Ontario’s Farmland Crisis

High costs make it hard for young farmers hoping to get into the business (CBC News)

“According to StatsCan data, about 50 per cent of our land assets will be transferred in the next five years. And of the retiring farmers, 75 per cent of them don’t have successors. It’s a transition we’ve never seen before in agriculture. And it’s one we are wholly and completely unprepared for.”  – Christie Young, executive director of FarmStart

FarmStart has two incubator farms in southern Ontario to bring new farmers into the business, but at current prices, Young says there is no way those starting out could earn enough from their farms to make a living and pay their mortgage.

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Hospital Food in the UK

( … don’t know what i want, but i know how to get it)

Good hospital food needn’t cost more – Soil Association

“Catering Mark-accredited hospitals also champion British and local food producers, with the result that for every £1 spent on a Food for Life Catering Mark menu there is a social return on investment of more than £3 to the local community, mostly in the form of new jobs and contracts for local food producers.”

The Soil Association in the UK is well known for its certification of organic farming, food and drink production, but the certifier also has an international forest management branch(!?!), and a Food for Life catering mark.

“The Catering Mark provides an independent endorsement that food providers are taking steps to improve the food they serve, using fresh ingredients which are free from undesirable additives and GM, and better for animal welfare.”

Where applied to hospital and care settings, they offer this set of rationales:

“There is a growing awareness of the connection between good food, and health and wellbeing. Obesity and diet related ill health is already costing the NHS £10 billion a year, and this has been estimated to rise to £50 billion by 2050.
In 2010, our survey revealed that nearly two thirds of people have brought in food from outside hospital because the meals on offer were so unappetising.”

Some Examples

After Hinchingbrooke Hospital was awarded a Bronze Catering Mark, they stated that “Patient satisfaction jumped to 92 per cent just two months after the new menus were introduced”.  Unfortunately they don’t provide details on that claim: however, they do offer completely transparent patient feedback results!

Whitgift House was the first care home to receive the Bronze Catering Mark. “Not only are our residents benefitting from a healthier diet, they are also enjoying their food more.”

Sustain Campaign

And check out Sustain (UK)’s Campaign for Better Hospital Food Facebook page, which has been very active, and includes some frightening photos and stories, as well as a survey of the attitudes of hospital catering staff.