January 2016

Market goers to the Orangeville, Inglewood, Erin and Brampton Farmers' Markets are eagerly buying Soup Girl products at their weekly markets. Retailers across the Golden Horseshoe and beyond are now carrying Soup Girl products. 

We thought we'd gather some insight from the woman behind this flourishingl food business in the Golden Horseshoe, so we spoke with Soup Girl -- Jennifer Clark -- last month, during what is now her busiest time of year.

It's appropriate to highlight Soup Girl at the start of 2016, the International Year of Pulses, as Jennifer's soups are hearty with Canadian lentils and split peas. Read more about the Soup Girl adventure, and digest some of Jennifer's advice, in our latest blog post.
A new Farm to School grant program that will deliver $500,000 to schools in Ontario and British Columbia has been announced by Farm to Cafeteria Canada, the Whole Kids Foundation, the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, the Public Health Association of BC/Farm to School BC, and Sustain Ontario/Ontario Edible Education Network.

The grants, valued at up to $10,000, will support bringing the local harvest to schools. They will engage students and the community in gardening, cooking, preserving, purchasing and serving healthy local foods in a salad bar service at schools.
The funding is available for rural and urban, elementary, middle or secondary schools in Ontario and in British Columbia. Visit the Farm to Cafeteria Canada website for more information.  Applications are to be submitted  no later than  March 15, 2016.
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation released a report last year, Greenbelt Farmers: Sowing the Seeds of Success, highlighting entrepreneurial and innovative farm operators that are managing their farms in a way that is translating into great financial success.  

As the report explains, offering  examples of successes and best practices can be quite helpful to the agriculture and agri-food sector, as well as to help planners and policy makers have a better understanding of farm operations.

Sowing the Seeds of Success features 9 Ontario farms. Throughout this year, we will feature some of these successful Greenbelt farms in our newsletter, to bring further attention to this valuable report and the innovative farm workers across the Golden Horseshoe. 

Beverly Greenhouses near Waterdown live by the philosophy that if you are not moving forward and growing, your business has a limited future.  And continuous growth is what this family business has seen over the past 55 years since it first began.

Brothers Jan and Dale VanderHout now co-own Beverly Greenhouses Limited, a greenhouse cucumber producing farm. They are the third generation in the family business, which their grandfather started. The farm encompasses 230 acres, with 22 acres of greenhouses, 60 acres of field crops, 10 acres that are rented out, and the balance in wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas.  

Along with financial success and offering local employment, a proud accomplishment of the VanderHouts is that they have found solutions to societal and environmental problems that were thought to be unachievable - one being  water saving recirculation within their greenhouse.  If they are successful in attaining an alternative energy contract, they also have future plans to develop a large natural gas co-generation plant. 

We encourage you to learn more about the VanderHouts successes, challenges, and management styles by turning to page 15 of Sowing the Seeds of Success.
It's been a Winter Wine Wonderland this month in Niagara, with the Niagara Icewine Festival celebrating its 21st year.

This upcoming weekend, January 29 - 31, is the final 
weekend of the festival, celebrating all things 'liquid gold' in style.

That means you have one more weekend to join in the celebrations: tastings, ornate ice bars, cheese seminars, ice skating and winery tours. The Dairy Farmers of Canada have been offering cheese seminars throughout the festival, including two this final weekend. Visit our website for more information.
Janet Horner, Executive Director,
Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance