May 2015

Land Use Planning
Give your Input before 
May 28


The four provincial land use plans that work together to manage growth, protect the natural environment and support economic development in the Greater Golden Horseshoe are currently under review.

We spoke with Fiona Nelson about the importance of this review and the public providing their input.

"We lose our farmers, and we lose our food," says Fiona.

Read more here , and b e sure to  provide your input  before tomorrow if you haven't already.


The City of Hamilton is moving forward with an east-end neighbourhood's plan to turn a three-acre field into an urban farm


Councillors have supported a $350,000 construction job to break ground on the McQuesten Urban Farm as early as late summer, making the farm ready for the 2016 growing season.


It's explained in this Hamilton Spectator article that the neighbourhood faces difficulty in accessing fresh food, and the urban farm will help with this as it will be large enough to offer produce to residents in McQuesten and other neighbourhoods.

The farm plans also intend to "help educate children, develop food skills and encourage entrepreneurialism."

The plans include: "grading the field; planting trees, perennial shrubs, food and medicinal plants traditional to local aboriginals; building entrance features, a storage structure, canopied picnic space and teaching garden."

The farm will also turn an area that's often flooded into an irrigation pond outfitted with a wind turbine-powered pumping system. Read more on this exciting development here.


"Before breaking ground, this venture was ground-breaking", said Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at the launch of Ontario's new Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) in Colborne on May 1.

The OAFVC will offer Ontario farmers and food producers important support through a unique opportunity to expand their business with value-added production. Services will include: wash, cut, quick chill, labelling, flash freeze, cold, frozen and dry storage, a fully equipped commercial kitchen, packaging, and a training facility.

For more information, including pricing and to book a tour of the new facility, read our blog post

Durham Environmental Achievement Awards

The Durham Environmental Advisory Committee (DEAC) held their Environmental Achievement Awards on May 14 at a  special ceremony  in Whitby. 


The awards recognize and acknowledge environmental achievements of individuals and organizations within Durham Region. 


The Economic Development - Agriculture and Rural Affairs division of Durham Region nominated the Sunderland Co-operative Inc. for the Eric Krause Award for Innovative Plans/Policies/ Initiatives. The Sunderland Co-operative Inc. won the award for their NWATCH program, which aims to reduce nitrogen loss to the environment.  A local farm family,  Musthaven Farms Ltd.,  was also an award recipient.

Congratulations to all of 2015's winners for their environmental efforts!

  • The George A. Scott Stewardship Award: Craig, Chris and Grant Mustard of Musthaven Farms 
  • The Dr. J. Murray Speirs Restoration Award: Valleys 2000
  • The Irene Kock Education/Communication Award: Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade 
  • The Eric Krause Innovative Plans/Policies/Initiatives Award: Sunderland Co-operative Inc. 
  • The Jessica Markland Partnership Award: General Motors (GM) of Canada Ltd. and the Oshawa Assembly Plant
  • The Evylin Stroud Lifetime Achievement Award: Barbara North

2015 is the International Year of Soils. Though the grand importance of soil is obvious to farmers and the like each and every day, every year, it is with hopes that 2015 will bring soil forward to the centre of the stage, as the star it is, in food and farming globally. 

Check out our recent blog post where we highlight the importance of soil,  and share some ways you can celebrate and acknowledge the International Year of Soils.
June 1 - 7

The first week of June brings Local Food Week back to Ontario, and there's a lot to celebrate across the regions and cities of the Golden Horseshoe. 

Durham Region is celebrating by having a local Durham Farm Fresh producer supply locally-grown asparagus to the Garden Street Caf? located at their regional headquarters. Various menu items will feature the asparagus, along with information on where it came from. They will also be distributing their new Durham Farm Fresh 2015 brochures.

Check out for events and activities near you, and share your local food week love online with #loveONTfood.

It's that time of year again! The sun is out and the Golden Horseshoe is blooming. It's farmers' market season and there's an abundance of farm fresh options for you to connect with your local community, and support (and enjoy!) local food. Farm Fresh Maps make it very easy for you to find exactly what you're looking for.


Environment Hamilton, the City of Hamilton's Economic Development Division, and Tourism Hamilton have just recently announced the launch of the 2015/2016 online version of Hamilton's Farm Map and Directory 

We've updated our post on Finding Farm Fresh across the Horseshoe; be sure to check it out if you're looking for farms, markets, specific products, stores, retailers and more near you. 

Janet Horner, Executive Director,
Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance