Growing Public Food — *NEW* Case Studies

Project SOIL is a feasibility study that explores the potential of on-site food production for public institutions through arrangements with local producers, particularly where access to farmland is limited and expensive. By encouraging and facilitating these partnerships, we aim to test the potential for growing mutually beneficial relationships, while increasing the production and consumption of fresh food.

With funding from the New Directions program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, we have started five pilot initiatives, producing food on-site at health care, social service and educational institutions. There is significant interest in the project, and many institutions across the province are contemplating or starting their own food production pilots. However, the pathway from pilot to viable core program can seem lengthy and fraught with challenges. To support these initiatives, and provide useful examples from which to learn, we have produced four in-depth case studies of existing models that have achieved significant annual production:

These case studies represent food production models that developed over years, and required time, resources and commitment to achieve significant scale. In each case study, we document the history, resources, partnerships and lessons that enabled each to grow and prosper in their own way.

For more information, and to download pdf versions, please visit our Case Studies page, or contact Phil Mount (pmount@wlu.ca) or Irena Knezevic (Irena.Knezevic@carleton.ca).

 

Growing Food on Public Land

From ChangeLab Solutions comes Dig, Eat, and Be Healthy: A Guide to Growing Food on Public Property (pdf)

Growing food on public property – from vacant fields, to schoolyards, parks, utility rights-of-way,  and even the rooftops of public buildings – can yield a diverse crop of community benefits. Fresh, healthy food is just the beginning: growing food on public property can also promote civic participation, public safety, food literacy, job skills, and urban greening – in short, healthier, more vibrant places. This guide provides users with the tools they need to access public land for growing food. Read more

Growing Food with Purpose: three webinars

Emma’s Acres — L.I.N.C.

Lessons from the Farm at St. Joe’s

Project SOIL

 

Webinar 1

 

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 – 13:00 EDT

Emma’s Acres — L.I.N.C.
Emma’s Acres is an agricultural social enterprise that 1) provides offenders with employment skills and reintegration supports as they are transitioning out of prison, 2) assists survivors of serious crime through the outreach worker funded in part by selling produce that is grown on site and 3) enhances the food security in the District of Mission by creating a year round local source of non- spray vegetables, herbs and flowers. “Inspiring hope… Helping victims one squash at a time.”

Sherry Edmunds-Flett, executive director of L.I.N.C., will be talking about digital storytelling and how it helps in project evaluation and getting the message out. A developmental evaluation of the Society’s activities was the result of a collaboration between the University of BC’s Research in Health and Healthcare Inequities and L.I.N.C.

For more details, please visit: http://foodsecurecanada.org/resources-news/webinars-podcasts/webinar-emmas-acres-linc
 

Webinar 2

 

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 – 14:00 EDT

Lessons from the Farm at St. Joe’s

Leaders from Saint Joseph Mercy Health System will share their story, which includes The Farm at St. Joe’s, a 364-acre farm and educational experience on the grounds of St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where organic planting methods provide patients, staff, volunteers and visitors an experiential way to understand the link between fresh air, exercise, fresh food, good nutrition and good health. In this presentation, the staff behind the creation and management of the farm will share some of the lessons they’ve learned and insights into how other health care organizations can take what they’ve learned and adapt it for their own organization, how to generate support for environmental projects, how to find community partners and more.

For more details please visit: https://academy.practicegreenhealth.org/products/sustainable-operations-series-lessons-from-the-farm-at-st-joes
 

Webinar 3

 

Wednesday, October 22, 15:00 EDT

Project SOIL webinar

In Ontario, several institutions are already producing food on their properties as a way to generate revenue; supply nutritious fresh food for consumption (by staff, patients, students, etc.); provide skills training and therapeutic benefits; and build social enterprises.

Project SOIL is a three-year feasibility study that explores the potential of on-site food production at public health care and educational institutions in Ontario.  This webinar will share how project partners at health care, social service and educational institutions went about getting gardens off the ground at their institutions, as well as some of the lessons we learned in the first year of working with pilot projects across the province.

For more details, please visit: http://projectsoil.ca/2014/09/23/project-soil-webinar/

Changing Hospital Food

Sick Kids café transformed with fresh, local food

from TheStar.com
Michele Henry

It may look and taste like a roti from any one of this city’s many Caribbean takeout joints: firm, flavourful chicken, well-spiced potatoes, a hearty wrap and throat-tickling mango chutney.

But this $7.65 lunch comes with a few surprises.

First, it’s hospital food. Second, it’s fresh, not processed. Third, the ingredients are all local. The chicken’s from a farm near Bradford, Ont. The bread was made by Norman Sue Bakery in Scarborough. As was the mango chutney. And the potatoes come from Essex Country in southwestern Ontario.

“They weren’t ripening on a truck somewhere,” says Shawn Studholme, executive chef at Sick Kids hospital, of the raw ingredients used daily in the hospital atrium’s Terrace Café kitchen. “If it was picked yesterday, I’ll probably have it today.”

How ’bout them apples?

Since last year, when it received its first $50,000 Greenbelt Foundation grant, the hospital has upped the cafeteria’s quotient of fresh, local food to a whopping 70 per cent. That’s impressive, considering other large institutions, such as Ryerson University, strive to buy 25 per cent of their food from nearby sources.

Read more

Celebrity Chef Event – Wellington Centre for Sustainable Agriculture

A beautiful four course meal with one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs - all in support of the Wellington Centre for Sustainable Agriculture‘s primary mandate of supporting the next generation of new young, ecological farmers.

Thursday, October 2, 2014
from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (EDT)
Elora, ON

Featuring the students from the Food School helping Roary MacPherson, Executive chef at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland since 2003. Read more

Project SOIL webinar

Shared Opportunities on Institutional LandsLakehead Psychiatric Hospital

Challenges and opportunities of on-site food production

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT

In Ontario, several institutions are already producing food on their properties as a way to generate revenue; supply nutritious fresh food for consumption (by staff, patients, students, etc.); provide skills training and therapeutic benefits; and build social enterprises.

Project SOIL is a three-year feasibility study that explores the potential of on-site food production at public health care and educational institutions in Ontario.  This webinar will share how project partners at health care, social service and educational institutions went about getting gardens off the ground at their institutions, as well as some of the lessons we learned in the first year of working with pilot projects across the province.

Webinar participants will include:

  • Chef Christopher Jess, high school culinary arts instructor in Fergus Ontario, and the guiding force behind the Food School Farm (Centre Wellington District High School);
  • Doug Dowhos, Supervisor of Employment Options for St. Joseph’s Care Group and creator of the GreenWerks Garden social enterprise (Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital);
  • Tami Proctor, Registered Horticultural Therapist  leading the Victorian Garden project at Homewood Health Centre;
  • Louise Quenneville, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Project Manager at Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital; and
  • Jenny Weickert, Our Farm coordinator at KW Habilitation.

For more information and to register, please contact Irena Knezevic at irena.knezevic@carleton.ca

5 Chefs, 5 Pigs and a Blues Band

1st Annual Fergus Whole Hog BBQ 

Fergus, Ontario

On Sunday, September 7, the Wellington Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (WCSA) will host a live blues band and a competition for the title of Fergus’ elite pig roaster, at the 1st Annual Fergus Whole Hog BBQ. Among the jurors for the competition is Zane Caplansky, owner of Caplansky’s deli and the Thunderin’ Thelma food truck. This Food School Farm event will provide an opportunity to talk to the chefs, savour the flavours of their craft and take a walk through the newly transformed grounds of the historic farmhouse.

Tickets can be purchased online through the WCSA website or at Scotiabank Fergus.

$35 for adults; Children 12 and under free.

When & Where:

Sunday, September 7 from 3:00 – 7:00 PM (EDT)

570 Belsyde Road

 Fergus, ON 
Canada

The event will also be the first opportunity for many residents to see the pilot of a newly formed partnership exploring on-site food production. In collaboration with the WCSA and Centre Wellington District High School, the Food School Farm offers the students a unique learning opportunity where alternative farming techniques can be explored, while growing quality produce for the school-run culinary program.

SOIL initiative at hospital keeps growing

Scott Carmichael
The Glengarry News,
Alexandria, ON

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A hands-on “green” program is flourishing at the local hospital. Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is participating in one of five pilot projects across the province to study how public institutions can also become food producers.

Linda Morrow, HGMH CEO, said the Alexandria hospital was chosen to participate in the Project SOIL (Shared Opportunities for Institutional Land) initiative in October. The program is investigating the feasibility of using institutional land to grow organic produce by examining on-site food production systems already in place at Ontario institutions.

The hospital foundation received $2,000 from the study organizers to expand the hospital’s garden, which was started following reception of a $25,000 Healthy Communities Fund grant from the province in 2011.

Rehab patients, primarily those recovering from strokes, have, along with staff, tended the garden located behind the hospital. Given patient mobility and access concerns, the outdoor garden consists of ground-level and raised beds which contain a wide range of produce, including cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, shallots, squash and tomatoes, as well as various herbs.

Produce grown in the garden is incorporated into patient and staff meals.

Ms. Morrow said the hospital is using the grant to build another aisleway in the garden to allow for easier access for wheelchair-bound patients. She added that the hospital is also looking into other related initiatives.

“Eventually what we want to do is engage our local farmers to participate with us and combine the hospital-grown produce with a current supplier,” Ms. Morrow explained.

“Having a positive impact on clinical outcomes in the rehab program, being recognized as a leader in green health-care initiatives, and demonstrating that we’re a key player in the buy local movement” were other possible off-shoots of growing the garden initiative through Project SOIL.

Chantal Mageau-Pinard, the hospital’s manager of physiotherapy and rehabilitation services, said that many rehab patients feel right at home amongst the veggies and herbs. “Most of these people have been farmers, or are used to working in gardens four or five times larger than this one,” she said recently. “So it’s familiar territory for them.”

Besides HGMH, others participating in Project SOIL are KW Habilitation in Kitchener-Waterloo and GreenWerks Garden at Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in Thunder Bay; Homewood Health Centre in Guelph and the Food School Farm at Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus.
The joint research team will study the skills that people can gain from participating in on-site food production, as well as the impact of channelling fresh local produce into institutional food supplies, at KW Habilitation and GreenWerks Garden.
At HGMH and Homewood Health Centre, the team will study mostly therapeutic benefits, while the Food School Farm is participating in an agro-ecological program.
SOIL is sponsored by Carleton University, University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University and is supported by My Sustainable Canada.

A New Way to Farm

OCTOBER 2 – 4, 2014 – TWO EVENTS

“Farming with Nature profitably” with Mark Shepard
(Author and Polyculture Expert)

Public Seminar—Steckle Heritage Farm
Kitchener ON

Thurs. October 2nd, 6:30pm-9:00pm

Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard (pdf 380 kB)

Registration: $10 An evening sharing session where Mark will give an overview of his design concepts and facilitate a lively question and answer period. Books will be available for purchase.

To Register visit: http://shepardworkshop.eventbrite.ca or http://shepardpublictalk.eventbrite.ca

Questions email Leanne at Our Farm : leannebaer@gmail.com

Open Consultation Workshop

2-Day Hands-On Experience at Waterloo North Mennonite Church, Waterloo Ontario

Fri. October 3rd, 9:00am-4pm – Principles
Sat. October 4th, 9:00am-2pm- Field Day

Farmer, engineer, ecologist and author Mark Shepard will be providing a 2 day, in the field open consultation in Waterloo, courtesy of Our Farm, project partner at our KW Hab pilot sites.

Mark will explain how to transition from a purely annual production to a perennial system that integrates nut and fruit trees, fruiting bushes and vines, alley crops and pastured livestock. Keyline design, a water management technique, will be included and demonstrated in the field.

Mark joins us from Wisconsin where he has been farming 100+ acres using these design principles for the past 18 years.

Registration: $195
Registration fee includes refreshments and lunch, entry to the Public Talk and the two-day workshop. Limited scholarships are available upon request. Books available for purchase.

Register here:

Perennial polyculture workshop: October 3-4, 2014
http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mark-shepard-workshop-tickets-1565353013

They grow inclusion at urban microfarm

KW Hab story from The Record, August 14, 2014

With the help of eager student volunteers and KW Hab residents, the farm on University Avenue has become a powerhouse of engagement and fresh food. The harvest is taken to headquarters every Wednesday where residence co-ordinators can pick out what they need for the week. More than 50 kilograms of snow peas, onions, kale, garlic and more have been harvested between the two farms this summer. On Tuesday, staff and volunteers bottled 35 jars of pesto made from the garden’s fresh basil.

Some activity groups and day programs visit the farm on a weekly basis. Franks said some love it so much they want to visit more often. On Wednesday an activity group peeled and ground cherries that will be processed into jam. Others walked around in the pleasant weather or enjoyed the sensory garden. Read more