local food

Robert Beynon's dairy farm in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

How Ontario’s Greenbelt is failing farmers—and the local food movement

The greenbelt saved 1.8 million acres of green space from urban sprawl. So why are the farmers who live and work there moving away? Photos by Ian Willms Robert Beynon’s dairy farm sits just north of the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, on one of the southernmost edges of Ontario’s greenbelt. It’s a small operation… More »

Not Far From the Tree volunteers picking serviceberries in the city. Illustration by Lindsay Campbell.

This45: Ron Nurwisah on ultra-local food co-op Not Far From the Tree

When it comes to eating locally, it’s tough to beat food that’s growing literally in your own backyard. Since 2008, Not Far From the Tree, a volunteer group in Toronto, has been helping people do just that. Founded by New Brunswicker-turned-Torontonian Laura Reinsborough, the group picked more than 19,000 pounds of fruit from some 200… More »

Gillian Flies of The New Farm. Photo courtesy The New Farm.

This45: Andrea Curtis on local food innovators The New Farm

The first time I visited The New Farm, Brent Preston and Gillian Flies’ bucolic 100-acre spread near Creemore, Ontario, the barn was kitted up with twinkle lights. Bundles of hay provided seating for a play and, later, for listening to the foot-stomping tunes of the Sunparlour Players. Professional chefs cooked up a delicious dinner with… More »

Off the Hook uses the community-supported agriculture model to keep fisheries healthy and bring fresher fish to market. Photo by Sadie Beaton.

This45: Sarah Elton on community-supported fishery Off the Hook

It’s hard to find fresh fish to buy in Canada. Even in Halifax, in view of the ocean, it takes at least six days for local fillets to make it from the fishing boats to the supermarket. Now, a group of five fishers are changing the way fish are caught and sold. They’ve founded Off… More »


Is Canada's genetically engineered "Enviropig" headed for your plate?

It may be anticlimactic for those who picture transgenic animals as products of zany laboratory cut ’n pastes, but Canada’s first genetically engineered animal to be raised for food looks just like the ordinary farm pig that shares its DNA. Dubbed “Enviropig,” its creators at the University of Guelph say it’s a boon to the… More »

Vanessa Rodrigues serves up musical food activism. Photo by Tom Inoue.

Montreal's Vanessa Rodrigues blends music and food activism

When she isn’t playing jazz organ in Rio de Janeiro or running her own jam session during the Montreal International Jazz Festival, musician Vanessa Rodrigues can usually be found making her own pickles. The Montreal-based musician has her plate full with music projects, but high on her list of priorities is food—the growing of, the… More »

College students learn sustainable design—by building it themselves

“No one would think it’s possible to have students with no construction experience making an entire selfsustainable building from scratch,” says David Elfstrom, a graduate of Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario. But that’s what he and 25 of his classmates in the sustainable building design and construction program did in 2006, erecting an eco-friendly outdoor-living… More »

MIT Professor Sheila Kennedy's solar-energy-producing textiles. Courtesy Sheila Kennedy.

Six visionary designers who are planning for our post-oil future

A new generation of designers propose products and buildings that are energy efficient and elegant Rick Mercer’s quip during the Copenhagen climate conference last December summed it up best: “So [Stephen] Harper flew to Copenhagen to have a club sandwich and hide in his room?” The post-Copenhagen doldrums were still bringing us down when Thomas… More »

Innovative Ethiopian food-aid scheme starving for funds

When Ethiopia asked the world for food aid last October, former subsistence farmer Terefi Tekale was not among the 6.2 million people desperate for help. Though his family’s long-held plot in Ethiopia’s Konso region has done poorly in recent years—the soil is sterile, his corn stunted and his hillside eroded—an ambitious new development plan means… More »

How to get local produce in the city? Look up. Illustration by Peter Mitchell.

Is a 60-storey skyscraper the farm of the future?

Canadian architecture student Gordon Graff attracted worldwide interest when he designed SkyFarm, a 59-storey farm for downtown Toronto. What inspired you to design a vertical farm? Sometime in 2006, when I was first working on my masters at the University of Waterloo, I knew I wanted to focus on how to turn a city like… More »