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On this page:



City staff asked to look at Pollinator Sanctuary recommendations
Pollination Gardens Project - Gardens4Bees
CP Rail destroys people's gardens in Vancouver
Can urban farming cool the city?
City Farmer website - Groucho Marx to community garden threat
Permaculture farm for sale!
More on neonics
Home Depot announces it will label plants with neonicotinoids
Gardeners Beware! 2014 - neonicotinoids in bee-friendly plants we buy -Friends of the Earth report - must read!
video to accompany Gardeners Beware 2014Video: Hidden Bee Killers - neonicotinoids on nursery plants
Task Force on Systemic Pesticides - stop neonicotinoid use
Update on strategic plan for London's community gardens
Prince Edward County Council actions concerning neonicotinoids
10 Trees That Can Save the World
GMO + roundup = starved Monarch butterfly larvae
Ontario Political parties reply about bee health
Online seed explorer from Seeds of Diversity

New study: honeybees exposed to neonicotinoids abandon hives and die
Symphony of the Soil - great film!
Community Garden at St Andrew Memorial

ALERT! - Impatiens Downy Mildew
National Garden Day private members bill
Urban Agriculture Journal from RUAF
No Dig vegetable garden - video to just enjoy!

Senate Hearings
IPCC Report - climate change
Comment on focus group 3 of current community gardens strategic plan
Focus group 3 of Lcgp strategic plan - could gardens be gardener-led?
Focus group 3 of Lcgp strategic plan - varied topics mentioned

National Farmers Union comment and Ontario Bee Health Working Group report


Organic attitude develops with Canadian Organic Grower
More strategic planning for London's community gardens program

MIlkweed being removed from Ontario Noxious Weed list
Action for Monarchs April 14?
Million Seed Challenge by Old East Village Hub
Earth Day Parade - call for ideas and volunteers to organize
Forum - Food Production, Labour and the Community - Saturday, March 22
FNL project to get delivery charges waived on fruit or nut trees you buy
Pollinator Sanctuary idea presented to Advisory Committee
for International Women's Day - 25 women working for food security
Reminder of Seeds of Diversity Canada - at this seed swap time of year
Garden blitz for edible gardens
Satire: why "natural" is the best advertising word ever
Must see interview on Organic Farming
Volunteers needed for pollinator sanctuary project
Senate committee hearings into bee health
What do we think of bees?
Closing Federal Libraries
Weather records come to Western Archive
Scotts community garden grant and note
Report - Neonicotinoid effects on birds
new local newspaper and climate change
IPCC as haiku and watercolour
101 + 101 Food Security and Advocacy organizations
Neonicotinoid contamination of Canada's prairie wetlands
Honeybees, neonicotinoids and agriculture advisory committee
Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth
2014 International Year of Family Farming



Community Gardens in South Wales - great documentary!
Pam Warhurst interviewed on austerity, food, and transition - great!!
Petition to change chicken quotas for small-scale, organic farms
Poverty Research Centre to be set up
Survey being done as part of London's community gardens program strategic plan
Notes from Focus Group #2 of London community gardens strategic plan process

SPARKS Grants 2014 application is open until January 31 2014


CropLife appoints federal conservative minister CEO
Ontario Local Food Act
Honeybees - interim PMRA report - chance to comment

Environmental Hansard
London SOUP volunteers call
St Andrew Memorial's community garden wins London Soup
Regenerative - Restorative - Agriculture

The Agropolis in Christchurch New Zealand
Participate in discussion about focus groups
Sharing Backyards tracking technology
Bring your leaves for Three Sisters Garden
Focus group #1 notes for London's community gardens strategic plan
Celebrate Hope with Simply in Season Cookbook

Seedmap multimedia tool from USC Canada


Boston Tree Party Handbook - plant fruit trees!

Plant milkweed - saving Monarchs
Glen Pearson column - backyard garden connects us

Focus groups to be held for London's community gardens program
Sierra Club Save the Bees Campaign


Guerilla Gardening - TED Talk by Ron Finley of LA
Alternatives Journal Food and Drink issue
15 Seed Saving projects worldwide
Seed Projects worldwide
Ogilvie Farmers Market opens in Hyde Park area
Waterloo Community Gardens bring many benefits to gardeners!
SPARKS Grant Recipients 2013
Londoners marched against Monsanto
Vandana Shiva on March Against Monsanto
ReThink London reports are coming out
Feeding Nine Billion
Stephen Ritz TED talk about teaching children about urban agriculture
Guidelines for London's community gardens program
Greek Bees - not yet affected by neonicotinoid pesticides ... but?
Vandana Shiva interview about GM seeds
Celebrating Food - ideas from Food Tank
GM Alfalfa - blog post, and CBAN report
Rodale Farming Systems Trials - 30 year report
Urban Agriculture documentary is first LondonSOUP winner
Food Forest Projects receive grants!!
Community Food Centres Canada
Notes from Olivier de Schutter webcast
Applied sustainability course, free online, starts May 6/13
World Day to Combat Desertification
stop GM alfalfa April 9 rally
Incredible Edible Todmorden documentary
Comment on London's community gardens draft policies

No "stand-alones" in Nature
Gardening books
Blog by maker of Farm for the Future
London Food Charter Mission points
Notes from March 2 seed saving presentation
Inner Transtion group of Transition Middlesex
New School of Colour
Fixing the Future - interview with David Korten
Celebrating women involved in agriculture
LondonSOUP
London Heritage Grants
Circle of Seeds for simple seed saving
Hypnotized by Peace - great video!
One Billion Green Jobs
Setting up a Seed Bank / Seed Savers Network in London
Frank Morton on Preserving Heirloom Vegetable Seeds

Heirloom Seed Sanctuary
Seed Bank Library in Basalt Colorado
Seed Lending Library in Richmond California

Glen Pearson knows if you eat you're in

Seed bank and saving resources
One seed at a time
The Seed Underground - new book out
4 P's of food and seed saving from NFLD & Labrador
Gardens Where People Grow
Focus group called for Feb 13 on London's community gardens program rules
Food Not Lawns London Canada
EFAO workshops prior to Guelph Organic Conference
New Middlesex Eat Local map coming this spring
Alternatives Journal is expanding
Garden Gates Open 2013 now looking for gardens
Walmart-Evergreen Grant - deadline March 31/13
Food garden space in Chicago
Canadian Organic Growers
Awesome Foundation
Londoners who've been helping their City
Funding possibility for seed event - Bauta/USC
Call for Papers for Environmental Studies Association of Canada annual conference
Presentations from OHCC annual meeting

Edible Education - Free online access to lectures
STOP GM ALFALFA - animation from CBAN
Special Rapporteur on Food event March 4 2013
Food Secure Canada Assembly videos
Food Forum notes - Nov 16 afternoon discussion
Food Forum notes - Don MIlls of Local Food Plus
Food Forum - Value Chain business model
Ten Thousand Villages Living Gifts
SPARKS neighbourhood project grants
Teachers! School garden how-to videos!
Salt Spring Seeds 25 years
Old East London better food with Western Fair Market
Sustainable Food Systems report at Local Food Forum
Debbie Field of Food Share Toronto at Local Food Forum
Bauta Seed Security Initiative
Feeding Nine Billion
Alternatives Journal has new website
OMAFRA Newsletter
CETA
We don't need industrial agriculture to feed the world
October 30 In search of alternatives ot synthetic pesticides
Pesticides harm bees and other pollinators
Reflections & Possibilities
Edible City: Grow the Revolution
Revolutionary Plots
Sustainable Food Systems report from London Training Centre
Agroecology better
Hungry for Climate Leadership
Urban Agriculture Summit means much for London
New TREA website!

King's College Students plant community garden
Precipitation chart to end of August 2012
Aug 27 Bacillus subtilis - just an interesting study
ReForest London's got stuff happening
Grow Toronto
Incredible Edible Todmorden
Urban Leaves of India
Better London for a better London
Saskatoon Food Bank's Food Patch garden
August 15-18 Urban Agriculture Conference Toronto
Community garden conversations are coming in Fall
Johnny's Seeds Garden videos on-line
Gleaning Some Good for London Food Bank
Book suggestions
Letter sent to gardens in City program
Precipitation update to June 14, 2012
Positives on garden rules
GRANT available from CN EcoConnections
Community gardeners meeting
Thames gardeners take a stand
Tree Survey
Clarification needed for London's community gardens program
Clothianidin found in local honeybees
Garden rule problems?
We need rain!
gLean on Me!
Black Out - Speak Out for the Environment
Local CSA
Occupy Movement and Growing Food
Emerald Ash Borer and cutting in London
Emerald Ash Borer and TreeAzin natural pesticide
Attracting Bees as Pollinators
London Co-op Store

Call for video for Bike Festival!


Growing Chefs Ontario Growing!

Food Forward Series


Hillside Church' community garden - Western Journalism article
Composting stories wanted
LCRC has new home
Farm Apprenticeships
Garden Art at Crouch
London Food Charter
Community Gardening Toolkit
LCRC Coordinating Agency for City community gardens
Composting restrictions didn't go through!
Possible Composting restrictions!
Port Townsend Community Gardens
Hillside Church starts Community Garden
Edible Trees Grant
Thank you City Farmer!
Grace Lee Boggs
SPARKS Grants
Jerusalem Community Garden

New books noted
Facebook Page for Community Gardens London
Books for Every Child
TREA is 25!
Communities in Bloom award for London
Conference notes of Oct. 16
Conference notes of Oct 16 provided by Chantelle
Conference Notes from Education Discussion Group
USC's 2011 report - focus on Seeds of Survival

Crop sharing community


Sunnivue Farm

Summary of London's Community Gardens Program Review
Pre conference reading ideas
Garden City Harvest in Missoula, Montana
COG Blog
Video - Growing Food Locally
Food Down the Road
Veggie City - Northeast
EcoVox TV launch June 8
Westminster Park Farmers Market
Amazing Tree Quest
Old East Common Green Space
Strengthening Neighbourhoods Funding Opportunity
Vacant Lot Gardening Assn

Urban Farming Steps to Future
London's Community Gardens Program Review
City of London Food Charter

Seeds of Survival

Format note

To browse sections of this website more easily, please use the link buttons on the right hand side of the page. When you finish an article, use your Control Home buttons to go back to the menu to select your next article. CGL knows that some articles are very long and browsing is not as efficient as it could be. A website that gives two lines of an article and then a "Read More" button that opens the full article requires Java Script software. We are on a limited budget and cannot afford the Internet upgrade cost at this time. We appreciate your patience and extra effort with this.

Content Note: from time to time there will be an item on the News page that advocates a particular organization. Community Gardens London is neither incorporated, nor a registered charity. The web maintainer, Maureen Temme, tries to include good programs and ideas on these pages. If she is biased, she tries to be biased on the side of good and health. She is a long-time organic gardener and advocate for organics.

 

 

Recommendations from City staff requested concerning London as Pollinator Sanctuary

Posted Friday, August 29/14

Could London, Ontario be a sanctuary for pollinators like bees, moths, butterflies, and the myriad other insects that provide us with food, beauty and the wide variety of plants that make a flourishing ecosystem?

Members of a working group of the Advisory Committee on Environment presented recommendations to the Planning and Environment standing committee of London city council on Tuesday, Aug. 26.

The recommendation was that staff look at the recommendations, and get together with members of the ACE Pollinator Sanctuary working group to talk about how it fits with London's proposed new official plan, and report back to the P&E committee. 

In answer to Councillor Hubert's request for comment on the Pollinator Sanctuary proposal/recommendations, both John Fleming (Managing Director, Planning department) and Andrew MacPherson (Manager, environmental and parks planning) spoke about the importance of the pollinator topic, and that there was a fit between city programs and the sanctuary idea. Councillor Bryant commented about her concern for Monarch butterflies, Coun. Polhill (P&E chair) said that he couldn't recall the last time he'd seen a Monarch.

It is standard procedure that senior staff become involved and comment on proposals/recommendations from the advisory committees.  Diane Szoller, chair of Advisory Committee on Environment, confirmed that the committee's positive reaction takes us to the next step in City Hall process. 

A meeting time has been set with the City staff and working group members. Getting this conversation underway had actually been initiated prior to the presentation, thanks to Margo Does, one of the initiators of the Pollinator Sanctuary idea.

It is timely that both the City's new official plan and London's new urban forest plan are in the works.  Pollinators and all aspects of environmental health are involved with these.

London Free Press coverage of the meeting and the topic brought forward many aspects of the pollinator decline issue.  Thanks to reporter N. de Bono and photographer M. Hansen.

Participants in the Pollinator Sanctuary working group of Advisory Committee on Environment are:
- London citizens Margo Does and Celeste Lemire, who initiated the Pollinator Sanctuary idea
- ACE members: Gabor Sass, Diane Szoller (chair), Colin Baird, Tariq Khan , Natalie St. Amour
- London citizens Narcise Datura, Maureen Temme, Nina Zitani

Community Gardens London sends thanks to all Pollinator Sanctuary working group members, Planning and Environment Committee, and City staff.  Also a thank you to Bea Olivastri, director of  Friends of the Earth Canada  for a letter of support.

This is certainly a positive spur to the work going forward on this, both with London City and in the community!

If you are interested in finding out more about this please email communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

This report prepared by Maureen Temme, webkeeper Community Gardens London and member of the ACE Pollinator Sanctuary working group.


Pollination Gardens Project - Gardens4Bees

Ten Pollination Gardens at Anglican Churches in Southwestern Ontario were begun or augmented this year with a special purpose of feeding the bees - encouraging pollinators by planting especially appealing plants. Plants in the gardens are being identified so congregants and passersby can take their inspiration to a nursery to purchase plants too.  Each church is developing other programs or events which involve the Pollination Garden.  St. John the Evangelist in London, for example, has volunteers doing a "bee count" so they understand better just how many pollinators are visiting the garden.

Check the wonderful photos and info on the facebook page of this Gardens4Bees project.

The projects hadfinancial contribution from The Julia Hunter Fund*, with coordination with the Diocese of Huron's EnviroAction Committee. The idea, vision and work of Murray Hunter got the Pollination Garden project "into" the ground.  CGL sends thanks and to him and everyone involved.

St Aidan's pollination Garden
The beginning! Pollination Garden, this spring, at St. Aidan's Anglican Church London, Ont.
http://www.staidans.net/pollinationgarden.htm

People in several cities receive the beauty of these gardens and their educational benefits: 
Cambridge, Ontario: St. James Anglican Church
Windsor: All Saints Anglican Church
Clinton: St. Paul’s Anglican Church
Seaforth: St. Thomas Anglican Church
London: St. Andrew Memorial, St. John the Evangelist, The Church of the Transfiguration and Huron Church Camp

More bee-related events will be happening at Bee Fest, October 4th , 2014 (Feast of St. Francis) at Banting House in London. (details to come).  Three of these churches will receive an award of excellence based on design, education and community development at Bee Fest .

The Julia Hunter Fund, an endowed fund at the London Community Foundation, (www.lcr.on.ca ) supports public gardens based on the criteria of design, education and community development.  Email: info@lcf.on.ca
 

 

St. John Evangelist Pollination Garden
Pollination Garden at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in London, Ont. 2014 funding assistance from Julia Hunter Fund.  http://stjohnslondon.ca/pollination-garden/

 

CP Rail destroys people's gardens in Vancouver

note: this is an opinion piece by CGL webkeeper Maureen, who is so disgusted she can barely think straight.

Straight to hell.  Or reincarnation as something that will have a very difficult life.

CP Rail executives and the hired contractors who are destroying community garden plots in the Arbutus corridor in Vancouver - garden plots that provide food for low-income families - have certainly set their paths to a bad fate.

It's a money dispute between CP and the City of Vancouver, with no compromise to even allow for harvest.

I'm not going through the who's who and history and legal stuff.  Look it up if you want the info, and can bear to read it. There's a piece on CBC, another on Global News, and one on the Vancouver Sun

For mean spirit, heartless, inhuman, power-mad, nasty, petty behaviour ... just think CP Rail.  E. Hunter Harrison, CEO.

One can never track down emails for a CEO ... but send a note to Breanne Feigel, Media            Tel.: 403-589-6949
24/7 Media Pager: 855-242-3674
email: breanne_feigel@cpr.ca

Mention that the story doesn't play well.

Can urban agriculture ease the heat in cities?

Intuitively ... yes. We feel the difference in physical and mental well-being when around green roofs, well-treed parks and streets, and our gardens.

Now, the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment has granted funds to monitor temperature and humidity on two St. Paul farms over the span of two years to see if urban farming can be added to the list of "heat island" remedies. See article here.

If the results are as expected, there'd be a health bonus besides fresh, local vegetables and jobs, when agriculture is right within the city.

A previous study found that Minneapolis and St. Paul were an average of 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than surrounding lands.

Thanks to City Farmer website for this item! Posted on CGL July 22/14

City Farmer website - Groucho Marx to community garden threat

Posted on CGL July 22/14

CGL reminds you regularly to check the City Farmer website for a world of articles about urban agriculture.

Recent posts includes a 1943 letter sent by Groucho Marx talking about his Victory Garden, and the good sleep he'd been getting after eating an unusual leaf, how art and gardens are cropping up in Manhatten, and - more seriously - how CP Rail is playing politics against the community gardens that are along one of its unused corridors in Vancouver.

Check the City Farmer website to find the series about this issue. Write some letters!

Permaculture Farm property for Sale!! 1.8 acres

Jennifer and Tim of All Sorts Acre, near Guelph are moving to a larger farm.

For more information please go to:
http://allsortsacreforsale.wordpress.com

From their email notice saying the All Sorts Acre property is for sale:

If you are looking to have a life closer to nature, but don't want to give up all the benefits of the city, then this place is for you. Picture yourself on a peri-urban homestead just outside of Guelph, Ontario.  The gardens feature over 10 different types of fruit trees and shrubs, two different types of nuts, a number of perennial edible plants, and lots of mature trees. There are three outbuildings suitable for chickens, livestock, or garden storage. The newly re-roofed detached 1 1/2 storey garage would make a great workshop or teaching space. Visitors often comment that, like an old farmstead, the house is just comfortable to be in. Sheltered from winter winds and shaded from the summer sun, this well insulated older house is inexpensive to heat and cool. Water from the metal roof currently feeds in to rain barrels which overflow in to swales along the edge of the gardens, reducing the need to water. The three season sun room and covered porch provide a comfortable outdoor space to sit and enjoy the wildlife that also make their home here. Some of the work has been done, but like any homestead, it is ever evolving. There is still lots of room to give both the house and gardens your own personal touch. There's lots of potential here for the right person. 

We have spent 7 years here on our 1.18 acres and have enjoyed our stay very much. For most of our time here we have had a small flock of sheep. We have fallen in love with raising sheep and are selling so that we can expand our flock on a larger farm property.

More on neonicotinoids

update posted July 8/14 (The CGL webkeeper has had a rotten cold for over a week)

(1) Globe and Mail reported announcement by Ontario Agriculture minister Leal that there'll be discussion and action on neonics.

(2) Ontario Grain Farmers aren't happy and released a statement.

(3) More coverege on CBC news.

(4) And an item in Tuesday June 8 London Free Press about the Friends of the Earth report on neonic use in horticulture, Gardeners Beware 2014. Thanks Hank Daniszerski!

(1) Pesticide linked to bee deaths to be restricted in Ontario
Eric Atkins           The Globe and Mail, Sunday, July 6/14 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/pesticide-linked-to-bee-deaths-to-be-restricted-in-ontario/article19480431/?cmpid=rss1&click=sf_globe

(2) Grain Farmers of Ontario React to the Government’s Plan to Restrict Pesticide Use
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
http://www.farms.com/ag-industry-news/grain-farmers-of-ontario-reacts-to-the-government-s-plan-to-restrict-pesticide-use-751.aspx

(3) Ontario looking to restrict use of bee-killing pesticides
Province to consult with agriculture and could move by 2015
By Susan Noakes, CBC News  Jul 07, 2014 3:18 PM http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/ontario-looking-to-restrict-use-of-bee-killing-pesticides-1.2698957

(4) Suspected bee-killer found in plants here. Hank Daniszewski for London Free Press, July 8, 2014 http://www.lfpress.com/2014/07/07/friends-of-the-earth-tested-flowering-plants-for-residue-of-the-pesticide-neonicotinoids

Home Depot pledges first step: labeling of neonicotinoid-treated plants

posted on CGL Friday, June 27, 2014

Home Depot (HD) of U.S. and Canada announced on June 26 that it "will require all of our live goods suppliers to label plants that they have treated with Neonicitinoids by fourth quarter 2014"

Friends of the Earth and other organizations have been urging Home Depot for over a year to have their suppliers not use  neonicotinoid insecticides at any time.  Home Depot website notes that HD has also been "in communication with the EPA, insecticide industry and our suppliers for many months to understand the science and monitor the research." and that " We are encouraged and support the White House’s Pollinator Health Task Force. We want and encourage those doing scientific research to provide us with data on the effects to Honey Bee’s from Neonicitinoids used on our plants."

CGL webkeeper Maureen's comment.  Home Depot's commitment to label plants is a good start. It must continue beyond that, however

Certainly labelling of plants should include any and all herbicides, insecticides and other pesticides used in the production greenhouses.

Further, The Home Depot home page statement (1) says "We want and encourage those doing scientific research to provide us with data on the effects to Honey Bee’s from Neonicitinoids used on our plants." 

The item carried by Reuters news (2) phrases this idea a bit differently:
"Atlanta-based Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, is requiring its suppliers to start such labeling by the fourth quarter of this year, said Ron Jarvis, the company's vice president of merchandising/sustainability. Home Depot is also running tests in several states to see if suppliers can eliminate neonics in their plant production without hurting plant health, he said."

Adequate evidence exists to show that neonicotinoids should not be used: they harm pollinator and ecosystem health.  New tests run by Home Depot are not needed.  The "if" in the above statement leaves a door open for Home Depot/HD suppliers to continue using neonicotinoids if they say they cannot find substitutes or do not need to remove them. 

Individuals and organizations concerned about ecosystem health must monitor how Home Depot practices shift.

(1) Home Depot statement on its home page - posted - June 26, 2014
http://www.ecooptions.homedepot.com/

(2) Reuters News item - U.S. retailers look to limit pesticides to help honeybees
By Carey Gillam  Reuters    Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:36pm EDT
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/25/us-usa-agriculture-bees-idUSKBN0F02HR20140625

Gardeners Beware!  Bee-killing pesticides found in "bee-friendly" plants purchased at garden centres across the U.S. and Canada

Gardeners Beware 2014 report by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute

A new study released today by Friends of the Earth Canada shows that over 60 percent of "bee-friendly" home garden plants sold at garden centres have been pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been shown to harm and kill bees. 


The report focus is on neonicotinoids in the horticulture industry.  It confirms that gardeners who want to plant pollinator friendly, healthy gardens simply cannot do so from plants purchased at the standard retail greenhouses and big plant centres.

Of the Canada/U.S. total of 71 plants tested, 36 tested positive for neonicotinoids at an accredited USDA laboratory.  Of the 36 positives, 15 of them - 40% - had 2 or more neonics present. Concentrations of the various neonicotinoids present ranged greatly from lethal-to-bees-on-contact/oral dose levels to "sublethal" levels which cumulate over time and exposure to impair such things as motor and memory, fertility, and foraging efficiency.

Friends of the Earth Canada's press release is here: http://foecanada.org/en/2014/06/gardeners-beware-2014/  

The Gardeners Beware 2014 report is a joint undertaking of Friends of the Earth in Canada, Friends of the Earth U.S., and Pesticide Research Institute

As a CGL reader, you are probably already aware of the serious immediate and chronic consequences of the neonicotinoid insecticides.  Gardeners Beware 2014 It goes through the important issues concerning neonicotinoid insecticides, gives all testing information and sample results, has suggestions for individuals, governments, and retailers, and has a big resource list. 

Please check out the press release, the Gardeners Beware 2014 report in summary or in full, and send information over your networks.

Send letters to the editors of whichever local newspapers you choose, phone in to a radio station, write a blog, give a talk, write whichever level of government and party you choose.

Send a letter of support to whichever organization you know is trying to get neonicotinoids banned.

Pick a nursery or plant retail outlet and ask questions of its manager and/or staff. 

Please sign the Friends of the Earth Canada PETITION
if you have not done so: http://foecanada.org/en/takeaction/home-garden-petition/

Those of you keeping closest tabs on the neonic issue will be aware that a new meta-analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies was released yesterday (June 24/14) by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides - a group of global, independent scientists - and confirms neonicotinoids are a key factor in bee declines and are harming beneficial organisms essential to functional ecosystems and food production, including soil microbes, butterflies, earthworms, reptiles, and birds.  The Task Force called for immediate  regulatory action to restrict neonicotinoids.

posted June 25/14 -11:15 a.m.
by Maureen Temme
webkeeper: Community Gardens London

communitygardenslondon@execulink.com
ph. 519-439-8306

Gardeners Beware 2014 report: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2014-06-new-tests-find-bee-killing-pesticides-in-51-percent-of-bee-friendly-plants
Friends of the Earth Canada: http://foecanada.org/en/
       and the report on its site: http://foecanada.org/en/2014/06/gardeners-beware-2014/
Friends of the Earth Canada Bee Cause site: http://foecanada.org/en/environmental-justice/the-bee-cause/
Friends of the Earth Canada petition to stop neonic plant sales: http://foecanada.org/en/takeaction/home-garden-petition/
Friends of the Earth U.S. http://www.foe.org/beeaction
Pesticide Research Institute: https://www.pesticideresearch.com/site/
Task Force on Systemic Pesticides and the report: http://www.tfsp.info/
   

Video to accompany Gardeners Beware 2014

Friends of the Earth's Bee Action site has posted a short video that explains why neonicotinoid insecticides are harmful, and how FOE did its 2014 survey of their use in the horticulture industry.

It doesn't make the results any easier to take, however the visuals help ease us into understanding.

No neonics says Task Force on Systemic Pesticides

posted June 25, 2014

Strengthening the case against neonicotinoid insecticides ... a new meta-analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies was released yesterday (June 24/14) by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides - a group of global, independent scientists - and confirms neonicotinoids are a key factor in bee declines and are harming beneficial organisms essential to functional ecosystems and food production, including soil microbes, butterflies, earthworms, reptiles, and birds.  The Task Force called for immediate  regulatory action to restrict neonicotinoids.

Task Force on Systemic Pesticides was established independently by international scientists to set about a systematic meta-analysis of all the available scientific studies of the effects of systemic pesticides on biodiversity and ecosystem services with a focus on pollinators and other non-target species.

http://www.tfsp.info/

or email: enquiries.tfsp@gmail.com

Hidden Bee Killers? Neonicotinoids in our garden plants!

A must watch video! http://www.linktv.org/video/9549/hidden-bee-killers

Posted Monday, June 23, 2014

Are nursery plants killing bees? Dr. Susan Kegley of the Pesticide Research Institute explains that 54% of nursery plants sampled in Friends of the Earth's 2013 pilot survey in the US contain neonicotinoid pesticides at levels that can harm or kill bees and other pollinators. Neonicotinoids are currently found in granular and soil drench treatments for "bee friendly" garden plants like roses and other plants attractive to pollinators without labels that would indicate their toxicity to insects such as bees, butterflies and ladybugs. Many plants sold in nurseries and garden stores across the United States are pre-treated with neonicotinoids. Introduced in the mid 1990s, neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of pesticides in the world. Studies show that these systemic pesticides, which are taken up through the roots and leaves and distributed throughout an entire plant, are toxic to bees even at low doses. They are commonly used in agriculture, landscaping and home gardening.

Don't just keep reading! Go to the video! http://www.linktv.org/video/9549/hidden-bee-killers

 

Prince Edward County Council takes some action on neonicotinoid insecticides

Posted June 20, 2014 by webkeeper Maureen Temme

Prince Edward County Council has taken a look at issues concerning bee health and neonicotoinoid insecticides.

Resolutions from the Prince Edward County Council minutes of May 27/14 follow.


Now therefore be it resolved that:

1.  We call on the provincial and federal governments to declare a moratorium surrounding the use of Neonicotinoid crop treatments, as soon as possible, pending further study;
2.  We support the Health Canada requirement*, and we urge local farmers to utilize the new commercially available seed lubricants during the 2014 planting season when using seed coated in Neonicotinoid crop treatments, if appropriate, to their farm equipment;
3.  The County show local leadership in this regard by discontinuing use of Neonicotinoid products on municipal property immediately;
4.  The County consider creating funding for the inclusion of the planting of bee and butterfly friendly spaces on appropriate County property in the 2015 budget;
5  This resolution be circulated to other municipalities through the Association of Municipalities of ONtairo, to request their support on this serious issue, and further;
6.  This resolution be forwarded to The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, Federal MP Daryl Kramp, Federal Opposition Members at this time, and the Premier of Ontario, Provincial Minister of Agriculture and local Provincial MPP immediately after the Provincial Election.
7.  Until such time as a moratorium is enacted where an agronomic assessment shows particular fields to be at minimal risk of damage from soil insects, we urge farmers to order seed not treated with insecticide for the 2015 growing season, and we urge seed companies to make adequate supplies available.

        * Maureen's comment: this would be the January 2014 requirement that Bayer fluency agent be used along with N'd seed coating (and I'm pretty sure the requirement came through the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, not Health Canada ... but I'll check)

I could argue that there is some wishy-washyness in the phrases like "pending further study", "if appropriate", and "consider creating"  ... however, it really is a huge thing for a Council to have considered issues concerning neonicotinoid insecticides at all.  I'm absolutely impressed that Council addressed some of the details like seed coating and impressed even more by its resolve to bring its actions to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and to send letters to all the people letters will go to.  And, of course, to look at practices on its owned lands.

Page 5 of the minutes have the "whereas"es that led to these resolutions (which are amended from the originals that came to the meeting on May 27).  Obviously, this topic came to Prince Edward County Council through committee and must have been spurred by some serious citizen conversations.

It is not a ban or a moratorium.  However, the Council made some important statements, seems committed to actions, and is showing initiative at the most important political action level.

Prince Edward County Council and (no doubt) citizens have done important work here. Let's hope other places follow.



update: timeline for City's community gardens

received Tuesday, June 10/14 in reply to the June 9/14 inquiry

Good Morning Maureen

We have posted this information on our city website – please feel free to share with your networks.

LONDON COMMUNITY GARDENS STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE
We have now concluded the community engagement process related to the development of the London Community Gardens (LCG) Strategic Plan.  The first draft of the Strategic Plan is being developed and community consultation on this draft Plan will happen this summer.  The first stage of consultation on the draft document  will be conducted via on-line and paper-based methods. Once the feedback has been received from that stage, the plan will be updated and will be presented to the community in a public process.  That consultation will likely take place in October 2014.  
Thank you for your participation to date in this important process and we look forward to your future involvement.

This information can be found at:
http://www.london.ca/residents/Parks/Community-Projects/Pages/London-Community-Gardens.aspx

As we had discussed at the past focus groups, we are looking to bring the strategic plan for London Community Gardens Program to our new city council either later this year or early in 2015.

Thanks and have a great day!
Cheryl

and here's the June 9/14 inquiry Maureen made

From: Community Gardens London [mailto:communitygardenslondon@execulink.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 08, 2014 11:43 PM
To: Smith, Cheryl
Cc: Anne Becker; Robyn Harvey; Chris Downing
Subject: Where are survey results and strategic plan for London's community gardens program?

Hi Cheryl,

Where are the survey results from the surveys done in November and December 2013, of community gardeners and of non-gardeners?  The results have not appeared on the LCRC website or Facebook page, or been sent out by Pathways Consulting/other to participants..

What's the progress of the strategic planning process for London Ontario's community gardens program?  Focus groups were held in October and November 2013, and the most recent were March and April (1st) 2014.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Maureen Temme

ph. 519-439-8306
webkeeper: Community Gardens London

Diana Beresford- Kroeger: 10 Trees That Can Save the World

“Every breath we take is because of a tree’s ability to create oxygen. No other organism or invention can do what the tree does. Trees are entirely unique in our galaxy, quite possibly the universe –so with every breath you take, thank a tree. We want you to plant trees and fix your forests.  We need your help to do this and on the journey, I will tell you why.  The story is the ancient secret of the forest.  We will unfold this secret with science.  We will all go on the greatest adventure of our lives.  And we will come home to a different understanding of ourselves when we realize the importance of the forest.  You will never look at a tree in the same way again.  Trust me in this.”
                                                            – Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Several years ago, Diana Beresford Kroeger was the speaker for the Thames Talbot Land Trust's annual series.  The Trust has someone wonderful every year.  

Beresford Kroeger really took my thinking to another level, telling stories of trees and how they save the world and us.  She lives up near Ottawa, on land that must be beautiful and magic and a haven for trees and plants of all sorts.

I've read several of Beresford Kroeger's books - The Global Forest and Arboretum America. Now, I've just discovered that she has a website and blog.  There's also a documentary about her and the movement, 10 Trees That Can Save the World, dedicated to help this "Canadian environmental visionary ...to educate 7 billion people about the trees outside their doors".  The movement "seeks to create a motivated community of global citizens who will replant the world’s forests and continue to raise awareness and support for the importance of trees in our lives".

As the website says about the documentary,

"The documentary follows Diana Beresford-Kroeger, and her husband, Christian Kroeger, as they tour some of the earth’s last, great forests, from Japan, Ireland, Germany, to the United States and Canada, meeting many of the world’s most ancient trees and educating people about their history and legacy – a history and legacy that is deeply entwined with our grand and benevolent neighbours, the trees.

"From Winnipeg, Canada, which holds the largest population of American Elms anywhere in the world, to the sacred sakaki and cedar forests of Japan, the walnut and redwood trees of America and the great boreal forest of Canada, Diana tells us amazing stories of how trees protect and feed the planet, producing pheromones and oxygen, filtering our air and water of toxins and sequestering carbon. Like a keystone in the boreal forest, the green of the modified chloroplasts hold up the world.

Diana knows the science and the magic of what the trees hold within. She will tell you that trees have a larger genome than humans; that they talk to each other and they emit subsonic sound to attract migrating animals, birds and insects, and that they contain medicines that heal what we suffer from. She knows we must begin to value them for what they are: incredible banks of untapped answers to the diverse man-made problems of our world.

This is a call to action, the time to engage is now. More than three billion of us no longer move with the rhythms of nature. We no longer know what a seed is, what to do with it, how to keep it, how to grow it, or even where our food comes from, beyond super markets. This film will make visible – the invisible. Much of what trees do in our world we cannot see or hear. There are only a few direct associations we make with trees. Yet because trees exist, we are here.

Diane Beresford Kroeger's books are in the London library system.

To see a preview of the documentary, go to the Diana's Journey website: http://dianasjourney.com/#fwslider

Monarch migration routes ... a path of starvation

posted June 9, 2014

Monarch Butterfly breeding are grounds disappearing as Round-up is sprayed on genetically modified corn and soy crops along the U.S. migration route kills milkweed, essential food for Monarch larvae.

This is just the latest report to confirm that the combination of genetic modification of crops and RoundUp is deadly.  This time, deadly to Monarch Butterflies, which need to lay their eggs on milkweed plants so the larvae have food. 

CBC News reported June 5 that Monarch butterfly decline linked to spread of GM crops.

Researchers from the University of Guelph have been going through reports and studies, and they conclude that loss of milkweed plants - the only food for Monarch larvae - along the U.S. migration route is the biggest threat to the Monarch butterflies.

Their work augments a recent World Wildlife Fund report  Monarch Population Hits Lowest Point in More Than 20 Years that gives an overview of Monarch population decrease due to less food, illegal logging and extreme weather conditions

Monarch numbers are given by the area taken up by their breeding ground.  The chart below (poor resolution) shows that the area more usually ranged between 5 and 10 hectares.  The 2012/13 season counted only 1.39 hectares.   

And the 2013/14 season had the Monarch's cover at only 0.67 hectares

This is nothing short of the devastation of a species.

See the Monarch Joint Venture for the latest info. 

Even the NATO leaders realized at their February meeting that there's a problem of milkweed loss caused by agricultural monocropping practices. Obama, Harper and Peña Nieto said that  to create a tri-national working group for the conservation of the monarch butterfly. “We have agreed to conserve the monarch butterfly as an emblematic species of North America which unites our three countries”,

si-460-monarchs-gfx

source: CBC news item: Monarch butterfly numbers drop to new lows
b y Daniel Schwartz,Sep 25, 2013

While we wait to see what the U.S., Canadian and Mexican leaders actually do ... or what any agriculture organization does ...

Plant milkweed - from seed or from an organic source.

note: Be extremely careful about "bee and pollinator -friendly" plants sold from places like Home Depot, truck outlets in mall parking lots, and even nurseries that grow their own plants. They may be contaminated with neonicotinoid insecticides that are used in greenhouses, particularly large scale operations.

Ontario's political parties express positions on bee health ...received and posted May 30, 2014


Ontario Beekeepers Association press release - May 28, 2014                    
 Milton, ON, May 28, 2014. The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association has surveyed each of the four major parties running in this year’s provincial election for their plan to solve Ontario’s current bee health crisis.
 In 2012 and 2013, over 14,000 hives were lost to bee kills linked to the indiscriminate use of neonicotinoid pesticides by Health Canada. Last year, nearly 99% of the 2.2 million acres of corn in Ontario were treated with neonicotinoids, even though the Ontario Ministry of Food and Agriculture crop specialists indicate that only 10% to 20% of acreage needs pest protection.

 The OBA has released a revised position on neonicotinoids and bee health. The new position calls for a moratorium on the sale of neonicotinoid treated seeds but offers the option for farmers to apply for one-time use if they can a demonstrate, through an approved soil test or monitoring program, a problem that requires neonicotinoid-treated seeds.  This position is consistent with that adopted by the National Farmers Union.

 Two questions were asked via email to the leaders of the Ontario PC, Ontario Liberal, Ontario NDP and Green Party of Ontario:

1)     Ontario's beekeeping industry has suffered through the loss of thousands of hives in both 2012 and 2013 that Health Canada has confirmed were the result of exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides in soy and corn planting. Should you be elected to lead the Government of Ontario, would you support the Ontario Beekeepers' Association's call for an immediate moratorium on the sale of the neonicotinoid treated seeds that are killing our bees?

2)     Ontario is suffering a serious decline in the population of the insect pollinators we rely on for our locally grown foods as the result of the indiscriminate use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Health Canada and other studies have shown significant amounts of persistent neonicotinoid pesticides in water and soil samples across Ontario. If elected, will your party declare this an urgent environmental problem?

As of this writing the OBA has received responses from three parties. Following are excerpts of their position. The complete responses can be found at ontariobee.com/neonics.

From Kathleen Wynne, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party:

1)     “The Ontario Liberals are committed to working with the agricultural and beekeeping sectors to (1) ensure full and equitable access to non-neonicotinoid treated seed for growers, and (2) establish a system that allows for targeted use of neonicotinoids only in production areas or production circumstances where these pesticides are actually shown to be required.”

 2)     “The OBA proposal to hold a targeted forum to develop recommendations and identify a pollinator health roadmap is one that a Liberal government would identify as a priority action to be undertaken within the first six weeks of being elected.”

From Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario
1)     “The Green Party of Ontario proposes a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides until scientific evidence can conclusively determine that there is another cause for bee kills. The Green Party believes the precautionary principle should be applied to threats to our food system.” 
2)     “We firmly believe that the provincial and federal governments should not put our food supply and our local economy at risk by failing to protect insect pollinators.” 

From Tim Hudak, leader of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario:
“We appreciate the opportunity to listen to your priorities for Ontario. We share your commitment to Ontario’s future and believe that with more and better jobs, we can do what’s necessary to bring about the change Ontario needs.” 

The OBA has yet to hear from the NDP Ontario Party. 

“We are heartened by the response from Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne. She understands the issue and is committed to a science-based solution that balances the needs of farmers with the survival of bees and native pollinators. If implemented, this approach could reduce the amount of neonicotinoid treated seed by 80% or more.” said OBA president Dan Davidson. “We are also grateful to the Green Party for their continued commitment to this issue.” 

The NFU in Ontario has adopted a similar position to the OBA on neonicotinoids and bee health. Both organizations have been working together on a solution that benefits bees and beekeepers while maintaining the economic viability of farming. 

“The NFU is pleased that the Liberal Party of Ontario is prepared to make untreated seed the default option and would only allow the targeted use of treated seed in limited circumstances, and that the Ontario Green Party supports a moratorium. As farmers, we will work with the OBA to ensure the next Ontario government takes concrete action to protect Ontario's native pollinators, bees and beekeepers,” said Karen Eatwell, Ontario President, National Farmers Union.

For further information: www.ontariobee.com/neonics
Julie White OBA, 647-988-5942
Karen Eatwell, NFU, 519-232-410

 

Seeds of Diversity announces online "Seed Explorer"

Posted May 30/14

"The Seed Explorer is your window into Canadian seed security. Learn where to find your favourite seeds, discover new varieties that grow well in your area, and explore the diversity of Canada's seed movement."

From the enews:
"Seeds of Diversity and the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security are excited to announce the newest online tool for learning about Canada's seed diversity. Introducing the Seed Explorer!  www.seeds.ca/explorer

"During our thirty years as a seed saving organization, we have collected thousands of records about seed sources, variety characteristics, plant descriptions, historical uses, and the origins of your favourite seed varieties. We're collecting more information all the time, as members document the plants in their gardens and send us their observations. Even the annual Member Seed Directory, with its 3000+ seed varieties listed by members every year, is a trove of information about the flavours, colours, days to maturity, and uses of your favourite seeds and plants.

"We're all about openness, so we want the world to be able to see all this great information. But how to present it all in a clear, sensible, and interesting way? 

"... Start by searching for your favourite seed variety. Or your favourite seed company. Type your town or city and see what comes up. If it's in our databases somewhere, you'll see what we have, and then you can explore related information from that point. Just a word of caution. If you're into seeds the way we are, you might not be able to stop clicking for hours. Bring a snack with you.

"And check back later in the summer. We've only loaded about 25% of our records so far, and lots more information is yet to come. Member comments from Seed Directories of the 1990s and 2000s, historical descriptions from 19th century seed catalogues, links to soil profiles and climate databases, crop characteristics from the Germplasm Resources Information Network, collection data from the Canadian and U.S. government seed banks... it's all linkable so we'll link it up for you.

"Have fun Exploring!"

Honeybees abandoning hives and dying due to insecticide use, research finds

Harvard study shows neonicotionoids are devastating colonies by triggering colony collapse disorder
Damian Carrington, The Guardian online news, theguardian.com, Friday 9 May 2014
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/09/honeybees-dying-insecticide-harvard-study


Impact of pesticide on bees and beehive
Scientists found bees from six of the 12 neonicotinoid-treated colonies had left their hives and died. Photograph: Rex Features

The mysterious vanishing of honeybees from hives can be directly linked to insectcide use, according to new research from Harvard University(http://www.bulletinofinsectology.org/pdfarticles/vol67-2014-125-130lu.pdf). The scientists showed that exposure to two neonicotinoids, the world's most widely used class of insecticide, lead to half the colonies studied dying, while none of the untreated colonies saw their beesdisappear.

"We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering 'colony collapse disorder' in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter," said Chensheng Lu, an expert on environmental exposure biology at Harvard School of Public Health and who led the work.

The loss of honeybees in many countries in the last decade has caused widespread concern because about three-quarters of the world's food crops require pollination. The decline has been linked to loss of habitat, disease and pesticide use. In December 2013, the European Union banned the use of three neonicotinoids for two years.(http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe)  

In the new Harvard study, published in the Bulletin of Insectology, the scientists studied the health of 18 bee colonies in three locations in central Massachusetts from October 2012 till April 2013. At each location, two colonies were treated with realistic doses of imidacloprid, two with clothianidin, and two were untreated control hives.

"Bees from six of the 12 neonicotinoid-treated colonies had abandoned their hives and were eventually dead with symptoms resembling CCD," the team wrote. "However, we observed a complete opposite phenomenon in the control colonies." Only one control colony was lost, the result of infection by the parasitic fungus Nosema and in this case the dead bees remained in the hive.

Previously, scientists had suggested that neonicotinoids can lead to CCD by damaging the immune systems of bees, making them more vulnerable to parasites and disease. However, the new research (http://www.theguardian.com/education/research) undermines this theory by finding that all the colonies had near-identical levels of pathogen infestation.

"It is striking and perplexing to observe the empty neonicotinoid-treated colonies because honey bees normally do not abandon their hives during the winter," the scientists wrote. "This observation may suggest the impairment of honey bee neurological functions, specifically memory, cognition, or behaviour, as the results from the chronic sub-lethal neonicotinoid exposure." Earlier research showed neonicotinoid exposure can damage the renowned ability of bees to navigate home (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/mar/29/crop-pesticides-honeybee-decline) .

The new research follows similar previous work by the same group (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/apr/11/bees-pesticides-decline-colony-collapse) and comparison of the two studies shows that cold winters appear to exacerbate the effects of neonicotinoids on the bees. In the cold winter of 2010-11, 94% of the insecticide-exposed colonies suffered CCD compared to 50% in the new study.

"Sudden deaths of entire honey bee colonies is a persistent concern in North America," said Paul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth's senior nature campaigner. "Comprehensive research into the role pesticides (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/pesticides) play in bee decline is urgently required – including how they may compound other pressures, such as a lack of food and loss of habitat." Lu agreed: "Future research could help elucidate the biological mechanism that is responsible for linking sub-lethal neonicotinoid exposures to CCD. Hopefully we can reverse the continuing trend of honeybee loss."

In April, a landmark European study revealed the UK is suffering one of the worst rates of honeybee colony deaths (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/07/britain-honey-bee-colony-deaths-worst-europe-study) in Europe. "The UK government [which opposed the EU's neonicotinoid ban] has accepted the need for a national action plan to reverse bee and pollinator decline," said de Zylva. "But its draft plan is dangerously complacent on pesticides(http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2014/mar/06/uks-plan-bee-relies-on-chemical-companies-to-assess-pesticide-risk),  placing far too much trust in chemical firms and flawed procedures."

Symphony of the Soil - great film!

Thanks to local members of the National Farmers Union and the Central Library for screening a wonderful film the other evening: Symphony of the Soil.   This documentary is a beautifully crafted web of plant and soil science, amazing photography from microscopic to vistas of wonderful plants, interviews with so many great gardeners and soil lovers one can't keep track, the most amazing watercolour animation, and - most important - some hope for soil, the planet and ourselves.

The website http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com/ tells about the film and people involved in its making, and shows some clips.

NATIONAL FARMERS UNION – MIDDLESEX LOCAL http://www.nfuontario.ca/
Karen Eatwell, President Middlesex Local 519-232-4105

The National Farmers Union (NFU) is a direct-membership, non-partisan national farm organization. Founded in 1969, and with roots going back more than a century, the NFU represents family farms across Ontario and across Canada. The NFU works towards the development of economic and social policies that will maintain family farms as the primary food-producers in Canada.

Community gardening at St. Andrew Memorial Anglican Church

posted May 7 2014

Community gardening in London takes different forms.  Last week it was great to read the Londoner's spotlight on the community garden at St. Andrew Memorial Anglican Church. Garden plots are leased by people who live in the neighbourhood.  Produce from four plots will be donated to programs of St. Andrew's own Fellowship Centre and the Daily Bread Food Bank.  Gardener Helder de Freitas grows in two of these plots, one is gardened by St. Andrew's volunteers and another will be gardened by volunteers from St. Paul’s Social Services.

The popular gardens are on land adjacent to the church and Nancy Barwick, a church volunteer mentioned that all the plots are spoken for, but there is a waiting list.

The Londoner article can be read at: Building community gardens
by Jill Ellis-Worthington,  Monday, April 28, 2014

St. Andrew Memorial Anglican Church website is: http://standrewmemorial.org/

Information about The Daily Bread's food bank program: www.dailybreadlondon.ca

Plant Alert! - Impatiens Downy Mildew

Posted Wednesday, April 30/14

For many gardeners, impatiens are a handy solution to shady areas that need some colour and perking up. Please be aware that greenhouse grown impatiens may not last long in your garden this year, and may introduce spores that will go after future plantings of the most familiar types of impatiens (see below).

The April 30/14 London Free Press carried an article about Impatiens Downy Mildew: Impatiens in Southwestern Ontario Have Been Attacked by a Mildew .

An article on the University of Minnesota Extension Services website explains more about Impatiens Downy Mildew (Plasmopara obducens) which is not a true fungus apparently, but is a water mold of the Oomycota line. The U. Minnesota article is here: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/flowers/managing-impatiens-downy-mildew-in-landscape/

No matter lineage, this is going to kill off your impatiens ... at least, that's the alert for greenhouse grown plants. There's no note about if you've grown your own from seed ... altho' given that spores last for some years and the Plasmopara obducens is specific to Impatiens walleriana and I. balsamina, chances are that these two Impatiens should stay out of your garden.

Neither article states whether Impatiens Downy Mildew spreads to other plants. From brief online research, it seems that mildews can be quite plant specific, so, perhaps it doesn't transfer. The other side of things is that there are many types of mildews which affect garden plants. Using a range of garden practices which develop healthy soil, plant spacing to allow air flow, keeping an eye on things every day are all worthwhile practices. Perhaps you want to try some actively aerated compost tea in your garden this year; an introduction to this idea is: http://www.communitygardenslondon.ca/gardensolutions.html#Composttea

 

 

 

National Garden Day for Canada?

Posted April 26, 2014

OTTAWA – On April 8th, NDP Agriculture and Agri-Food Critic Malcolm Allen introduced a Private Member’s Bill to establish National Garden Day. The Welland MP’s bill would designate the Friday before Father’s Day of each year as National Garden Day.

“National Garden Day would be an opportunity for gardening enthusiasts, families and schools to share their knowledge and passion for gardening and the outdoors,” said Allen. “Canadians could enjoy their home gardens or favourite community garden, visit their local garden centre or travel to other communities.”

Supported by Canada’s Garden Council and other stakeholder groups, a National Garden Day would promote environmental stewardship, while also educating Canadians on the importance of public and private gardens, and on the health and well-being benefits of gardens.

“As an MP from the beautiful Niagara region, I am proud to recognize Canada’s long-standing garden heritage,” said Allen. “A National Garden Day would celebrate the many national and international innovations of the Canadian horticultural industry.”

Contact Malcolm:  www.malcolmallen.ca       malcolm.allen@parl.gc.ca       613-995-0988
www.facebook.com/malcolmallenmp     

Urban Agriculture Journal from RUAF

Posted April 20/14

A couple of years ago I (CGL webkeeper Maureen) I was doing some research into urban agriculture, and I needed a definition (or several) to pass along to someone.

The one I liked best was from RUAF - Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security - an organization based in the Netherlands.  RUAF works and researches on topics such as food security, resilient urban food systems, and productive reuse of waste and waste water. I liked that RUAF said that urban agriculture is "integrated into the urban economic and ecological system ... embedded in ... the urban ecosystem." (full definition is below)

At the time I didn't explore the RUAF website to any extent.  So ... rather late! ... I've discovered that RUAF has been publishing a monthly urban agriculture journal for almost 2 1/2 years  and it can be downloaded for free !!   There are some really interesting themes over the issues.   The latest issue is on Climate Change and Urban Agricultu ... and, no surprise, urban agriculture will be important in developing our resilience in the face of global warming.

Hope you find the RUAF site useful!

RUAF's explantion of urban agriculture

"Urban agriculture can be defined shortly as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities."

"The most striking feature of urban agriculture, which distinguishes it from rural agriculture, is that it is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system: urban agriculture is embedded in - and interacting with - the urban ecosystem.  Such linkages include the use of urban residents as labourers, use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation), direct links with urban consumers, direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative), being part of the urban food system, competing for land with other urban functions, being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc.  Urban agriculture is not a relic of the past that will fade away (urban agriculture increases when the city grows) nor brought to the city by rural immigrants that will lose their rural habits over time.  It is an integral part of the urban system.

from Holland-based RUAF Foundation (Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security)
quoted in Urban Agriculture: ideas and designs for the new food revolution.  By David Tracey. New Society Publishers.  October 2011.  London Public Library  635 Tra.

Video for pure enjoyment! Creating a Productive No-Dig Garden in under a Year

posted April 6, 2014

Ya gotta take a look at the video here! Hope you enjoy it!

The text below is the accompanying article, which I've shamelessly stolen from the Permaculture website. Thanks to them! and note there are two other, related videos at the bottom of the resource list.

Creating a Productive No-Dig Garden in under a Year
Maddy Harland  for Permaculture magazine/website:   
Thursday, 6th March 2014

Charles Dowding is the master of No Dig gardening. Tim and I were lucky enough to visit him in late autumn and not only enjoy learning how he gardens (he is a dedicated experimenter), we also got to eat an entire three course meal from the garden in November. It was delicious.

We were so inspired that when Charles told us about this new video, we wanted to share it with you. Here Charles shows us around his new vegetable garden which is less than a year old. It is beautifully abundant and diverse and was all created on old pasture. He proves you can create an edible paradise in under a year.

The grass was never weeded or dug out, instead, Charles laid down year old cow manure and then old carpet on top.
Remarkably, within just a few months, Charles was able to begin planting and sowing, and has grown an amazing amount of food all summer and autumn, weed-free.

Charles explains his continual experiments with no dig against dig and the yields from different composts. 
Once you've seen the amazing results Charles has obtained in such a short period of time, you'll never look back!

For more on no-dig read Charles Dowding's Organic Gardening - The Natural No-Dig Way for a special price of £12.95
Also from Charles Dowding: How to Grow Winter Vegetables for a special price of £12.95
And Salad Leaves For All the Seasons

No-dig gardening Video
Soil experiments: how no-dig systems prevent soil erosion
Video

Senate Hearings into Bees and Bee Health - good spokespeople for pollinators!

Posted April 4/14

The Senate has been holding hearings into the importance of bees and bee health in the production of honey, food and seed in Canada.  This week, witnesses to the committee were:
 
Gwen Barlee, Policy Director (Wilderness Committee)
John Bennett, National Campaign Director (Sierra Club Canada)
Kimberley Fellows, Pollination Outreach Coordinator (Pollination Canada)
Dr. Dave Shutler, Professor, Department of Biology (Acadia University)
Brent Ash, Owner/Operator (Ash Apiaries)
Peter Awram, Owner/Operator (Honeyview Farm)

You can get copies of the transcripts of their comments from the clerk of the senate, Kevin Pittman, at agfo@sen.parl.gc.ca . Translated transcripts are posted after 2-3 weeks. The ones you get right away - the next day! - are in the language used during the hearing.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

A short video giving overview about some steps that can be taken to ease the effects of climate change (http://vimeo.com/89725715) may be a way in to reading more of the report, for those of you, who, like the webkeeper of this CGL site, have a near panic attack even thinking about the full report.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change website is: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg2/

Garden! Be the level of activist you are able to be. Find the environment issue you care about and feel comfortable working on.

Comment piece - focus group 3 - London's community gardens program and strategic plan

Written by Maureen Temme, webkeeper, Community Gardens London and posted March 30, 2014

London's Community Gardens Program (Lcgp) has evolved with the luxury of financial support from the City of London - in actual dollars and "in-kind" services (e.g. woodchips delivered from a City tree removal down the block).  The City has for the most part handled things like water supply, insurance, fencing, and tillage of plots.  This has been of benefit to the gardens. City staff and Council support London's community gardens program. In April 2011, City Council endorsed a forward-thinking review of the program. Overall City management is in place, whether or not garden locations have a gardener-led management group.  If funding/support suddenly was cut, however, communication and organization gaps at the gardener level in most of the individual gardens would probably lead to a lot of disorganization and probably the dissolution of some gardens because the gardens are not managed by a committee of gardeners.  Figuring out how to have individual garden leadership and more autonomy within the individual gardens is important and should begin this gardening season.

Lcgp is going through a strategic planning process. This began in the fall of 2013 with two focus groups. Community Gardens London posted notes.

Notes from the 3rd focus group - on the topic of whether/how gardens could/should be gardener led is posted in two parts: conversations specific to the topic, and other things discussed. These notes are written by M. Temme, coordinator of this CGL website.

Community Gardens London does not manage London's community gardens program.

notes - Focus Group #3  - Could gardens in London's community gardens program be managed by gardeners?

part of Strategic Planning Process for London's Community Gardens Program, held Tuesday, March 25/14    

In attendance:  - 10 people who garden;
- Anne Becker, facilitator (partner in Pathways Consulting, which is handling the strategic planning work)
these notes, written up by M. Temme, webkeeper, CommunityGardensLondon, are from her notes of what people said.  They are organized into sections ... not in order people spoke. Errors of understanding are hers

SOME GENERAL TOPICS
One person described the garden she'd been with in Edmonton:
- managed by the gardeners ... so all gardens are different in some ways
- gardens were allotment gardens, with a fee, similar to here ... altho' the garden plots were a bit smaller.
- The city of Edmonton did not manage the gardens; it gave one-time start-up money of $2000 for a new garden.
- Gardens were initiated by groups or neighbourhoods - communities of some type.
- The group would have to have a plan, including how it would manage the garden ... so it decided its own governance and committees for such things as social events, plot allocation, communication. 
- everyone at the garden had each others contact information
- Part of the expectation of memberhip in the garden was that you'd spend time on one of the committees
- sign in system, so it was known that the work go done
- gave ownership of the space as a whole
- fun was included!  social events beginning, middle and end of season, including children's activities, ugliest fruit or largest zucchine contests
- there were communal plots - with food going to [agency] for distribution
- sometimes people got burnt out from their work

Gardeners managing gardens - or not?
- Becker said that from the survey and focus groups, some people want a coordinating committee ... and others don't care.
- Becker said that people in the survey are one batch of commenters and people who come out to these focus groups are another, smaller group.
- attendee commented that "You can't rely entirely on volunteers".  This underscores that existing City financial support and coordination is a positive ... but doesn't address what would happen if funding/support was withdrawn.

A main garden committee role is to help everyone have a good experience!
-  to welcome new-to- the-garden and new-to-gardening people
- this establishes communication right away and connects up new-to-gardening people especially with any help/garden buddy needed
- help people succeed

What possible functions need to be done?
- taking care of finances, social events, plot allocation, communication, pricing out equipment
- social events can be awkward if someone's got a path full of weeds
- garden leaders need to learn skills of handling conflict
- suggestion of what to say to two gardeners with complaints about each other: "You're adults  work it out"

COMMUNICATION
- gardeners need to have contact information for all other gardeners at their locale
- there does need to be a "go-to" person in the garden ... someone who has stepped up to be the lead or contact or whatever s/he gets called
- sharing information would be faster through a small group than having to go through central coordinating agency
- communication between garden council and gardeners - alerts everyone to problems and celebrations
- making it known that different gardens have different expectations - so even people on a waiting list know

Pro-active on plot abandonment
- garden leaders ask people "how's it going" and might be able to solve something before it's a problem

Enforcing rules or guidelines - one of the more difficult things
- one attendee said that things in a garden generally sort themselves out
- it is handling the few remaining problems which take time and energy
- there are guidelines in place via the City's overseeing of the community gardens ...
- how would a gardener-run oversight group handle problems and enforce sanctions, or establish rules particular to their garden? 
- possible problems: if a plot seems to be abandoned this needs to be confirmed and the plot re-assigned; if paths by a garden are full of weeds that trip people

Communication/participaton  with neighbourhood and beyond
- education and goodwill, getting donations and volunteers, joint celebrations
- is more direct if there's a gardener-led management
- one attendee had been in a garden where part of fee was growing/contributing food to food bank ... another person said neighbours may come and pick food if they need it (there's been conversation with neighbours)

- gardening in public parks and passers by - need signs to tell them
- we're renting for the summer - gardens are viewed all years

handling  theft    (Maureen put this in, altho' it wasn't talked about)
- this is an ongoing garden problem ... ties in to communication between gardeners, communication with City and police, signage, teaching people how to leave alone or confront someone, what community inclusion is needed

DOING THINGS
Is participation in management of the garden a requirement for being able to garden?
- at this time, no
- that requirement is more common in gardens which are community-formed, not City-sponsored ... where, from the start, guidelines and management have been determined by a citizen group
- a garden currently on City land, which developed a gardener-led management, would - over time - probably have to do some negotiating with the City to evolve independence

How could a gardener-led garden go about increasing its garden size? (number of plots)
- there would be more immediate and direct conversations with the resource centre or parks department where the garden is
- the example of Carling Heights garden was given ... there is space for more garden plots ... but who asks if more can be put in?

More effective liaison with the agencies and community resources/businesses that help get things done, and done more quickly
- e.g. Blackfriars garden has connected with "Adopt A Park" - which gives gardeners autonomy to call, and gets them acquainted with who to call about wood chips, trees, and other things that need doing.
- e.g. Carling Heights seems to have space for more garden plots ... gardener-leaders could have immediate and direct conversations with the resource centre and correct City departments to negotiate more plots.
- e.g. individual gardens need different things and have different ideas on garden style - water catchment, composting, naturalization, replacement hoses, a message board, eating place.  These require getting permission, raising funds, finding donors, recruiting volunteers

PLANNING and EVALUATION
- how to do things can be figured out, suitable to people's skills and the garden
- gardener-led group doesn't need to be big
- the  garden is evaluated by its gardener-led group and gardeners each year ... then change or keep on with how things are done  (this is something beyond the ongoing problem-solvin, seasonal events and celebrations)
- part of the evaluation is to figure out the approximate amount of time that being on a committee takes - this is helpful information for a new person becoming involved

Planning
- individual garden management lets plans be made for the situation specific to the garden ... plan for good things, plan ahead to avert possible problems

Do any insurance issues change if a garden location within the City system is managed by its gardeners?
- this would need to be checked

Record keeping
- individual garden level is where information can be gathered about expenses, donations, plots used or left.  All this goes into a yearly report/celebrations of Lcgp ... helping to clarify and justify City expenditure
                
Garden tasks and responsibilties
- attendee suggested using garden Lcgp guidelines to set these ... some things already written could be turned over to volunteers, other things stay with City, some stay with coordinating agency or new paid garden organizer.

Focus Group #3 - Points that came up other than garden management committees

Focus Group #3 - Overall topic was discussion of gardener-led community gardens
part of Strategic Planning Process for London's Community Gardens Program - Tuesday, March 25/14, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

These points came up other than garden management committees
These notes, written up by M. Temme, webkeeper, CommunityGardensLondon, are from her notes of what people said.  They are organized into sections ... not in order people spoke. Errors of understanding are hers

In attendance: 
- 10 people who garden, most garden at one of London's community gardens
- Anne Becker, facilitator (partner in Pathways Consulting, which is handling the strategic planning work)

Posting information from Survey done in Nov/Dec 2013
A survey about London's community gardens program (Lcgp) was taken during November and December 2013, with slightly different questions for gardeners within Lcgp than for other interested people.  Asked why the results had not been posted on either the City website or on the website of the coordinating agency for the gardens, the facilitator said she would talk to the "City folks and there's no reason we can't post the info."

Garden mentor / initiator
It was suggested strongly by several people that funding needs to be allotted for a person whose job is to be general garden mentor, and who gets in touch with community organizations, resource centres, neighbourhood associations, and businesses to encourage new gardens and help communities set up gardens. As one attendee said, "these things don't just happen".

Record keeping and accountability of London's community gardens program
- The number of gardens in Lcgp and number of garden plots (gardeners) has decreased. 
- Plot abandonment seems to be up, altho' no numbers are kept, and there is no follow-up with people who leave their gardens so there is no record of why.
- The London Community Gardens Program Review charged the coordinating agency with developing a Friends of the Community Gardens volunteer support group of gardeners and Londoners, which was to have regular reports.  The City request for proposal to become coordinating agency was based on this, meaning a coordinating agency should have had a plan in place for this.
- A Friends groups has not been formed with regular reports given.  No year-end report of Lcgp garden activities and/or budget has been published on either the coordinating agency's or City websites for the 2012 or 2013 garden season.
- attendee expressed concern that this lack of transparency could cause problems for the future of London's community gardens program

Buddy system - this will be April 1/14 focus group meeting topic
- some help for new gardeners from current gardeners
- does such a system automatically occur?
- what formality - communication and education - would make this successful?
- attendee asked, if the "entryway to a garden was through the gardeners" what would things be like?
                                             (M's note: lovely phrasing!!)
- Becker asked what intention is behind the mentoring system 
- Some people are uncomfortable asking for help. 
 -Would a system that pairs up new [meaning inexperienced] gardeners be a gentle help to those  people and lead to a more successful garden overall?

A garden for every neighbourhood
- Becker mentioned that this idea has come up at focus groups and in the survey, and that to work it requires a combination of government, non-profits, neighbourhoods
- Becker mentioned that a system left [just] to community/neighbourhoods may find people won't commit
- there are politics that emerge too
- cultural differences affect the gardening and garden set up

Garden models mentioned   ... (including websites Maureen looked up after the meeting)
- PetersonGarden project - pop-up victory gardens in Chicago - there are weekly events - being run by - collaborative between City and landowners ... this could even be done on temporary sites
WWII History of Chicago's Victory Gardens: http://theyarden.com/chicago-victory-gardens-101-2/
The Peterson Garden project: http://www.petersongarden.org and also http://wecangrowit.org/?p=44 
YouTube video about the Peterson Garden project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CUXRVCWbJA
- Sustainable Food Edmonton is the go-to organization for community gardens in Edmonton: http://sustainablefoodedmonton.org/programs/community-gardens/
- attendee described her experience at an Edmonton community garden ... this is included in the focus group notes for gardener led gardens

Ontario Bee Health report is a reason to comment about neonicotinoid pesticides

The overdue report (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/beehealthworkinggroupreport.pdf) by the Ontario Bee Health Working Group (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/beehealthworkinggroup.htm) was published on March 19/14.  It does not recommend a moratorium on neonicotinoid pesticides.

Neonicotinoids are systemic insecticides that last for a year or more while travelling through soil/water courses.  They kills bees, and/or affects their ability to forage, fly, locate themselves and reproduce; they also have bad effects on other pollinators, arthropods and birds

The National Farmers Union has issued a press release which says:

"The recently released Ontario Bee Health Working Group Report is another case of "corporate profits trumping ecological needs," according to National Farmers Union (NFU) Vice President of Policy and Ontario farmer, Ann Slater.
... "This approach will allow chemical and seed companies to continue to sell farmers seed treated with neonicotinoid insecticides but will do little to protect bees or our natural and agricultural ecosystems." 
 "The report is a missed opportunity to promote the use of more ecological farm practices such as complex crop rotations, as well as to show a real commitment to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, which recommends that pesticides be used only when there is a demonstrated pest problem instead of as routine practice," states Slater." 

It goes on to say that the National Farmers Union is "glad to see Minister of Agriculture and Food, Hon. Kathleen Wynne's commitment to establish a new Ontario Pollinator Health Working Group with an expanded focus beyond bees.  “This indicates some understanding on the part of Premier Wynne that the implications of neonicotinoids have broader ecological implications,” said Eatwell.  “I encourage the Premier to give a greater role to ecological and organic farmers along with bee keepers in the new working group and to limit the involvement of Syngenta, Bayer CropScience and organizations representing multinational chemical and seed companies.  This new group must be able to recommend actions that put the health of pollinators and our natural and agricultural ecosystems first.” (said NFU vice president for Policy, Karen Eatwell)

CGL encourages you to read the OBHWG report and write your comments to Agriculture Minister / Premier Wynne to say whatever you need to say about this issue.  This may be done directly through the Premier's website: http://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/default.aspx  or email premier@ontario.ca or via the Ministry of Agriculture minister.omaf@ontario.ca or phone 416-326-3074

with definitely send a copy to the National Farmers Union, via Karen Eatwell, NFU Acting Region 3 (Ontario) Coordinator, 519-232-4105, president@nfuontario.ca
and if you want to bother, a copy to the Debra Sikora, head of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group (OMAFRA)" <Debra.Sikora@ontario.ca>

 

Organic growing and attitude needed more than ever

Over the last while, CGL webkeeper Maureen has been reading and/or writing about threats to pollinators, neonicotinoid pesticides, and a host of other threats to seed security and food sovereignty.

More than ever we need to be learning about organic and eco-agricultural growing, and supporting organizations like Canadian Organic Growers, Canada's longest established, charitable organics organization. Its mission is "To lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources".

From the home page just now, I immediately went to reread an article about seed security in Canada by the brilliant Kim Delaney of Hawthorn farm (talked with her at Seedy Saturday and bought lots of seeds). And then went on to:
- a reminder that membership in COG brings library borrowing privileges!!
- information about organic farming, certification, and courses
- several more articles, and learned ... about organic oats

It doesn't cost a lot to become a member of COG.  All your donations support its advocacy of organic agriculture and its environmental benefits.  And when your donation is over $21 you get real paper copies of its journal, that you can carry around the house and read and keep forever on a shelf and refer back to.  (hey, I'm a paper person!)

So, there's my promotion of a really important advocacy organization for organics in Canada.  As its website says:

COG " has been promoting the health and environmental benefits of organic agricultural practices since it established in 1975. COG is connected through eleven regional Chapters, four affiliated organizations, and to the international organic community through membership in the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements(IFOAM). In addition to our many contributions to the organic movement in Canada, COG also holds the most comprehensive collection of resources on organic food and farming in Canada. This includes more than 1500 books in our public (and free) lending library, a quarterly Canadian Organic Grower Magazine (published since 1978) and COG’s own books and guides on organic growing in Canada, which can be found in agricultural classrooms across North America"

London's community gardens program seeks ideas as it develops its strategic plan.

Posted March 11, 2014

Two focus groups have already been held, and a survey done.  Now, ideas are wanted on two topics: management of individual gardens by its gardeners and buddy-to-buddy systems for new gardeners

Focus Group 1: Tuesday, March 25, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.  Kinsmen Arena, 20 Granville Street, London
Focus Gruop 2: Tuesday, April 1, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Kinsmen Arena, 20 Granville Street, London

Please participate, whether you have already participated in the planning process so far or not.*

To help the consultant/coordinating agency prepare for each focus group, it is useful if you RSVP if you will be attending one of the focus groups to Eventbrite or call 519-661-5336 (London's Community and Partnerships office). You probably won't be turned away if you just show up.

The text below, explaining the process, was noticed by CGL webkeeper on the City of London website here.  As of March 12/14 it is not posted on the website of the agency which coordinates London's community gardening program, LCRC.

Here's the text - in blue - from the City website:

"JOIN THE CONVERSATION:  WE NEED YOUR INPUT!
COMMUNITY GARDENS FOCUS GROUPS
"As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting and sustaining London’s community garden program, we are in the process of developing our London Community Gardens Strategic Plan.
"We have completed two community based focus groups, as well as a large-scale community survey about London Community Gardens. Based on the feedback from the focus groups and survey, we would like to hold two additional focus groups, with an emphasis on two distinct topics. Anne Becker from Pathways Consulting Group will facilitate both focus groups.
Topic One
There is interest in developing a Community Garden model whereby an individual Community Garden would be governed and managed by a group of volunteers from that specific garden.
"Focus group questions:
What outcomes would we want to achieve if we put this volunteer model in place?
What would be required and what would we need to do in order to achieve these outcomes?
How would we measure progress and success?
"Topic Two
There is interest in developing a Buddy-to-Buddy mentoring program to support new gardeners who have plots in a Community Garden:
"Focus Group Questions:
What outcomes would we want to achieve if we put a mentoring program into place?
What would be required and what would we need to do in order to achieve these outcomes?
How would we measure progress and success?

"If you are interested in participating in one of these focus groups, it is important that you are currently a Community Gardener at a London community garden. Secondly, we hope to have balanced representation from all community gardens so that the input is representative of a wide range of views and ideas." end of text

London's Community gardens program is part of the City of London's Neighbourhoods programs. City staffer Paula de Freitas can direct your questions on the program to the right senior staff - 519-661-5336 or neighbourhoods@london.ca.

*CGL webkeeper note: Altho' this strategic planning process is nominally for London's community gardens program, that program exists within the context of neighbourhoods and has implications far beyond just this one program.  Ideas as to that whole need to be brought forward.

Milkweed is to be removed from the Ontario Noxious Weed List

posted March 11 2014 - Hurray!

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) has posted notice that it will remove milkweed from Ontario's noxious weed list, the Weed Control Act.

Notice was posted on the Environmental Registry February 28/14.  The reasons for this, as posted, include this text:

The presence of common milkweed on lands that are not being actively farmed would be considered a low to negligible risk to activities on nearby agricultural or horticultural lands. Farmers can take proper management steps on their own lands to reduce the threat that common milkweed can pose to grazing livestock. Since milkweed spp. was added to the Schedule of Noxious Weeds initially, there has been an expansion in the number of management options available to farmers to address common milkweed on lands that are actively farmed

OMAF also comments that the current listing includes all milkweed - Asclepias spp (species) - a term that takes in the kinds of slow to spread milkweed we plant in our flower gardens, and "which includes many individual species, including four-leaved milkweed (a species at risk in Ontario) and other species in the Asclepias genus that are not considered a threat to agriculture or horticulture in Ontario."

Milkweed Asclepias syriaca - the common roadside milkweed - is no longer common!  Changes in agricultural practice in Canada and the United States - particularly the widespread use of glyphosate herbicides (Roundup) that kill off everything except genetically modifed corn, soy, or cotton planted in huge monocrops along Monarch butterfly flight paths - have contributed to what can only be called a crash and a crisis in the Monarch population.  The current count of Monarchs in their Mexican home is only .67 hectares area, down and down and down from the more common count of 7 hectares and above to 19 hectares. 

For gardeners and envirnomentalists these days, everything we read is telling us to:
- plant milkweed in our home gardens
- encourage milkweed planting in available urban spaces through any organization we are involved in
- encourage our city parks and councils to increase butterfly gardens, naturalized areas that include milkweeds
- encourage any organization involved in farming to promote hedgerow and wildflower spaces for milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants.

Orange flowering Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa - is a perennial and can be grown from seed or purchased as small plants; there are hybrids which have other coloured flowers. 
An Ontario's native milkweed is Swamp Milkweed - Asclepias incarnata - which has a wonderful pink flower; it does want its soil home to stay moist.
The four-leaved milkweed - Asclepias quadrifolia - is at risk, and mentioned here.  Are there any plantswomen/men propagating this in a sustainable way? 

Here in London, Ontario - CGL webkeeper Maureen inquired about milkweed and the proposed change, and received a reply from a senior staff person at the City's bylaw department. Here is her reply:

"I too am awaiting the decision of OMAF as to the proposed removal of Milkweed from the NWA list.  In London we have been very fortunate in the fact that we have not had to use the authority of the NWA in connection to a complaint of weeds affecting crops.  The weed complaints we receive each year (and there are many) are handled through the Yard & Lot Maintenance By-law and instead of weed species the by-law addresses all weeds that exceed 8” in height. 

"Although Milkweed has been designated as a noxious weed for many years, it has been our policy to allow plants in a tended garden and this practice will continue.  If a property was to be unmaintained and milkweed was permitted to grow wildly all over the property, on a complaint we would still have to address the yard maintenance issue (including the Milkweed) as the plant would still be classed as a weed exceeding 8” in height.

"The removal of Milkweed will make a difference when an individual applies to Council for the approval of a Naturalized area.  As part of that process Council cannot consider a plan that incorporates the presence of any noxious weed (as per the Act).  If Milkweed is removed from the list and individual would now be able to include Milkweed in the plan."

Contemplation and Action for Monarchs - April 14?

posted March 10, 2014

The Make Way for Monarchs website welcomes America’s - and Canada's - "rural and urban communities, faith-based communities, college and university campuses, community gardens and botanical gardens, as well as non-profits of all kinds to join ... in a day of action  and contemplation for imperiled pollinators from dusk on April 13th (Palm Sunday) to dusk on April 14th (Rachel Carson’s death anniversary)".
Make Way for Monarchs: http://makewayformonarchs.org/i/archives/695

CGL webkeeper has posted this FYI. If you and your church or spiritual group are moved to organize an event around this idea, please let us know. We would be happy to post an invitation to it, or post your summary as a news item. The The Make Way for Monarchs website came to our attention March 10/14 via Mother Earth News email.

Million Seed Challenge

posted March 10, 2014

The Old East Village (London, Ont) Gardeners are challenging us to:
* raise enough seeds to cover all vacant spaces
* help beautify and pollinate vacant land
* support native flora and fauna

They are looking for:
* Native wildflower seeds
* Funds to purchase seeds

Find out more about their project on the Old East Village Hub facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/OEVHub or the blog: http://www.oevhub.wordpress.com
email: gardener!@palacetheatre.ca or gardening@palacetheatre.ca

An article about the Old East Village Hub is in Beat Magazine: http://www.thebeatmagazine.ca/index.php/featured-posts/1976-the-hub-comes-to-old-east-village

Let's Have an Earth Day Parade!

London's Council of Canadians is asking for help organizing an Earth Day Parade. Ideas, volunteers and creativity sought for April 22, 2014!

"Imagine floats, bicycles, props, masks, costumed marchers, revelers, music, drumming, celebrating our Mother Gaia. Freedom of Sppech Marchers - any group with a message about human beings and their relationship to our plantet - from celebratory to ironic humour. Email robertacory@rogers.com." and website www.londoncouncilofcanadians.ca

Food Production, Labour and the Community*- free

Saturday, March 22, 2014             1:15 to 3:00 p.m.
Central Library, 251 Dundas Street, London

Recent closures of food manufacturing plants throughout Ontario provoke us to consider how food can affect the "health" of whole communities, not just individuals.  But what are the social forces driving these closures inthe first place?  Are there alternatives?  Speakers from a variety of backgrounds offer incisive responses to these questions. (Each session will be followed by an open-forum discussion)

Featured Speakers
Seed Security in Canada: Aabir Dey, Everdale Farms
Food and Inequality: local food systems in the global economy: Chris Stroud, local food activist
Organized Labour and Industrial Food Production: Patrick Blaney, BCTGM Union Local 154-G

*This is the afternoon session of From Private Troubles to public Issues: a workshop on community and society, organized by the graduate students of Public Sociology @ Western. The morning session topic is Sexual Identity and Gendered Violence.

Fruit and Nut Tree deal - delivery charges waived

Food Not Lawns London Canada has made arrangement with two tree nurseries so that you will have no delivery charges on fruit or nut trees ordered and pre-paid. FNL has also arranged with the London Food Cooperative to be the pick-up place for these orders (you do the pick up, on May 9/14). And FNL also encourages you to register those new trees with ReForest London's Million Tree Challenge.

Full information about this project is on the Food Not Lawns website and contact FNL for information or if you have questions.

The nurseries involved are Silver Creek Nursery near Wellesley, and Whiffle Tree Farm and Nursery up near Elora. Both nurseries have on-line catalogues and all sorts of other interesting information.

 

When: May 9th, 2014 from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Location: London Food Co-Operative Store at 621 Princess Ave.

This is the day to pick up the fruit or nut tree you have pre-ordered/paid for from Silver Creek Nursery and Whiffle Tree Farm and Nursery, and directed them to deliver it to the London Food Co-operative store.
Food Not Lawns London Canada collaborated with the nurseries to have them waive delivery changes.
Information about this at:  Food Not Lawns or the News item on CGL

Don't forget!  When you get your tree, register it with ReForest London's Million Tree Challenge

 

2 presentations about pollinators - conversation and work will continue

posted March 7, 2014

London's Advisory Committee on Environment listened with interest on Wednesday, March 5 to two related presentations:

Celeste L., a member of Food Not Lawns, encouraged ACE to find ways to assist in the movement to make London, Ontario a Pollinator Sanctuary, meaning "that all the land within the boundaries of the City of London would act as a refuge, or eco-sensitive one, to protect pollinators.  Sanctuaries are often the only hope we have os topping many threatened species from becoming extinct."  She went on to explain the importance of urban environments in preserving biodiverse corridors.  Celeste had worked on this proposal with Margo D., who was unable to attend.

CGL webkeeper, Maureen Temme, also made a presentation - on the less joyous side - about the deadly effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on not just pollinators like honeybees, but on other pollinators and birds. 

It was such a lift to hear Celeste and Margo's thoughtful and detailed proposal!

It was also a great lift to have so many questions from ACE, and ACE has formed a subcommittee to continue the conversation with us about the pollinator sanctuary idea.  ACE member Gabor Sas has signed on.

Work by community members to increase biodiversity in our City remains the essential underpinning to a pollinator sanctuary.

We will keep you posted on all fronts.

For International Women's Day - 25 Women Changing Food

Thank you Food Tank for celebrating International Women's Day - March 8 - by letting us know about 25 women around the world who are involved in food security.

Women: intelligent, caring, working members of our communities!  

The full article gives information about all the women's achievements. Here are the names and affiliations.woman farming

Rebecca Adamson—Founder and President of First Peoples Worldwide
Rucha Chitnis—South Asia Program Director of Women’s Earth Alliance
Ertharin Cousin—Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme
Grace Foster-Reid—Managing Director of Ecofarms, a community-based business in Jamaica that produces honey products from her family’s farm.
Stephanie Hanson—Director of Policy and Outreach at One Acre Fund.
Wenonah Hauter—Executive Director of Food & Water Watch
Heather Hilleren—Hilleren is the Founder and CEO of Local Dirt
Saru Jayaraman—founded Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Sarah Kalloch—runs Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet program
Nancy Karanja—professor of soil ecology and Director of the Microbial Resource Centre at the University of Nairobi
Joan Karling—Secretary General of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP
Myrna Cunningham KainInternational Year of Family Farming (IYFF) special ambassador from Latin America
Anna Lappe—co-founder of the Small Planet Institute
Federica Marra—founder of  Manna From Our Roofs, organization for youth
Kathleen Merrigancurrently Executive Director of the Sustainability Institute at George Washington University.
Anuradha Mittal—co-director of Food First Institute for Food and Development Policy
Sithembile Ndema Mwamakamba—Programme Manager with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN),
Mariam Ouattara - from Cote d’Ivoire, Ouattara founded Slow Food Chigata
Esther Penunia-Banzuela—Secretary General of the Asian Farmers’ Association
Claire Quenum—General Secretary of the African Network on the Right to Food Sara
Scherr—Scherr is the Founder and President of Ecoagriculture Partners
Michele Simon public health lawyer
Kanthi Wijekoon is founder of theThe Rural Women’s Front in Sri Lanka
Sarah Small is a Research Associate for Food Tank who put together the list.  CGL figured she should be on it!

and from Food Tank's accompanying email:
" ... all over the world, there are innovative women inspiring  ... business women, mothers, teachers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs, changing the food system through creating better working conditions, securing land rights, becoming leaders in their community, and more.
“ 'In many developing countries, women are the backbone of the economy. Yet women farmers do not have equal access to resources and this significantly limits their potential in enhancing productivity,' said Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"And in many countries, while women are responsible for the majority of food production, they are also more likely to suffer from hunger in food shortages. According to Oxfam International, women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, but only earn 10 percent of the income.
"According to the World Food Programme, providing women farmers access to the same resources as men could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 100-150 million people. And when women earn more, they invest more in the health of their families."

Seeds of Diversity Canada - seed swap time

posted Feb 24 2014

You do have to be a member of Seeds of Diversity Canada to be able to get full information about what there is to swap.

That said, with 1400 members and thousands of  seeds ... check out the Seeds of Diversity website and think on it!

Seeds of Diversity Canada is a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the conservation, documentation and use of public-domain, non-hybrid plants of Canadian significance. They have a lot of projects on the go and are partners with USC Canada in the Bauta Family Initiative in Seed Security  and have a connection to Pollination Canada. The website also keeps a list of Seedy Saturday events (London has one March 8 at Carling Heights)

Garden Blitz - Food Not Lawns

posted Feb 17 2014

Food Not Lawns London Canada can help you figure out how to turn your backyard into a pollinator friendly garden, growing lots of good food. Planning begins soon for such an undertaking; blitzes when the weather's right on April and May weekends.FNL will help you coordinate your efforts with your friends and volunteers.

Garden blitzes are great ways to have some fun and strengthen your personal community. Food Not Lawns London is encouraging hopeful home gardeners, as well as community group or neighbourhood ideas in these blitzes.

In preparation? Planning. There'll be a Garden Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 1-4 p.m. at East Village Arts Collective, 757 Dundas Street, London. Suggested donation is $20-$50 for the workshop (arrangements could be made for low income)

http://foodnotlawnslondoncanada.blogspot.ca

Great article in the Feb 13 Londoner about this program!

Satire - Why "Natural" is the best advertising word ever

posted Feb 23 2014

Thanks to Tad Hargrave of Marketing for Hippies for sending out this video, which manages to give a laugh to those of us who are appalled with what the lable 'Natural' can cover on the worst of foods. Put out by Only Organic www.onlyorganic.org Note: there's a link to Hargraves first, then click for the video.


satire on natural


 

Must see Organic Farming video-interview

posted Feb 17/14

Marianne Schonning is an organic dairy farmer in Sweden - and a board member of the International Foundation for Organic Agriculture, IFOAM www.ifoam.org

Schonning has farmed organically for over 30 years, always changing and learning. She speaks to the dynamic between ethos and organic farming as a business.

Watch for the cat at the very beginning! And her cows are absolutely beautiful!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79-EY0Gfg0U

 

Pollinator Sanctuary Project - volunteers sought

A Pollinator Sanctuary project is underway by Volunteers from Food Not Lawns London Canada and Council of Canadians London Branch.  Part of this work is to find out which nurseries and plant supply places in London are selling plants raised in places that used neonicotonoid insecticides on them. 

an information piece is posted on Food Not Lawns: 
http://londoncouncilofcanadians.blogspot.ca
http://www.foodnotlawnslondoncanada.org

Senate hearings into the Importance of bees and bee health

February 11, 2014, 5:00 p.m.       and February 13, 2014
Can be heard over the internet - see the committee pages from the link below
Room 2, Victoria Building, 140 Wellington Street, Ottawa

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry has been hearing presentations into the importance of bees and bee health in the production of honey, food and seed in Canada

The speakers - "witnesses" - are listed below, and it's certain that they will be speaking about neonicotinoid pesticides in parts of their presentations and answers to Senate questions:

February 11/14 - 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Jean-Pierre Chapleau, Beekeeper, Co-Director of the Health folder bees/pesticides (Fédération des apiculteurs du Québec)
Dan Davidson, President (Ontario Beekeepers Association) - unable to attend, which is really too bad because OBA has strong anti-Neonicinoid stance
Jake Berg, President (Saskatchewan Beekeepers' Association)
Allan Campbell, President (Manitoba Beekeepers' Association)
Kevin Nixon, Alberta Delegate to Canadian Honey Council (Alberta Beekeepers Commission)

The speakers for the February 13, 5:00-7:00 p.m. hearings are:
D'Arcy Hilgartner, director, Grain Growers of Canada
Todd Hames, President, Canadian Canola Growers Association
Curtis Rempel, Vice-President of Crop Production and Innovation, Canola Council of Canada.
Mark Wales, Member of Board of Directors Canadian Federation of Agriculture 

There have been previous hearings, and I think there will be something later than Feb. 11.  Information is on the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee home page: http://www.parl.gc.ca/sencommitteebusiness/CommitteeHome.aspx?parl=41&ses=2&Language=E&comm_id=2

CGL webkeeper Maureen listened to the Feb. 4/14 broadcast.  It is a very different thing to listen to live broadcast and get the feel of what people are saying, and even more interesting to hear the questions people are asked and get a feel for what the members of the Senate committee are or not familiar with on this topic. 

Transcripts of proceedings in their original languages are available by request quickly. It takes some time for translations to be prepared, however. When the transcripts are translated they are on the website. Nicole Raymond is the administrative assistant to the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee and sent CGL webkeeper the latest untranslated transcript in the turn-around time. Like any administrative assistant she probably knows all sorts of things and can answer questions about the committee. Nicole.Raymond@sen.parl.gc.ca

The website says to contact the clerk, but you could email Ms. Raymond to request transcripts or requesting the not-yet-translated ones. Information about transcripts is on:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/sencommitteebusiness/CommitteeTranscripts.aspx?parl=41&ses=2&Language=E&comm_id=2



What do we think of bees?

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
               Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer, from Dandelion Wine

The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century.  The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.  Human beings have fabricated the illustion that in the 21st century they have technological prowess to be independent of nature.  Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature's services in a world of close to seven billion people."
          Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, referring to March 2011 report Global Bee Colony Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators

“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think.  Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.”
               A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

But I have to say with all honesty, when I am in the bee yard outside observing ..., and I hear the buzzing of the bees, that is for me a greater experience than the Nobel Prize."
       Karl von Frisch, who shared the 1973 Nobel with Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen, quoted in Candace Savage, Bees: nature's little wonders

What bees ask of us is simple: a world free from poisons and other stressors, with places where they can next and a sweet, season-long supply of flowering plants.  In return, they offer to teach us their deepest lesson yet.  Much as a honeybee belongs to her colony, so we human beings belong to the living community of the  Earth.  The wild lies all around us and we draw it in like breath. Our lives are indivisible from the lives of insects.
                      Candace Savage, Bees: nature's little wonders, p. 109

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.  No more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."               
Albert Einstein             

bombus terrestris  Bombus terrestris bumblebee                                                                                  

So how does a worker bee know what to do when?  For an individual engaged with tasks within the hive, ... she sees a job that needs to be done and that she is ale to perform, and then she gets busy and does it.
      from Karl von Frisch's observations ... Candace Savage, Bees: nature's little wonders, p. 107

"I think any of the pesticides the bees bring back to the beehive is hurting the bees"
entomologist Eric Mussen, when asked if imidiacloprid is the entire problem underlying Colony Collapse Disorder

" Clothianidin is "highly toxic to honeybees on an acute contact basis"
        United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2003
[it went on to suugest that chronic exposure could lead to effects on the larvae and reproductive effects in the queens (which has been found)]

And from Rachel Carson, in Silent Spring, ch. Earth's Green Mantle.  Houghton Mifflin, Book Club Edition, 1962               

... Of some 70 species of shrubs and vines that are typical roadside species in the eastern states alone, about 65 are important to wildlife as food.  
               Such vegetation is also the habitat of wild bees and other pollinating insects.  Man is more dependent on these wild pollinators than he usually realizes.  ... Some agicultural species of wild bees take part in the pollination of cultivated crops - 100 species visiting the flowers of alfalfa alone.  Without insect pollination, most of the soil-holding and soil-enriching plants of uncultivated areas would die out, with far-reaching consequences to the ecology of the whole region.  Many herbs, shrubs, and trees of forests and range depend on native insects and range stock would find little food.  Now clean cultivation and the chemical destruction of hedgerows and weeds are eliminating the last sanctuaries of these pollinating insects and breaking the threads that bind life to life.
               These insects, so essential to our agriculture and indeed to our landscape as we know it, deserve something better from us than the senseless destruction of their habitat.  Honeybees and wild bees depend heavily on such "weeds" as goldenrod, mustard, and dandelions for pollen that serves as the food of their young.  Vetch furnishes essential spring forage for bees before the alfalfa is in bloom, tiding them over this early season so that they are ready to pollinate the alfalfa.  In the fall they depend on goldenrod at a season when no other food is available, to stock up for the winter.  By the precise and delicate timing that is nature's own, the emergence of one species of wild bees takes place on the very day of the opening of the willow blossoms.  There is no dearth of men who understand these things, but these are not the men who order the wholesale dranching of the landscape with chemicals.
               And where are the men who supposedly understand the value of proper habitate for the preservation of wildlife?  Too many of them are to be found defending herbicides as "harmless" to wildlife because they are thought to be less toxic than insecticides.  Therefore, it is said, no harm is done.  But as the herbicides rain down on forest and field, on marsh and rangeland, they are bringing about marked changes and even permanent destruction of wildlife habitate.  To destroy the homes and food of wildlife is perhaps worse in the long run than direct killing. 
               The irony of this all-out chemical assault on roadsides and utility rights-of-way is twofold.  It is perpetuating the problem it seeks to correct, for as experience has clearly shown, the blanket application of herbicides does not permanently control roadside "brush" and the spraying has to be repeated year after year.  And as a further irony, we persist in doing this despite the fact that a perfectly sound method of selective spraying is known, which can achieve long-term vegetational control and eliminate repeated spraying in most types of vegetation.

Closing Federal Libraries - audio interviews with Nikiforuk and others


 Closing Federal Libraries, by Prof. Sean Kheraj of York U's history department, has just been posted in the NiCHE series of Canadian Environmental History Podcasts. http://niche-canada.org/2014/02/03/natures-past-episode-41-closing-federal-library/
(this is an audio broadcast only)

Kheraj speaks with Dr. Andrew Nikiforuk, and then with a panel of environmental historians about what information might be lost to historians, environmental researchers, businesses and social planners ... as well as the ethical situation involved in taking information away

The introduction points out that over a dozen libraries have closed at "Parks Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration, Human Resources and Skills Development, the National Capital Commission, Intergovernmental Affairs, Public Works and Government Services, Canada Revenue Agency, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Canadian Heritage."

And in December 2013, 7 of the 11 Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries were closed.  Thousands of documents and records have been thrown out ... what the federal government calls downsizing.  Staff and professors at or involved with the libraries have taken material home. 

This audio and others are at: http://niche-canada.org/naturespast 

NiCHE - Network in Canadian History and Environment - http://niche-canada.org/ - has a really neat website where there are all sorts of hstory articles about environment science topics.  NiCHE's educators and researchers want us to know the intersection of past with current environmental sciences ... and see the past as the base from which we can make comparison and plan for the future.  And the articles are really neat, and varied in topic!
Here's sample of what you'll come to from scrolling down url: http://niche-canada.org/category/the-otter/

The Canadian Forestry Corps during WWI

The Future of Farming

How Hurricane Sandy prompted a look at a 50 year old erosion control strategy.

And the Sea Gave Up Her Dead - in 1913 when severe storms blew in debris to Goderich from several maritime tragedies. 

Tracking Canada's History of Oil Pipeline Spills

This CGL webkeeper was unlucky enough to have a bad  history teacher in high school (a very long time ago) and has missed a lot on connections!  I'll be making an effort to think about the past and how it relates to the present and future environment issues we are facing.

Thanks NICHE, thanks Sean Kheraj, Alan MacEachern and other contributors to NiCHE.

Environment Canada archived weather records comes to Western University archive

Alan MacEachern, Associate Professor & Graduate Chair, Department of History is overseeing the transfer of over 140 years of meteorological records from to Western University's archive. This has been a 6-year collaboration to just transfer the material, and the wizards at Western's Archive will be digitizing records, and - more important - making them available to researchers by the summer.

Moving this collection of old, fragile material to a place with controlled temperature and humidity will preserve it for current and future research. Part of the collection is "250 volumes of journals, observations, letterbooks, and correspondence related to Canadian meteorological and climatological history, and spanning the 1820s to the 1960s." Schools kept weather records from the 1840s, an early Canadian start to the "citizen science" that continues to this day.

This material will be of interest to researchers on climate change, geography, environment, agriculture, and just about anything you can think up!

An article on the NiCHE website, Environment Canada Archival Collection Coming to Western, tells the story about the history of weather data collection and the effort Dr. MacEachern took to get this material safely to Western. He can be reached at amaceach@uwo.ca

Congratulations and thank you to everyone involved in this project!!

What's new on City Farmer urban agriculture site?

CGL's favourite website, City Farmer, keeps posting interesting innovations in urban agriculture and community gardens, worldwide.

Video!  East African's urban families fight food shortages with city gardens.  posted Jan. 29/14

Organic Urban Farming in South Africa.  posted Jan. 29/14
direct link:

In contrast to Canada's Federal system, which shut down all our prison farms despite huge protests ... Dartmoor Prison UK has set up gardens to aid in rehabilitation of its prisoners' mind, body, spirit and practical abilities.     posted January 28/14
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenprojects/10576184/Could-prison-gardening-schemes-be-the-key-to-rehabiliation.html     

Gardening with children in schools is nothing new ... see the 1914 thesis on the benefits of Agriculture for Urban Children (a Jan. 25/14 entry)

Notes on new books: The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects and Backyard Foraging: 65 famililar plants you didn't know you could eat

notice has been received about Scotts Miracle-Gro grant for community gardens

posted January 21, 2014 ---- Maureen, webkeeper for Community Gardens London, notes that her agreement with former Prime Minister Joe Clark's comment that you have to be at the table to participate in making decisions, and that people need information to make decisions, is part of her decision to post the GRO1000 grant notice. 

Grant applications for the Scotts Miracle-Gro GRO1000 Grassroots grants program for 2014 for community gardens are being accepted by Scotts Canada Limitedwww.grogood.com/GiveBackToGro/GRO1000/Canada
The deadline for application submission is February 17, 2014.  Recipients are contacted in April. 
Details on the GRO1000 Gardens and Green Spaces Program: www.grogood.com/GiveBackToGro/GRO1000/Canada.

After some background research, Maureen, Community Gardens London webkeeper notes that:

Scotts Canada anticipates awarding 8 cash/in-kind grants in Canada. An individual grant could be worth up to  $1,500; this amount combines dollar value and "in-kind" service (donated products from Scotts).

Scotts Miracle-Gro international oversees the GRO1000 program. The international program will give out a total  1000 grants to community gardens over an 8 year period 2011 through 2018, throughout three geographic regions with a population total of over 1.2 Billion people (Canada, the United States and Europe).

Scotts Canada partners with Communities in Bloom, Plant-a-row/Grow-a-row, and Nutrients for Life (an undertaking of the Canadian synthetic fertilizer industry) to offer the GRO1000 grant program.

Scotts is Monsanto's distributor of Roundup herbicide at the "consumer" level, which seems to mean its urban/around the house applications. Roundup is the main herbicide used agriculturally in conjunction with Monsanto's genetically modified seed. http://thescottsmiraclegrocompany.com/aboutus/our_business.html

Report - Neonicotinoid pesticides' impact on birds

posted January 21/14

Much coverage has been given to Neonicotinoid pesticides' bad effects on honeybees.  Sadly, their effects are much, much broader.  The Impact of the Nation's Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds(http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/130319.html) was commissioned by the American Bird Conservancy (http://www.abcbirds.org/) and delivered in late March 2013 by Cynthia Palmer of the Conservancy and Dr. Pierre Mineau of Carleton University. Disturbing content, important and well referenced.  
http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/toxins/Neonic_FINAL.pdf takes you right to the pdf of the report

new local newspaper, climate change

Posted January 19, 2014 - written by Maureen, webkeeper

There is a new local newspaper in London, Ontario: The London Yodeller.  Publisher is Barry Wells, who does the website AltLondon.  Editor is Herman Goodden.  Available in print or online, the newspaper features articles by mostly local authors, mostly entertainment topics with some local and local political items. There are also "opinion" pieces.

One "opinion" writer is Paula Adamick, former London Ontario resident, who has not lived in London, Ontario for the last 15 years (she lives in England).  She writes many articles for a journal, Catholic Insight.  Her direction of opinion seems to be far right to Tea Party.  Her feature in January 16/14 Yodeller, Climate Change Collapse, says, basically, that climate change is bunk and a cause taken up by gullible and unintelligent people. 

Adamick's article was a great inpiration to the webkeeper of CGL to reread material in her file on climate change, to think about the influential power and responsibility of writers, and to make sure she (Maureen) attends a talk by Professor Gordon McBean.

Climate Change: weird weather is the new normal is one presentation in the Nature in the City series put together by Nature London.  It wll be on Tuesday, January 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 251 Dundas Street.  Prof. McBean will be talking about the science behind climate change and expectations for our future.  He works with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Western University and is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, members of which, collectively, won a Nobel Prize for their work, in 2008.

Maureen looks forward to a full house at Professor McBean's talk.

note: A person involved with The London Yodeller said that the editor would consider opinion pieces by writers who are  "progressive" in thinking. 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summarized in 19 haikus and watercolour

Posted January 15/14

Most amazing, stop-in-your-tracks item just came in on the Grist enews : the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change' latest report as 19 watercolour-illustrated haikus.

Written and illustrated by Dr. Greg Johnson, an oceanographer by profession, well ... see for yourself how much meaning there is in simplicity of word and line.

Thank you Dr. Johnson and thanks to Anne at the Sightline Daily site for posting.

http://daily.sightline.org/2013/12/16/the-entire-ipcc-report-in-19-illustrated-haiku/

full_21_future_reprise

words and text by Dr. Greg Johnson.

101 + 101 Food Security and Advocacy Organizations!

Posted January 12, 2014 - updated January 21

Food Tank, a food "think tank" project, compiled a list of 101 organizations worldwide that are involved in Food projects, advocacy, security, and sovereignty.  They sent it out.  People emailed them more resources!  If you browse through and have another to add, drop 'em a line! Great resources, and thought-provoking. 

Here's the first 101: http://foodtank.org/news/2014/01/one-hundred-one-organizations-to-watch-in-20141

and the 101 more: http://foodtank.com/news/2014/01/one-hundred-one-additional-organizations-to-watch-in-2014

Happy browsing!!

Neonicotinoid Pesticides contaminating Prairie wetlands

from CBC website just this morning, January 6/14 - great to see this getting into mainstream media article

Geoff Leo, CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2014 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/pesticide-contaminating-prairie-wetlands-scientist-1.2482082

Honeybees, neonicotinoid pesticides and experience with Agricultural Advisory Committee

posted January 4/14 by Maureen Temme, webkeeper CGL ... comments here are Maureen's opinion

Thanks to Margo Does for twice bringing information about the hazards to honeybees from neonicotinoid pesticides to London City Council's Agricultural Advisory Committee.  And thanks for the push she gave me to to pull together resource material on the topic, and clarify which report is which.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are a systemic pesticide, meaning they travel to all parts of a plant once they've entered via leaves or roots.  Neonicotinoid pesticides are a neurotoxin to bees; this has been known for some time and product labels state this.  Adult bees take in the pesticide through pollen, nectar, or water from plants or soil. They are either killed outright or their location/tracking ability is diminished, or their immune system harmed; Neonicotinoids in nectar is fed to the bee larvae and kills them right away or causes their immune system to weaken.  Death is sooner, or later.

At the Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting of September 18/13, Tracey Baute, entomologist with OMAFRA, described the immediate and cumulative - deadly - effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybees.  She said that studies show neonicotinoids are overused; also, OMAFRA was starting an education campaign to encourage fungicide-only treated seed. 

Following Baute's presentation, and a presentation by Margo Does, there was discussion by AAC members.  They voted against recommending that Planning and Environment Committee (their parent committee) address the need to bar neonicotinoid pesticide use inside London's boundaries.  AAC  suggested P&EC  comment could wait until the Ontario Bee Health Working Group report was published.

As it turns out, the Ontario Bee Health Working Group report probably won't be out until the spring.  Neonicotinoids will be used during the 2014 planting season and will continue to kill honeybees and pollinators inside and outside London's boundaries.

At the December 18/13 meeting of AAC, an update on reports concerning honeybee health and neonicotinoid pesticides was given by Margo Does and Maureen Temme.

At the September AAC meeting, no one present knew that the (Federal) Pest Management Regulatory Agency interim report had come out Sept. 13/13.  Evaluation of Canadian Bee Mortalities in 2012 related to neonicotinoid pesticides made this key statement:

"... current  agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable."

By December 18/13, the PMRA 90 day period for public input on the report had ended. The Ontario Bee Health Working Group made no comment on the PMRA interim report.

The Ontario Beekeepers Association, however, - whose members observe bee death and whose livelihoods are directly affected by bee deaths - made recommendations augmenting the PMRA report and stated:

"without clear evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are safe over the long-term for non-target species, the use of neonicotinoids should be removed from use on field crops."

In other words, the Ontario Beekeepers Association said that neonicotinoid pesticide use must stop.

(from OBA response to PMRA, document sent by OBA rep Dec. 12/13... not on website yet ... but I'll send a copy - communitygardenslondon@execulink.com )

The National Farmers Union (NFU) also responded to the PMRA interim report on neonicotinoid pesticides. In its report, Action to Protect Bees from Exposure to Neonicotinoid Pesticides, the NFU joined the Ontario Beekeepers Association in underscoring that leading statement in the PMRA interim report concerning neonicotinoid pesticides and honeybee deaths: "... current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable”.

NFU went on to tell the PMRA clearly that the PMRA recommendations did not reinforce its own key statement.

The National Farmers Union is committed to the protection of biodiversity  and advocates for agricultural practices that are in all ways sustainable and built on the principles of food sovereignty.  In keeping with this, it  recommended:

The NFU paper gives an explanation of how neonicotinoids work in simple language. What could be more clear - and serious - than to know that neonicotinoid pesticides don't just kill bees and other pollinators outright, but cause insects' nervous systems to "malfunction continuously and irreversibly" and to be told that even one kernal of neonicotinoid treated corn can cause reproductive abnormalities in birds? 

The NFU comment also emphasised that:

The NFU recommended a moratorium on neonicotinoids as the best use of the "precautionary principle" - not waiting until every study is in before taking common sense action for ecosystem health.

In statements that Margo Does and Maureen Temme took to the Agricultural Advisory Committee, we asked that it make its own statement about the need for a moratorium on neonicotinoid pesticides, urge the Planning and Environment Committee to do the same, and that both committees begin to look at how pesticides are used inside London's boundaries and how their effects on all inhabitants of its ecosystems will be kept healthy.

We urged London's Agricultural Advisory Committee to work with precautionary principle and:

The Agricultural Advisory Committee did not discuss the issue of neonicotinoid pesticides and pollinator health, or put our comments into any statement for its members to even vote on.

The experience left me ... fiesty, and with many questions about how the AAC might be augmented over the next year to begin to expand its work to fit its broad mandate.  There is much that could be done through this advisory committee.

At this time, I think that efforts toward stopping the use of neonicotonoid pesticides should be by participating in public education, and by participating in campaigns by organizations such as the National Farmers Union, EcoJustice, or Sierra Club.

In my opinion, effort to take the topic above this advisory committee level would not be time well spent.  As we are able, we should monitor what happens at London's City Council this year on topics important to us; and, as we can tolerate, get involved in campaigning for a candidate we want to see elected on October 27/14.]

For another comment on the Dec. 18/13 AAC meeting, S. Franke, who attended the December 18/13 AAC meeting posted meeting notes on the Food Not Lawns London Canada website (see the December 19 post), sure gets my praise for the speed and passion in the post

 

 

FEEDING THE WORLD, CARING FOR THE EARTH

posted Jan. 4/14

Part of the celebration launch of the International Year of Family Farming IYFF-2014 is the review Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.

Published by the World Rural Forum(WRF) and the Regional Program Fida Mercosur, it seeks to promote and support processes on five continents that represent a "paradigm shift in the concept of rural development and poverty alleviation."
Publication 'Feeding the world, caring for the Earth'

Álvaro Ramos, coordinator of the Regional Program Fida Mercosur, states that this paradigm shift is based on two critical assumptions:
1. family farming is not a synonym of rural poverty and
2. family farming is part of the solution to the problems derived from poverty in rural areas.

Jose María Zeberio, executive secretary of the WRF, highlights the importance of celebrating the IYFF-2014 and emphasises that "family farming has found space in the agenda of many institutions and associations and has become a reference for those who have been striving for better public policies for the rural population. The challenge and the obligation now, during IYFF-2014, will be to promote public policies and practices that support the development and the future of family farming worldwide, and the work of so many men and women farmers, peasants, artisan fishers, pastoralists and indigenous communities."

Available for download in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English, this publication includes valuable principles, reflections and experiences related to family farming in Latin America, Africa and Asia. With the collaboration of the Asian Farmers' Association (AFA), the Latin American Integration Association (Aladi), the African Institute for Economic and Social Development (Inades), the Brazilian Ministery for Agrarian Development and the Uruguayan Ministery of Foreign Affairs.

 

2014 is the International Year of Family Farming!

The International Year of Family Farming IYFF-2014 was officially launched on Nov. 22, during an event at the United Nations' headquarters in New York. This official act highlighted the potential of Family Farming in the fight against Hunger and Poverty, and became a song of praise and recognition for more than 2,000 millions of women and men family farmers, smallholders, artisanal fishers, pastoralists, landless peasants and indigenous communities in the world.

http://www.familyfarmingcampaign.net/noticias/ver.asp?id=en&pag=&Nnoticia=441036012

 

Community gardens in South Wales - Must see!

posted January 1/14

Yet again, Michael Levenston of City Farmer has made a great "Must see!" selection.  Thanks Michael, and Happy New Year!

Gardeners in South Wales locales of Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen speak about how they set up their community gardens, give advice on some of the technicals, and show the pure joy to individuals and community strength that develops as gardens go in.  An organization called the Community Foodie Project (http://www.communityfoodie.co.uk), sponsored by the Rural Development Plan for Wales and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, has people available to go into a community and guide it through the process of setting up its community garden. Both community organization and paperwork get covered in this.

With great film of the gardens, and many garden events, gardeners tell us that a community garden takes committed people, time and effort, and that the rewards are many, and often beyond those expencted.

It is also important that many of the gardens are developing Community Supported Agriculture programs and other social enterprise (income generating) projects.

Absolutely a must see.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!   look for the December 28/13 entry on http://www.cityfarmer.info (I didn't find a direct link from the Community Foodie site ... but it is worth a good look 'round for the various garden projects).

from its website:
Community Foodie is a project to identity, develop and support community food growing in the rural areas of The Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Torfaen. The project is supported by the Rural Development Plan for Wales, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Its key aim is to strengthen communities by increasing the amount of produce grown and consumed locally.
In addition to this it aims to introduce valuable skills, support healthy lifestyles and bring people of all ages together, whilst raising awareness of the wider beneficial impacts of growing locally produced food.
http://www.communityfoodie.co.uk

Here at CGL, it blows us away to realize that such a project is supported at the national level!  Wow!

Food Banks are the first response, not the final response ... we are part of something bigger

posted on CGL Dec. 6/13

" ...we are part of something bigger ... we are a piece of a jigsaw ... increasingly, we’re pieces of jigsaws in many people’s communities ...  If you eat, you’re in, it’s as simple as that ... [it's about] creating a sense that I can do this, and I am part of something that is a better world, and from that other things follow."
                              Pam Warhurst, of Incredible Edible Todmorden

Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible Todmorden has been interviewed by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, on the topics of austerity, food banks, local food, the Transition movement, and the abilities we have to contribute to our communities and future.

For some inspiration, please listen to the Skype interview.  http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2013-11/pam-warhurst-food-banks-are-first-response-not-final-response

The enthusiasm and reality of Warhurst's voice lets you understand the possibilities of what she's talking about

Hopkins or an assistant has been generous with time and made a text transcript, which is a helpful reference.  Nothing beats hearing their voices and nuance tho'!

An earlier talk by Pam Warhurst, her TED Talk about the Incredible Edible Todmorden project is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KmKoj4RSZw&feature=youtu.be  It is as inspiring to listen to for the 6th time as the first.

Transition Network: www.transitionnetwork.org

Petition to change chicken quotas so it's easier for small-scale, organic farmers

posted Dec. 6/13

A petition is being circulated by local Ontario small farmers who produce organic chicken.  It is requesting changes to the number of chickens they may raise, from a very small number to a larger number so they can meet demend.  The number is nowhere near that of the large-scale, industrial producers.  The petition will be sent to the Chicken Farmers of Ontario and various interested agriculture organizations and politicians, to get the quota changed.

Field Gate Organics in Covent Garden Market supplied a link to an explanation and petition: http://www.coventmarket.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/chicken-farmers-petition.pdf

The simplest thing if you have questions might be to contact Dan Murphy of Field Gate Organics in Covent Garden Market in London. Drop down to the store and sign the petition there, or phone. Website not included here because CGL couldn't connect to it at time of this post.

CGL note: Over years, changing regulations in many aspects of agriculture have made it easy for the "big guys" and more difficult for small holder farmers.  Small holder farmers are more often using organic methods of agriculture and humane ways of raising animals.  Small holder farmers are our local growers, innovators, and showing the way forward for healthy, local eating.

Poverty Research Centre to be set up in London

posted Dec. 6/13

The London Community Foundation has awarded over $150,000 to a new Poverty Research  project to be undertaken by the London Food Bank and the Sisters of St. Joseph.

A short video about this project is on the London Community Foundation website: http://www.lcf.on.ca/news/general-news/london-community-foundation-grants-over-500000-community

From the LCF site: The Poverty Research "will assemble research on poverty and inform governments and the public about findings to improve local policy response. The Poverty Research Centre will be unique in London as it will focus on the gathering of research, data, and information within its three areas of focus: mental health, food security and employment. The Centre will engage in “living research” in the community in order to capture the condition and input of those with lived experience so that the work of the Centre will be directly relevant to London and the impact of these issues on our community."

Congratulations to these partners, other grants recipients - Goodwill and  Extreme Clean - and to the LCF Community Vitality grants program.

Changes to and reasons behind the LCF granting program are also outlined on the page.

London Communityi Foundation: http://www.lcf.on.ca/
London Food Bank:  http://www.londonfoodbank.ca/
Sisters of St. Joseph:  http://www.csj.london.on.ca/

London’s Community Gardens Survey Fall 2013

posted on CGL November 20/13

CGL received an email inviting people to participate in a survey, to help with the strategic planning for London's community gardens program. The following italicized text is from that email.

COMMUNITY GARDENS SURVEY
As part of the City of London’s commitment to our CommunityGardens program, the City of London is conducting a planning process to develop a CommunityGardens Strategic Plan. In addition to focus groups and roundtable discussions, we are seeking input into the strategic plan through a survey process.
As residents of London, Ontario, we are interested in your comments, ideas and feedback.  Accordingly, we have provided two surveys:
1.     A survey for residents who are currently Community Garden gardeners (i.e. rent a plot in a LondonCommunityGarden)
OR
2.     A survey for residents who are not Community Garden gardeners at
Please choose the survey that is right for you and simply follow the instructions.  The deadline for survey completion is December 31st 2013.
If you have questions or you would like to receive a paper version of the survey, please email or call us at 519-661-5336.

CGL note: the cover note to this information stated that London has 14 community gardens located on City of London municipally owned land, with over 500 gardeners are active within the gardens.
These numbers are new!  There used to be 20 gardens, then 17; and 600 gardeners.  ???

Notes from focus group #2

posted Nov. 20/13

London's community gardens program is going through a strategic planning process. The notes from the second focus group are available, written up by Maureen, webkeeper for this site.

please email communitygardenslondon@execulink.com for the notes

They are pages long! I am having trouble putting them into a "click-button-for-read-more" format. Sorry for this inconvenience!

2014 SPARKS! Community Grant Program - taking applications until January 31/14

posted November 16/13

Applications for the 2014 SPARKS! Neighbourhood Matching Funds are being accepted from November 13, 2013 to January 31, 2014.  This could get your group up to $5,000 to really make your project happen!

 “Wonderful things happen when people, ideas and opportunities connect.  Last year, 11 projects were funded, supporting the creative ideas and passions of nine neighbourhoods. Some of the exciting projects included a gazebo in Blackfriar’s CommunityGarden, community picnics and celebrations in SoHo, Carling and East London, a reading garden at the Beacock Library and a Scarecrow Festival in Old East Village.”  
Lynne Livingstone, Managing Director of Neighbourhood, Children and Fire Services.

The City of London’s SPARKS! Neighbourhood Matching Fund is a community grant that provides funding to improve and enhance neighbourhoods.  The fund was created to support neighbourhood-driven projects aligned with London’s Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy.

Funds for SPARKS! are provided through the City of London’s Neighbourhood, Children and Fire Services Division, with a total of $50,000 to allocate in 2014.

Get together with neighbours and an exciting idea. The online SPARKS information gives suggestions for planning.  If your group is not a registered charity or other "official" group, find such a group in your community to affiliate with and you may apply for the grant.  "How to" is explained on the SPARKS pages.  A really important aspect of these grants is that you need not have any actual money on hand to apply; volunteer hours are assigned a per hour figure that goes towards your group's contribution to the grant. 

Visit www.london.ca/sparks for full details.  Visit SPARKS! on Facebook for community photos and stories.

CropLife Canada appoints Conservative Federal Minister as CEO ... huh?

posted Monday, Nov. 18/13 ... infor taken from a Media release received from Sierra Club of Canada, dated Nov. 15 - http://www.sierraclub.ca/

In September, the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency confirmed that neonicotinoid pesticides are killing bees.  Public comment on this report is open until December 12. See News item below or PMRA interim report.

In November, the agriculture industry trade association, CropLife,  named Federal Conservative member of parliament Ted Menzies as its new President and CEO.  CropLife has been front and centre fighting against organizations which would like to see a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.

As the Sierra Club press release says,

Because of dangerously weak federal ethics and lobbying rules, Mr. Menzies is allowed to become President and CEO of a federally regulated company that lobbies the federal government regularly.  Mr. Menzies should be very aware that there are two ethics rules that apply to him in his new job.  Under section 33 of the Conflict of Interest Act, he is prohibited form acting in any way that takes 'improper advantage' of his time as a Cabinet minister, and subsection 34 (2) prohibits him from giving 'advice to his or her client, business associate or employer using infromation that was obtained in his or her capaciity as a public office holder and is not available to the public.

Whether or not Mr. Menzies 'technically' does any lobbying, his position as President and CEO of CropLife clearly opens government doors and provides valuable insight on the internal working of the Harper government.

"Are we supposed to believe Mr. Menzies will lock himself in his new office and not take calls or check his email," said Mr. [John] Bennett [National Campaign Director, Sierra Club of Canada]

Maureen, webkeeper for CGL, suggests you write John Bennett at Executive.Director@sierraclub.ca or perhaps the politician of your choice on this situation.

Ontario Local Food Act

posted Nov. 8, 2013

The Ontario Local Food Act (Bill 36) was passed in the Ontario Legislature on November 6/13.  It will come into effect* sometime in Spring 2014. 

