

Local Freshness. Simply delicious!



Moe Garahan, Executive Director
Just Food, Ottawa Table

Vincent Philibert, Director
agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais
819 281-7676

Cheryl Keetch
Ottawa Valley Food Coop, Coordinator
613 633-3557