Monday, 14 March 2016

Webinar ~ Seed Freedom & Intellectual Property Rights, Bauta Family Iniative on Canadian Seed Security.

The first webinar of 2016 - Seed Freedom & Intellectual Property Rights - is confirmed for March 30, 2016!

Please see the details below and register here if you'd like to join us!

As usual, the webinar will be recorded and posted after the fact.

This program is made possible thanks to the vision and leadership of Gretchen Bauta, member of the Weston family. It is delivered by USC Canada, in partnership with Seeds of Diversity Canada and through the generous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is building a national movement to conserve and advance seed biodiversity, keep seed in the public domain, and promote ecological seed production.

Nine out of every ten bites of food begin with seed. [1] Seed security is food security.

Globally, we have lost 75% of agricultural biodiversity in the last 100 years.[2]

75% of the world’s food is derived from only 12 plant and 5 animal species,[3] and 50 crop commodities contribute 90% of food calories, protein, fat, and weight around the world.[4]

Due to corporate consolidation in the seed industry, 3 companies now control 53% of the global commercial seed market. The top ten seed companies account for 75%![5]

Organics is the fastest growing agri-food sector in Canada today.[7] Still, organic farmers rely primarily on seeds bred for uniformity, performance under controlled conditions, with routine application of synthetic inputs.[8]

These and other dynamics add up to a seed and food system that has negative impacts on human and environmental health, and that is vulnerable to severe weather (storms, drought, and floods), pests, diseases, and rising soil salinity. As Canada’s climates change, so too must our approach to food production. Broadening the range of crops and varieties we grow, and investing in the development of varieties adapted to ecological farming and Canada’s diverse growing environments will increase the resilience of our agricultural system.


Farmers have been the stewards of seed biodiversity for centuries. The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is working with farmers and partners to build a diverse and resilient Canadian seed system by pursuing the following objectives:

To increase the quality, quantity and diversity of ecologically grown Canadian seed

To promote public access to seed

To facilitate information-sharing and collaboration among individuals and organizations committed to advancing an ecological and diverse seed system in Canada

To respect, advance, and promote the knowledge of farmers in seed and food production

Together we can build a seed system that provides a solid foundation for food security, climate resilience, and vibrant local communities.


Ecological farming refers to farming practices that include certified and uncertified organic agriculture, as well as other farming systems that adhere to similar agro-ecological principles, including but not limited to biodynamics and permaculture. Organic farming refers to farming practices certified by an eligible certification body in accordance with Canada's Organic Products Regulations. The principles of organic farming include, but are not limited to:

minimizing soil degradation and erosion,

maintaining long-term soil fertility,

optimizing biological productivity and diversity,

managing weeds, pests, and diseases without the use of synthetic pesticides,

encouraging beneficial insects and balanced predator-prey relationships,

improving livestock health, and decreasing pollution.

There is a wide spectrum of growers that practice agriculture according to, but also beyond, these principles. Some of these growers may not necessarily be certified organic under an eligible certification body, but they still adhere to agro-ecological farming practices. Accordingly, The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security focuses on seed grown using ecological farming practices in Canada, to support the entire continuum of ecological farming in Canada.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Prison Farms & Food Sovereignty: Til the Cows Come Home, Documentary Film Screening & Discussion.

Prisoners’ Justice Film Festival presents: 


The Harper government closed Canada’s 150 year old prison farm program that was designed to help with the ‘rehabilitation’ of prisoners. When the closures began, there was fierce resistance from a diverse range of communities in the Kingston area. 

This documentary was the story of the fight to save the prison farms. 

When: Friday, March 16th, 6pm.

Where: London Public Library, 261 Dundas Street.


The story behind this extraordinary display of civil disobedience, filled with tension-filled confrontations and a cast of colorful characters, from irate farmers to passionate nuns to endearing ex-cons. It asks provocative questions about the Canadian government's hardening approach to criminal justice, food security....and democracy itself.

When the Harper government takes the decision to transform the correctional system to one that puts punishment first and foremost, Canada's rehabilitative prison farms are among the first casualties.

Mounting opposition towards the farm closures leads to direct action, and in the late summer of 2010, hundreds of angry protesters stand in front of Frontenac Prison Farm in the heart of Kingston, Ontario, ready to block cattle trucks brought in to remove the hundred-year-old prize dairy herd. The dramatic standoff between protesters and police lasts two days, through pouring rain and hot sun. Black-clad police arrest 24 people, the youngest 14 years old, the oldest, 85.

Recognizing that animal farming has direct links to environmental and animal rights movements, we will be talking about the complex intersections of food sovereignty, prisoners’ justice and its relationship with land. 

We will pose the questions:

How are our food production practices contextualized around black, indigenous, migrant communities and their specific histories with land?

How would our framework shift if we connected food justice and prison justice with our resistance to imperialism and militarization on lands near and far?

Whose land are we on and what is the history behind it?

What would this work look like if we recognized borders and prison walls as some of the most violent and intentional structures holding communities back from the land?

With the help of Jessica Tong, we will explore programs run by communities – including the Freedom Food Alliance’s victory bus project, Soul Fire farm’s transformative justice program, and former black panther Elaine Brown’s West Oakland Farm project – with the purpose of building toward a future of food justice that is interlinked with prison justice.

Jessica Tong grew up in Scarborough and has formerly organized in the London, Ontario community with the Prisoners Justice Film Festival. She is passionate about exploring the concepts of home, belonging and how borders – be they prison bars, apartheid walls or immigration checkpoints – disrupt our abilities to love and to achieve justice.

She is currently studying Food and Farming at Durham College with the understanding that different communities have particular historical and contextual relationships with food and land.

Click here to watch the trailer of Til the Cows Come Home:

Click here for the Prisoners Justice Film Festival:

Click here to find the event of Facebook:

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Autumn Newsletter

We hope your summer was full of gardening, grapes and great food. Ours flew by, and now we are into the harvest months, which means lots of cool events. Please read on to learn about some cool food related opportunities in the London Community.

Eat, Think, Vote! Let's Make Food an Election Issue: Healthy, Sustainable Food for ALL!
  • Saturday, October 10th5:30-8pm. Trinity United, Hale St., off Dundas St. E.
  • Please RSVP here
Join the community for some delicious, local, healthy food, and engage with the federal candidates about a National Local Food Policy in Canada. Organized by Food Not Lawns London Canada along with many other community partners like the Hamilton Road Food Prosperity Iniative and London Gets Local, the London Food Co-op, along with 1000's of other communities in partnership with Food Secure Canada. Add your voice to a pan-Canadian movement for healthy, sustainable and affordable food.

Rising food prices are a key issue for Canadians in the federal election. Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables have gone up in price, and income levels have not kept pace.

A national food policy for Canada should be a priority of any new government and is a matter of common sense. We need to urgently address the issues of hunger, unhealthy diets and unsustainable food production in Canada by breaking down the silos in government on health, environment, agriculture, education and the economy, among others.

    -All kids in Canada’s schools have access to healthy food every day
    -The right to food becomes a reality for the 4 million Canadians who are now food insecure
    -The next generation of farmers gets the public support they need to thrive
    -Good food is affordable and accessible in Canada’s remote and northern communities

Take action today and join our movement by signing the petition:

Harvest Bike Tour
Saturday September 26th 2:00-5:00pm, Around the City of London
RSVP here and to find out more info. 
Take this self-guided bike tour to four diverse, earth-friendly urban gardens. All gardens are located in central London. 

Grab a map at any of the locations or earlier in the day at the Be the Change rally at Western Fair Farmer's Market.

Interested in the idea of Giving Canadians a Solid Floor to Stand On - Basic Income?
Join Narcise of Food Not Lawns for a webinar from Community Food Centers Canada (Location T.B.D.): Wednesday, September 30, 2015 12:00:00 PM EDT - 1:00:00 PM EDT.

As Canadians prepare for a federal election this fall, we are calling on all political parties to commit to taking real action against poverty and to seriously explore basic income as part of the solution. With 12.6% Canadians living below the Low Income Measure (as of 2011) and the costs of poverty in this country totaling approximately $86 billion annually (OAFB, 2009), we are facing a critical national issue that requires a national solution. Guaranteeing a basic income for all would both greatly reduce the number of Canadians experiencing food insecurity and, importantly, offer a more dignified social safety net that ensures no one falls below a certain income level.

The London Food Co-op's 45th Birthday:
Saturday, October 3rd4-9pm, Join The London Food Co-op in celebrating our 45th birthday! For more information, please visit:

Get Cooking and Let's Eat - Museum London Food Exhibitions
Sunday, September 27
Guided tours on the hour: 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00
Food for Thought with Growing Chefs! Ontario: 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Cost: Free
Museum London shares its fall harvest and serves up palatable exhibitions related to the theme of food. Take a tour of historical displays such as Get Cooking and Let’s Eat, which present the region’s food production and manufacturing over the years. Then, visit contemporary exhibitions such as Food-Water-Life by Lucy & Jorge Orta, as well as the installation Indigestion by London artist Ron Benner. If you have room for dessert, join Growing Chefs! Ontario at 1:00 pm for a drop-in workshop, Food for Thought. Families will learn to use seasonal ingredients to plate a dessert inspired by artistic chef techniques. Growing Chefs! Ontario unites chefs, growers, educators and community members in children’s food education projects and knows first-hand how to nourish a child’s curiosity for cooking. Parents, you may not have to cook tonight!

All You Can Eat: A Symposium on Food
Sunday, October 18, 1:00 to 6:00 pm
Theatre and Community Gallery, Museum London
Cost: Free

In celebration of our thematic fall exhibitions, and World Food Day on October 16, Museum London presents a symposium on a topic essential to survival: food. Discussions will explore the food system and its sustainability, as well as how food communicates identity, values, culture, and ethnicity. We begin the afternoon with a keynote address and finish it off with a tour and performance. Registration will open soon and check the website in September for details.

Visit Symposium for more i

Two-Course Films on Food
Sunday’s at 1:00 and 3:00 pm
Theatre, Museum London

Cost: $5 per film at the door 
The cool weather is coming but you can fill your belly on Sunday afternoons with a two-course meal of the best films dishing on food. We pull old and new flicks out of the cupboard, tossing documentaries and dramas together with a dash of comedy. There’s something to satiate all palettes, so help yourself to a second serving!

Sunday, November 1
Food, Inc. & Chef 

Sunday, November 16
The Fruit Hunters & Fed Up

Sunday, November 22
Just Eat It & Haute Cuisine

Sunday, November 29
Deli Man & The Trip to Italy 

Visit Two-Course Films on Food for more info.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Free Advocacy Workshop for Pillar Members: Is Your Charity's Voice Heard?

Imagine Canada thinks it's important that your organization has a voice on issues of relevance to your cause and community. Their goal is to ensure that as many board members and charity leaders as possible are empowered to support the charities with which they work to engage with confidence in public policy in 2015.
Join us at the table to participate in a public policy workshop for local charity leaders and board members. Learn about the why and how of charities' participation in public policy and what you need to know about:
  • Political activities reporting
  • Federal lobbyist registration
  • Engagement during the federal election
Date & Time: Wednesday, September 23, 20152:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Webinar- September 22nd, 12 (EST): "The costs of food insecurity to our health care system: Why food insecurity is a federal election issue."

The health care costs associated with food insecurity are staggering. Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, well-known food insecurity researcher with the University of Toronto/PROOF project, will present the latest results of their research into the health care costs associated with food insecurity among working-aged adults in Ontario. The researchers documented a more than two-fold difference in health care costs among adults in severely food insecure households compared to those who were food secure. 

The findings suggest that policy interventions to address food insecurity can be expected to offset considerable public expenditures in health care. The results were recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (August 10, 2015) [See CMAJ article and listen to CMAJ podcast].

One of the election priorities identified by Dietitians of Canada for the 2015 Federal Election is for the parties to develop and implement a national strategy to reduce food insecurity. Go to for details.

This free webinar will provide the rationale for this federal election ‘ask’ from dietitians - and you will hear what the leaders said in response to questions from Dietitians of Canada. 

Valerie Tarasuk is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto.  Much of her research is focused on food insecurity, elucidating the scope and nature of this problem in Canada and examining policy and programmatic responses.  Paralleling this work is an ongoing research interest in Canadian food policy and population health.  Val currently leads a large, interdisciplinary program of research called PROOF designed to identify effective policy interventions to reduce household food insecurity in Canada, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Pat Vanderkooy, MSc, RD, Manager, Public Affairs, Dietitians of Canada (DC) is responsible for recommending public policy issues for action by DC; in consultation with members, she designs and implements advocacy strategies based on best available evidence to promote the voice of the profession. Pat completed her BASc and MSc at the University of Guelph and interned in Kitchener, ON. She has worked in almost all sectors of dietetics practice, including research, teaching, clinical (hospital, long term care), community (home care), food industry, private practice, and Public Health, before she joined Dietitians of Canada staff in 2011.


Food insecurity is a serious public health problem that affects 4 million Canadians.

Who we are:
PROOF is an international, interdisciplinary team of researchers who are committed to the reduction of household food insecurity, which is the inadequate or insecure access to adequate food due to financial constraints.

Our mandate:
In 2011, the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) awarded 11 Programmatic Grants to Tackle Health and Health Equity in Canada. Our team was privileged to receive one of these grants to execute a five-year research program to identify viable and effective policy interventions to reduce household food insecurity in Canada.

This Website:
The goal of this website is two-fold:
(1) to provide information about our program of research and its ongoing projects, and
(2) to serve as a resource on food insecurity in Canada for our knowledge user partners and the public at large.

 PROOF: Research to Identify Policy Options to Identify Food Insecurity. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Collective Impact & Its Application for Food Policy Councils: Webinar, Tuesday, September 1 from 11 AM - 12:15 PM EDT

the Food Policy Network project and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network will co-host a webinar on collective impact, an organizational framework that is gaining in popularity among food system advocates. Groups such as food policy councils may consider using the collective impact approach, which entails groups from different sectors working together with a common agenda and indicators of success to solve a social problem. Join us for this webinar to learn about the collective impact approach, the conditions under which it is most successful, and its potential application for food policy councils. Panelists will also share examples of how collective impact is being used at different geographic scales to affect food policy. Featured speakers include: Curtis Ogden, Senior Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change; Jennifer Obadia, New England Regional Coordinator at Health Care Without Harm; Ellen Kahler, Executive Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund; and Whitney Fields, Program Manager for the Indianapolis Food Council. Register here.