According to the Act, its purposes are:
    1.  To foster successful and resilient local food economies and systems throughout Ontario.
    2.  To increase awareness of local food in Ontario, including the diversity of local food.
    3.  To encourage the development of new markets for local food.

According to the Act, the definition of "local" means:
  (a)  food produced or harvested in Ontario, including forest or freshwater food, and
  (b)  subject to any limitations in the regulations, food and beverages made in Ontario if they include ingredients produced or harvested in Ontario; (“aliments locaux”)

This bill was o.k.'d by all parties in the Legislature.  There were several public input/comment periods along the way through the various drafts of the bill.

Ontario's first Local Food Week will be Monday June 2/14 through June 8.  (*CGL note ... subject to the government setting the date for the bill to come into effect)

The same week in June is Canadian Environment Week; United Nations World Environment day is June 5.
The week prior to Canadian Thanksgiving is Ontario Agriculture Week.
United Nations declared World Food Day is October 16 each year.

... lots to celebrate

The full Ontario Local Food Act (Bill 36) may be read here: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=2754 

Honeybees - Interim PMRA report is out - there's opportunity to comment by Dec 12/13

posted Nov. 5/13

Thanks to Deb Van Brenk's LFPress article for bringing to our attention that the Pesticide Management Regulatory Authority's (PMRA) interim report on neonicotinoid pesticides and honeybee deaths was out. 

Yet to come on the critical subject of neonicotinoid pesticides' effects on honeybees is the report of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group, which is expected by the end of November. 

Van Brenk used real numbers when she mentioned the number of beehives lost that were actually reported to the PMRA (5,800 in 2012 and 6,600 in 2013 springs).  The PMRA report's text listed bee yard locales, which gives a smaller number (altho' the hive numbers appeared in the report's tables).

The PMRA interim report repeated information from its earlier Bee mortality and corn planting report that "An evaluation of ... 2012 incidents lead to the conclusion that planting of corn seeds treated with neonicotinoids contributed to the majority of the bee moratlities that occurred in corn growing regions of Ontario and Quebe in  Spring 2012, with the likely route of exposure being insecticide contaminated dust generated during the planting of treated corn seed."

Despite the initial PMRA recommendations being put in place, there were greater number of hive losses in spring of 2013.

The interim report concludes that "current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable.  The PMRA intends to implement additional protective measures for corn and soybean production."

At only 6 pages, it's worth taking a look at the PMRA document:

Make your comment to PMRA: "Notice of Intent on September 13, 2013 outlining action to protect bees from exposure to Neonicotinoid pesticides with a closing date for public comment of December 12, 2013."

So get your comments in.

And note that there are other players, and critiques on this topic and the reports, and a huge number of papers.

Pesticide link to bee deaths pits farmers, beekeepers / LFPress: http://www.lfpress.com/2013/10/30/pesticide-link-to-bee-deaths-pits-farmers-beekeepers

Evaluation of Canadian Bee Moratalities in 2012 related to neonicotinoid pesticides, Interim PMRA report, Sept. 26/13: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/alt_formats/pdf/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/bee_mortality-mortalite_abeille-eng.pdf

Evaluation of Canadian Bee Mortalities Coinciding with Spring Planting of Corn 2012, May 2013 (this has 113 pages!): http://www.honeycouncil.ca/images2/pdfs/Evaluation-of-Canadian-Bee-Mortalities-English.pdf

Environmental Hansard website!

Posted Nov 2/13

Check this out!  The Environmental Hansard - http://envirohansard.ca/ is an easy-to-use collection of all House of Commons discussions and debates about Canada’s environment.  It is put together by the Ecojustice Clinic at the University of Ottawa.  You can browse by topic, read summaries of things, browse debates ... all sorts of useful and interesting things!

 

London Soup Project needs volunteers and sponsors

Posted Nov 2/13

*** London Soup Project needs volunteers and supporters ***

Your help is needed to carry London Soup's success into New Year success in 2014.

Meet. Persuade. Discuss. Vote. Eat. In the heart of Canada's London

To plan and deliver a quality LondonSOUP volunteers are needed to help with event logistics/management, facilities, promotion, and sponsorship.  Help in the kitchen, or help with promotion ... you choose!

London SOUP will be meeting to discuss its next activity very soon.   

Gary Zavitz is a most active London SOUPstir.  Please check them out at: Canada: www.londonsoup.ca
Blog: http://londonsoup.wordpress.com   Like Us On Facebook: London SOUP Tweet Us On Twitter: @LondonSOUP

International Soup website: http://sundaysoup.org/london-soup

London Soup Winner: St Andrew Memorial Community Church' Community Garden Idea!

from a London SOUP email: "The London SOUPstirs would like to thank supporters for the successful completion of LondonSOUP 2 at Saffron's Restaurant, FanshaweCollege on October 10.    They were buoyed by the constructive, positive feedback and will include it into the planning of our future events."  

The project idea selected for a $1,000 award from London SOUP's sustainable partner, the London Community Foundation, was a community garden project, an "outreach project of St Andrew Memorial Anglican Church" community "which offers garden plots to area residence regardless of church affiliation or denomination at little to no cost."  The garden, begun in 2011, allows people to be active, grow pesticide free food, befriend other gardeners and enjoy the outdoors. Church volunteers grow fresh vegetables for the Fellowship Centre, the Anglican Church’s daily soup kitchen run out of St Paul’s Cathedral ... over 200 pounds of food this season!
St. Andrew Memorial Anglican Church: 55 Foxbar Road, 434-5281, http://standrewmemorial.org/  

Rev. Marty Levesque gave the the successful pitch for the community garden project.  Congratulations to Rev. Levesque and everyone involved with this important community project!  http://standrewmemorial.org/news/st-andrew-memorial-wins-grant/

Keep an eye on the London SOUP blog  our blog and website www.londonsoup.ca for information about this and other activities.  And volunteer to give them a hand if you possibly can!

Regenerative - Restorative - agriculture

Posted Oct 30/13 - On Saturday, October 26 - evening! - about 150 people got together to hear a panel speak on Moving Beyond Sustainability in Agriculture - Why Regenerative Agriculture?

Before proceeding further, think about that.

150 people in a room ... on a Saturday evening ... not for a party or a film ...

... they were there to listen to a talk about healing land and developing  food-producing ecosystems that not only sustain themselves but augment themselves as living soil develops..

This was radical, in every meaning of the word.

The three speakers were Darren Dohery of Australia, Tony Weis, from London, Ontario, and Mark Shepard of Wisconsin.

There are references online to the work of Darren Doherty (regenerative agriculture) and Mark Shepard (restoration agriculture), including items on youtube, and various website.  Both farmers are certified permaculture design specialists and their work is underlain by those ideas and augments them with useful ideas from many fields. Some references to them, to Tony Weis and his work, and to some starter information  are below. (more notes will be added soon)

Both Shepard and Doherty care deeply about the land they care for on their own farms.  They also care deeply about their families and the families and communities of the farmers they consult with/for in their regions and, particularly in Doherty's case, internationally.  They state clearly that current fossil-fuel based, monocropping is a failure to land and to people. We need to have healthy food systems that sustain the earth and sustain the people whose work supports them.  And we need to change at a pace faster than the consequences of climate weirding.

Maureen of CGL was particularly intrigued by both farmers' experiences with gently sculpting their land through shallow cultivation that follows the contours of the land.  Based on a longstanding aspect of permaculture, "Keyline design" rechannels water flow, so that instead of draining immediately 90 degrees from land contour ("straight" down to the lowest point), water flow is slowed and directed and is absorbed along its path down.  Water is therefore retained in soil more evenly.  As plants grow and decompose - over seasons - more living soil develops, increasing biomass that retains water and becomes a place where a greater variety of plants can be grown. There's a nice cycle there. 

Tony Weis, political ecologist specializing in global agri-food systems,  had the hard task of reminding us that we who look for saner agriculture are up against global problems.  His presentation and comments reinforced the devastating environmental consequences of corporate, monocrop agriculture.  Fuelled - literally - by fossil fuel, the current first world model of agriculture is headed for collapse.  It does not feed everyone.  It restricts the number of crops grown, and pollutes water and air with chemical residues.  It's killing bees and other pollinators.  And it has encouraged a diet that is harmful to its eaters, uses agriculture practices that deplete soil and  causes cruelty and stress to animals raised.  Weis' latest book, The Ecological Hoofprint: the global burden of industrial livestock, will be coming out in December (check with UWO bookstore).  

This event was a fundraiser for the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario (www.efao.ca). Thanks to EFAO for putting this together. Thanks to the presenters.  Thanks to everyone who was in that audience of radicals.  Thanks to the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, which had a hand in bringing the program about.

EFAO will have a video of the presentation, as another fundraiser. CGL will post when it is available.

Darren Doherty, is a 5th generation Australian farmer and Regenerative Agriculture  pioneer who has worked in over 40 countries over 20 years as a farm planning consultant and educator, and originated the Regrarian concept  (a merging of ‘Regenerative Agrarian’). Darren has designed thousands of projects, focusing on the practical regeneration of agricultural landscapes, soils, communities, and families. 
http://www.heenandoherty.com
Mark Shepard is the founding President of Restoration Agriculture Institute. He is also the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm, a 106-acre perennial agricultural forest considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.  Mark will be selling copies of his book Restoration Agriculture: Real Word Permaculture for Farmers following the meeting.   http://restorationag.org/people/
Tony Weis is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Western Ontario, whose research on global agro-food systems is broadly located in the field of political ecology. He is the author of two books, The Ecological Hoofprint: The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock (Dec. 2013) and The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming (2007), and is currently co-writing a book with Harriet Friedmann, entitled: Precipice and Possibilities: A Political Ecology of Food.

Ecological Farms Association of Ontario: http://www.efao.ca    ontarioracinfo@gmail.com

There are many videos, presentations and even books fully online about permaculture and about Doherty's regenerative agriculture and Shepard's restorative agriculture. 

Note: The talk was a complement to a 3-day program - Regenerative Agriculture Farm Planning - (Oct. 26-28) led by Doherty, organized by EFAO, and happening at Red Mill Farm near St. Marys and Ever Terra Farms near Sparta.  The course outline noted that it was for those interested in " the serious & timely process of regenerating, restoring, rehabilitating, rehabitating, rekindling & rebooting agriculture. Principles from keyline design, holistic management, and broadscale permaculture are all brought into this workshop." 
The first two days have participants in a "Regrarian Open Consultancy" which gives a 10 step logical process covering each element of farm planning and how the practices could help them adapt and reboot their individual agriculture enterprise.  The last day is a field practicum, so people apply key principles and practices.

Agropolis – a transitional urban agriculture project in Christchurch’s city centre


added Oct 24/13 ... Thanks to City Farmer for this item by  Andreas Wesener - http://thesolablog.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/agropolis-a-transitional-urban-agriculture-project-in-christchurchs-city-centre/

The first allotment gardens were established in 19th century Germany to feed the rapidly growing urban industrial proletariat; ever since, allotment and community gardens have become popular around the world. Urban agriculture – understood as the cultivation, processing and sale of food and horticultural products in urban areas – enjoys an ever growing community. Urban farms contribute to the food security in cities and have become a vital element of contemporary urban design. Whether in Manhattan, central London, Berlin, Chicago or Amsterdam – the progressive post-industrial city dweller enjoys producing local food in a sustainable manner either for recreation, as an additional income, or just to benefit from fresh organic vegetables and fruits.

agropolis_blog

Agropolis is a new transitional urban farm in Christchurch’s central city situated on a vacant earthquake site not far from the popular C1 café. Founded this year, a number of dedicated volunteers (including the author) have so far invested their precious spare time to create a wonderful new transitional and productive open space for everyone interested in growing and eating locally produced food. The official launch of the project will take place on Friday 25 October, 4 – 6 pm as part of the Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA) on Labour Weekend. Between Saturday, 26 October and Monday 28 October, a number of events such as a composting workshop (Saturday 26 October), a discussion on the relationship between food and urban design (Monday 28 October) and a shed building workshop (over the whole weekend) will provide opportunities to get involved with the project.

More information on Agropolis and the events over Labour Weekend at: http://festa.org.nz/agropolis/ by Andreas Wesener, Lecturer in Urban Design, Lincoln University, NZ

CGL comment: Nice play on words. The "Acropolis" is the ancient citadel in Athens, Greece, and more generally 'acropolis" meant the upper, fortified part of a city. What better way to fortify one's city than with urban agriculture?

London, Ontario city councillor Judy Bryant is from Christchurch New Zealand and is a champion of good urban design, so this item caught our attention.

 

Longer notes available from focus group #1 or get on Facebook/email discussion

For anyone who want really long notes (plus some commentary) from this meeting, email Maureen at communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

There are two discussions going on: one via email ... again, email Maureen to get on list; and the other is on Community Gardens London's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Gardens-London/220527951338866

Sharing Backyards tracking technology

Sharing Backyards

City Farmer (www.cityfarmer.info) continues to pick up interesting urban agriculture news from around the world.  There's an item just posted from Food Tank (a World Watch sector) ... 5 successful urban agriculture programs from around the world.  Canada is mentioned because some Canadian locales are using the Sharing Backyards technology to develop space/gardener programs.  With this, "those with unused property can post their approximate location, and those looking for space to grow food locally can search locations nearby at no cost."  

Three Sisters Garden / Attawandaron Community - 4th Annual Leaf Bag Collection

Duration:  October 19 to Saturday November 23, 2013  - anytime
Place:   Museum of Ontario Archaeology, 1600 Attawandaron Road

Over the past 3 years volunteers have loaded in over 500 bags of leaves to the Three Sisters Gardens, at the Ontario Museum of Archaeology!  As Don McLeod, Museum Board member and Transition Londoner writes, "We have one of the "happiest homes" for sub-terrestrial organisms in London. A proud accomplishment we like to share!"

The volunteers are now collecting bags of leaves to be used on our museum gardens for mulch.  Please drop your bags of clean leaves at the east end of the parking lot near the palisade fence line. (Please no garden waste, branches or garbage.)

Don McLeod, TLO Three Sisters Project, Museum of Ontario Archaeology, or phone Don (519) 667-4016.

Transition London Ontario site: www.transitionlondon.ning.com

Directions: Wonderland Road North to stop lights 1 block south of        Fanshawe at Aldersbrook Rd. Turn east, then south on                  Attawandaron Rd to museum

.

Notes from focus group #1 of strategic plan for London's community gardens program

posted Mon. Oct. 21/13 Note: I'll try to redo this entry so this is an openable document, instead of this long.

These notes were taken by Anne Becker, Pathways consultant, who has been hired by LCRC/City to do the strategic plan. These notes are taken from those she wrote on flip chart paper at the Oct 16/13 meeting, which had about 2 dozen people. Becker has not always written people's exact words, and it looks like things have been put in categories, which was not the way they were taken down.

[what will being in] Community Gardens Produce for the City of London and Stakeholders?

Processes for Community Gardens

Communication, Website and Social Media

Growth of LondonCommunityGardens

 

 

Celebrate Hope - Simply in Season cookbook is a food sovereignty resource

Posted October 20/13 .............. Blogger Why's Woman, over at Saving the World in My Spare Time is a strong supporter of the CGL website. She was recently browsing the excellent cookbook,Simply in Season: recipes that celebrate fresh, local foods in the spirit of More with Less (an earlier cookbook, also by the Mennonite Central Committee) and was reminded that it is a radical book. Interspersed with its great recipes is a food, agriculture and food sovereignty course, written as short anecdotes, recollections and factual comments .

A particularly timely quotation used in Why's Woman's post is from Nettie Wiebe, Via Campesina representative 2005, Delisle, Saskatchewan:

I have worked with rural leaders from many parts of the world.  When we compare experiences, it is clear that agriculture everywhere is being reordered through trade agreements and financial instruments. ... Genuine food security requires food sovereignty.  The Via Campesina is leading the global struggle for food sovereignty because we recognize that food security can only be achieved if food production is broadly based, environmentally sustainable, and locally controlled. 

And contributor Jennifer Shrock advises us to "celebrate hope" by purchasing what we can from those farmers who love the land and care for it.

Check the blog post for October 19/13 for more good quotations. www.savingtheworldinmysparetime.blogspot.ca

Unfortunately, our excellent library does not have Simply in Season or the earlier cookbooks published by the Mennonite Central Committee. However, Mandala books probably carries the recipe books or could order for you (190 Central Ave, London / 519-432-9488 / www.mandalabookshop.com )

FYI: Mennonite Central Committee Canada http://mcccanada.ca/ is an active peace and justice organization which is part of the worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches. In London, Ontario, you might have visited the Ten Thousand Villages store on Richmond Street. TTV is the retail arm of MCC, which sells crafts and art from fair trade projects. TTV has left London, part of a restructuring to downsize in our difficult economy.

Nettie Wiebe is an organic farmer and professor of ethics at St. Andrew's College, University of Saskatchewan ... a long-time activist!

SEEDMAP: interactive, multimedia tool for biodiversity and food issues

posted October 18 2013

SEEDMAP is interactive, multimedia tool for biodiversity and food issues

"We're proud to release this Seed Map at a time when safeguarding our seed diversity and food supply is more urgent than ever. We need to act now to build seed diversity and to protect the genetic resources of our food production landscapes. Biodiversity ensures we have options to handle climate pressures and extremes. It's nature's brilliant insurance policy against disaster."
                                                                    Susan Walsh, director, USC Canada

On October 16/13, World Food Day 2013, USC Canada and ETC Group launched  Seedmap.org, "a comprehensive online tool to explore where our food comes from, the challenges facing agriculture today, and strategies to overcome them."

"Seedmap.org is a unique, user-friendly, interactive multimedia tool ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and policy makers. It highlights the origins of our food crops, the farmers who continue to nurture them, the threats to our food supply, and achievable solutions. Using Google Map technology, the virtual map chronicles hundreds of case studies that bring critical food issues to life. It also offers an extensive online reference on seeds, biodiversity, corporate concentration in the seed and food sector and agricultural issues."

Boston Tree Party Handbook 2013 - Resource Guide

posted October 17/13

The Boston Tree Party has just released an online and free-to-print resource for people interested in fruit tree planting projects in their communities. Congratulations to all the people who worked on this project and Thank You for making it available to everyone!

"The Handbook contains a wealth of information about caring for apple trees; ideas and suggestions for community events, discussions, and activities; and lots of educational articles. There are also many interesting tidbits of information sprinkled throughout!

This is an essential tool for all Delegations, but it’s also a very useful resource for anyone planting heirloom apple trees at home, or for groups working with fruit trees in a community setting.  Please feel free to share it widely."


The 87 page handbook is found at http://www.bostontreeparty.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BTP_Handbook.pdf and is optimized for online viewing by having links to useful videos and resources.  It is printable, for free!

The Boston Tree Party is "an urban agriculture project, a performative re-imagining of American political expression, and a performing arts project. At its core (no doubt pun intended!) the Boston Tree Party is a diverse coalition of organizations, institutions, and and communities of the Greater Boston (MA) area coming together in support of civic fruit".

In short, people get together and come up with projects to plant fruit trees, give away fruit trees, care for fruit trees, harvest the fruit and store or prepare it ... and teach other people how to do that ... and encourage all sorts of other projects.  They also have speakers on heritage fruit topics ... like the upcoming (Oct. 23) talk by John Bunker on "The Roxbury Russet: America's oldest apple and a history of the orchards of Massachusetts" as part of the Roxbury History Speaker Series (for more info: www.discoverroxbury.org).

The Boston Tree Party
www.bostontreeparty.org
c/o Hybrid Vigor Projects, Inc.
P.O. Box #302452
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Plant Milkweed - one part of saving the Monarchs

added to site: Sat. Oct. 12/13

Ian Gillespie's article in the London Free Press, Expert Advises People to Grow Milkweed begins with Bruce Parker's work tagging Monarchs and the small number he's found this season.

It continues with comment from Chip Taylor, Monarch Watch' founding director and University of Kansas insect ecologist, who "blames the widespread planting of genetically modified corn in the American Midwest that has led to increased use of herbicides that kill a wide variety of weeds and so-called noxious plants — including milkweed."

“(Herbicides) have eradicated up to 80% of the milkweed in the United States in the last 10 years,” says Parker, who speaks regularly about monarchs at schools and clubs. “It’s an indicator of what we’re doing to our environment.”

Further, Parker says we are at a tipping point "in regards to both Monarch populations and in our ability to do anything about the declines" and Gillespie quotes his simple starting point for change.

“What I tell people is ‘grow milkweed,’ ” Parker says. “If you plant milkweed, it’s not going to overtake your garden — it’s going to feed and attract monarch butterflies.”

Ian Gillespie is the Free Press city columnist. ian.gillespie@sunmedia.ca

Further from CGL webkeeper. It's a fair bet that anyone who reads this site knows the environmental crises causing crashes in both honeybee and Monarch butterfly populations. We also know that personal action around our homes needs to combine with political action - "political" in the "personal is" sense and/or in the municipal, provincial, federal or international spheres we choose.

It is noteworthy that the Agriculture and Food Department of the Ontario government continues to list milkweed on its noxious weeds list: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/noxious_weeds.htm

London Ontario (Bylaws department) used to follow Ontario's noxious weed list, therefore milkweed was been listed negatively in London. London's current property standards bylaw, which does not contain a specific list of plants not to grow, is found as a pdf at: http://www.london.ca/city-hall/by-laws/Documents/propertystandards.pdf

It might be taken as a positive that such a list is not specified, however, ...

The City website no longer seems to have certain information it used to contain about desirable and undesirable plants. CGL webkeeper Maureen will inquire about this.

Roadside milkweed ... if you are digging it up, dig it up in clumps because it forms root masses as means of propagating. It doesn't grow in the single stalks we notice. Or take seeds, of course!

Milkweed for home gardens usually comes in the forms of "Butterfly weed" which nurseries are re-naming something without the word "weed" in it. Also, there is swamp milkweed (for areas where soil stays damp and well mulched) and a native Canadian milkweed.

Maureen will check on sources. Seed Sources page of this CGL site does have a native plants nurseries list.

 

A backyard garden connects us to everyone's table

“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”

Glen Pearson's column begins with Franz Kafka's comment and then writes how his own family's first vegetable garden showed them the pleasures of growing their own food and how it connects them to others in their community and to issues of food security and insecurity.

His column is always worth reading and, to use his phrase, "makes for a profound Thanksgiving season."

http://www.lfpress.com/2013/10/11/pearson-effort-pales-in-comparison-to-grow-a-row-initiatives

Glen Pearson is co-director of the London Food Bank (http://www.londonfoodbank.ca), with his wife Jane Roy. Most Saturdays, the LFPress publishes an opinion/commentary by Glen Pearson which is always worth reading. He also writes at his own website, The Parallel Parliament (hppt://www.glenpearson.ca), and has published books on civic engagement, futures and international issues. He is a retired fire fighter and was a member of parliament (Liberal) for London, Ont. He can be reached at glen@glenpearson.ca

 

 

London's community gardens program strategic planning focus groups

The email and poster received by CGL said:

You Are Invited To Join The Conversation!

The City of London is charting the strategic course for London’s Community Gardens Program for the next five years.  As we look to shaping the future of our Community Gardens program, your ideas and voice are critical contributions to the planning process. Please plan to join us at one of the strategic planning focus groups  listed below.

During the two-­‐hour session, we will ask you about your needs, ideas, goals and vision for London’s Community Gardens Program.

Focus Group Sessions

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Tuesday, November 19th, 2013, 6:30 – 8:30pm

All focus groups will be held at the Goodwill Industries, 3rd floor meeting room, located at 255 Horton Street (near Wellington). Parking is off of Horton Street. To help us prepare for each focus group, please RSVP if you will be attending one of the focus groups to
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8391734905
or
call 519-­661-­5336.

We look forward to your involvement and to seeing you in October. If you have any questions, please email  to neighbourhoods@london.ca or call 519-­661-­5336.

Yours truly,

Scott Stafford Division Manager
Parks and Community Sports
City of  London

Many more items below ... but there's a white gap ... either use title list at right or page down ... sorry for the inconvenience

 

 

 

 

Sierra Club's Save the Bees Campaign

note: web-maintainer Maureen received this note from Sierra Club. It refers to the group's efforts to get a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. Sierra Club is not the only group working on this. The letter has several links to other information.

Here's the note Received from Sierra Club
First, I want to thank you for signing our petition to #SaveTheBees. Over 4400 Canadians signed the petition, so know you are not alone in your concern. Please also know we are doing everything we can to raise public awareness - we won’t stop until we win a ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

There is a lot to report as much has happened since Sierra Club Canada called for a ban in May.
The latest news flash is we’ve gone to court! On September 19th, Sierra Club Canada and others filed an objection to PMRA’s decision to re-license Clothianidin -- a neonicotinoid pesticide made by Bayer. We’re using a complex legal action in the hope we can force a reversal of the decision.

Here's what happened over the summer. In July, the Ontario Premier convened a “Bee Health Working Group” to give her recommendations for action to protect bees and other pollinating insects. However, within days of the first meeting, beekeepers in Ontario began reporting bee deaths.

In early August, David Schuit of Elmwood Ontario lost several million bees and Ontario beekeeper Jim Coneybeare was forced to truck his hives several hours north to “bear country” just so they could forage away from neonicotinoid pesticides.

You’ll remember that back in the spring, Health Canada’s “Pest Management Regulation Agency” (PMRA) concluded neonicotinoids only present a problem “during spring planting” and went ahead on July 13th to quietly re-license Clothianidin (a neonicotinoid manufactured by Bayer) despite demands from beekeepers and Sierra Club Canada to ban bee-killing pesticides (we even sent the Health and Agriculture Ministers 20 scientific studies linking neonicotinoid pesticides with bee deaths).

As we’ve just witnessed more bee carnage in August, that logic obviously doesn’t hold up anymore. Perhaps that’s why on September 12th PMRA quietly posted a release with this startling statement:

“Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has determined that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are affecting the environment due to their impacts on bees and other pollinators. This notice outlines our intended actions and provides interested parties an opportunity to comment.”

Apparently, the PMRA has been shaken. This has been the most dramatic development in the bee campaign.

The Club also commissioned a film by beekeeper and animator Nathan Carey and has begun a series of showings of “The Vanishing of the Bees” (narrated by Ellen Page). If you would like to organize a showing in your community, click here to send me an email.

Sierra Club Canada worked tirelessly through the summer with allies to build a broad coalition to #SaveTheBees, which includes the Ontario Beekeepers Association, National Farmers Union, Ontario United Church of Canada, Practical Farmers of Ontario, Organic Council of Ontario, Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, Master Gardeners Ontario, Canadian Organic Growers and Farms At Work.

In summary, you could say we have been “Busy as a Bee”.

ACTION ALERT…
Now I want to ask you to join Sierra Club Canada in taking the next step to convince government to ban bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

REQUEST:
You may remember that back in 2012 Environment Canada invited comment on a proposal to kill wolves as part of a so-called ‘plan’ to protect Caribou. More than 20,000 comments (many of them yours) forced the government to back-track. Let’s do it again – for the bees this time!
Since PMRA has invited us to comment on the use of neonicotinoids, let’s let them know what we think! We have made it easy -- just click here, fill in the form and click “send”. For everything you need (scientific studies, media releases, etc.) visit our #SaveTheBees webpage.
Please note: Be sure to include your full mail address in the body of your submission or the PMRA will invalidate your submission.

CLICK HERE TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE

Thanks for your encouragement and ongoing support.

Sincerely,
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
412-1 Nicholas Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7B7
Executive.Director@sierraclub.ca

 

*** Ron Finley's TED talk on guerilla gardening *** must see!

posted Aug. 13/13

In his TED talk, Ron Finlayson of South Central Los Angeles shows us that guerilla gardening gets people actually gardening and learning about plants and about food. It feeds people. it transforms people and neighbourhoods through food. And you get strawberries! So make a shovel your weapon of choice and 'get out and plant some shit'.

Click on one of the links ... I couldn't get the video start to embed today.

http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la.html

In order to make a garden sustainable you have to sustain it.

Alternatives Journal - The Food and Drink Issue - July/August 2013 posted July 31 2013

As "Canada's Environmental Voice," Alternatives Journal is well worth reading. The current issue focuses on Food and Drink (main articles listed below)

Alternatives Journal home page (www.alternativesjournal.ca) takes you to blogs, special on-line features and comments, links to other places, a subject index, past issues, and you can take a look at some of these articles in the current issue.

Comfort Food ... How scientists, farmers and new Canadians are welcoming world crops to Ontario soil.
Where's the Fish? ... The bounty of Canada's freshwater and ocean catch is missing from the country's local food movement.
Spirit of the Hoser ... A toast to homegrown micro-distilleries.
Hidden Streams - We can save several billion drops of the blue gold by watching our waste lines.
A Rotten Shame ... artist Klaus Pichler's One Third project illuminates our worldwide food waste problem
Drowning in Neglect ... If the government treated Attawapiskat like Afganistan, Canada's First Nations communities would have safe water
The Grapes of Math ... advancing the science of wine production in Israel's Negev Desert
Be warned ... If Monsanto's Roundup Ready Alfalfa is commercialized, the flow of genes and traits from GM to non-GM alfalfa will be inevitable and irreversible.

Alternatives Journal is available at the Western's Weldon Library and is sold at Western's Bookstore in the UCC. It is not at London's Public Library (tell 'em you want it http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/contact/suggest-a-purchase ).

15 Seed Saving projects worldwide

Posted July 31, 2013

CGL receives mailings from "Food Tank" (http://foodtank.org) which is a project of World Watch Institute, and has food as its big interest. CGL is also interested in food production and believes that saving seeds is important not just to maintain genetic diversity but to maintain our most basic connection with the gardens we tend. Food Tank director Danielle Neurenberg sent out a list of 15 seed saving projects from around the world, witih links and descriptions. Here's her note and the list:

Dear Friend,

There are roughly 100,000 global plant varieties endangered in the world. Extreme weather events, over-exploitation of ecosystems, habitat loss, and a lack of public awareness threaten future plant biodiversity. Conservation techniques, such as the creation of seed banks and seed exchanges among farmers, gardeners, and even nations, play an important role in preserving ancient, heirloom varieties of important food crops
.

Saving seeds doesn’t only help improve agricultural biodiversity, but helps farmers and researchers find varieties of crops that grow better in different regions, especially as the impacts of climate change become evident. Many farmers groups, non-profits, and governments are conserving crops in their own communities—there are currently more than 1,000 known seed banks, collaboratives, and exchanges around the world.

The Science & Environmental Health Network (SEHN) has been spearheading work on the Rights of Future Generations for the last decade. Future Generation Guardianship is the right and obligation of all people to protect the commonwealth of Earth—and one another—for the prosperity of Future Generations. SEHN’s dedication and public advocacy to find legal channels for the application of Future Generation Guardianship provides the framework for preserving biodiversity for centuries to come.

Food Tank is honored to collaborate with SEHN by highlighting these 15 important seed-saving projects across the globe that are helping preserve global agricultural biodiversity for Future Generations. 

Many of these seed banks are nonprofit organizations, but we would greatly appreciate your recommendations of other public and state-owned banks in the comments. Many public seed banks are in danger of sale, contamination, and other threats. Because they are such a valuable part of the Commonwealth, the public needs to be aware of these assets so that they can work to protect the inheritance of Future Generations.

1. AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center
AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating poverty and improving nutrition through extensive research and outreach. AVRDC aims to improve the livelihoods of poor rural and urban households through the cultivation of more efficient vegetable varieties combined with effective production methods. Headquartered in Shanhua, Tainan City in southern Taiwan, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center now has over 300 staff members throughout Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and Oceania. One of AVRDC’s primary programs includes collecting, conserving, and distributing germplasms, samples of tissue from plants. Now the world’s largest public vegetable germplasm collection, the AVRDC Genebank holds more than 59,500 different germplasms from 156 countries. The AVRDC Vegetable Genetic Resources Information System (AVGRIS) is a database containing information about the germplasm collections.

2. Camino Verde
Camino Verde 
is a nonprofit with locations in Concord, Massachusetts and Puerto Maldonado, Peru. Camino Verde’s mission is to plant trees and encourage future planting through educational programs and public awareness. The initiative’s Living Seed Bank is a botanical garden with more than 250 tree species, and it protects endangered varieties and provides an arena for further research into multi-species agroforestry systems. Camino Verde has planted some 70 different varieties of fruit trees, 40 flowering species, and enough trees to cover seven hectares of land.

3. Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago (GLBC) Seed Saving Initiative
The Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago Seed Saving Initiative was created in 2012 out of the Chicago Bioneers Conference, where Vandana Shiva challenged audience members to begin their own local seed saving projects. The GLBC mission states that “this project is to honor and elevate the work of seed saving for the purposes of protecting and expanding the non-GMO native and edible seed saving projects.” The initiative aims to expand by holding local and regional events to bring seed savers together to exchange and store regional varieties.

4. Hawai’i Public Seed Initiative 
The Hawai’i Public Seed Initiative (HPSI), created by The Kohala Center and funded by the Ceres Trust, assists Hawaiian farmers by holding workshops to educate them about storing and improving their seed varieties. HPSI also organizes seed exchange events, bringing farmers together to trade varieties from different parts of Hawai’i. HPSI’s goal is to build knowledge of seeds through improved communication and information, and to preserve the diversity of home gardens.

5. International Center for Tropical Agriculture
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), a member of CGIAR, is dedicated to “reduc[ing] hunger and poverty, and improv[ing] human health in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the eco-efficiency of agriculture.” Headquartered in western Colombia, CIAT’s high quality research focuses on developing techniques, technologies, and methods to enhance eco-efficiency in agriculture primarily for small farmers. CIAT conducts crop research with its extensive genebank, which holds 65,000 crop samples from all of CIAT’s regional offices in Kenya, Vietnam, Honduras, and Nicaragua. CIAT aims to alter legislation and supply information from their research on issues of climate change, farmers’ market access, and gender equity.

6. Louisiana Native Plant Initiative
The Louisiana Natural Resources Conservation Service began the Louisiana Native Plant Initiative to collect seeds, preserve native varieties, increase flora abundance, and research plant materials for future re-vegetation projects. Louisiana is home to a plethora of endangered varieties of plants such as the longleaf pine, switchgrass, big bluestem, and partridge pea. The initiative has spearheaded several new conservation projects, combining public and private managers in order to release native plants for commercial production.

7. Man and the Biosphere Programme
Launched in 1971 under the supervision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB Programme) aims to conserve biological resources by improving the relationship between humans and the environment. Today, with the help of the MAB Programme, there are 621 biosphere reserves categorized in 117 different countries. The MAB Programme utilizes international, regional, and sub-regional partnerships to increase their global intelligence work.

8. Millennium Seed Bank Partnership
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, started by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is the largest plant conservation project in the world. Since 2000, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has saved 10 percent of the world’s wild plant species at their location in Wakehurst, England. The seed bank has one billion seeds from 130 partnering countries. Similar to other seed banks, each seed is duplicated and the replica remains in the home country of origin. Kew’s long-term goal is to house seeds from 25 percent of the world’s bankable plants by 2020. Researchers at the seed bank can test centuries-old plants for medicinal purposes, assess horticultural value, and produce more seeds to increase global biodiversity.

9. Native Seed / SEARCH 
Native Seed / SEARCH (NS/S) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to seed conservation in the Southwest United States and Northwest Mexico. Based in Tucson, Arizona, NS/S has a state-of-the art conservation facility, 2,000 varieties of arid land-adapted seeds, and a reputation as a leader in heirloom conservation. Their seed bank currently houses varieties of traditional crops including corn, beans, and squash once used by the Apache, Havasupai, Hopi, Maricopa, Mayo, and many other tribes. NS/S aims to maintain the genetic purity of these traditional, wild strands of crops. In order to conduct further research and education workshops, NS/S purchased a conservation farm in 1997 to continue to build public awareness about the importance of biodiversity. 

10. Navdanya 
Navdanya is a research-based initiative founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned scientist and environmentalist. Navdanya, meaning “nine seeds” in Hindi, saves endangered seed varieties through its seed vault, and provides support for local farmers. They also conduct research on sustainable farming practices at their own organic farm in Uttarakhand, North India. Navdanya has collected roughly 5,000 crop varieties, primarily staples such as rice, wheat, millet, kidney beans, and medicinal plants. Navdanya’s outreach program has established 111 additional seed banks in 17 Indian states. Navdanya has also created a learning center, Bija Vidyapeeth in Doon Valley, Uttarakhand. Bija Vidyapeeth offers courses on biodiversity protection, agroecological practices, water conservation, and more.

11. New York City Native Plant Conservation Initiative 
In 2008, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR), in partnership with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), started the New York City Native Plant Conservation Initiative to promote and conserve diverse native plant species. Launched with 34 endangered species, the initiative hopes to preserve New York City’s biodiversity and generate awareness surrounding the conservation of urban plant varieties. DPR and BBG use their research on endangered plants to create new management strategies in the interest of promoting future biodiversity in the city. Additionally, the New York City Native Plant Conservation Initiative has a list of all native plant species in the city, which is used to develop seed transfer zones without diminishing the genetic fitness of the native plants.

12. The NSW Seedbank
The NSW Seedbank began in 1986 as an initiative to collect wild seeds for the Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan. Over the last three decades, the seed bank has grown to save and preserve Australian native and threatened plant species. After a major upgrade in 1999 and creating a partnership with the Millennium Seed Bank in 2003, the NSW Seedbank launched a range of horticultural research projects in their on-site laboratory. NSW Seedbank now documents 600 threatened plant species and 81 threatened ecological communities.

13. Seed Savers Exchange 
Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. SSE’s mission is to “conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered food crop heritage for Future Generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.” Headquartered in Decorah, Iowa, Seed Savers Exchange began in 1975 and its seed bank is now one of the largest in North America. Individuals and organizations become members of the seed bank and SSE facilitates communication and exchange of seeds among members. Aside from their primary seed bank location at Heritage Farm in Decorah, SSE also maintains seed banks at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado and at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. SSE also offers services to nonmembers through the sale of more than 600 heirloom varieties.

14. Slow Food International
Slow Food International is a movement that began in the mid-1980s to give individuals an alternative to fast food and fast lives. Slow Food International believes in “neo-gastronomy,” or the recognition of the strong connections between plate, planet, people, and culture, and has more than 100,000 members in 150 countries. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity was created in 2003 as a subcategory of their Terra Madre initiative to increase and preserve food biodiversity. The Foundation’s Ark of Taste program collects regionally and culturally significant food products to catalogue and promote their global consumption. Their goal is to preserve history and traditions relating to food products around the world. So far, 1,200 products have been catalogued internationally, including the Pampin Mamey Sapote, native to Central America. Many national and local Slow Food organizations have begun their own seed saving initiatives to preserve heirloom varieties.

15. Svalbard Global Seed Vault 
CGIAR and conservationist Cary Fowler founded the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 2008. The vault, also known as the “doomsday vault,” rests more than 1,100 kilometers south of the North Pole. Seeds are stored in permafrost conditions, approximately -18 degrees Celsius, to ensure preservation. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault acts as a sort of insurance policy for other seed banks around the world, only accessing the seeds if the original is destroyed. The Seed Vault can hold up to 2.25 billion seeds in total, equaling 500 seeds of some 4.5 million crop varieties. Priority for space in the vault is given to seeds that can ensure food production and sustainable agriculture, and the collection is primarily composed of seeds from developing countries. The seed vault is managed by the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center.

 

New Farmers Market opens in Hyde Park area

Congratulations to Ogilvies Food and Artisans Market ... opened recently at 1331 Hyde Park Road.
The outdoor market - selling local produce, bread, and meat is  open Saturdays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on opened recently at yde Park merchants and nearby farmers are involved.
An indoor market is underway! You can follow Ogilvies on Twitter at @OgilviesMarket for more information.

CGL noted two articles about this new market:

*West End embraces Ogilvies Market
By Shobhita Sharma, Londoner        Monday, July 8, 2013 11:16:24 EDT A
www.thelondoner.ca/2013/07/08/west-end-embraces-ogilvies-market

Expansion of Farmers Markets welcomed by Established Vendors. Hank Daniszewski, London Free Press, July 13, http://www.lfpress.com/2013/07/13/expansion-of-farmers-markets-welcomed-by-established-vendors

Waterloo Community Gardens study: health, inclusion and learning!

The City Farmer website once again brings us the news!                                           posted Friday, June 7/13

Not Just a Passing Fancy: how community gardens contribute to healthy and inclusive neighbourhoods is a community gardening storytelling project put together by the Community Garden Council of Waterloo Region and the Region of Waterloo Public Health.

84 gardeners told their stories to the interviewers. They talked about gardening as good for their health, as something that helps them be part of their community, and that education and learning about gardens go hand in hand. City Farmer website has several embedded videos.  The entire written report is available online. The report comments that the City's urban policies make it easy for community gardens to be set up.

Not Just a Passing Fancy: how community gardens contribute to healthy and inclusive neighbourhoods.
Region of Waterloo Public Health and the Community Garden Council of Waterloo Region, May 2013.
authors: Judy Maan Miedema, Ellen Desjardins, and Kevan Marshall

A summary article about the report, posted June 6/13,  is found on the City Farmer website with embedded videos on the topics of inclusion, health and education: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2013/06/04/how-community-gardens-contribute-to-healthy-and-inclusive-neighbourhoods/#more-43015

The pdf of the report is found at: http://chd.region.waterloo.on.ca/en/researchResourcesPublications/resources/Community_Gardening_Storytelling_Project.pdf

.

SPARKS Grants Recipients 2013 - Congratulations!

posted June 6, 2013

Congratulations to the groups and hardworking volunteers who have been chosen to received the 2013 SPARKs grants!

Beacock Library Reading Garden — Huron Heights Literacy Working Group
Blackfriar’s Park Gazebo — Blackfriar’s Community Garden Group
Ed Blake Park Improvement — Kipps Lane and Community
Fruit Tree Guild — Hamilton Road Area Fruit Tree Guild
Halloween in Old East Village — Boyle Activity Council
Oakridge Optimist Park Community Day — Optimist Club of Oakridge Acres
Old East Village Community and Cultural Development Initiative — Old East Village Community Association
Passport to Argyle — Argyle Steering Committee
Pocket Park Rejuvenation — Neighbours of Richmond and Horton
SoHo Community Picnic — SoHo Community Association
Summer Arts Project — Neighbourhood Youth Group

It is exciting to see that several projects focus on gardens as ways as enhancing their communities! We wish all the projects great success and high spirits as they carry through their projects!

Thanks to The Londoner newspaper* for alerting CGL to this year's winners of the City's SPARKs grants through its article *A SPARK into Neighbourhood by Shobhita Sharma Shobhita.Sharma@sunmedia.ca http://www.thelondoner.ca/2013/06/03/a-spark-into-neighbourhoods

The SPARKs grants is a Neighbourhood Matching Fund initiative. Like many granting programs it has requirements for the project being proposed (info is on the website).  An important feature is that it gives value to the contribution made by volunteers, and assigns a dollar value per hour of time. This volunteer contribution may be added in to the contribution being made by the group submitting for a grant, up to $5,000.  For more information about SPARKS, visit www.london.ca/sparks
*note that information about the 2013 winners is not yet on the City website.  This may be because the City website is about to bring forward its new version just after mid-June, and that web content is waiting for the new format.

Londoners Marched Against Monsanto

There was a huge turnout in London, Ontario on Saturday, May 25 for the March Against Monsanto!

Thanks Chris D. for this link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLa1zc0mozA

Worldwide, millions of people marched to protest genetic modification of food by the agrichemical company Monsanto. The Guardian, UK news report is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/26/millions-march-against-monsanto?INTCMP=SRCH

Vandana Shiva speech: a march against Monsanto is a march for life and freedom.

Vandana Shiva, founder of the Navdanya seed justice organization, released a speech just prior to the May 25/13 March Against Monsanto events. Always inspiring! Check out the video at either link:

Organic Consumer (always an interesting site): http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_27613.cfm

or, Running the Country (this site has the full written transcript of Shiva's speech) as well as the video: http://www.runningthecountry.com/dr-vandana-shiva-march-against-monsanto/#.UaOSApxjHm

ReThink London reports are coming out

posted May 17/13

ReThink London topic reports are being released for you to read and comment on.  The May 17/13 releases are:
·   Transportation Choices;
·   Building a Greener City; and
·   Supporting a Culturally Rich and Diverse City

Visit the Rethink London website (feedback.rethinklondon.ca) to download discussion papers based on ReThink London’s key directions

Papers already released and on-line are A Prosperous City, Compact London, and Connecting the Region.

The rest of discussion papers that will be “rolled out” on May 30, 2013: Building Strong and Attractive Neighbourhoods and Making Wise Planning Decisions, Careful Management

CGL's note: These reports can be read online at the ReThink London website - http://www.rethinklondon.ca/ - and you can print them out.  Maureen inquired about getting printed copies of these short reports (or just text versions); printing photo-heavy documents at home runs up the 'ol printer ink bill. Unfortunately, copies of individual reports are not available as give-aways.  Reading copies (you can't take them away) are available at City Hall 6th floor, and in the Planning department 206 Dundas Street, and are being sent to the Libraries where they are available from the  reference desks.

At the end of May, when the last reports are out, full copies will be made available to City Councillors and it is anticipated that there will be some copies printed for citizens to have.

Maureen suggests contacting your councillor (http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/City_Council/default.htm) and/or people at the ReThink office to tell them copies should be made available for people to pick up. 

ReThink London: www.rethinklondon.ca     ReThink@London.ca
Sean Galloway, Urban Design Manager, London: sgallowa@london.ca   ph: 519-661-4980
Heather McNeely, (one of the) Senior Planners, London: HMcNeely@london.ca   ph. 519-661-2500, ext. 5074

Bronx Teacher Stephen Ritz educates kids about urban farming

And they learn skills, and get jobs, and there are business possibilities, and there are partnerships, ... and wonderful things are happening in one of the poorest areas of the United States. This is a must watch TED Talk for anyone involved with children and the future. Thanks again Michael Levanston of City Farmer news for posting this!! (www.cityfarmer.info)

 

posted May 1/13 on CGL site

New Guidelines for London's community gardens program

posted on CGL May 2/13

12 (!) pages of Guidelines for London's community gardens program were posted on the London Community Resource Centre (LCRC) website (www.lcrc.on.ca) on March 30, 2013. They are posted only under the section labelled "Events." They are not posted under the "Services" menu, which leads a person to information about London, Ontario's community gardens program. The LCRC website states that guidelines were based on gardener input, "in alignment with our [LCRC and City Department?] guiding principles for this review process.  Going forward, the Guidelines will be reviewed and updated (if needed) on an annual basis to ensure they consistently meet the needs of our Community Gardeners, the City of London and London residents. We trust the new Guidelines and Procedures will be helpful to all Community Gardeners as you embark on a new season of gardening."

Relationship of London's community gardens program to the LCRC. The LCRC is contracted by the City of London to be the Coordinating Agency for London's community gardens program. London's community gardens are not a program of the LCRC.

Maureen of CGL comments in regards to the guidelines. Community gardeners and Londoners provided feedback on the draft Policies and Procedures for City of London community gardens at a meeting held on February 13/13. The draft of the policies were given to people that evening, not previous to the meeting. These policies were a consultation between LCRC and the City of London's Parks department staff, with Pathways Consulting involved and facilitating the meeting. Participants at that meeting were told that they would be notified of a redraft, and asked for comment. Of three participants at that meeting spoken to by Maureen, none of them received notice that the guidelines had been issued; nor did Maureen.

and Maureen's note on Strategic Plan. At the February 13/13 meeting, participants were also told by the facilitator that there would be a strategic planning process begun for London's community gardens program. She said that the strategic planning process would involved not just gardeners but "community stakeholders." Community stakeholders were noted asimportant to the development of London's community gardens program by the London Community Gardens Program Review. No information is available at this time about the strategic planning process on the LCRC website.

London Community Gardens Program Review - http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf

Feeding Nine Billion                                      (re-posted April 21, 2013)

Over the last few weeks, Maureen, Robyn and Chris have had conversations with several people on the questions "how can we feed everyone?" and "won't we need chemicals (and highly technical interventions) to grow enough food?" We love this whiteboard presentation by Dr. Evan Fraser, food security specialist at theUniversity of Guelph, who guides you through a lot of food production issues to his answers to the Global Food Crisis.

Check it out for four suggestions that will help clear away the fog. Be sure to watch right to the end. There are ways for you to participate!
Thanks to USC Canada for alerting us to this positive presentation with terrific artwork by Scott Chantler: http://usc-canada.org/2012/11/13/feeding-nine-billion/

Direct link to the Feeding Nine Billion project website: www.feedingninebillion.com

Life is sweet for beekeepers in Greece, but for how long?

posted April 22, 2013

Many countries - including Canada - have been struggling with high bee mortality, "Colony Collapse Disorder." Losing honeybees, bees generally, or any significant pollinating insect has potential to be an agricultural and environmental disaster. If plants are not pollinated, they do not reproduce. Bye bye.

The country of Greece, affected strongly by so many economic crises, has not been affected by Coloney Collapse Disorder ... so far. A post on the Phys.org website - Life is Sweet for Beekeepers in Greece, But for How Long? - goes over some of the issues about the bee situation in Greece: http://phys.org/news/2013-04-life-sweet-beekeepers-greece.html - and has quite a few links so a reader may get information.

Until now, Greek beekeepers have been able to have their hives at a distance from pesticides, particularly the neonicotinoid pesticides which are a major cause of CCD. In March, the European Union countries voted 13 to 9 to allow various pesticides* considered by scientists to cause harm to bees. Greece voted against. It is thought there will be another vote in the summer. Let's hope so!

*Experts have isolated three compounds causing concern—clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, known as neonicotinoids—which are present in insecticides produced by pharmaceutical giants Bayer, Syngenta and Cruiser OSR.

The Phys.org site is a credible site for a range of science and research:
http://phys.org/news/2013-04-life-sweet-beekeepers-greece.html

Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds

posted April 22, 2013 - Thank you Seanda for forwarding this link to Bill Moyer's July 13/12 interview with Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya (www.navdanya.org), and tireless fighter in the global battle against genetically modified seeds.
http://billmoyers.com/segment/vandana-shiva-on-the-problem-with-genetically-modified-seeds/

As Moyer's website says in the promotional blurb: "These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth."

Celebrating Food for Earth Day and Every Day

posted April 21, 2013

" ... sustainable food and agriculture systems can play a big role in preserving the environment by helping to improve soil health, protecting biodiversity, and mitigating climate change."

This message, just received from the "Food Tank" project of the World Watch Institute, is relevant all the time, but Earth Day - April 22 - and surrounding celebrations gives a particular time to think on it.

We all eat, and therefore we are involved with the systems that protect the environment and human health. Most of us can add some environement and food-friently actions to our lives ... linking with all the others who are eating, celebrating, and participating in their own healthy communities.

So, without further speechifying ... here are Food Tank's* ideas for celebrating food and agriculture!

 1. Eat more colors

2. Buy food with less packaging

 3. Choose seasonal produce

4. Get in touch with agriculture

 5. Get creative in the kitchen

6. Invest in perennial crops

7. Reclaim abandoned spaces
 
8. Build local and global food communities

 9. Do It Yourself - Cook, Grow, Learn

10. Cook in batches and freeze for later

11. Brighten your outlook

12. Use crop rotation
 
13. Embrace conviviality around the table:"Talking and laughing while sharing food is a uniquely human experience. Conviviality, joyful and friendly interaction, is found at markets and around the dinner table, and it supports healthy relationships and healthy bodies. The BarillaCenter for Food & Nutrition (http://www.barillacfn.com/en/) considers convivial food culture one of the most critical aspects of food and agriculture, alongside health, hunger alleviation, and sustainable development. Researchers from CornellUniversity and the University of Minnesota agree, reporting that the reported benefits of family dinners on children's mental health and achievement levels depend on engagement with their parents at these meals."

Happy Earth Day and beyond!

The full article - with lots of links to explore the 11 points - can be found:
from the Food Tank website: http://www.foodtank.org
or on Danielle Nierenberg's blog on the Huffington post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-nierenberg/earth-day-13-things-every_b_3112746.html.

 

Genetically modified alfalfa - London blog post and report from CBAN

On April 9 there were 38 cross-Canada protests against the introduction of Genetically Modified Alfalfa into Canada. Over 90 people attended the London, Ontario rally.  Congratulations to the organizers! 

An attendee at London, Ontario's rally has written a blog post titled Some Thoughts on Genetically Modified Alfalfa and Beyond,  talking about how genetic modification of seeds is involved with food and land sovereignty, and concerns about corporatization of food and agriculture ... things antithetical to local, organic food.  www.savingtheworldinmysparetime.blogspot.com

There is a readable report from the Biotechnology Action Network - The Inevitability of Contamination from GM Alfalfa - just out at the beginning of April 2013.

Both the CBAN and NFU sites have the pdf'd report, The Inevitability of Contamination from GM Alfalfa Release in Ontario ... or follow: http://www.nfu.ca/story/inevitability-contamination-gm-alfalfa-release-ontario
Organizations concerned about genetic modification of seeds include:
Canadian Biotechnology Action Network:  www.cban.ca
National Farmers Union: www.nfu.ca
Council of Canadians: www.canadians.org

Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial - Celebrating 30 Years

added to this site April 20/13

"After thirty years of a rigorous side-by-side comparison, the Rodale Institute confidently concludes organic methods are improving the quality of our food, improving the health of our soils and water, and improving our nation's rural areas.  Organic agriculture is creating more jobs, providing a livable income for farmers, and restoring America's confidence in our farming community and food systems."
         Farming Systems Trials - Celebrating 30 years, published late 2012, http://66.147.244.123/~rodalein/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/FSTbookletFINAL.pdf

The summary document - Farming Systems Trials - Celebrating 30 years - is a 24 page document, and it is written clearly. It is a great place to start if you want to explain to someone that "Yes, organic is better, and yes, organic can feed us." It gives information about soil health, yields, economics of organic agriculture, energy use, and human health. The charts are understandable!  And it has a good resources list of studies cited in the document.  It prints out on 8 1/2" x 14" (legal size) paper, 2 pages per sheet.

Rodale has been advocating organic methods for over 60 years.  It has published many books, all of which are useful.  It has published Organic Gardening Magazine (with a couple of title changes) for pretty well all that time.  It runs courses on organic agriculture, and partners with other organizations on projects.  Its website has a lot of information on it.  The Rodale Institute website and the Organic Gardening Magazine have separate website, and both are good to look over.

Rodale Institutehttp://rodaleinstitute.org/
Rodale Institute Field Systems Trials pages:  http://rodaleinstitute.org/search/field+trials
are under the "Our Work" menu: http://rodaleinstitute.org/our-work/farming-systems-trial/
Farming Systems Trials - Celebrating 30 Years: http://66.147.244.123/~rodalein/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/FSTbookletFINAL.pdf
Organic Gardening Magazine: http://www.organicgardening.com

Urban agriculture documentary idea wins first LondonSOUP microfunding award!

Congratulations to Narcise and Alexandra, and their partners ... for winning the first LondonSOUP microfunding opportunity.  They will be making a documentary about urban agriculture right here in London, Ontario. 

Hurray to LondonSOUP! LondonSOUP is a new microfunding undertaking.  April 14 was its first awards evening.  A lot of time and many people's genius and work went into setting up the idea and bringing it off.  Hurray to all of them!

All the presentations had great merit, and everyone who attended will surely be looking forward to the ideas that come forward at at the next event (tenatively in June).

Information about LondonSOUP's vision is on its website: https://www.facebook.com/LondonSoup

Carolinian Food Forest and Crouch Fruit Tree Guild Projects receive grants!!

Congratulations to all the dedicated people and organization partners working on the Carolinian Food Forest and the Crouch Fruit Tree Guild projects!

The Carolinian Food Forest has received $4500 from TD Friends of the Environment to carry out more of the site plan in 2013!!! AND its new project, the Crouch Fruit Tree Guild Project has received $5000 from SPARKS! Neighbourhood Matching Funds to plant 3 fruit trees and their associated guilds next to Dillabough Community Garden this year.

There is also money in both of these funds for several workshops over the summer so check out their Events page for dates and registration information.

The Carolinian Food Forest is a 1 acre forest planted on public park land in the Dillabough area, London.  Here's the  fascinating explanation of how it works, from the project website (www.londonfoodforest.blogspot.ca):

"Think of a forest near where you live - does anybody water it? Till the soil? Weed it? Nobody does because it is a self sustaining ecosystem. A food forest mimics the pattern and structure of a natural forest but the plants are deliberately selected to provide food, medicine and other things for us. There are also plants included that are there to support the whole, or the system, through the release of nitrogen and other nutrients into the soil, or by performing natural pest control. Most species perform more than one role."

More information about food forests and these projects, and how to become involved, is on the website:  www.londonfoodforest.blogspot.ca

Community Food Centres Canada

Food as community transformation!

From the website: "A Community Food Centre is a welcoming space where people come together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food. CFCs provide emergency access to high-quality food in a dignified setting that doesn’t compromise their self-worth. People learn cooking and gardening skills there, and kids get their hands dirty in the garden and kitchen in ways that expand their tastebuds and help them to make healthier food choices. Community members find their voices on the issues that matter to them, and people find friends and support. CFCs offer multifaceted, integrated and responsive programming in a shared space where food builds health, hope, skills and community. CFCs go beyond traditional charitable giving approaches, which answer an immediate need but often do nothing to address underlying issues of chronic hunger, poverty and poor health. They do that by offering multifaceted, integrated and responsive programming in a shared space where people can grow, cook, share and advocate for good food."

Partner sites so far are in Perth (The Table Community Food Centre) and The Local Community Food Centre in Stratford, Ontario (http://thelocalcfc.org/), based on the model of Toronto’s The Stop Community Food Centre. Partner sites develop to fit the needs of their individual communities.

For more on Community Food Centres Canada and the campaign to build Community Food Centres across the country, visit www.cfccanada.ca

Notes from Olivier De Schutter's talk on May 4 posted on Food Not Lawns site

On March 4th, 2013 four members of Food Not Lawns London Canada visited the Local Community Food Centre in Stratford.

They took part in a live webcast of UN rapporteur for Food Security Olivier De Schutter, as he answered questions from food security groups in many different provinces and territories.

Heather has posted notes from this broadcast on the FNLLC website: www.foodnotlawnslondoncanada.blogspot.ca

Thanks Heather!!! and Thanks to Narcise, Teresa, and Margo who also took time to attend this event.

The Local Community Food  Centre, Stratford, Ontario: http://thelocalcfc.org/ 

is partner site of Community Food Centres Canada www.cfccanada.ca

 

Applied Sustainability course - free, online

CGL received notice about this. There's a link below to the initial registration. More information about the course will be sent out when available by the host agency. Sounds interesting.

Fanshawe College is holding a first-ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Beginning on May 13, in partnership with educational software provider Desire2Learn, Fanshawe College will launch a free, six-week open online course on Applied Sustainability. Students from anywhere in the world will participate in online field trips, perform hands-on tasks, discuss issues and ultimately be eligible to receive a letter of completion from the College.

Please fill out the short form at https://fcsw.fanshawec.ca/v2/forms/registration/index.aspx?e=52 and you will receive registration information when it is available.

Questions? Please email mooc@fanshawec.ca or contact Wendy Wilson, eLearning Development Consultant, at 519-452-4430 ext. 4603.

World Day to Combat Desertification

Monday, June 17, 2013

The theme of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is drought and water scarcity. Freshwater is valuable. Of all the water on Earth, only 2.5 per cent is freshwater. And of all this freshwater, the total usable supply for ecosystems and humans is less than 1 per cent.  When demand for water exceeds available supply, it results in water scarcity. Drylands are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity. The projected intensification of freshwater scarcity will cause greater stresses in drylands. While each person needs at least 2,000 cubic meters of water for human well-being and sustainable development every year, on average, people in the drylands have access to only 1,300 cubic meters.

The goal of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is to create awareness about the risks of drought and water scarcity in the drylands and beyond, calling attention to the importance of sustaining healthy soils as part of post Rio+20 agenda, as well as the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

This year’s slogan, “Don’t let our future dry up” calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. The slogan embodies the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and sustainable use, and that there are solutions to these serious natural resource challenges. Land degradation does not have to threaten our future.

Website: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event-and-campaigns/WDCD/WDCD2013/Pages/default.aspx?HighlightID=168

* and for some extra comment on Canada's pullout from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, check out the March 31 and December 7 posts on blog Saving the World in My Spare Time, www.savingtheworldinmysparetime.blogspot.com

 

April 9 - Stop Genetically Modified Alfalfa from being allowed onto our farmland!


Day of Action April 9

Tuesday April 9, 2013 from 12 noon (sharp) to 1 pm
Office of Ed Holder, MP for London West, 200-390 Commissioners Rd West

Bring your banners. Bring your voices. Together we can stop the release of GM alfalfa!!

This action is hosted by National Farmers Union Local 312 Middlesex and Elgin Local 306. This call for a Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa was issued by the National Farmers Union-Ontario

If you are interested in attending or supporting this event, please contact: Malorie atmalorie100@hotmail.com 

Information about GM alfalfa & issues to do with genetic modification of  food, check the website of  the Canadian Biotechnolgy Action Network (CBAN) www.cban.caCLucy Sharratt, Coordinator - coordinator@cban.ca     Phone: 613 241 2267 ext. 25
for more information about the April 9 protests: www.cban.ca/april

Or the pages of the National Farmers Union: http://www.nfu.ca or National Farmers Union Ontario - http://www.nfuontario.ca/

The Story:
Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) alfalfa could be registered for use in Eastern Canada this April!

GM Roundup Ready alfalfa varieties have just been cleared for the last step before they hit the market – all they need now is a final rubber-stamp by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Alfalfa is used to produce many of the foods we eat! Alfalfa (commonly harvested as hay) is high-protein feed for animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, poultry and pigs. It's also used to build nutrients in the soil and is important for organic farming.

Because alfalfa is a perennial plant that is pollinated by bees, genetically modified alfalfa will inevitably cross-pollinate with non-GM and organic alfalfa, threatening the livelihoods of family farmers across Canada. Prairie farmers have already rejected GM alfalfa because of the threat of contamination, so now the industry is trying to introduce GM alfalfa in Eastern Canada.

The April 9/13 action is hosted by National Farmers Union Local 312 Middlesex and Elgin Local 306. This call for a Day of Action to Stop GM Alfalfa was issued by the National Farmers Union-Ontario. 


 Why is GM Alfalfa Such a Huge Threat? 
GM contamination is inevitable because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by insects. In Ontario, weeds are becoming resistant to glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup): another glyphosate tolerant crop like Roundup Ready alfalfa would increase these weeds. Alfalfa is almost always grown in a mix with grasses and establishes readily without the use of herbicides. Farmers don’t want or need Roundup Ready alfalfa. If genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered or GE) alfalfa is released in Eastern Canada it will have negative impacts on a wide range of farmers and farming systems, both conventional and organic. For more information see www.cban.ca/alfalfa

Why is Alfalfa Important?
Alfalfa (commonly harvested as hay) is a high-protein forage fed to animals like dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs, poultry and pigs. It's also used to build nutrients and organic matter in the soil, making it particularly important for organic farming. If it's introduced, GM alfalfa will ruin export markets for alfalfa products, contaminate family farms, make it more difficult for farmers to control weeds, and threaten the future of organic food and farming in Canada.

What Else Can I Do to Help?
1. Come out on April 9! Bring your friends and family! Bring your home-made sign.
2. Help spread the word about the action to groups in your community and ask them to get involved.
3. Help publicize the action in your community by putting up posters, handing out flyers, and posting through email and facebook. Materials are at www.cban.ca/april9
4. Contact media to tell them about the Day of Action and encourage them to cover the rallies.
5. Collect signatures on the petition to stop GM alfalfa and bring them to the rally on April 9. See www.cban.ca/alfalfapetition
6. Email, call or write your Member of Parliament and the Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz on April 9 gerry.ritz@parl.gc.ca Tel: 613-995-7080 Fax 613-996-8472 By mail (no postage required) Hon. Gerry Ritz, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6

The following resolution was passed on March 2, 2013 at the NFU Region 3 Convention/NFU-Ontario AGM: "Be it resolved that the National Farmers Union – Ontario call on farm organizations in Ontario and across Canada, other civil society organizations and concerned consumers to join NFU-O members in a day of action against the release of GM alfalfa to be held at MP's constituency offices on April 9, 2013."

Incredible Edible Todmorden - documentary - inspiration!

            
Incredible Edible Todmorden, UK has a simple mission statement: "We grow and campaign for local food."

corn and other vegetables grow outside a college in Todmorden UK
this is food growing alongside a building at a local college

For about six years now, the volunteers of Incredible Edible Todmorden have thought up food projects and gotten community organizations involved in growing, eating and appreciating local food, and understanding its relationship to everything else. They talk about the three spinning plates that, kept in motion, reinforce each other: social, economic, and environment. main website: http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/

They do a lot! And nothing Maureen writes here will get across its message and its joy and its rightness as effectively as a visit to the website and to the documentary (http://vimeo.com/36838823) and to Pam Warhurst's TED talk about the project (http://www.ted.com/talks/pam_warhurst_how_we_can_eat_our_landscapes.htm). Please check these out!!

London's Community Gardens Draft Policies - get your comment in!

London's Community Gardens Draft Policies and the Presentation (it's a link) made to gardeners have been posted on the London Community Resource Centre website: http://lcrc.on.ca/portfolio-item/londons-community-gardens-draft-policies

The text below is taken from the LCRC site. Community Gardens London encourages you to write in with your comments. The first meeting was held on Wednesday February 13 to show the draft policies to gardeners who came out. They had many comments. City and LCRC staff, and the consultant making the presentation, all showed a commitment to the betterment of London's community gardens program and a willingness to listen. This is the chance to give comment.

It is important to note that the announcement was also made that there will be a strategic planning process begun in the "second quarter of 2013."

From the LCRC website:

Consultation Meeting Presentation As part of the ongoing commitment to promoting and sustaining London’s community garden program, we are in the process of reviewing and updating our Operating Policies and Procedures that support the program.  It is critical to ensure that our policies are responsible, relevant and easy for Gardeners to abide by and that they reflect the current environment we operate in.  Please send your feedback using the form on the contact us page.

1301 Overarching Policy (1)

1302 Code of Conduct (1)

1303 Existing Community Gardens (1)

1304 New Community Garden (1)

1305 Composting Policy (1)

 

Gardening books scattered around the house

No time to re-do a book list. These are on loan from London Public Library, and scattered around the house. They all have merits! www.londonpubliclibrary.ca

Close to the earth : have your garden and eat it too / Enid Mallory         635 Mal

Edible action : food activism and alternative economics / Sally Miller. 338.19 Mil

Folks, this ain't normal : a farmer's advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world / Joel Salatin.  635.048 Sal

The forgotten pollinators / Stephen L. Buchmann and Gary Paul Nabhan ; with a foreword by Edward O. Wilson ; illustrations by Paul Mirocha.   574.524 Buc

Gardening grief & glory : Ed Lawrence answers your gardening questions / with Liane E. Benoit.   635 Law

Growing seeds! : starting from scratch / Linda D. Harris ; illustrations by Susan T. Fisher. 635.0431 Har

Heirloom vegetable gardening : a master gardener's guide to planting, growing, seed saving, and cultural history / William Woys Weaver ; photography by L. Wilbur Zimmerman ; drawings by Signe Sundberg-Hall.                635 Wea

High-impact, low-carbon gardening : 1001 ways to garden sustainably / Alice Bowe. 635.048 Bow

A place for us : [thoughts on a city in transition] / Glen Pearson.            307.1 Pea

Pruning made easy : a gardener's visual guide to when and how to prune everything, from flowers to trees / Lewis Hil

Reclaiming our food : how the grassroots food movement is changing the way we eat / Tanya Denckla Cobb ; foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan ; photo essays by Jason Houston.           338.1973 Cob

Seed sowing and saving : step-by-step techniques for collecting ... / Carole B. Turner.      635.0421 Tur

The seed underground : a growing revolution to save food / Janisse Ray.              631.521 Ray

Blog by maker of Farm for the Future Documentary

Rebecca Hosking has a blog.  Rebecca made the wonderful documentary Farm for the Future, about her return to the family farm in Devon UK, and her exploration of permaculture as having possibilities for making it more sustainable, and less reliant on fossil fuel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixx1c3RSw_8

You can read about how the farm - Wolf Tree Farm - is doing. www.wolftreefarm.blogspot.com

a few points from London's Food Charter

*London's Food Charter *
The Vision of the Food Charter states: London is a food secure community.

The Charter goes on to say:
The City of London and its people are committed to creating a food secure community where there is:
1.  A just and sustainable food system that contributes to the economic, ecological, and social well-being of our city and rgion which balances local production and fair international agricultural trade;
2. Sufficient personal income and resources to ensoure safe, nutritious foods in adequate amounts for everyone everyday;
3.  Ready access to quality grocery stores, farmers' markets and other food sources which provide safe, nutritious and culturally-appropriate foods;
4.  Opportunity for residents to become food literate; and,
5.  Opportunity for residents to grow and sell food within the City

If you have questions about this, get in touch with Trevor Fowler, program manager, Ending Poverty Implementation Team tfowler@london.ca

A pdf of the Food Charter can be reached through London website page: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Child_Youth_Network/Food_Charter/default.htm

Seed Saving Network - notes from March 2 event

On Saturday, March 2/13 Maureen Temme of Community Gardens London gave a talk about Seed Banks and Seed Saving Networks.  The talk was a public education event, organized by Transition London Ontario (TLO - www.transitionlondon.ning.com).  TLO's Annual General Meeting followed the talk.

Presentation Summary: Through anecdotes and slides about her own experiences with seed saving and by an overview of various seed saving networks in Canada and internationally, Temme explained how saving seeds maintains genetic potential within plant types, encourages biodiversity within an area, and that variability of plants will be useful as we face the effects of increasingly unpredictable climate.  Increases in local food production and jobs in sustainable gardening and farming; decreased fossil fuel use and transportation costs also link in.  A grower controlled (organic) seed saving network fits with the Transition movement's emphasis on community resilience, reduced fossil fuel use and readiness to handle climate change and economic shift.

Conversations after
After the presentation, Temme invited people to have conversations on any aspects of seeds, growing and food that came to mind.  Saying conversations were lively is an understatement! Gardens grow and change over time.  Ideas and projects will arise from - and grow and change from - the ideas below, and from ideas to come.  Let's relax and begin, one thing at a time, as we enjoy the plants and community that come. 

Ask for long notes : communitygardenslondon@execulink.com   (Once I remember how to do them as a printable document to post them here, I will)

Let's have some fun and creativity with it all!  Bring in the arts of all sorts

Defining what we want - Vision - is as important as specific projects ... recognizing the real problems we face, and how to still have hope

How to get gardeners more connected?  Need to know and involved individuals and groups. 

People most interested in garden education ...  topics were suggeted for education and workshops that go year-round

Seed exchanges in the community & cooperative gardening and planting ... need places and how-to

Big issues underlying seed saving and community change
-
climate change, local food security, non-corporate, economy

Taking Inventory of our Community
Who are our resource people?
What and where are there native plants? Tree Inventory and Mapping?
 
Seed Saving specific resources mentioned
The Seed
Alliance - www.seedalliance.org  - has a printable document called A Seed Saving Guide for Gardener and Farmers (look under Publications)
Community Gardens London website is posting information about seed saving

 What changes may be needed at City Hall as urban agriculture develops?
- how to use the fact the London Council already endorsed a food charter?
- policy and bylaws need to be looked at

Inner Transition working group of Transition Middlesex

"Nurturing inner resilience in the face of socio-economic, energy and ecological challenges"

Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
The Living Centre - 5871 Bells Road, SW of London
Cost: free, with donations greatly appreciated - come out to one or to all!

April 3, 2013                  The Spiral Path: A Map for Personal Empowerment
May 1, 2013                   Gratitude: Enough is Enough
June 5, 2013                  Mindful Living: From Habits that Drain to Habits that Sustain
July 3, 2013                   Creative Dreaming: Take Control of Your Sleeping World
Sept. 4, 2013                 Cultivating Your Innter Life: Nature as Model & Guide
Oct. 2, 2013                    Active Listening: Communicating in Real Time

Transition Middlesex is a grass-roots group with a positive vision for a sustainable future. http://transitionmiddlesex.blogspot.com or readrobread@gmail.com or Rob Read at 519-666-0168

The Living Centre is an eco-spiritual education centre with a huge range of wonderful programs. Principals are Lorenna Bousquet Kacera and Shantree Kacera. www.thelivingcentre.com

The New School of Colour

The New School of Colour is a creative social space. It is a free art program that is open to all community members, with a special focus on providing opportunities to youth and adults dealing with issues of poverty, mental health and other social barriers.        

Based at Glen Cairn Community Resource Centre, this will be a place to learn how to paint and draw, to learn about photography and sculpture, and to show and sell you own artwork at public exhibitions.  Programs will develop for all age groups.  (funding for project from The Trillium Foundation)

Check out the website - complete with videos and on-line gallery! - at: www.newschoolofcolour.com

Fixing the Future - interview with David Korten on PBS series

Thank you to Sophia, who sent along a link to an interesting PBS series called Fixing theFuture.

I'm not an economist, so anything is new to me! I hope this will interest you too.

PBS interviewer David Brancaccio speaks with David Korten  http://www.pbs.org/now/fixing-the-future/picture.html
Korten spoke about local economies, and how they are a commitment to community.  Local economies create jobs, profit, and, most important, community. He mentions that there are many community-based undertakings to change economy and the future.  Transition Towns is one. He also  comments that there are various types of globalization - corporate kinds are not good, but other types can be o.k. I've always just read the term "globalization" in the mega-corporate sense (particularly agri-chemical /food) so it was good to think about other types of globalization.

Korten, an economist, is the co-founder of Yes! magazine [www.yesmagazine.org]; his website is the Living Policy Institute,  http://livingeconomiesforum.org

Fixing the Future has interviews with Matthew Bishop, US editor, The Economist
and with Jane D'Arista, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute
The PBS pages link to an entire network of Fixing the Future communities, and how the economy works information

Link to the film:  http://www.pbs.org/now/fixing-the-future/picture.html
There is even a transcript of the David Korten interview available:
http://www.pbs.org/now/fixing-the-future/transcript.html

Celebrating women involved in agriculture and women's agriculture education

Celebrating women involved in agriculture and women's agriculture education

In celebration of International Women's Day, the Food Tank  project (an affiliate of the Nourishing the Planet Project of Worldwatch Institute) is honouring women internationally who are involved in food projects.

Here is an excerpt from the email received by CGL, with links to more information.

"Tomorrow is International Women’s Day – a day to recognize the steps that have been taken to improve gender equality and to acknowledge that much more needs to be done to level the playing field for women in all sectors, including agriculture.

"Olivier De Shutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, recently wrote an op-ed in The New York Times, The Feminization of Farming, drawing attention to the need to empower women farmers and remove the obstacles that hold them back from improving agricultural productivity, nutrition, and incomes. He says that “the most effective strategies to empower women who tend farm and family — and to alleviate hunger in the process — are to remove the obstacles that hinder them from taking charge of their lives.”

"According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 40 percent of agricultural laborers in developing countries are women - and in some countries, they are as much as 80 percent of the agricultural work force. But women farmers’ yields are roughly 20-30 percent less than male farmers.

"If gender barriers were eliminated and women farmers were able to match the yields of male farmers, global malnourishment could be reduced by 12 to 17 percent. And a study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute found that almost 55 percent of the reduction in hunger from 1970 to 1995 could be attributed to improvements in women’s status in society. In our guest post on Ecoagriculture Parners Landscapes for People, Food, and Nature blog, we highlight how providing better access to credit and inputs can not only improve the livelihoods of women farmers, but translates to better nutrition for their families. 

"In honor of International Women’s Day, Ellen Gustafson and [Danielle Nierenberg] want to highlight seven women working to change the food system:" The enews listed their accomplishments much beyond just the highlighted affiliations!

Jeomek Bak the Chairperson of the Korean Women Peasants Association.

Barbara Buchner is a member of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Advisory Board and is the head of CPI Europe.

Debra Eschmeyer is the co-Founder of FoodCorps and an organic farmer

Wenonah Hauter is the Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.

Saru Jayaramane is the Director of the Food Labor Research Center and co-Founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

Sophia Murphy is a Senior Advisor for the Institute on Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Lindiwe Sibanda is the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) based in Pretoria, South Africa.

Food Tank: http://www.foodtank.org     email: danielle@foodtank.org

LondonSOUP - first meeting of new micro-funder

Sunday, April 14, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. (approx)
The APK  restaurant and music club, 347 Clarence Street, London

LondonSOUP is a new, local micro-funder / business incubator event with a local food and sustainability theme. Information below in italics is taken directy from LondonSOUP's emails to CGL

"The concept is simple: four individuals briefly pitch their proposal to a London club audience and share their experiences over a bowl of delicious soup, made from locally-sourced ingredients.  Votes are then cast & tallied during dinner, with one recipient awarded the proceeds of the night.  Admission for non-presenters is a mere $10, which includes the focus meal and allows the audience to pick the winning proposal, while also sponsoring and giving support to their idea"

"LondonSOUP is seeking entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, educators, students and any other interesting people to submit proposals for a tasty micro-grant.  There is no age restriction for the event, so this may be of potential interest to secondary students."
 
"The deadline to submit is 10 days BEFORE the meal on April 14th." This would be April 4.

"The sustainability theme of the evening meshes well with the [London District Renewable Energy Cooperative] LDREC community energy co-operative (initiated by the [Mayor's Sustainable Energy Council] - MSEC), however it should be noted that there is no formal relationship among LondonSOUP, the Co-op or any City entity or individual."

LondonSOUP is developing partnerships with London groups to develop this project.  If you have questions, please contact: Gary Zavitz gary.zavitz@interbeach.com
Like Us On Facebook: London SOUP           Tweet Us On Twitter: @LondonSOUP
Canada: www.londonsoup.ca            International: http://sundaysoup.org/london-soup

London Heritage Grant Program Now Accepting Applications

Following is the text of the press release sent by the London Community Foundation. CGL added the emphasis on categories..

Feb. 04, 2013

(London ON) - On behalf of The City of London, London Community Foundation is now accepting applications to the London Endowment for Heritage Grant Program. Up to $15,000 in grant money is available. The deadline for applications is Tuesday April 2, 2013.
This program grants to projects that aim to support efforts at enriching local heritage as related to the following five categories: Archaeological, architectural, cultural landscapes, moveable, and natural heritage.

To apply, visit London Community Foundation's website at lcf.on.ca, and identify the heritage stream to which your project aligns and then submit any applicable grant form(s) to the Foundation by April 2.

The City of London is committed to the forward-looking stewardship of London’s natural and cultural heritage. The London Endowment for Heritage Fund was established at the direction of City of London Council in January 1993. London Community Foundation was selected to be the conduit to manage and steward the endowment fund, and assists the City’s Heritage Planner with the application intake process.
The London Advisory Committee on Heritage (LACH) assesses the applications and allocates the grants annually.  #30

for more information
Lori Worozbyt, Manager of Community Initiatives
London Community Foundation 
519.667.1600 x.105  

Circle of Seeds                         

Community GardensLondon receives e-news from the Seed Freedom organization of India, which began in October 2012 following an international appeal by Vandana Shiva which alerted its founders to "the urgency of rescuing at least some of the traditional Seed that still exist in our country with the need for sharing knowledge."

Its Circle of Seeds idea is a most basic getting together of friends or neighbours who agree to "choose a species, soweth, takes care, harvest, clean, dry and store the seeds. At the meetings everyone shares their seeds and the information they have on the plant chosen. ... After one year, the Circle will have in your Seed Bank 12 varieties. The following year, each person chooses another culture and now there are 24 varieties. After one year, the Circle will have in your Seed Bank 12 varieties. The following year, each person chooses another culture and now there are 24 varieties. fter 5 years... "

The English translation of how to set up a Circle of Seeds is found on the Seed Freedom website, March 4 entry: www.seedfreedom.in

The Seed Freedom website also has an 11 page guide titled You Too Can Be a Seed Saver!
It gives information about different types of seeds and seed saving, and also about the Navdanya organization and its efforts against corporate efforts to patent seed. http://seedfreedom.in/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Seed-Kit.pdf

Hypnotized by Peace - London's Peace bus

You are inspiration. Your are dedication. You are motivation. You are Peace.

Jim Kogelheide is a London, Ontario artist and school bus driver. The children on his bus are surely lucky: they get to talk about environment and peace and draw about their ideas, and have their art posted on The Peace Bus.

Jim has posted a video to YouTube talking about some of the things we face on this Earth and that we can help these problems by thinking peace. This is a must see - complete with guitar! - for any of us who care about children and helping them make positive changes and feel as if they can make positive changes in their world.

A gentle sharing of thoughts and children's art: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL1CH_6Rnz8


One Billion Green Jobs

One Billion Green Jobs is the title of a short video on the Home Harvest Farms website (http://www.homeharvestfarms.com/ ) that gives an overview of how local agricultural production - urban agriculture - could be used to reduce fossil fuel emissions, create jobs and help in the fight against global warming. Set in Vancouver's lower mainland area, it's an eye opener about shifting water tables (a negative) and a real positive about the potential of portable growing systems.

Whether Philip Be'er is entirely accurate when he states that locally and organically grown, reduces food related emissions by 70% doesn't matter. Whether it's 70% or 60% or even only 25% we need to start making changes that reduce fossil fuel use, produce food locally and organically and create jobs. These kind of jobs create personal and community security too, both economically and culturally.

In its own words, Home Harvest Farms is "a social enterprise that designs, builds and sells garden containers and greenhouses of all sizes - tabletop to rooftop. Home Harvest Farms is responding to our pressing food security concerns: we promote Horticultural Literacy and supply systems that are robust, affordable and easy to deploy. Our systems are well suited for use indoors and out."

Thanks Philip, for a lift to my day. Now, where is this sort of thing in London, Ontario?

Setting up a Seed Bank and Seed Savers Network for London, Ontario

Setting up a Seed Bank and Seed Savers Network for London, Ontario is a way to ensure local food, maintain seed diversity, and keep our gardening interesting

Saturday March 2, 2013, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
236 Dundas Street, London - at Organic Oscars/Downtown Yoga Centre
.
Transition London Ontario invites you to a presentation about seed banking, by Maureen Temme of TLO and Community Gardens London (she writes all this stuff you're reading!). Please bring your ideas and experience, so we can start to really do this! Resource material that might interest you prior to this event is being posted on the Community Gardens London website www.communitygardenslondon.ca and on the Transition London Ontario website at www.transitionlondon.ning.com

Transition London's Annual General Meeting will follow this event, at 3:30 p.m.
Maureen can be reached at 519-439-8306 or communitygardenslondon@execulink.co

How to Preserve and Rejuvenate Heirloom Vegetable Seeds

“Preservation is absolutely essential, but you can’t live on preserves,” Morton says. “You’ve got to keep up the evolutionary dance.”  

We read a lot about heritage or heirloom seeds these days.  Even the biggest home garden seed companies are marketing heritage or "heirloom" seeds.

The article "How to Preserve and Rejuvenate Heirloom Vegetable Seeds" - www.grit.com/garden/vegetables/heirloom-vegetable-seeds.aspx?page=4 - focuses on the work of Frank Morton, co-founder of Wild Garden Seed at Gathering Together Farm in Philomath, Oregon.  For over twenty years he has been breeding heirloom plants, strengthening or rejuvenating seed stock, and developing new hardy seed stocks.  He plants seeds where things don't usually like to grow, over or under waters, lets the diseases in ... and what survives - or flourishes - becomes the next generation.

The article is a useful overview of plant genetics, and is respectful of farmers' wisdom and skills and respectful of plants' genius for continually adapting to their locale and circumstances.

The full must read article appears in Grit magazine, written by Craig Idlebrook   Grit, Ja/Fe 2011      http://www.grit.com/garden/vegetables/heirloom-vegetable-seeds.aspx?page=4

Heirloom Seed Sanctuary - Sisters of Providence

"It is our heritage to save seeds, a link between the past and future. By living sustainably and simply in a balanced relationship with creation, we witness to others our respect for the Earth and Life in all its diversity. Come and learn more about this great work."

The Heirloom Seed Sanctuary is an undertaking by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, in Kingston, to uphold the ideas, and the commitment to share with community, expressed above. 

The Heirloom Seed Sanctuary website http://www.providence.ca/?cat=30 gives:
- a history of the sanctuary and the way it is managed
- a terrific slide show from the 2012 gardening season 
               http://media.providence.ca/photos/Gallery/HSS-planting2012/index.html
- a link to the YouTube video of the place, with a song 'specially written to emphasize the importance of gardens and their life                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk2bEtWQoXY&feature=youtu.be
- seasonal events
- downloadable brochure
- a diary/blog kept by the garden manager Cate Henderson

The Sanctuary has a full roster of events and workshops during the gardening year.  These combine practical gardening with the respect and "reverence for the creative spirit in the seasonal cycles that are intrinsic to gardening," as expressed in the Sanctuary's brochure.

Once a year, in May, plants not needed for the preservation of the collection are available to the community.  Seeds are not for sale, however, because they are the seeds of the heritage collection. 

Eleven Reasons to Save Heirloom Seeds, from the Sisters of Providence

Connection with Earth and Mystery of Creation
Sustainability
Historical Value
Research
Adaptability
Diversity
Variation
Taste
Usage
Economics
Cultural Relationship

I hope you take time to visit the website of the Heirloom Seed Sanctuary of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul.  It's inspiring!
Sanctuary website: http://www.providence.ca/?cat=30
Sisters main website: http://www.providence.ca/

How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank

The seed library is a partnership between the Basalt Public Library and the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Seed packets encourage gardeners to write their names and take credit for their harvested seeds.

The Basalt Public Library in Basalt Colorado has a seed library too! 

Listen to the National Public piece, broadcast February 2/13 by Luke Runyan, at: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=170846948&m=170922884

or you can check it out in print at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/02/170846948/how-to-save-a-public-library-make-it-a-seed-bank

Barbara Milnor, the library's director, notes that a seed library is a relevant, local and physical resource, just the sort of thing for a public resource like a library.

Thanks to Don McL. and Seanda W. for the heads up on this one!

Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library - Richmond, California

http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/

A year and a half ago, Maureen of CGL (me, writing here) read about a seed lending library in Richmond, California.  She checked out the website and thought it was pretty cool.

Well, it's now fabulous!

The Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library - which is in a real library and uses real, card catalogue type drawers to hold seeds - is a program of the Richmond Rivets Transition group, with some fiscal sponsorship by Urban Tilth, a community-based agriculture/environment organization in California.

The Richmond Grows Seed Library volunteers have actually put their "How We Did This" model on-line - there's lots of advice and suggestions - along with set up flyers, and an 8 minute video introducing the library. 

Please go see the video when you've finished reading this item!  It'll save me writing way too much.  And it'll be much more fun for you!  http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/

Then, come out March 2nd, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. at 236 Dundas Street, for a presentation about seed banks and seed saving networks. Together let's see what's possible here in London, Ontario. This event is hosted by Transition London Ontario, a public event prior to TLO's annual general meeting at 3:30 (which we invite you to stay for, of course).

The Transition movement is worldwide. Its people undertake projects that fit their communities so they become more resilient (able to adapt to change) and get ready for a more local, capable way of living with less fossil fuel, a changed climate and a different economy.  Transition ideas vary as much as people do, really.  With the commonality that Transition people are all caring people who realize that shift happens.

Transition London Ontario: http://www.transitionlondon.ning.com
Richmond Rivets Transition group:  http://www.richmondrivets.org
Urban Tilth: http://www.urbantilth.org

Glen Pearson knows too: If you eat, you're in

It's always worth reading the Parallel Parliament comments by Glen Pearson, co-director of the London Food Bank.  www.glenpearson.ca

In his February 11/13 piece - Identity – If You Eat, You’re In - he notes that London has quite a few groups involved with food issues, but they haven't - yet - established a network so they can strengthen what they do and simply go ahead and get stuff done.  He also stresses that we don't need to wait for municipal government

Indeed, we can't wait.

Pearson links to Pam Warhurst's Incredible Edible Todmorden  TED talk (noted previously on CGL).   Warhurst's enthusiasm and the results she and others have achieved in Todmorden - without asking permission - is a must see. http://www.ted.com/talks/pam_warhurst_how_we_can_eat_our_landscapes.html

Pearson calls out for us to line up with Warhurst: If you eat, you're in.

Seed Bank and Seed Saving Network Resources list - so far!

CGL is working on this resource list, so you can browse anything that catches your attention prior to the presentation about Setting up a Seed Bank and Seed Savers Network for London, Ontario, on March 2, 1:30 to 3:30. A seed saving network is a way to ensure local food, maintain seed diversity, and keep our gardening interesting.

Articles in print or other media

Mother Earth News - always a good place to look for garden info

Starting a Community Seed Bank: Part 1 – A Good Idea?    July 1994  http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/33-3script_en.asp
Farm Radio International, Package 33, Script 3, July 1994, Word Count: 466

Towards setting up a community seedbank - experience from Chengam, Tamil Nadu
http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-85305-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
K. Vijayalashmi and A. Nambi         Document(s) 38 of 38

 Books

Heirloom Vegetable Gardening: A Master Gardener's Guide to Planting, Seed Saving, and Cultural History.
If you ever spot a copy of this second hand, buy it!  Full of stories and information - the practical and the trivial - for avide gardeners.
William Woys Weaver with illustrations by Signe Sundberg Hall.
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1997.

One Hundred Vegetables and Where They Came From.
Variation of the now out of print Heirloom Vegetable Gardening. It may be more readable for an audience new to gardening.
               William Woys Weaver with illustrations by Signe Sundberg Hall.
               Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.

Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs.
Carole B. Turner.
               Storey Communications, Inc., 1998     (Storey always does good books - www.storey.com)
               London Public Library call #: 635.0421 Tur

The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food
               Excellent up-to-date book with big resource list.
               Janisse Ray.  White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Press, 2012.

 Organizations - Seed Banks, Seed Saving, Seed Sources - and related

Atlantic Canadian Organic Growers Network (ACORN) - A non-profit organization that serves the organic sector in Atlantic Canada (based in Sackville, NB).  They do so much stuff (annual conference, provincial workshops) and have so many different resources for organic folk;

Canadian Organic Growers
COG is a national information network for organic farmers, gardeners and consumers. Founded in 1975, we are a federally incorporated registered charity. Our mandate is to be a leading organic information and networking resource for Canada, promoting the methods and techniques of organic growing along with the associated environmental, health and social benefits.

Cyndi's Catalog of Garden Catalogs
This is the most comprehensive list of mail-order garden catalogues that we know of.

Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers Network (part of Seeds of Diversity)
Founded in 2011, with members from Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, ECOSGN is an independent association geared toward helping growers to produce top-quality certified organic seeds in Canada.
http://www.seeds.ca/ecosgn/

Plant Gene Resources of Canada http://www.agr.gc.ca/pgrc-rpc
mandate: To protect, preserve and enhance the genetic diversity of Canadian plants of economic importance, and their wild relatives, by acquiring, evaluating, researching and documenting plant genetic resources in order to provide fundamental genetic building blocks for crop variety  and bio based product development and plant genetic studies nationally and internationally.

Henry Doubleday Research Association (U.K.)
HDRA's Heritage Seed Library is one of Europe's largest non-government genetic conservation bodies. The library contains over 700 varieties of interesting and traditional vegetables that can't legally be traded in Europe. Many are family heirlooms nurtured from generation to generation; others were once commercial varieties, now no longer offered by seed companies, the seeds being victims of commercial pressures and draconian European rules. Members of the library are able to receive up to seven packets of free seed each year.

ICanGarden GardenWeb
Seed Company and Nursery Catalogues

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) - What ACORN will be in 20 years!  MOFGA is doing and has done some incredible work to support the development of what is now a rich, diverse and abundant organic farming scene in Maine;

Navdanya
http://www.navdanya.org
Navdanya means “nine seeds” (symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity) and also the “new gift” (for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift – it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.
Navdanya - Diverse Women for Biodiversity
http://www.navdanya.org/diverse-women-for-diversity
Diverse Women for Diversity is the gender programme of Navdanya which works with local, national and global level. It was founded as a global campaign of women on biodiversity, cultural diversity and food security by Dr. Jean Grossholtz and Ms. Beth Burrows, USA, Dr. Christine von Weizsacker, Germany, and Dr. Vandana Shiva, India. 

Rare Breeds Canada
A federally incorporated, charitable organization dedicated to the conservation, evaluation and study of rare, endangered and minority breeds of livestock and poultry.

Salt Spring Sanctuary Society | dan@saltspringseeds.com
Box 444, Ganges P.O., Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2W1 Canada | Phone : 250.537.5269
http://saltspringseeds.com

Seed Savers Exchange (U.S.A.)
Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), a nonprofit tax-exempt organization that is saving oldtime food crops from extinction. SSE's 8000 members are working together to rescue endangered vegetable and fruit varieties from extinction. These members are maintaining thousands of heirloom varieties, traditional Indian crops, garden varieties of the Mennonite and Amish, vegetables dropped from all seed catalogs and outstanding foreigh varieties. Each year 1000 members use SSE's publications to distribute such seeds to ensure their survival. SSE has no monetary interest whatsoever in any of these varieties and wants only to save them for future generations to enjoy.

Seeds of Diversity Canada
From the website:  "Seeds of Diversity is a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to the conservation, documentation and use of public-domain, non-hybrid plants of Canadian significance. Our 1400 members from coast to coast are gardeners, farmers, teachers, scientists, agricultural historians, researchers and seed vendors. Together we grow, propagate and distribute over 2900 varieties of vegetables, fruit, grains, flowers and herbs. We are a living gene bank."
Lists seed exchange events around Canada.
website:  http://www.seeds.ca                         email:  mail@seeds.ca                      phone: 1-866-509-7333
P.O. Box 36, Stn Q, Toronto ON M4T 2L7
Seeds of Diversity's Resource List
We maintain a list of seed companies and nurseries which specialize in heritage seeds, hard-to-find varieties, and sustainable agricultural and horticultural practices. These are recommendations from our members, and we hope you will find them useful.

USC Canada - http://usc-canada.org - Works to support the revitalization of community seed banks and grassroots seed preservation around the world; big campaign against Monsanto's "terminator technology" (to make seeds breed sterile) and GMOs.

USC Canada's Seeds of Survival Program works with small-holder farmers in some harsh areas of the global south to build food and livelihood security. The themes underlying its programs involve seed security and diversity, climate change adaptation and mitigation, community-based economic development, promotion of gender equality, and involving young farmers

USC ... Bauta Family Seed Security Initiative - http://usc-canada.org/what-we-do/canada/bauta-en/
An undertaking of USC-Canada and Seeds of Diversity Canada to survey just who is producing local seed, and encourage more.  The program will feature training, applied research, market development, and support for expanded production and improved public access to seed.

One Seed at a Time: Protecting the Future of Food

“You don’t look in the eyes of a carrot seed quite in the way you do a panda bear, but it’s very important diversity.”

In this TED Talk from 2009, Cary Fowler* discusses how the rapidly advancing threats of climate change make even more urgent the need to save seed, and preserve biodiversity.

Biodiversity activist Fowler comes to thinking about seed saving from a wide perspective. He has been on the Board of Seed Savers Exchange and been executive director of Global Crop Diversity Trust, one of the organizations that actively advocated for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an international program to back up the world's diverse biological resources in a world where monocropping and corporate-controlled genetically modified seeds seem to want to over-run us.

Fowler sees a place for large and small efforts to preserve seeds. He tells us there is not just one answer, other than saving seeds in all their variety.

To reach the TED Talk page, which even has a transcript of the talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/cary_fowler_one_seed_at_a_time_protecting_the_future_of_food.html

"I can't look you in the eyes and tell you that I have a solution for climate change, for the water crisis ... the energy crisis, or world hunger or peace in conflict. ... I can look you in the eyes and tell you that we can't solve any of those problems if we don't have crop diversity. Because I challenge you to think of an effective, efficient, sustainable solution to climate change if we don't have crop diversity. Because, quite literally, if agriculture doesn't adapt to climate change, neither do we. And if crops don't adapt to climate change, neither will agriculture, neither will we.

The Seed Underground: a growing revolution to save food

Janisse Ray says, in her new book, The Seed Underground: a growing revolution to save food:

I want to tell you about the most hopeful thing in the world.  It is a seed.  In the era of dying, it is all life.  Every piece of information necessary to that plant for its natural time on earth is encoded, even though the world is changing and new information will be needed.  But we don't know what is in a seed; its knowledge is invisible, encased, secret.  A seed can contain any number of surprises. A seed can contain a whole tree encrypted in its sealed vault.  Even with climate change there will be seeds that have all the wisdom they and we need.

Two video sections from a talk Ray gave at Chatham University, in the fall of 2012 have been posted by Southern Spaces interdisciplinary journal at. http://southernspaces.org/2012/sowing-seed-underground

The talk excerpts above are must sees, even if you don't get to Ray's book (but get to it if you can!). They give you the flavour of her wonderful new book, which is stories about her own experiences meeting people who grow food and save seed combined skillfully with a wealth of information about our overindustrialized and contolled agriculture. As her title implies, she is particularly concerned with saving seeds.

Ray's short piece on the history of industrial agriculture is a clear overview of how farming changed from the 1930s onward, much to do with the types of seeds available.  Of course, she mentions the loss of biodiversity from hybrid and genetically modified seed, and the loss of control by farmers as they have purchased seed from ever-growing companies whose main interest is selling chemicals.

In the book Ray uses term: landedness.  It seems to mean a blend of living on and making one's living from the land, from land where one grows food and is in charge of the decisions that grow that food.  It's sort of "terroire" for people.

The Seed Underground: a growing revolution to save food, by Janisse Ray, published 2012 by the ever wonderful Chelsea Green publishers (www.chelseagreen.com). London Public Library call number: 631.521 Ray

NFLD and Labrador Food Security, seed saving and the 4 P's of food

Finding one resource just lead to another. This stuff is great!!

Newfoundland and Labrador has a most amazing resource, the Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador.  Maureen of Community Gardens London was directed to it from the USC-Canada website while researching seed banks (more coming on that).

The Food Security Network of N&L: http://www.foodsecuritynews.com/

Its affiliate, Root Cellars Rock, has a great article about the 7 reasons to save local seeds http://rootcellarsrock.ca/2013/01/local-seeds-need-saving/

1. Preserve plants
2. Lower garden costs
3. Build appreciation for nature
4. Build community
5. Cultivate locally acclimated plants
6. Gain access to unusual and rare plants
7. Connect to our heritage

Root Cellars Rock also has a Seed Saving "Workshop" which is an 80 page how-to get started on seed saving.:
Root Cellars Rock Seed Saving Workshop

The Seed Saving Workshop how-to is just one of an 8-part resource covering what the Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador refers to as "the 4 P's of Food": planting, picking, preparing and preserving.  The full series can be reached from: http://rootcellarsrock.ca/food-skills-workshops/

Planting: Container Gardening; and Composting
Picking: Seed Saving and Edible Wild Plants
Preparing: Preparing Local Vegetables and Using Culinary Herbs
Preserving: Canning/Bottling and Root Cellars

These 8 workshops are approximately 80 pages per pdf document with lots of photos! The FSN describes them as "a resource for community groups and individuals across the province to use to foster knowledge, capacity, and engagement with healthy, traditional food skills in their communities."
 
It's sure just not Newfoundland and Labrador that can benefit from these resources!

Check them out, and send a thank you or a donation if you can. And if you want to get in touch with Root Cellars Rock, contact info@rootcellarsrock.ca or call (709)237-4026.

‘Gardens Where People Grow’ - Martineau Gardens, Birmingham, UK

http://www.martineau-gardens.org.uk/about-us/what-is-a-community-garden/

Gardens Where People Grow is a cheerful, positive 6 minute film that will really lift your spirits!

This film focuses on Martineau Gardens near Birmingham, UK.  It explores how community gardens benefit public health and increase resilience in a community, with particular focus on the impact of the garden and gardening on the mental health and well being of the people of Birmingham. Commissioned by the National Health Service Midlands and East (UK).

This is a must see!!

Director: John Hill-Daniel                              Camera: Carl Jorden, Peter Austin
Martineau Gardens website: http://www.martineau-gardens.org.uk/

Call for Input on Policies and Procedures for London's Community Gardening Program

A "focus group" is to be held on Wednesday, Feb. 13/13. Get your name in, or contact one of the people listed!!

The following letter copied below was sent to people who garden in London's community gardens, asking for their input on policies and procedures.

If you garden at one of London's community gardens it is important that you respond to this, and participate.  If you are person #25 or above, it is even more important that you make sure your voice is heard!

If you do not garden at one of London's community gardens and you have comments to make about London's community gardens and their policies and procedures, you should also be in touch with someone!

The 2012 season rules are posted here: http://www.communitygardenslondon.ca/news.html#gardenrules and there are other related items nearby on the News pages.

Linda Davies is head of the London Community Resource Centre, agency that has been contracted by the City to manage the gardens: phone: 519-432-1801 or email: linda@lcrc.on.ca

Scott Stafford is with the Parks Department, which supplies many support services: phone: 519-661-2500 Ext. 4518 or email: sstaffor@london.ca

Cheryl Smith is a senior City administrator in the the Community Services department, handling London's community gardens program: phone: 519-661-2500, ext. 5880 or email: csmith@london.ca

Below is the text of the letter sent to people who gardened during the 2012 season at one of the plots in London's communitiy gardens:

Dear Community Gardener,

As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting and sustaining London’s community garden program, we are in the process of reviewing and updating our Operating Policies and Procedures that support the program. It is critical to ensure that our policies are responsible, relevant and easy for Gardeners to abide by and that they reflect the current environment we operate in.

We have hired Anne Becker from Pathways Consulting Group to assist us in updating our policies and procedures. We would like to invite you to meet with Anne in a Focus Group to provide feedback on draft policies and procedures based on your experience as a Community Gardener.

The focus group will be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at Goodwill Industries, 255 Horton Street, 3rd Floor in the Town Hall Meeting Room. The meeting will start at 7 pm and should be wrapped up by 8:30 pm. Please call or email Linda Davies (see contact details below) by February 5th to indicate your interest in participating in the focus group. Since we can only accommodate 24 people in the focus group, the criteria for selection of participants will be based on a blend between:
               First come, first serve
               A balanced representation from all community gardens.

If you have any questions about the focus group, please contact Linda Davies. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you in January

Scott Stafford
Division Manager, Parks and Community Sports
City of London
Linda Davies
Executive Director
London Community Resource Centre

Contact information
Linda Davies
Phone: 519-432-1801
email: lcrc@lcrc.on.ca

255 Horton Street London, ON N6B 1L1 519-432-1801 www.lcrc.on.ca lcrc@lcrc.on.ca

--------------------

Notes:

London's Community Gardens Program Review, with 14 recommendations, came forward and was endorsed by City Council on April 4, 2011. It can be found at: http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf

Community Gardens London is not the agency that coordinates London's community gardens program. We are always interestedin hearing your comments and we can often answer questions. email: communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

 

Food Not Lawns London Canada

Beginning with two gardens in 2012, as well as education events, London has an active Food Not Lawns group, Food Not Lawns London Canada. 

Its interested and interesting members are gardeners and lovers of food and edible landscapes who are "interested in making sustainable and local food systems in London". They are looking to meet and involve more people interested in food producing gardens and the importance of food in our community's future.

Projects and events are in the planning, but we know already that there will be a Food Not Lawns information booth at Seedy Saturday on March 9 and at Gathering on the Green in June. 

Forest City Food Not Lawns' blog posts information, events and meeting notes at http://www.foodnotlawnslondoncanada.blogspot.ca/

or check its Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/forest.city.food.not.lawns

Ecological Farmers workshops prior to Guelph Organic Conference

Dates: Thursday January 31/13 or Friday, February 1/13 at various locations.

Topics such as Ecological Beekeeping and Small Scale Intensive Organic Market Gardening have direct relationship to shared garden and urban agriculture undertakings. EFAO is great people! Check these out at http://www.efao.ca

1. Orchard Health with Michael Phillips 
2. Labour on the Market Garden: A Panel Discussion
3. Direct Marketing with Ann Slater
4. Finding the Balance: Interpreting Soil Tests for Organic Farmers
5. Working with Your Butcher 
6. Making a Living on 1.5 acres: Techniques for Small Scale Intensive Organic Market Gardening

7. Introduction to Ecological Beekeeping

For more detailed descriptions visit their website or register online.
For questions contact Karen Maitland info@efao.ca or 519.822.8606.
Become an EFAO member ($45/farm per year) and save over 25% on fees!
Register soon as workshops are filling up fast!

Middlesex Get Fresh Eat Local Map - 3rd edition will be coming this spring

The Middlesex Federation of Agriculture is producing a 3rd edition of the popular Get Fresh Eat Local map.  Over the past 4 years, over 75,000 maps have been distributed to consumers.  You can see the 2nd edition at: http://www.middlesex.ca/living-here/get-fresh...-eat-local 

There was a call out to farmers with a local food product to sell and interest in being on the map. The deadline for inclusion was posted as January 11, but here's the contact info in case you have questions: Middlesex Federation of Agriculture: email to mfa4h@bellnet.ca or call the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture office at 519-457-8444.

Alternatives Journal is expanding!

A solar heating unit from pop cans ... Shopping for a lighter "foodprint" ... Why local voices matter

If you are looking for a readable, Canadian publication about environment issues, check out Alternatives Journal, a publication of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada which is based at the University of Waterloo.

Alternatives Journal has been around since 1971.  Valued by academics and members of environment groups, the journal is ramping up its efforts to bring useful, thought-provoking ideas to more Canadians.  The quarterly publication is expanding, and there's a revamp of the website too.  A call for bloggers is adding to the sections on Sustainable Living, People and Profiles, Policy and Politics, and Energy and Resources.  Online, there are more links to useful resources like the video how-to's that go along with the pop can solar heater.

Maureen at CGL will be using the word "foodprint" as soon as she can, and enjoyed the posts 10 Ways to Waste Less Food and Compost: Completing the Food Cycle because she advocates composting as essential for soil health.

Alternatives Journal publishes 6 issues a year.  Subscription rates for the print edition are reasonable.  http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/

Alternatives also has an affiliated site. Green Student - http://thegreenstudent.ca/ - reaches directly to students to encourage them to write for their peers on environment issues, and it encourages students to learn about and work on environment campaigns, events, and in their communities.

Garden Gates Open 2013 looking for participant gardens

Garden Gates Open 2013 looking for participant gardens

Event date: July 20 and 21, 2013 - the weekend     Various locales around London

July 2013 will be the 6th year of London, Ontario's Garden Gates Open.  Two days of visiting interesting, beautiful and fun gardens - gardens of flowers, herbs and yes, even vegetables! 

If you love your garden, are proud of it, and would enjoy having visitors to talk to ... and gardeners love to talk! ...  check out the website.  You may register for only one day, or both.

http://www.gardengatesopen.com/home.htm

2013 Walmart-Evergreen Grants Program

Evergreen - http:www.evergreen.ca - is now accepting applications for the 2013 Walmart–Evergreen Green Grants Program supporting community development, environmental stewardship and urban agriculture projects across Canada.

The 2013 deadline is March 1, 2013.

The Walmart–Evergreen Green Grants Program, a community greening program sponsored by Walmart and led by Evergreen, provides funds of up to $10,000 to community development, environmental restoration and other community-based projects across Canada. To find out about projects already supported through the Green Grants program, check out the list of Funding Recipients on [the Evergreen] website.

For full information on eligibility and to download the application and guide, visit the Green Grants page on [the Evergreen] website. Evergreen also lists other grants: Grants pages

Questions?  Contact Ellen Kaross, Assistant, National Programs, Evergreen
ekaross@evergreen.ca       416-596-1495 x312    1-888-426-3138 x312

CGL note: The above announcement has been taken from the one received from Evergreen.

Finding Food Gardens space - a Chicago story

The question gets asked: Are food-producing gardens in urban areas actually important for food security?

The answers can get long and complicated.  Maureen of Community Gardens London asserts that the answer is Absolutely Yes, and we should proceed to make it even more Yes.

The Yes of the importance of food growing space in Chicago is put forward in an interesting study “Mapping public and private spaces of urban agriculture in Chicago through the analysis of high-resolution aerial images in Google Earth” and was just posted on the City Farmer website (www.cityfarmer.info). You can read the summary at http://research.aces.illinois.edu/content/finding-chicago%E2%80%99s-food-gardens-google-earth under the title Finding Chicago’s food gardens with Google Earth.

Researchers John Taylor and Sarah Taylor Lovell plugged in information from various NGOs in the City of Chicago and discovered that many areas being called "community gardens" were not of a significant size, as far as producing food was concerned.  Going with good intuition, however, about what was really out there, they turned their attention to Google map imaging of the City of Chicago, looking at green space - back yard gardens -  and did some computer wizardry (listed in the article) and a lot of legwork over eight months  to find out just which areas really had food producing gardens.

They came up with "4,648 urban agriculture sites with a production area of 264,181 square meters. Residential gardens and single-plot gardens on vacant lots accounted for almost three-fourths of the total".  Areas of Chicago with high populations of particular ethnic groups often were "hot spots" of urban agriculture. 

No surprises that lots of people have food producting gardens.  No surprise that people grow food in Chicago that they loved in their country of origin.  No surprise that home food gardens were in areas where people lived in detached houses, and that economically disadvantaged areas had gardens in adjacent vacant lots.  No surprise that gardeners shared food with neighbours.

The study found what food gardeners know. People grow food to feed themselves healthy food, and to lower their food bills.  Gardens promote kindsness and sharing. This ties in with food security and with community building.

An important thing for City planning is that this is a serious PhD level research project, in a big city.

Hurray for John R. Taylor and Sarah Taylor Lovell!!  ... whose article is published in the October issue of  Landscape and Urban Planning, is available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016920461200237X
however, only as an abstract. 

Maureen is trying to locate a print copy of the journal, but, to reiterate, the summary is at http://research.aces.illinois.edu/content/finding-chicago%E2%80%99s-food-gardens-google-earth

Canadian Organic Growers - join and strengthen the organic voice!

 Canadian Organic Growers (COG - http://www.cog.ca) is a national charitable organization. Its mandate is to lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources. It is also tied to the international organic community through membership in the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

* The COG website is a great place to start if you are looking for organic agriculture statistics.
* The COG website has a lot of great information, including what "certified organic" means.
* COG has a lending library.
* COG publishes a useful journal three times a year, which you can get electronically or in print (at cost)
* COG can supply a speaker to an event.
* COG speaks up on national and international issues to do with organic agriculture, genetic modification of crops, and corporatization of agriculture.

COG's membership includes farmers, gardeners, processors, retailers, educators, policy makers, and consumers.
Not all COG members run certified organic operations, but they share a vision for a sustainable bioregionally-based organic food system. COG members believe that organic food production is the best choice for the health of consumers and producers, for the protection and enhancement of the environment, and for the sustainability of the food production system.

For more information on Canadian Organic Growers, visit the national website: http://www.cog.ca.

COG groups in Ontario include:
COG Perth Waterloo Wellington: http://www.cog.ca/pww/
COG Toronto ... which is holding a conference on Feb. 16/13  - see CGL news page or       www.cogtoronto.org
as well as Ottawa, Durham and Hamilton (reach from the www.cog.ca site, via the Chapters menu)

Awesome Foundation starts in London

The Awesome Foundation has arrived in London, Ontario!

The Awesome Foundation started in Boston in 2009.  Its 61 chapters have given away $374,000 - so far - to let people carry out their Awesome ideas. 

The set up of an Awesome Foundation chapter is pretty simple.
People get together in a community and become the board of Trustees for their community's chapter. 
Each trustee chips in $100 each, three times a year. 
People in the community submit Awesome ideas
Each month the trustees decide who gets $1000 to make the Awesome project happen.

That's it.

40 Londoners have already signed on to be trustees of London's Awesome Foundation chapter.

If you have an idea that needs money for an Awesome project that follows these three rules, check the links and send in the idea.

Three rules: the money can’t be for personal use, it can’t go to established charities and the application has to be specific

The links:
main Awesome Foundation website: http://www.awesomefoundation.org/en
London Twitter site: twitter.com/awesomeldn
LFpress artiele: http://www.lfpress.com/2013/01/05/the-awesome-foundation-making-its-debut-in-london

The first deadline for London submissions is Jan. 14. The top three candidates will pitch their ideas in person and a winner will be chosen at a public event at Joe Kool’s restaurant, 595 Richmond St., on Jan. 28.

Good luck on your project!

Hurray for the London trustees of the Awesome Foundation!

London Honours for Community Heroes

Community Gardens London congratulates all those who were named to the New Year's Honours List for the City of London for 2013. Nominations are put forward by the City's Advisory Committees, committees of volunteers who know what's what around town.

This year’s honourees are: Meredith Fraser (Diversity and Race Relations); David Nelms (Housing); Bruce Huff (Sports); Carmen Sprovieri (Persons with Disabilities); Suzanne Huot (Humanitarianism); Bramwell Gregson (Arts); Lou Rivard (Safety and Crime Prevention); Shane O’Neill (Environmental); and, Joseph O’Neil Jr. (Heritage).

CGL 'specially congratulates Shane O'Neill, named for his work on environment issues.  We know Shane to be a garden-friendly fellow, as is his whole family.  The City website has this to say about him:

Shane is the quintessential environmentalist, who not only talks the talk but walks the walk; he lives and breathes the concept of environmental sustainability through his personal, professional and community life. Through his involvement in Post Carbon London (PCL) which he helped start and maintain as a viable organization, Shane has initiated key projects that were aimed to generate awareness amongst the community regarding energy planning. Along with Diane Szoller involving TREA and PLC, they presented a number of workshops on the concept of Community Energy Planning in 2010 at a dozen public libraries. Again through PCL, Shane was the key instigator and overseer of a very successful series of solar (thermal) workshops funded by a grant from the London Community Foundation in 2011.

He has been a two-term member of both the Advisory Committee on the Environment and the Ecological and Environmental Planning Advisory Committee (both for the City of London) and he was there to help launch Transition London. He has taught courses on the Foundations of Sustainability at Western as well as courses on Landscape Planning at Fanshawe. He is a very active member of his local community of Woodfield helping to organize local events including the Woodfield Fair.

Attention Seed Event Organizers - fund assistance possibility!

The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security - a project aligned with USC-Canada - is offering resources in support of seed saving and seed exchange in Canada. Project possibilities include, but could go 'way beyond a Seedy Saturday event.

Up to $1500 is available for a single training event or exchange.  As with any other grant program, there are guidelines and a form to fill out.

Check the USC-Canada website for further information and the application form. Info is under the Bauta initiative section on the home page.

Kate Green at 1-800-565-6872, ext 228 is the USC-Canada contact person for this program. USC-Canada: www.usc-canada.org

Call for papers - Environmental Studies Association of Canada - www.esac.ca

Topic: Harperian Ecologies:  Conservative Transformations in Canadian Environmental Policy

Panel to be held at the Annual Conference of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (June 3rd – 5th, 2013; University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C.).

Scholars, environmental researchers, and graduate students are invited to submit proposals for presentations to be held during this panel (or possibly multiple panels, depending on the level of interest) being organized at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC.ca). Please send your proposal, including an abstract of no more than 300 words, a presentation title, your name, and a brief biography (of no more than 100 words) to the panel organizer, Ryan Katz-Rosene, at ryan_katzrosene@carleton.ca, by January 31st, 2013. Decisions on proposals will be communicated by the end of February. Those accepted will be asked to register and attend ESAC’s Annual Conference, being held at the Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, in Victoria, B.C., from June 3rd to June 5th, 2013 (for which membership to ESAC is required).

Full details on ESAC website:  www.esac.ca

From the ESAC website:
The Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) is a Learned Society formed in 1993 to further research and teaching activities in areas related to environmental studies in Canada. ESAC is a non-profit, federally incorporated, bilingual organization open to members from across Canada and elsewhere. Members are welcome from educational institutions, government agencies, and private sector and non-profit organizations. [for full details about ESAC: http://www.esac.ca/about/]

*** ESAC publishes the excellent journal - Alternatives : http://www.alternativesjournal.ca ***

Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition - power points Sept 2012 speakers

PowerPoint presentations from the key speakers at the September 2012 annual meeting of the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition are posted on the OHCC website, along with speaker biographies. Thanks to all OHCC members who co-ordinated this helpful resource, and to the speakers! http://www.ohcc-ccso.ca/en/healthy-communities-symposium

Edible Education 103: Telling Stories About Food and Agriculture

Free Access to the lectures!!!!
http://edibleschoolyard.org/lirbary/edible-education-103-recorded-lectures

Thanks to the UC Graduate School of Journalism and College of Letters and Science, course leader Michael Pollan, and the Edible Schoolyard Project, 15 recorded lectures from this course are online! Thanks to Michael Levenston of City Farmer (www.cityfarmer.info), we spotted this opportunity to listen, learn and follow-up.

All 15 recorded lectures online!
Edible Education 103: Telling Stories About Food and Agriculture is a Fall 2012 course at UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism and College of Letters and Science. The course is moderated by Michael Pollan, a Knight Journalism Professor at UC Berkeley.

 “As the costs of our industrialized food system—to the environment, public health, farmers and food workers, and to our social life—become impossible to ignore, a national debate over the future of food and farming has begun. Telling stories about where food comes from, how it is produced—and how it might be produced differently—plays a critical role in bringing attention to the issue and shifting politics. Each week, a prominent figure in the debate explores: What can be done to make the food system healthier, more equitable, more sustainable? What is the role of storytelling in the process?”

Recorded Lectures:
Eating Oil, Eating Sunshine, By Michael Pollan
Social Practice, By Peter Sellars
The Psychology Of Food, By Paul Rozin
The Farm Bill, By Chellie Pingree, Dan Imhoff, And Ken Cook
Documenting Food Stories, By The Kitchen Sisters
On The Farm, By Bob Cannard
A Bee’s Eye View, By Claire Kremen
The Politics And Economics Of Meat, By Mike Callicrate And Bob Martin
Farming As Dance –The Choreography Of Polyculture, By Joel Salatin
On Cooking, By Jerome Waag, Samin Nosrat, Charlie Hallowell, And Harold Mcgee
Food Movement Rising, By Michael Pollan
Food, Race, And Labor, By Nikki Henderson And Saru Jayaraman
The Green Revolution, By Raj Patel
Edible Education, By Alice Waters
Food Marketing And Childhood Obesity, By Kelly Brownell

STOP GENETICALLY MODIFIED ALFALFA - ANIMATION AND LINK

Check out the animation and act: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlbtIEVF77Q

Animation is by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network - www.cban.ca

UN Special Rapporteur Launches Canada report March 4, 2013!

On March 4, Food Secure Canada will host an interactive web discussion with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter. Following his formal presentation to governments at the UN in Geneva, the rapporteur will join FSC’s members and friends via webinar to discuss his findings.  Think about organizing a community event where you live to raise awareness about the report!  To take part in the preparation of this national event (logistics and fundraising support needed), sign up now!  We will be in touch with more plans in the new year.   http://foodsecurecanada.org/webform/un-special-rapporteur-report-launch-team

Food Secure Canada Assembly videos

Food Secure Canada held its assembly in early November in Edmonton.
Videos of presentations are available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FSCSAC?feature=mhee

There are 6 or more presentations.

Jim Hole - Energy, Resilience & the Future of Food Plenary
Susan Roberts of GFSA, Thelma Chalifoux, former Canadian Senator and Métis activist, gives the welcome to delegates

Energy, Resilience & the Future of Food Plenary
Presentation by Pat Mooney, CEO and ETC Group Founder
Presentation by Augusta Henriques, co-founder of Tiniguena
Presentation by Eriel Deranger
Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon performs her poem Hunger is Inherited at FSC's 2012 Assembly Power Up! Food for the Future during the closing plenary Powe...

Please check the Food Secure Canada website for all events and news: www.foodsecurecanada.org

more Nov 16/12 Food Forum Notes - Afternoon Discussion

facilitated by Mary Ann Colihan (member, grants committee, LCF) 2:15 - 3:15  Fri. Nov. 16/12

note:  Maureen of CGL has summarized, re-organized and probably interpreted things people said in this section, much more than in the other conference notes.  That's why most of these points are not put under people's names.  Any mis-interpretations are Maureen's.  Thanks to everyone for great ideas and for inspiration!  

- This was not a "panel discussion" of the sort where panelists make speeches, then answer questions.  Instead, people who had presented already sat at front and people asked questions ... answers came from those speakers and also from other attendees.

Colihan set things up for us by saying "The London Community Foundation has done its job" - set up this forum ... now we all have stuff to do, and how do we get there ... efficiently?   [Go to it!]

Jeff Pastorious of On the Move Organics emphasized that there are many answers to each of the many questions and issues ...we're not stuck with just one thing.

This is a chance for everyone to come up with do-able, positive actions that will protect our ability to feed ourselves

Debbie Fields said that London has a lot of resources and energy - urged us to use 'em ... get going.

Comment on London Training Centre's unique role - it is already training people in food skills, and has programs to build-upon ...  
- David Corke stated that London Training Centre people are risk-takers ... that in 2010 he stood in a horse barn and told 120 people we wanted to open a food centre ... they found a field and have grown food for two summers, which has trained people in growing skills and the food was used in the LTC kitchen
- Sustainable Food Systems report written for LTC:  http://www.londontraining.on.ca/SFS_Final_Reports.htm

Make innovative links between urban agriculture and other things in your community!
- attendee asked if  urban agriculture undertakings could use equipment seized from grow-ops.  Other attendee said this has been done somewhere in the region.

What are the possibilities for using the Old McCormick building or hospital lands?
- Colihan noted that the Urban Agriculture conference in Toronto highlighted examples of  urban agriculture projects on contaminated lands ... that such lands don't always have to have a complete dig-it-out remediation.  Container gardens and greenhouse operations can operate on top.
- Gregg Barrett - senior City of London planner - noted that the McCormick site is not City property (decisions and use about that particular location have had a lot of delays)
[Maureen's note:  there's been no survey of lands available and suitable for urban agriculture in London.  Such a survey for community gardens in neighbourhoods was part of London's Community Gardens Program Review  http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf  ]

 

Get doing more children's programs, in and out of schools.  Children have to be involved and physically doing and planning a program
   There was discussion about best projects for schools and other locations (like the markets and Ontario Museum of Archaeology) ... There are many example programs and information about what works and doesn't ... and much room for innovation

Re: the London Community Foundation programs - http://www.lcf.on.ca/
- London Community Foundation has selected to emphasize local food.  From the discussion today it will be looking for collaborative projects - to get full and accurate details about its varied programs and requirements, check the website
- it does have a micro-finance program [certain parameters]
- its bylaws require its grant recipients to be registered charities
- it selects different program foci at different times
               e.g. one upcoming focus is housing
               e.g. it does a useful state of the city report each year
              
Importance of Neighbourhood Networks
Teresa Rutten had mentioned the Carolinian Food Forest project - a community-based (collaborative), practical project earlier in the day
- she noted that even if a person or group has a great idea, it requires networking to get off the ground and people actually getting together to do things 
- "there are "silos" in my neighbourhoods" - silos of agencies getting paid to provide services, but they aren't sustainable
- "my generation has been disempowered - trained to ask permission" .... we rely too much on government at one level or another to step in and solve a problem
- we need a circle dedicted to a community
- there's a lot of expertise in London - e.g. Western's Environment and Sustainability program - that people don't know about or even know to go and look for
- Hamilton Road neighbourhood used to be market gardens and there is huge opportunity to develop the Hamilton Road community

Rolanda Elija - a director with Chippewa on the Thames - involved with outreach programs to youth, finding their potential
- First Nations are your neighbours - youth - growing cash crops for cattle feed - we're looking at these
- we need to have a cannery and we did farming
- first Nations in this area have been isolated from London happenings, and planning
- under current regulations/agreements, reserve lands cannot be used as collateral for [loan]
- for participants involved in social services - some of your clients may be First Nations
- will take the day's discussion back to her organization

Education is key to expanding people's minds about food - whether to promote local, get away from corporate image, or let people know that a few chickens in the yard is o.k. 

Find the place to begin the conversation ... get past the disconnect people have between eating and where that food comes from.

Remember the connections of local to global and to environment!
- issues about food must be connected to issues of water, energy, environment, and social justice
- food sovereignty must be talked about ...  even beyond being able to feed ourselves from local product, people in a community have to be in control of our food
- the expanded list of topics to talk about and act upon: cost of farmland ... new farmers getting land ... succession planning ...central production ... agribusinesses ... democratizing the food system

Who are the food champions locally?  and projects already going on London- any issue really needs one, visible person to promote and talk up and advocate for it
e.g.s       - UWO's head of food services buys much local food and promotes it
               - the Growing Chefs program - in-class growing and cooking - is expanding
               - every one who came out to the Food Forum is a knowledgeable, connected champion!!

And how to combine this with promotion?
- paid promotion of an item works - that's why there's a whole advertising business

Promotion of local food has to be someone's real, paid job

Advertising works
- build on the ads/campaigns for Covent Garden Market and Good Things Grow -o-o in Ontario

Food Forum - Don Mills, president of Local Food Plus & v.p. with National Farmers Union

Speaker: Don Mills, president of Local Food Plus (http://www.localfoodplus.ca/) & v.p. with National Farmers Union (http://www.nfu.ca)

- a long time farmer, who joked he has more pictures of his pigs on his phone than pictures of his children
- he attended the 2008 food conference at Brescia which led to various of the farmers meet restaurants and stores "speed-dating" things
- "I don't go anywhere without a farm income graph"
- urban sprawl photos - mentioned UWO geography resources - maps
- agriculture is oil - oil is really cool, and we're frittering it away
- sustainable agriculture - get back into balance - showed photo of tomato hornworm being parasitized by tachnid wasps (a natural control)
- slide - changing food landscape - check NFU site
- hot trends for food: local and sustainable
- food can be sustainable in terms of local, financially responsible, and ecologically sound
- e.g. Fred Kinshenmann (sp) carrots from Holland Marsh (has website)
- Local Food Plus certification - a tool for food system change
- Local Food Plus decided on Ontario as the "local" but recognize it's not perfect
- concept of a "local foodshed"
- Parnership Development  is important at all levels of food production and distribution - institutions  e.g. being universities, municipalities -  what organizations buy?   restaurants, retailers, catering companies, seniors buildings, hospitals,
                        ???????who said "they want one form" to fill out
- e.g. Harmony Milk - is a co-operative, and big
- had a slide of London growers - - "if you can't make local food work in Southwestern Ontario you can't do it anywhere" [referring to our wealth of good agricultural land]
- talked about land prices going up and up
- farm land costs a lot - it's hard for people who want to do the innovative stuff
            (which is why programs to get new farmers started are important)
- you have to have food champions, like. Ben Kramer, U. of Winnipeg
- e.g. 100 km Foods Inc
- recognize soft infrastructure (organizations and connections that can help)
- be patient ... we've been on the road to the corporate agriculture model for years, and changing away from it will take some time
- he likes the word regenerative more than sustainable
- 10,000 people shift $10 a week to local food ... money builds up, and jobs increase

Food Forum Nov 16 - Value Chains: Collaborate to Compete

Jacquelynn Moody, senior business advisor, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs outlined the benefits of a "Value Chain" business structure under the title Collaborate to Compete (1:00 - 1:30 p.m presentation)

Value Chain - "Value chain management is an independent approach to business where trading partners improve their combined competitiveness by collaborating to more effectively and efficiently deliver a product or service to a customer.  .... there is a commitment among the partners to share informtion, risks and rewards..."
from London Training Centre's Sustainable food Systems Report http://www.londontraining.on.ca/SFS_Final_Reports.htm

- good features of a value chain
            - for the relationships it develops between its partners
            - relationship based - long term business
            - increased responsiveness
            - supports traceability and improves communication
            - cost savings - good for business

For a value chain to work for everyone, partners in a value chain need to:
- appreciate each other's differences
- be fair with each other, so things feel fair
- have a system of accountability
- work towards the same goal
- need a business plan - clarifies, solidifies
- everyone must be open to change, or leaving - trust

OMAFRA has useful information on the Ontario Fresh site - www.ontariofresh.ca
- has its find a supplier site
- link to a guidebook from Alberta that takes you through a series of questions to know if value chain is for you ... to help figure out resources in your community and potential partners.

Ontario Farm to School Challenge - background about, and how to get your school buying more Ontario produce - http://www.ontariofresh.ca/farmtoschool

Gift giving - Ten Thousand Villages - there are ways to think gardens and food

Maureen, of CGL, was in London's Ten Thousand Villages store at 630 Richmond Street, and had a great conversation with Tania, the manager.  It made her realize there are so many connections to food and gardens and agriculture, and so many good projects to help with. This post is about just one organization.

Ten Thousand Villages stores are a Fair Trade organization, selling hand-crafted items and food items made 'round the world.  TTV is a non-profit, fund-raising arm of the Mennonite Central Committee, a reputable, long-standing international assistance organization. Revenues from the TTV stores are ploughed right back into programs.  (and since some are agricultural programs, plough is pun intended)

All year 'round, one can donate to MCC projects - give gifts of hope, peace, and food sovereignty.  At this time of year, gifts come right into the Ten Thousand Villages stores.  You get a card describing the gift and project being supported.  TTV can even arrange to send it on to someone for you. "Gifting" made simpler and far kinder than the stores advertising on tv.

The selection of Living Gifts is described fully at:  
http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/events-and-festivals/living_gifts

Highlights of the Living Gifts:
A Training program -  Creativity and technical skills unleashed!  This $35.00 gift sends one woman in Mymensingh, Bangladesh to a course where she learns about textiles' qualities and how to design fabrics.  (Part of what happens in this town is that the materials for the textiles are grown right nearby, so supporting design training reinforces the agriculture)

In Haiti, a reforestation project is planting fruit trees in its tree mix, acknowledging the importance of healthy, local food alongside the land regeneration importance of trees.  Only $20.00 to purchase a tree.

In Ethiopia, sheep are a natural part of agriculture and local industry... sheep for fleece, fiber and clothing ... and of course their manure is part of soil health.  Give a sheep for $57.00 and help maintain the cycle of agriculture and production.

You can even "Fill a Farmyard" for $300.00.  This provides healthy stock for breeding more and for all the products: meat, milk, eggs, leathers, textiles.

There are two education gifts, which support 50 community-based education programs.  
$24 school supplies - Provide school uniforms and supplies to a child, giving them access to education.
$300 give education - Sponsor a Global Family program for one full year.

Education and training of one family member, or any one small enterprise run by a family, has its effects on the neighbourhood, and into the wider community.  Just like your own creativity and care help in your community, you can help in another's community.

Ten Thousand Villages - Living Gifts - http://www.tenthousandvillages.ca/events-and-festivals/living_gifts
Ten Thousand Villages -630 Richmond Street, London, Ontario - ph. 519-433-0977
               ** they have beautiful, hand-crafted crêches!! **
Mennonite Central Committee, Canada - http://mcccanada.ca/

SPARKS - Community project grant opportunity

SPARKS! Neighbourhood Matching Fund is a community grant program that provides funds to improve and enhance neighbourhoods.

The City of London will match your volunteer time contributions and donations from $100 to $5,000.

Check the website for full details of application requirements and descriptions of the projects that have been funded the last couple of years. Deadline for application is January 31, 2013. If your project is selected you'll hear by April 1, 2013.

http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Community_Vitality/Neighbourhoods/SPARKS.htm

This is handled by the Community Development and Funding division: phone: 519-661-5335 or email neighbourhood@london.ca

Teachers!  School Garden how-to videos from Ireland!

Paddy Madden is primary school teacher in Ireland, specializing in outdoor education and remedial education. 

An Irish Times article School Garden a Class Act  will tell you all about him at http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/magazine/2012/0929/1224324489785.html

and link you to a series of videos - several per month - that will take you through a gardening year in short, easy steps ... produced for Black Rock Education Centre.
http://www.blackrockec.ie/news-collection/projects/paddys-school-garden

These are straight forward and have great attitude. Go away now and look at some of these!!

http://www.blackrockec.ie/news-collection/projects/paddys-school-garden

This is a Dec. 1/12 post on City Farmer: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2012/12/01/irelands-long-time-school-garden-advocate-paddy-madden/#more-36725

Salt Spring Seeds 25 years! - fun video

Salt Spring Island Seeds has been promoting safe and sustainable, local agriculture for 25 years. http://www.saltspringseeds.com/

Jean-Marc Abela has put together a short video of Dan Jason's philosophy, and some great visuals about how he works! Check it out at the December 2/12 post: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2012/12/02/portrait-of-dan-jason-a-pioneer-in-seed-farming-in-british-columbia/#more-36761

Did you catch the interesting use of an air compressor?

As Dan notes: " All our seeds are untreated, open-pollinated and non-GMO. We grow all our own seeds and sell only our most recent harvest. As is true again this year, we write the printed and online catalogues in December after we’ve cleaned and evaluated all our seed crops from the year before. December is also the month when we package the seeds. Most of our seeds are mailed from mid-January to mid-May but we fill orders year-round and usually within a day or two of receiving your requests." so check the catalogue: http://www.saltspringseeds.com

As often, thanks to City Farmer for leading us to this story! http://www.cityfarmer.info/

More food forum notes ... Old East London and Western Fair Market & Q&A session

More notes from the November 16 Food Forum

From Food Desert to Food District: Local Economic Development Planning for the Revitalization of London's Old East ....Jason Gilliland and Michael Clark
                        morning speakers at Food Forum, November 16/12

Gilliland* noted that the Old East Village area in London started developing an economic action plan in 2002 - it wanted a business district that related to its residential district. It wanted to build on the strong sense of community, heritage, arts, and walkability ... to develop a livable, resilient and sustainable local economy. Back then, it was a "food desert" ... it lacked a grocery store or other source of fresh, healthy food within a certain distance.  People had to go outside their neighbourhood to shop.  A "food-based intervention" occurred when the Western Fair market came in, and people could fill their "healthy food basket"

Michael Clark - researcher, works with Gilliland - doing economic analysis for the Western Fair farmer's market
- money spent at the Market circles into the community
- market gets 2400 visitors a day; they spend money there and in nearby locales
- a significant number of people come into the neighbourhood  specifically for the market
- This is a neighbourhood where a "local currency" would work well ... This ties into some ideas in the Sustainable food Systems report by London Training Centre, altho' I'm not sure this was specifically mentioned.
- Individual market vendors/businesspeople are working for the community in ways other than just being vendors ...  e.g. a baker teaches young people the craft ... essentially job training

Maureen's comments:
1. Gilliland did not stresss that the Western Fair Market's presence in East London was not a planning decision, or planned.  It was just good luck.
2. the really short, non-technical version of Gilliland's research ... he looks at how cities are built and puts that together with health information for children, particularly he's looking at obesity and diabetes rates ... with the idea that walkable places with good food available would be better for kids.  It's important because he's proving the common sense!

*Jason Gilliland: http://geography.uwo.ca/faculty/gillilandj/
"... research focuses on various aspects of urban planning and development, urban design, housing, transportation, children's environments, and public health in Canadian cities."

15 minutes Question and Answer - Topics that came up

    • That many actions and undertakings are the answers - there is not one answer.
    • London's Hamilton Road area is a logical place for a food hub- There was recently a Carolinian food forest area planted and there are community supports/strengths like Pearson and Thames Schools (which has a greenhouse), Dillabough community garden, Crouch resource centre, senior centre and a community association. 
    • Government policies at all levels get in the way of projects and throttle innovation.
    • London has put in place a food charter ... and people need to bring about its ideas; don't wait.
    • Customers for local food want their end of things to be simple - they want one supplier.
    • "Vertical co-operatives" give a model worth exploring.  Vertical co-operatives are a way for businesses along the production/delivery/sales chain to pool resources, keep greater control over their decisions, make money, and support each other. (is this "benevolent capitalism"?)
    • Local food grow/transport/sell supply chain can create jobs!
    • When assessing costs of any project, add in the environmental costs.

Local Food Forum - Sustainable Food systems Report

http://www.londontraining.on.ca/SFS_Final_Reports.htm

First speaker was David Corke executive director of London Training Centre [http://www.londontraining.on.ca/ ]
- London Training Centre programs are employment training programs, which serve many  youth at risk. Programs combine skills in the food sector, self-actualization, and positive impact on community.
- funding is from Ministry of Colleges and Universities and from social enterprise programs run by LTC.
- during the last 2 years an LTC training program has taught garden/farming skills on land outside London. Food grown is used in LTC programs (and some has gone to the food bank). - LTC works with community and business partners Sleegers Greenhouses - in Strathroy [http://www.slegersgreens.com/retail.html ] and Everdale Farm (workshops that introduce people to farming).
- Corke believes "now is the time" for more farming and gardening programs ... and when people taste the results - the leek and fingerling potato soup (with potatoes planted back in June by young men who'd dropped out of school and took the farm training) - they realize "the wealth and depth of what our programs do"
- as well as education and employment, their programs are regenerating soil (more worms!)
- Corke and LTC staff are inspired by ideas in Bill McKibben's book Deep Economy : moving to smaller, local scale enterprises; putting value to social and cultural things, not just big economy

Tom Schell - about The Sustainable Food Systems report
                        http://www.londontraining.on.ca/SFS_Final_Reports.htm
Maureen's comment: The Sustainable Food Systems report is bold:  it asks us to imagine a food system that is not based on everything being BIG, and corporate-run.  I think Schell actually said that " the desirable future is the de-structure of corporate agriculture" and that local entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations and businesses can make changes faster than governments. London Training Centre, through its partnership with ...... has put together some really important ideas.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it moves forward in its part in the new, local and healthy agriculture.

- Schell had us close our eyes and imagine 15 years from now, that we'd developed sustainable, local agriculture (there's actually a nifty video on the website)
- Food system is complex, like an ecosystem; you have to understand all the components before you start tinkering. To know where we are now, they talked to people involved in the entire "value chain" of food production, processing, distribution, sales and consumption.

A main idea proposed in the Local Food Systems report is to develop a local agriculture system that involves businesses along the entire agriculture supply chain working in co-operative structures.  Growers, processors, distributers, and retailers would share costs, planning and benefits in an area.  What cannot be done in one area, would be augmented by another area.  With $19 billion dollars of food imported each year into [Ontario], a lot of jobs can be created as local sectors develop ... and there is much potential for job training and new types of jobs to be developed, and more training.  The proposed food hub and cluster system is effective in economic, environmental and social ways (the "triple bottom line" that is often talked about).  The model can be resilient (flexible)

Next Steps
- get together the core stakeholder teams (who will do it)
- develop a matrix of people/skills (who is able to do what)
- prepare implementation plan
- try to grow, produce, and process  as much as you can in a cluster

Is it complex? yes                  Is it complicated? no             Is it do-able?  yes!


Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future      London Public Library  306.3 MacK
"... an impassioned call to arms for an economy that creates community and ennobles our lives. .... For the first time in human history, he observes, "more" is no longer synonymous with "better"—indeed, for many of us, they have become almost opposites. McKibben puts forward a new way to think about the things we buy, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the money that pays for it all. Our purchases, he says, need not be at odds with the things we truly value.
McKibben's animating idea is that we need to move beyond "growth" as the paramount economic ideal and pursue prosperity in a more local direction, with cities, suburbs, and regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. ... the more we nurture the essential humanity of our economy, the more we will recapture our own.
For an excerpt from Deep Economy:http://www.billmckibben.com/deep-economy-excerpt.html

The Sustainable Food Systems Report, put together by Tom Schell, Roxanna Roshon and Angelica Nef,  can be downloaded in sections (http://www.londontraining.on.ca/SFS_Final_Reports.htm)
- executive summary
- the main report which is page after page of good ideas and projects that are going on 'round about
- a list of all the people and undertakings mentioned in the report (with links online!)
- a glossary of terms used in the report and in agriculture and policy documents (a brilliant inclusion)
- maps and charts

.

Local Food Forum - notes about Debbie Field's presentation

On Friday, November 16 2012, the London Community Foundation brought together about 50 local people with an interest in local food production.  The London Community Foundation (www.lcf.on.ca) is looking toward local food projects as a focus in 2013; parameters to accept proposals should be forthcoming.  Maureen of CGL was excited to attend and meet many hardworking, broad-thinking people.  On behalf of CGL, thanks to the LCF for this! Here are her first notes, on just one speaker.       

Debbie Fields - Executive Director, Food Share Toronto - 1st Speaker

Fields had done her homework about London before coming. She's been in London before, been involved with projects and people ... knew we were stalled on developing a food policy council structure.  When she sees something wrong, she says so.

The global economy is at a strategic moment, and "food" is in the news and on people's minds.  There is a lot of bad stuff going on worldwide. WAR is the greatest contributor to food shortages, agriculture problems, hunger and injustices. The industrial food system is killing us.

Canada has no federal policy or department involved with food security. No province has such.  Canada needs to build a stronger local food system (with imports because switching is not overnight).

The most important actions are coming from local communities - municipalities - and they will influence up the chain.  We don't need to wait for government.  We will succeed.

London's local food system "will be about what YOU in London do, with your local people".

Fields' Big messages

COOPERATIVES.  To change the balance toward more local food, get people together, get growers and suppliers together.  Cooperatives are good for production, distribution, health, spirit  and the economy.  People have to work together to work against the huge [international agri-chemical monopolies - Maureen's term, but it's what she meant]

London Co-op Store http://londonfoodcoop.org/

GET GROWING
"You know that here in London there are acres and acres of public land with no food growing on it", she said. ["growing locally" can be a strategic priority]

SCHOOLS
Food literacy
- polling - the majority of Ontarians believe we should teach "food literacy" in school
policy
- right now, there's no requirement that schools even have cafeterias
- we want to reform the highschool curriculum to include home economics (cooking!) and gardening and consumer knowledge (food literacy)
food at school
- in London there are mid-morning snack programs, targeted to low incomes only.
- and there's a role for farmers ... to be direct sellers to school boards (every successful program worldwide links with local food)
gardens at school - "probably every school is in the middle of acres of arable land" and there are many curriculum opportunities in the garden.
- compost - you cannot grow food without it - put the composting projects everywhere, but schools are great spaces
fun programs - Student Engagement - Great Big Crunch - 148,095 kids last year all took a bit out of an apple at the same time

MOVING FORWARD - OPPORTUNITIES FOR LONDON
1. Strengthen farmers' markets ... need more ... make one a food resources  hub
2.  Support Local Food Plus' certification program (Lori Stahlbrand] to encourage local production and buying, balanced with imports
3.  Universal Student Nutrition Program .... London Children's Nutrition Network ....London City goverment is participating ... check with Cheryl Smith
4. [advocate for] Food literacy throught he Ministry of Education
5. Link Ontario Farmers to schools
Model a project after the Alternative Land Use Services model, whereby farmers are paid for environmental services of their land.
6.  Strengthen Community food Programs ... love to see OMAFRA support the Good Food Box program [check LCRC's Grow, cook, learn]
7.  Expand community composting
8.  Develop a Community Food Hub [find what we want "food hub" to mean]
9.  Get in place a London Food Policy Council [or other name] to build on the London Food Charter   
 
EAT IT  - individual action  GROW IT - community mobilization  SHARE IT - government action


Food Share - founded 1985 - has a range of social enterprise programs, a $5.5million budget, and 60 paid staff.

Its mission .... "as social entrepreneurs, our work is rooted in innovation, operational excellence and food sustainability ....
Principles ... [to have food that is] delicious, healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate; local and seasonal whenever possible: organic if same price; fair trade

"Low income people don't need to be burdened with a crisis they did not create" ... is her reply to the question of why organic is not at the top ... ie there are so many issues to food and income distribution ... and we have to fix a lot of local stuff before we ban imports.

Food Share Projects and Programs

  1. Many projects purchase food (via the principles) and resell it (the social enterprise part).  When low income people pay for their own food they retain their independence and dignity as consumers.  They are more participants in their own well-being. In 2011 Food Share's Good Food Program purchased food that was 34% local and 66% not local
  2. Many Food Share Projects focus on children's programs - school programs - the next generation.  e.g. 250 Toronto school programs get their produce through Food Share's social enterprise sales program  .... (in Toronto - 141,000 children get mid-morning snacks, there are 720 student nutrition projects)
  3. Food Share does "animation" programs - working with communities to start community kitchens, community gardens and compost projects.
  4. Food Share advocates for healthy food projects and for changes in the health system, e.g. to have healthy food subsidized ("they'll buy me any amount of chemotherapy but not healthy food")

Food Share Toronto                        www.foodshare.net     info@foodshare.net
...  is a non-profit community organization whose vision is Good Healthy Food for All.
90 Croatia Street, Toronto, ON M6H 1K9        Phone: 416-363-6441
Debbie Field, Executive Director (since 1992!)  x228 (Direct: 416.583.5410) debbie@foodshare.net

USC Canada will carry through the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Food Security

For all of us who worry that the future of food and food sovereignty, and who know how important it is to be able to breed and harvest seeds ... the continuation and expansion of the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security is exciting news. USC Canada, and Seeds of Diversity Canada are partnering to carry this on. Congratulations and Hurray to all involved. The following is an excerp from the USC-Canada website. The site will give you more information as well as tell you about other great undertakings.

USC Canada is proud to launch the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security.

Nine out of every ten bites of food around the world today begin with seed.

From Newfoundland to British Columbia, Canadians coast-to-coast will soon benefit from a program to build a more secure and diverse ‘made-in-Canada’ seed supply. Thanks to a generous grant from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation [2] (http://www.westonfoundation.org/Pages/default.aspx), the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security will promote local and diverse seed. The program will feature training, applied research, market development, and support for expanded production and improved public access to seed. It will be delivered in close collaboration with regional partners across the country, and Seeds of Diversity Canada [9 (http://www.seeds.ca/en.php)], which has demonstrated great leadership in conserving seed biodiversity since 1995.

Gretchen Bauta, the initiator of this program ...  explains, “The issue of seed security in Canada came to my attention through my friendship with Sharon Rempel, a pioneer advocate for heritage wheat. I am pleased to be able to work with USC Canada and their network of Canadian farmers to create sustainable food sources for the future, adaptable to climate variation and readily accessible to growers.”

[10]The Canadian food system relies on a handful of varieties of a few major crops. The seeds that produce these crops are largely bred for uniformity and performance under controlled conditions. Canadian farmers who want to grow biodiverse vegetables and grains must often purchase seeds from the US, Europe, or further afield. In an age of ever-changing growing conditions, food security requires locally grown seeds with the genetic diversity needed to adapt to tomorrow’s climates.

Thanks must be extended to the many Canadian seed advocates who have worked for years, mostly as volunteers, to lay the groundwork for this effort. Built on this solid foundation, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security will work with seed producers, farmers, farmer organizations, seed banks, organic industry partners, researchers in plant genetics and climate, governments, and food organizations to at least double the production and spread of biodiverse, locally-adapted seed.

USC Canada is one of Canada’s longest-standing international NGOs and has worked extensively with smallholder food producers around the world. It is farmers like these who feed the majority of our planet’s population. They have bred an impressive 5000 crops and donated over 2.1 million varieties of seed to the world’s gene banks. Here in Canada, the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security will value and strengthen this kind of innovation.

The program has an official start date of February 1, 2013.

For further information, contact:
Jane Rabinowicz, Program Director at jrabinowicz@usc-canada.org, or
Susie Walsh, Executive Director of USC Canada at swalsh@usc-canada.org

USC Canada: www.usc-canada.org

Seeds of Diversity Canada: www.seeds.ca

Feeding 9 Billion - great animation to watch

Frustrated by the complexity of the global food crisis? By 2050 there will be 9 billion people on the planet – but will there be enough food for everyone?

Food security expert Dr. Evan Fraser (Guelph University just down the road) guides you through a clever and entertaining whiteboard presentation of his solution to the Global Food Crisis.

Check it out for four suggestions that will help clear away the fog.

Be sure to watch right to the end. There are ways for you to participate!

Thanks to USC Canada for alerting us to this positive presentation with terrific artwork by Scott Chantler: http://usc-canada.org/2012/11/13/feeding-nine-billion/

Direct link to the Feeding Nine Billion project website: www.feedingninebillion.com

Alternatives Journal has a new website - check it out!

For a more sustainable future and the tools to take us there ...

Since 1971, Alternatives Journal, Canada’s national environmental magazine, has delivered thoughtful analysis and intelligent debate on Canadian and world environmental issues, the latest news and ideas, as well as profiles of environmental leaders who are making a difference. Based at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, it is the official publication of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/alternatives-journal-official-publication-environmental-studies-association-canada)

Alternatives has a revamped website ... so it is even easier to get at its excellent articles about Sustainable Living, People and Profiles, Policy and Politics, and Energy and Resources.

If you don't know about Alternatives, please check it out!  And if you like it, take out a subscription.

Alternatives Journal publishes 6 issues a year.  There's a real print edition you can subscribe to, and can read articles from its website for free (donations accepted).  http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/

OMAFRA news updates available for Middlesex and Elgin

OMAFRA news updates available for Middlesex and Elgin

Your interest in shared gardening and urban agriculture may well extend to the broader fields of agriculture (pun intended!). 

Perhaps you are thinking about local food systems, or taking a course on how to move into farming, or you are curious about the technical details of a specific topic like growing pulses.  You might want to know when the Royal Winter Fair is coming up (November 2-11) or when Canada's 4-H day is being celebrated (November 7).  Perhaps you just want to develop a sense of things "agricultural" to complement your interest in urban agriculture.

If so, you want to subscribe to the monthly OMAFRA Connects newsletter, a useful resource for Middlesex and Elgin Counties sent out by Valerie Clark, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor for Middlesex, for the Ontario Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). 

It is easy to sign on.  Send an e-mail to Valerie Clark at valerie.clark@ontario.ca

Community Gardens London thanks Valerie for newsletters ssent.  It makes us more aware.

.

Do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?

Nice video - Hint: the answer is NO!

Food Myths
http://foodmyths.org/myths/hunger-food-security/

We do not need industrial agriculture to feed the world.  We do not need need synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which are fossil fuel based products. 
 
This short animation from Food Mythbusters shows the interconnections of the chemical industry to contemporary food production, and some ways in which farmer independence can be regained.

Anna Lappe is project director of Food Mythbusters.  She is principal and founder of the Small Planet Institute (www.smallplanet.org) and author of Diet for a Hot Planet.  If you recognize her name somehow, she is daughter of Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for A Small Plant.  Frances and Anna collaborate on projects.

 

Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement

Get information about the rights we'll lose to buy locally and even to save our own seed!

If CETA is signed it will:
• Threaten our democracy by putting corporate rights first
• Encourage privatization of Canada’s drinking water and wastewater services
• will put on table things not usually  considered trade items:  Drinking Water, Municipal services, Universities, Schools and Healthcare

Threaten local job creation and “buy-local” policies
• Cause prescription drug costs to skyrocket by at least $2.8 billion per year
• Allow big corporations to ignore or challenge environmental regulation We know this needs much more written. For now, check out:

Council of Canadians London blog: http://londoncouncilofcanadians.blogspot.com/2011_10_01_archive.html
National Farmers' Union website:  http://www.nfu.ca/     scroll down their home page for much information/actions

 

In Search of Alternatives to Synthetic Pesticides

Science Here and Now - In Search of Alternatives to Synthetic Pesticides: Eavesdropping on Mother Nature

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Central Library, 2nd floor, 251 Dundas Street

Professor Jeremy McNeil gives a presentation on how chemical cues insects use when making decisions about "what to eat", "where to lay eggs" and "with whom to mate" has lead to the development of effective and more eco-friendly means of managing certain pest species. The London Public Library and the Faculty of Science at Western are excited to continue the new series of talks on all things Science

Pesticides hit non-pests: exposed bees forage poorly, die more often

Pesticides hit non-pests: exposed bees forage poorly, die more often

The latest study to link synthetic pesticide use to honeybee deaths has been posted on the Nature (journal) website and is highlighted in a short video at this link:

http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/10/pesticides-beyond-pests-exposed-bees-forage-poorly-die-more-often/

Researchers from the Royal Holloway, University of London (England) underscores that insecticides can influence the overall health of bee colonies and that natural insect pollinators other than honeybees may be even more sensitive.

Bees from small colonies were fitted with radio tags which allowed their coming and going to be monitored.  In the abstract, authors Gill et al report:

" ... chronic exposure of bumblebees to two pesticides (neonicotinoid and pyrethroid) at concentrations that could approximate field-level exposure impairs natural foraging behaviour and increases worker mortality leading to significant reductions in brood development and colony success. We found that worker foraging performance, particularly pollen collecting efficiency, was significantly reduced with observed knock-on effects for forager recruitment, worker losses and overall worker productivity. Moreover, we provide evidence that combinatorial exposure to pesticides increases the propensity of colonies to fail."
                                              http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11585.html

Writing on the Artstechnica site, John Timmer notes about the study:
 ".... even though it doesn't answer everything, it helps us identify many things we should be asking. For one, the use of bees that form smaller colonies may tell us a lot more about the wider impact of insecticide use. It also tells us we should start thinking in terms of multiple exposures, both to insecticides and parasites, that accurately reflect what the bees see in the real world. Finally, it tells us that some of the effects won't be apparent during short exposures, which means we have to start thinking in terms of longer experiments. Future studies will undoubtedly attempt to track many of these factors."
               http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/10/pesticides-beyond-pests-exposed-bees-forage-poorly-die-more-often/

Reflections and Possibilities, September 2012

THANKS to the Thames Region Ecological Association (www.trea.ca), Maureen Temme of Community Gardens London attended the 20th anniversary conference of the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition. 

The international "Healthy Communities" concept outlines features common to healthy communities: that health is not just an absence of illness, but includes personal physical health, mental health, and the social health of the entire community. 

Two speakers' comments were particularly relevant to issues of food, environment, and urban agriculture.  

The keynote speaker was Dr. Trevor Hancock (thancock@uvic.ca), public health physician, professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria.  His points:

  • There is no topic of concern these days (environment, poverty, housing, social justice) that was not being discussed 30 years ago when the healthy communities movement began.
  • "Health" involves how people fit into and function in communities.
  • Problems are urgent as more people move into urban areas (50% of world's population now).
  • He believes in small, local solutions ... how will urban areas find their communities and work within them?
  • We need to connect the work done in non-profit community groups with municipal, provincial and federal programs. 
  • It is important that community groups have people interested in policy keeping an eye on governments.
  • Arts, culture and being outdoors - connecting with nature - are essential for health.  He suggested some resources for this.  He showed a map that showed Loss of Roaming Distance; it was a shock to see just how small is the area today's children are allowed to explore on their own compared to 50 years ago. 
  • "Vision is values projected into the future" and we need ecological sanity, social justice, peace, and active, engaged democracy.    
  • We need "healthy governance" - not government - to put people in the centre.
  • We have to face ecological decline realistically - like accepting a cancer diagnosis - and then find the ways to bring back community empowerment and resilience.  His tip for this:  Join a local Transition group! (www.transitionlondon.ning.com)

Food policy analyst, Wayne Roberts (wayneroberts@robertsfood.ca) is concerned with local, sustainable and health-promoting food systems.  He was manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council from 2000-2010. (http://www.toronto.ca/health/tfpc/).   His points:

  • It's all about food.
  • Solving "Food" is like working out a Rubik's cube.  You have to work all sides together.  (And "Food" probably has more than 6 sides!).
  • Most health professionals and government don't yet get the connections between food and health.
  • Food is the missing component of economic planning.
  • Food has business opportunities - it is "job rich" and can be cost saving.
  • City planning has only very recently (if at all) given consideration to food ... where it is grown, full transportation and energy costs, urban sprawl over agricultural land, urban farming.
  • Municipalities are taking the lead in projects, localizing, doing food charters. 
  • In Canada, people have a "preference" to view ourselves as powerless because then we can say  "It is not my problem".  This is the easy way out and we can't do this anymore.
  • Individuals have the power - we make 100s of decisions a day about food ... start with a few changes.
  • Buy Local Policies need to be set up.
  • Food brings people together ... food is not a scarce commodity.
  • There are ways to change the way we grow, process, transport, and consume food that will help the environment.

Two exciting projects were brought forward at the conference:

  • the official launch of the The Canadian Healthy Communities Network (http://www.chc-csc.ca/) - which will develop stronger working relationships between the four Canadian sectors and give them a new, coordinated website
  • a panel presentation of the project "Healthy Communities: An Approach to Action on Health Determinants in Canada". This project summarized what's happening in 16 different Canadian Communities. It was fun to see how excited everyone was to see the first bound copies!

Edible City: Grow the Revolution

Just watched this! It's terrific. Full of ideas, interesting things to see in the locales. Full movie posted on October 17/12 entry on City Farmer: http://www.cityfarmer.info/

By Andrew Hasse and Carl Grether
Director and Producers of Edible City
Published on Oct 17, 2012

Edible City is a fun, fast-paced journey through the Local Good Food movement that’s taking root in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the nation and around the world.

Introducing a diverse cast of extraordinary and eccentric characters who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system, Edible City digs into their unique perspectives and transformative work, finding hopeful solutions to monumental problems.

Edible City - movie website: http://ediblecitythemovie.com/

Revolutionary Plots

Revolutionary Plots: urban agriculture is producing a lot more than food.

"What crops are you tending? What do you hope to grow?

Gardening involves three noble works: it feeds the hungry, it gets us wondering why they are hungry, and it urges us to change the system.

Author Rebecca Solnit makes the case that growing a garden in our own backyard, or being part of an urban agriculture project in the heart of a city, is the way to regenerate ourselves and the self-sufficiency of our communities.

Check it out in Orion Magazine: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6918

Sustainable Food Systems

The London Training Centre published a report last month about Sustainable Food.  I haven't been through it all yet, but it looks good, and the LTC has fabulous programs.

  http://www.londontraining.on.ca/SFS_Final_Reports.htm

Agroecology simply better

Here is the latest e-news received from Danielle Nierenberg, of the Nourishing the Planet Project of Worldwatch Institute.

"The Christensen Fund has put together an infographic that got me thinking. The infographic (see large version here) demonstrates all of the benefits of growing food using ‘agroecology,’ or an ecological, holistic approach to agriculture. These benefits include capturing and storing carbon dioxide, involving the local community in the farming process, and improving farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change. Industrial agriculture, on the other hand, tends to rely on scarce fossil fuels, harmful chemical inputs, and a small number of crop and animal species.

"Some industrial agricultural practices are implemented in food-strapped regions as a stop-gap measure to avoid malnutrition; but teaching, encouraging, and gradually implementing agroecological practices in those areas can help avoid the need for chemicals and resource-depletion in the first place. Small plot intensive farming, for instance, fights weeds, pests, and diseases by growing plants on almost every square foot of a farm or garden, and by emphasizing crop diversity over long rows of a single crop. Check out our video about small plot intensive farming here.

"I would love to hear about agroecological practices that you have tried or heard about. What works, and what doesn’t? What are some surprising benefits of growing food without using chemicals? Please e-mail me with your thoughts!

"And a sustainable food system doesn’t end with harvesting the crops. About one third of all food is wasted worldwide, as Tristram Stuart, author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal explains in this TED talk. And much of our world’s food is now grown to produce unhealthy foods and drinks: check out this post about the top five worst drinks in America, including milkshakes, sodas, and sugar-packed teas."

Check out Nourishing the Planet at: http://www.nourishingtheplanet.org

Hungry for Climate Leadership

Voice of Women for Peace (http://vowpeace.org) members are out on the streets making a difference, again. National Co-chair, Lyn Adamson, is on Parliament Hill  joining with other Climate Change Leaders to bring attention to the climate crisis.  

Lyn wrote, "if you support our 3 asks - end fossil fuel subsides, put a price on carbon, and develop a renewable energy plan for Canada - please go to our website, www.climatefast.ca and pledge your support."

Hungry for Climate Leadership fast and vigil takes place September 21 through October 2. Its purpose is to demand that the Canadian government address climate change, the greatest threat to our children.

Urban Agriculture Summit meaningful for London!

Community Gardens London thanks Mary Ann Colihan for her clear  notes about Summit presentations and for linking them to London possibilities. We are inspired!

Mary Ann Colihan attended the first Urban Agriculture Summit held in Toronto, this past August.  Mary Ann is on the Grants Committee of the London Community Foundation.  She reported back to the Foundation with a summary of the project presentations she attended and with suggestions and questions about how similar programs could be done in London, Ontario.  For example:

Wychwood Barns in Toronto is an adaptive re-use of four decommissioned bus repair/parking buildings, by Artscape Toronto.  These buildings now house an art studio, community meeting spaces, and a year-round greenhouse and sustainable food education centre managed by The Stop Community Food Centre.

Will Allen presented for Growing Power, describing its range of programs for growing food in urban and peri-urban areas, distributing and selling it in low-income areas of a city, and putting people to work.  Colihan comments accurately and succinctly that "Urban agriculture is a model to lift people and feed people" and points out that London has low income areas and spaces where food can be grown.

She cites Everdale Farms for its farm planning and training programand its program partnerships with places such as Black Creek Community Farm - a new undertaking, see below - and the London Training Centre.

Colihan notes the Toronto Urban Agriculture Action Plan, with its priorities to:

  • Link growers to land and space
  • Strengthen education and training
  • Increase visibility and promotion
  • Add value to urban gardens
  • realize the full potential of this food
  • Cultivate partnerships

She reminds us that London's Food Charter is an important step towards food security. However, there is work to do to evaluate and adapt policies and bylaws in London, which requires bringing elected officials on board during planning and program development.

There are many faces to urban agriculture, many of which we haven't seen yet in London, and many yet to be thought up here and elsewhere. 

If you would like to receive a copy of Mary Ann Colihan's full 8-page report, which lists other places and ideas, Community Gardens London will forward it to you.  Just ask:  communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

London Community Foundation: http://www.lcf.on.ca
Artscape/Wychwood Barns: http://torontoartscape.org/artscape-wychwood-barns/barn-barn
The Stop:  http://www.thestop.org
Growing Power:  http://www.growingpower.org
Everdale Farm: http://everdale.org
London Training Centre: http://www.londontraining.on.ca/
Black Creek Commuity Farm:  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1241098--toronto-s-largest-city-farm-to-be-announced-at-urban-agriculture-summit
GrowTO: Urban Agriculture Action Plan: http://tfpc.to/news/growto-action-plan                (24 page pdf)

Check out Thames Region Ecological Association's bright new website!

TREA is a local, non-profit, registered charity established in November of 1986. The purpose of TREA is to promote environmental awareness to its members and the community of London for the development of an ecologically responsible and sustainable future encouraging citizen participation in environmental issues, and promoting and/or facilitating innovative projects that contribute to the community.

To fulfill its mission, TREA will focus on the following Strategic Initiatives:
Waste Reduction & Recycling
Active Transportation
Reducing the Use of Fossil Fuels

Thames Region Ecological Association: http://www.trea.ca

King's College Environment Students Plant Community Garden

King's campus growing...literally

CGL thanks Graham Casselman for the following story, which we found on the King's College website! Graham is Environmental Intern, Physical Plant, King's College

"As students As students begin to arrive on campus and classes begin, the newest addition to campus is taking root. The King’s Community Garden is a welcome addition to our vibrant campus and will develop new skills and foster knowledge both in and out of the classroom. The garden is located behind the International House and will consist of four raised beds. The first, limited harvest is expected to be in mid-October and plans are to be in full production by early April 2013. The intention of the garden is to become a place where classes can engage in topics relating to food security and social justice. This garden project showcases King’s support towards new environmental projects on campus.

"The project was due in part to the dedicated work of KUCSC Environmental Commissioner Skylar Franke. Her hard work paid off and the project received grants to assist with the construction of the garden. The project was supported by Michael Tattersall (Director, Physical Plant), Graham Casselman (Environmental Intern), Jason Austin and his team assisted in the construction of the raised beds. Jessica Roder Robertson from Wild Craft Permaculture provided her expertise on seasonal planting, crop rotation and placement of the raised beds.

"Students, faculty and staff who are interested in volunteering can follow the King’s Community Garden Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KingsCommunityGarden , stay up do date with the gardening blog http://kingscommunitygarden.wordpress.com/ or email environment@kucsc.com. Stay tuned for the next gardening event."

http://www.kings.uwo.ca/about-kings/communications-and-media/newsroom/kings-campus-growingliterally/

Precipitation Summary for London Ontario

Month and Year

Precipitation in millimenters (centimeters)
percent of average precipitation for the month

Precipitation in Inches

Precipitation Average based on Environment Canada Date 1971-2000*  mm (cm)    inches

 

 

 

 

January      2012

71.7 mm (7.17 cm)      96.64% of normal for the month

2.818"

74.2 mm (7.42 cm)      2.916"

February    2012

21.7 mm (2.17 cm)      36.16%

  .853"

60.0 mm (6.0 cm)        2.359"

March        2012

45.9 mm (4.59 cm)     58.55%

1.804"

78.4 mm (7.84 cm)      3.081"

April          2012

30.2 mm (3.02cm)       36.75%

1.187"

82.2 mm (8.22 cm)      3.230"

May           2012

21.0 mm (2.1cm)
 25.3%   of normal precipitation

0.8 inches

82.9 mm (8.29 cm)      3.258"

June 1-14,  2012

55.4mm (5.54cm)    
at 62.5% of rain for month

2.18 inches

86.8 mm ( 8.68 cm)     3.411"

June 1-30, 2012

86.6mm (8.86cm)
call this 100%
note that this occurred in two main rainfalls:  39.6mm June 1, and 25.8mm June 21 (no rainfall since June 21)

3.41 inches

86.8mm (8.68cm)      3.411"

July 1-31, 2012

41.9mm (4.19cm)
49.12% of normal precipitation for the month

1.65 inches

85.3 mm (8.53 cm)      3.352"

August 1-28, 2012

60.3mm (6.03cm)
given forecast of no rain for rest of month, this is 70.69% of normal precipitation for month

2.374 inches

85.3 mm (8.53 cm)      3.352"

 

 

 

 

Table compiled August 29/12 by Maureen Temme using Environment Canada data from page http://climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climate_normals/index_e.html  Canadian Climate Normals or Averages 1971- 2000.

*note from the page: "Climate normals or averages are used to summarize or describe the average climatic conditions of a particular location.  At the completion of each decade, Environment Canada updates its climate normals for as many locations and as many climatic characteristics as possible. The climate normals and extremes offered here are based on Canadian climate stations with at least 15 years of data between 1971 to 2000. "

question Maureen asks:  What changes will there be in the newest normals - that will take us to 2010 - and take into account the climate change that is occurring, including the hottest years on record? Has rainfall been affected along with temperature?

The subtlety of the amazing Bacillis subtilis                  

We gardeners who observe plants, learn about plants and soil, labour in and love our gardens sometimes begin to think we are "on top of things" or understand what is happening in that realm.

And then we run across a study like the one below, and are humbled by the complexity of the life-web that supports our gardens and us.

Researchers led by Prof. Harsh Bais, at the University of Delaware, have published a study of how the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which lives in the soil, makes a connection with plant hormones, which then signal plant leaves, stems, and petals to close stoma when there are harmful pathogens trying to enter.  This stops pathogens from entering the plant and becoming a systemic stressor (possibly killing the plant).

How cool is that, eh?!

Interesting too is that drought conditions can also start the sequence between the soil born bacterium, plant hormones and stoma closure.

The research used a modest little plant, mouse eared cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), which looks like a "weed" of the sort we'd take out of our gardens, but which is probably welcome in a healthy meadow mix of plants for animal fodder.

Of several soil bacteria tested (of the very many that there are!), the researchers determined that only the Bacillis subtilis triggered the beneficial reaction sequence that occurs in the soil plant web. 

Phys.org reports that the study underscores "both the importance of root-based processes in plant defense and the potential for bolstering plant immunity naturally through the emerging field of probiotics."  ("Probiotics" are "live microorganisms that are thought to be beneficial to the host organism."*)

In other words, do all you can to encourage healthy soil so you'll have healthy plants.

In Prof. Bais' words: "... there is increasing commercial interest in inoculating crop seeds with beneficial bacteria to reduce pathogen infection. 'Just as you can boost your immune system, plants also could be supercharged for immunity.'"

I think of the soil web as "wholistic" in the sense of there being many, many parts which are together greater than the sum of the individual parts.  I also have great respect for the abilities and detail-orientation of people in the sciences.  Balancing the "whole" and the detail is an ongoing dance.

Here, a researcher spends time separating out many factors (soil bacteria), finds only one that triggers a reaction (and admits to only knowing 5% overall of what the one does) and then wonders what place this one factor might play in treatment application for crop betterment.

Is it just our human nature to be awed by the small amazing things we can discover, and to hope that the one small thing can be applied to the larger scope difficulties we try so hard to solve?

You might want to read the study summary and have a think on these matters yourself.

Wishing you healthy soil, new discoveries, and happy gardening!

Maureen for Community Gardens London

Researchers show how probiotics boost plant immunity
August 27, 2012 by Tracey Bryant                 Physics News website website
http://phys.org/news/2012-08-probiotics-boost-immunity.html
The article has video and micrograph images of what happens

Adabidopsis thaliana, mouse eared cress - Wikipedia entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabidopsis_thaliana

* Probiotics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic

London's Urban Forest? Check ReForest London site!

Did you know...?

The City of London is asking for Londoners to give their ideas about London's trees?

That there will be free trees given away at Western Fair by ReForest London?

That ReForest London can turn you into a tree guru ... by teaching you the types of trees 'round about?

That you can learn how to plant a tree by volunteering with ReForest London?

 

Check out the Reforest London Website for info about all this, and more!

www.reforestlondon.ca

GrowTO

An Urban Agriculture Plan for the City of Toronto

issued August 2012 through the Toronto Food Policy Council

From a snapshot of urban agriculture in Toronto, through the benefits of urban agriculture and on to six priorities to move urban agriculture forward.

The pdf of the document can be found via the City Farmer site: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2012/08/24/an-urban-agriculture-action-plan-for-toronto/#more-32538

Toronto Food Policy Council website is: http://www.toronto.ca/health/tfpc/

... productive land and rooftops ...food gardens in city parks, ...Churches and community centres, universities and public housing corporations .... gardening available for condo and apartment dwellers ... small businesses ... offering backyard food-growing services ... entrepreneurs ...young farmers are forming co-ops ... in schoolyards ... rooftop farms ...beekeepers

Urban agriculture ... everywhere our imagination takes us.

Incredible Edible Todmorden UK

"We came up with a really simple game plan that we put to a public meeting. We did not consult. We did not write a report" ...       

Incredible Edible Todmorden (UK) is practical community change, based in our common language of FOOD. Pam Warhurst, founder of Incredible Edible Todmorden gave a "TED Talk" back in May and City Farmer's Michael Levenston posted it on August 11 (www.cityfarmer.info).

Pam's TED talk is at: http://www.ted.com/talks/pam_warhurst_how_we_can_eat_our_landscapes.html

The Incredible Edible story is exciting and inspiring, and Warhurst's voice and enthusiasm just shine. The projects are, in her words, "focused around three plates: a community plate, the way we live our everyday lives; a learning plate, what we teach our kids in school and what new skills we share amongst ourselves; and business, what we do with the pound in our pocket and which businesses we choose to support."

Incredible Edible Todmorden is nothing short of an incredible project that began about 5 years ago in Todmorden, UK.  It is getting things growing all around the market town of Todmorden (pop'n 15,000), and its ideas are being taken up by and inspiring people in communities around the UK and in other countries.

I'll track a direct link, but for now, get to the talk via City Farmer. (www.cityfarmer.info) and there's a transcript of the talk!

With thanks again to the City Farmer website (www.cityfarmer.info)

Kitchen Garden inspiration - Urban Leaves of India

Serendipity takes us where we need to go.  From the City Farmer website (www.cityfarmer.info) CGL located the site for Urban Leaves of India (http://www.urbanleavesofindia.blogspot.ca/)

Urban Leaves, established in 2009, is an initiative of the Vidya Vaaridhi* Trust (1994).  

Check along the left side of the blog pages for the topics covered, including a series on how to start your own kitchen garden or rooftop garden!

Please watch the video Reap what you sow, and eat what you growwhich charts the development of the Mumbai Port Trust Kitchen Garden and others begun by Urban Leaves.  The video contains a detailed description of how the volunteers develop living soil organically for the gardens. The comments, values and vision of the people involved with the gardens are in common with those of gardeners everywhere, and underlain with an inner spirit. http://urbanleavesofindia.blogspot.ca/2011/08/tribute-to-kitchen-gardeners-all-over.html

The Vision:
We came from villages to the city and left our roots behind.
We grew fresh roots  by covering cities with urban farms,
A small haven lies right next to us that we can call our very own,
Spreading smiles from Urban Leaves to farthest ends of the globe.

               Uday Acharya, one founder of Urban Leaves

*Vidya Vaaridhi'  literally means 'the ocean of learning'. It is also the name of Ganesha, the Hindu god who represents intelligence, creativity, harmony, and problem solving.

"Better London" is idea for a better London!

The City of London is asking Londoners to participate in making London a better place through its ReThink London activities and website: http://rethinklondon.ca/

Londoner Jesse Helmer cares about London too, and has established a website www.betterlondon.ca to gather small, do-able ideas to inspire us to make London a more liveable city.

Recently highlighted in the London Free Press article Better London a way to pipe up, the website is found at http://www.betterlondon.ca and has received 27 ideas since late 2011.  Mr. Helmer set up the website to focus on ideas to make our city a better place and to connect up people with similar ideas so they can get things happening.  

Better London already has 20 volunteers helping with the website, research and events like Ignite London where you can get up and talk for 5 minutes about your good idea. www.ignitelondon.ca

Great stuff Mr. Helmer!

Saskatoon Food Bank's Garden Patch

"The Garden Patch is so much more than the pounds of produce it grows. Diversity in socio-economic status, ethnic origin and skill levels amongst our volunteers creates a culture of empathy and unity that stretches beyond the garden gates."  Alison Robertson

The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre, and many volunteers, are growing food on a 1.5 acre plot of what was vacant land in Saskatoon.  The City of Saskatoon has recently changed policies so that community organizations may grow food on any vacant municipal land.  Food from The Garden Patch is distributed through the food bank and is also used in school lunch programs.

Thanks to the City Farmer site, for the full article and its links to the Saskatoon Food Bank and other participants: http://www.cityfarmer.info/2012/07/27/food-bank-garden-patch-urban-agriculture-in-the-heart-of-saskatoon-saskatchewan/#more-30975
See their websites:
www.sfbgardenpatch.com
www.saskatoonfoodbank.org
www.facebook.com/saskatoonfoodbank

.

Urban Agriculture Conference in Toronto

Aug 15 – 18 –- The 2012 Urban Agriculture Summit programming draws on local and international expertise and practical experience, in order to engage diverse communities and provide opportunities for cross-fertilization across sectors. Whether you are involved in community-based initiatives, or are in the business of city building, you can learn new tools to advance urban agriculture in your communities. From acclaimed keynote speakers and leading sessions, to professional development training courses and practical workshops; from tours 'in the field' and networking events, the Summit agenda delivers value and opportunity for anyone involved in city-based growing. http://www.urbanagsummit.org/index.php/program

London's Community Garden Program ... future

Just a quick note ... On Thursday, July 26, Maureen Temme and Robyn Harvey had a conversation with senior London staff who are involved with the administration and delivery of London's community gardens program. There are 21 garden locations and 600 plots in the program, most of the plots being on City owned land. They confirmed that, in the fall, the City will invite gardeners in the program and all interested Londoners to begin conversations to strengthen and evaluate the program. The London Community Gardens Program Review, which was endorsed by Council in April 2011, had 14 recommendations for the program. This garden season is a transition year to the new management system. There is a lot to talk about.

Robyn and Maureen recognize that City staff are commited to developing a community gardens program that works for the gardeners and their communities. We all recognize that doing this within the budget constraints will take innovation and participation of everyone who is interested in community gardening and urban agriculture.

We will keep you posted about upcoming meetings and opportunities to put forward your comments and ideas. If you have questions be in touch: communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

For reference:

London's Community Gardens Program Review was accepted unanimously by City Council, Monday, April 4, 2011. The review is attached to the Community and Neighbourhood's Committee report of its Tues. March 29/11 meeting, found at: http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf

ASAP, Community Gardens London will post the responsibilities of the City and of the Coordinating Agency (CA) of London's community gardens program as written in the Request for Proposal by which the CA was hired.

 

Gardening and Garden Tool How-to's on Johnny's Seeds

Gardening and Garden Tool How-to's on Johnny's Seeds

Johnny's Seeds of Albion Maine has a series of about 20 on-line garden instruction videos, featuring such things as sharpening and caring for tools, identifying and treating late blight which affects tomatoes, and using hoops and tools.  Some of these are, in a way, advertisements for tools that Johnny's sells, but please don't let this stop you viewing these brief introductions to functional tools for the home and small-market gardener.  Many of the tools featured were developed by Elliot Coleman, small-market gardener extraordinaire whose books are full of good information and anecdotes.  Johnny's seeds was founded in 1972, and over the last few years its founder, Rob Johnston, has turned over control of the company to its employees, instead of selling out to a bigger company.  Johnny's strives towards organic, has a small is beautiful philosophy, and is GMO free.  Its catalogue is full of useful information and great visuals. 

Johnny's video page:  http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-video.aspx?source=E_JSSAdv0712_videos&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=JSSAdv0712&lm=jony
Johnny's seeds home page:  www.johnnyseeds.com
Elliot Coleman, of Four Season Farm: http://www.fourseasonfarm.com/
   look for his books, e.g. Four Season Harvest (in London Public Library 635.0484 Col)
                                             Winter Harvest Handbook (635.0484 Col) https://encore.londonpubliclibrary.ca

Gleaning Some Good - project of the London Food Bank

Community Harvest London is looking for volunteers to help with its "gleaning" project.  People are needed, sometimes on short notice.  If you have a flexible schedule, please give the Food Bank a call.  If you are a farmer interested in the project, please give a call.  519-659-4045.

Josh Chadwick, administrator of the program, explains that when produce is left in a field after harvest there is often useable food left.  This can be gathered - gleaned - for use: fresh food for users of the London Food Bank.  Fresh food is a nutritious and flavourful boost ... and a practical sign of the care that local farmers have for people.

More information about the program, visit Londonfoodbank.ca, click the volunteer tab and follow the prompts. Otherwise call the food bank at (519) 659-4045. www.londonfoodbank.ca

CGL thanks to The Londoner newspaper for promoting this project. The full article is found at http://www.thelondoner.ca/2012/07/05/gleaning-some-good

A few books that look good!

These are some titles that have crossed the web-keeper's path lately...she hasn't had time to read them, but they look good! 

EcoMind : changing the way we think, to create the world we want.  Frances Moore Lappé.
New York : Nation Books, c2011.   304.28 Lap (London Public Library #)

The edible city : Toronto's food from farm to fork. edited by Christina Palassio and Alana Wilcox.
Toronto : Coach House Books, c2009. 641.309713 Edi 

Food and the city : urban agriculture and the new food revolution. Jennifer Cockrall-King.
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2012. 363.8 Coc  

Your farm in the city : an urban dweller's guide to growing food and raising livestock. Lisa Taylor, and the gardeners of Seattle Tilth. New York : Black Dog & Leventhal, c2011.  630.81732 Tay  

Letter sent to London community garden program gardeners

A note from Maureen, CGL webkeeper: The following letter has been sent to gardeners in London's community gardens program. It is likely the reply/follow-up to the garden rules issues that arose recently. 151 Dundas Street has the City Parks offices.

151 Dundas Street
P.O. Box 5045
London, ON N6A4L6

June15, 201

In 2010, the City of London undertook a review of the community gardens program with a view to positioning the service for the future, to reaffirm the City's commitment to the community gardens program and have a renewed community gardens program and administrative structure in place for the future.

A review of the program was completed in the spring of 2010 and the 14 recommendations from this review were endorsed by City Council in 2011 . The community gardens review identified many trends and forces of change in the environment that reinforced the importance of developing a more complete and comprehensive operational framework to support the development and management of community gardens within the City of London.

Based on this review, the City sought to engage an external agency via an official Request for Proposal process, to coordinate London's Community Gardens Program. The City entered into a funding agreement with the successful proponent, London Community Resource Centre and provides annual funding as outlined in that funding agreement.

The City maintains overall guidance and policy direction for London's Community Gardens Program and while supporting the efforts of gardeners, The City also has responsibilities to balance those needs with the community in which these gardens exist relative to their general appearance, safe use and operating cost of supporting paid by all taxpayers. For the 2012 growing season, London Community Resource Centre and the City of London will not remove any fences, trellises or other garden supports. Fences between plots continue to be discouraged.

The City of London will:
• Continue to support community gardeners with public space services and technical support
• Support the coordinating agency: London Community Resource Centre
• With London Community Resource Centre, monitor and document compliance and non-    compliance to the current rules
• Deal with major concerns or safety issues if and when they emerge on public land at the request of the London Community Resource Centre
• Oversee the development of a long-term strategic plan for London's Community Gardens Program in collaboration with stakeholder groups which includes an evaluation of the current rules, procedures and operational processes, growth and long term sustainability of the program, etc.

Community gardens are extremely important and have the ability to improve well being, and create neighbourhood involvement. There are significant tangible benefits associated with successful community gardens including, increased access to fresh, nutritious, low-cost food.

If you have any further questions about London's Community Gardens Program, please contact London Community Resource Centre at Icrc@lcrc.on.ca or 519-432-1801.

Linda Davies
Executive Director
London Community Resource Centre

Scott Stafford
Division Manager, Parks and Community Sport
City of London.

Positives on garden rules

Wed. June 6, 2012

Hello Thames gardeners and other gardeners,

At about 6:30 this evening I had a conversation with Bill Coxhead, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of London.  He was returning a message I'd left earlier today. 

Here is my take on things. 

It was a good conversation.  Mr. Coxhead is, in his words, "coming up to speed" on the community garden rules and concerns.  He affirmed that Parks and Recreation, and the City, support community gardens and want to find all the ways and means to have them work well.

The important things from the conversation:

1.  He confirmed that Parks and Recreation (or other City staff) will NOT be moving into any community gardens to remove fences or trellises, or other garden supports.  This confirmed his comments reported in today's London Free Press. (note that the reporter got his Mr. Coxhead's name wrong.and referred to him as Bill Wilcox.) 

2.  He has asked his staff about the garden rules.  New garden rules were put together by the Coordinating Agency and some Parks and Recreation Staff.

3.  He has asked his Parks and Recreation Staff to write a letter that will be distributed to the gardeners in the City's community gardening program - by whatever means it takes to get the word out - that fences and such are not under threat, that the garden rules are guidelines, and that gardener communication with his department is wanted.  It think he's trying to have this done by early next week.  

4.  He emphasized that there are new arrangements starting this year between the City and the Coordinating Agency and the gardeners ... that things are evolving. 

5.   He seemed to be saying that as all the people and departments involved in community gardens get talking with each other, problems and perceived problems can be resolved.  (It sounded like a review of garden rules will come in the fall, and include gardeners.)

6.  I said to him that I would do my best to start to get the gist of our conversation to gardeners at Thames and beyond.

Mr. Coxhead and his staff are open to talking in person with gardeners from Thames or other gardens who have questions. 

Two newspaper items covered the Thames community garden event yesterday.

I hope this information is useful.  I will post this note on the Community Gardens London website.

Best regards,

Maureen

Community Gardens London
communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

Two newspapers covered the Thames community gardens, in today's papers.

 Gardeners On Guard   - Metro News, by Angela Mullins, http://metronews.ca/news/london/250904/gardeners-on-guard-in-london/

Gardeners dig in for battle - By Patrick Callan The London Free Press, Wednesday, June 6/12         photo and video by Derrick Ruttan 
http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/05/19841376.html

The London Free Press article carried more important information.  Despite getting wrong the name of the Director of Parks and Recreation, who is Bill Coxhead ... here's an excerpt:

    Bill Wilcox [should be Coxhead], director of parks and recreation, said the city is working to provide clarity and there won’t be any garden police ripping down fences.
    “We don’t have any problems with tomato stakes and bean poles. What we’re concerned about was the delineation of the garden plots with fences.”
    {He} said gardeners can use structures within their plots to help growth but can’t put fencing around the perimeter of their individual plots. For the rest of the summer, the city is asking people not to put up fences around their plots because it violates their contract with the city.
 "We will look at fences as part of our discussion in the fall and consider what is permissible and what isn’t.”

Precipitation update to June 14 2012

We have definitely not gotten the average rainfall we expect for the year, for the spring planting season.

February - we had 36.16% of expected average rainfall
March           58.55% of expected average rainfall
April              36.75%of expected average rainfall
May - we had 25% of expected average rainfall

June 1-14 - 62.5% of rainfall expected for the month, however, the bulk of this was June 1.

February through May has us at less than 50% of normal, overall.

This chart will be updated at intervals. If you would like the a table sent to you that has monthy 2011 and 2012 precipitation amounts side by side with averages for the 1970 - 2000 period, please email communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

The figures were calculated by M. Temme, one of the principles of CGL. from data from Environment Canada's weather archive pages. [http://climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climate_normals/index_e.html ]

Community Gardeners Meeting Sunday June 10

Sunday, June 10, 4:00 p.m. beside Thames Park community garden which is west off Ridout Street just south of the Thames River

Community gardeners and others interested in talking about short and long term of community gardening in London are welcome to attend.

It will also be a pot luck - might as well have some good food while talking about gardening! Please bring your own dishes and utentils.

An agenda is not set ... but there is a need to talk about communication between gardeners and the City and Coordinating Agency, about rules, about how to make community gardens a real part of their communities, and all sorts of other things that were touched on in the London Community Gardens Program Review.

Help start the conversation and action.

Until another communications point is established, Community Gardens London will field questions and pass them on to someone to answer: communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

or get in touch through CGL's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Gardens-London/220527951338866

Grant to make your community greener

Thanks to Valerie Clark, OMAFRA, for letting us know about this!

GRANT TO MAKE YOUR COMMUNITY GREENER
Through the CN EcoConnexions Grant up to $25 000 in funding is available to make communities greener.  With this initiative your ‘community’ may be eligible to receive grant money that may be used for:
·      Urban forests: planting, protecting and maintaining trees in your community
·      Traffic calming and safety: Vegetation creates natural noise, visual and movement barriers in parks and public lands along tracks to discourage access to rights-of-way and yards and promote rail safety
·      School greening: Encouraging children to play outdoors within natural treed areas promotes healthy active living, an appreciation for nature and a better environmental footprint for the school in the community.
·      Transforming spaces: Brownfield conversion initiatives that promote recreation and healthy lifestyles for youth and families by changing abandoned and ugly areas into vibrant and active ones. This can involve soil replacement, sod installation, raised bed construction and plant, shrub and tree planting.
·      Naturalized areas, park creation or restoration: Sod, raised beds, planters and other natural structures. Areas lacking imagination can be dramatically improved through proper placement of structures to allow the planting of more natural areas.
For more information, visit: http://www.tcf-fca.ca/cnfromthegroundup/ .

Thames Gardeners Take a Stand

On Tuesday, June 5, gardeners at Thames community gardens spent the day at the garden, not knowing if City staff would be coming to remove fences from around individual garden plot.

Definite information had not been received either verbally in writing as to whether fences would be removed on Tuesday or Friday, from the The Coordinating Agency which is contracted by the City to manage the gardens. Reporters from both Metro News and the London Free Press came down and spent time speaking with gardeners; many park visitors joined in conversations which went from discussion about garden rules to enjoyment of gardening very easily.

Both the London Free Press and Metro June 6 editions have coverage.

The LFPress reports that the Director of Parks and Recreation says that no City staff will be removing fences from community gardens ... altho' the topic will be on the agenda for discussion in the fall.

It is hoped that gardeners, the Coordinating Agency, and City departments will begin conversations face-to-face very soon to clarify how the new rules came about, and how other problems can be averted.

This situation - which caused stress and took time for Thames' gardeners and others to deal with - should be a call for everyone to take the opportunity to talk with each other and begin acting upon the positive community effort that should be community gardening.

Gardeners dig in for battle
http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/05/19841376.html

Gardeners On Guard
http://metronews.ca/news/london/250904/gardeners-on-guard-in-london/

Survey about London trees

As part of London's Urban Forest Strategy, a survey is being taken of London residents' attitude towards trees in the Forest City.

It takes about 10 minutes. Follow the link below and lend your voice to the proceedings. 
http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Trees_Lawns_and_Gardens/forestry.htm

Clarification needed for much in London's community gardens program

Note: this is also posted on the Facebook page of Community Gardens London

Sunday, June 3/12

Hi, My name is Maureen Temme.  I'm one of the people who has been involved in the loosely knit team called Community Gardens London.  The name started in summer of 2009 when a couple of us went in to speak with Ross Fair and Cheryl Smith to advocate for community gardens and for a review of London's community gardens program oversight.  I maintain the CGL website, www.communitygardenslondon.ca    Robyn Harvey set up the Facebook page.

It's a strange set of circumstances that sees this garden rules issue at Thames coming up just as I was going to make an appointment to go see Ross Fair about garden rules and many aspects of the London Community Gardens Program Review that need to be clarified.  Ross Fair's position has just been eliminated by the City. He was a real ally in Community Services, and, as executive director, an important one.  I expect there will be further comments on his departure, from many fronts.

Up until now, neither the "Civic Administration" nor the Coordinating Agency have begun discussions with gardeners or community stakeholders (people/organizations interested in community gardens).

I really hope that today's meeting will be the start of gardeners getting together with the Coordinating Agency and the Civic Administration.  There need  to discussions of how gardens are managed, discussions and clarifications about the 14 recommendations of the LCGPReview and of the the follow-up Request for Proposal 11-42 , which is supposed to govern how the Coordinating Agency supports the community gardens.

People come to an issue when the lead line is something like "the City is going to destroy something-or-other".  For the long haul, however, there must be people who read the paperwork carefully (which is time consuming and usually boring) and then work through problems and positives in detail, with all parties.  It is my hope this will happen. Particularly, that we avoid accusing "the City" of something that City staff may not know much about at all.

In my experience, there are good people at City Hall who understand broad issues of community gardens and their important role in communities.  Bring them in.  Help them to use the good knowledge and intentions they have.

There are positives to work from.  The LCGPR states clearly the benefits of community gardens generally, states that there needs to be better communication between all parties involved in London's community gardens program, states that gardeners in the London program should be involved in the management of their gardens for both community development and financial sustainability of the gardens. 

Just what is meant by "London's community gardens program" needs to be defined.  At this time, it seems to be the 21 gardens, referred to as "supported" gardens in the Request for Proposal 11-42 for a Coordinating Agency for the gardens. 

Clarification is needed to have the Civic Administration / City state clearly that London's Community Gardens Program (of supported gardens) does not have jurisdiction over gardens started independently at, for example, a seniors' centre or private apartment complex, and so such gardens do not have to follow any procedures set out by the City. 

Clarification is needed about what the LCGPR and the RFP 11-42 refer to as Friends of the Community Gardens. -- It is supposed to be a volunteer arm of London's Community Gardens program, helping with garden tasks and with fundraising matters to make the London community gardens program run without additional City funds.  Please note that this volunteer arm - Friends - is NOT THE SAME AS WHAT IS REFERRED TO IN THE LCGPR AS COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS.  The community stakeholders are all the individuals and groups in the City who were deemed important in the LCGPR because of their care and concern for community gardens generally, such gardens in the City program, and also extending to broader aspects of urban agriculture and food security and planning and all sorts of other things.  The LCGPR said that the Civic Administration would bring together the stakeholders.  This hasn't happened. 

And this is where, perhaps - beginning with questioning garden rules -  people will be found who will begin work on many issues.

The London Community Resource Centre, as Coordinating Agency of the London community gardens program, is supposed to communicate with the gardeners.  It should be required to say clearly where the 2012 rules came from.  It should be telling gardeners that there was a LCGPReview.  This was not done by either the LCRC or the City when the report was endorsed by Council in April 2011; and was not done at any other time. This garden season the Coordinating Agency - LCRC - did not put in any communication to gardeners that its relationship to the City has changed and that it has been hired to begin to fulfill recommendations of the Review.

Clarification is needed of roles for the Coordinating Agency, and the (at least three) departments of the City involved in the London community gardens program.  It was always the intent that gardeners in the program be involved too. 

Right off the top, the change in rules underscores the need for communication. 

The Community Gardens London website has links to documents. www.communitygardenslondon.ca
email is communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

This post got long fast.  Thanks to any of you who read through it.

Maureen
 

Clothianidin Pesticide found in our local honeybees

webkeeper's note: Colony Collapse disorder of honeybees is worldwide. Here's another item linking it to a nervous system disruptive pesticide, Clothianidin.

Pesticide found in bees
By John Miner, The London Free Press, Monday, May 28, 2012
http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/05/28/19806686.html#/news/london/2012/05/28/pf-19806686.html

The ongoing investigation into honeybee deaths that struck hives across Southwestern Ontario this spring has turned up a pesticide used to protect corn and soybean seed. 

Thousands of dead bees were found in piles outside hives in early May, triggering an investigation by Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ontario Environment Ministry.
An Ontario Agricultural Ministry spokesperson said 37 samples of bees from various sites tested by Health Canada found residues of the insecticide clothianidin in 28 samples.

Clothianidin was been banned in Germany after widespread honeybee deaths and there is a campaign by U.S. beekeepers and environmental groups to have it banned there.

While clothianidin has been found in 28 samples, the spokesperson wrote in an e-mail that given the large number of potential factors involved, Health Canada has not drawn conclusions at this stage. Screening for additional pesticides is still to be done and other factors relating to overall bee health are being examined, she wrote.

E-mail john.miner@sunmedia.ca

Do you see any problems with London's Community Gardens Program rules and regulations 2012?

Community Gardens London would like to hear from gardeners in London's community gardens program, (the one coordinated by the London Community Resource Centre) and anyone else. If you think any of these items could be "improved" get in touch. We will compile comments and send them to the City. communitygardenslondon@execulink.

The following are the rules people have had to sign on to to get a space in one of London's community gardens this year.

Gardeners must abide by all City by-laws, as well as these Rules and Regulations.

1. HOURS OF OPERATION: The Garden is officially open from May start date to November 30, 2012 (weather dependent). Garden hours are from dawn to dusk. The garden must be under cultivation during this entire period.

2. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

3. PLOT MAINTENANCE: Garden must be maintained in a safe, clean and sanitary condition to the satisfaction of the Coordinating Agency.

4. PLOT ASSIGNMENT: Plot assignment is determined by the Coordinating Agency.

5. HOLIDAYS/BEING ABSENT: If a Gardener is going to be away for more than two weeks, he/she must make arrangements to have an alternative Gardener tend to the plot or notify the Coordinating Agency so that other arrangements can be made.

6. REASSIGNMENT OF PLOTS: If a plot is not used or if it is unattended for more than two weeks it will be reassigned to the next Gardener on the waiting list by the Coordinating Agency, who will be responsible for maintaining the plot until it has been reassigned.

7. OVERALL MAINTENANCE: All Gardeners must maintain the pathways adjacent to their plot(s), keeping them free of weeds and garbage. This includes normal watering, weeding and general care of the assigned plot. If you have a maintenance concern, please contact the Coordinating Agency. No tools or personal property shall be left unattended in the garden area. Tools and personal property must not be left out overnight.

8. END OF SEASON CLEAN UP: All gardeners are required to clear their plots at the end of the season, no later than November 30, 2012 (weather dependent). The Community Gardens must be “put to bed” which means there is no above ground material left behind.

9. GARBAGE: All Gardeners must make sure to dispose of all litter into Garbage bins provided at the Garden. Garden waste is to be left for roadside pickup at each Garden based on the pickup schedule for each Garden as identified in the City’s Waste Reduction and Conservation Calendar

10. FENCING AND OTHER STRUCTURES: Installing any type of fencing, boards or other materials in or around your individual plot is prohibited.

11. INSECTICIDES AND HERBICIDES: Strictly prohibited! Only compost and composted manures may be used for soil conditioning and fertilization.

12. WATER: Water supply is limited so use sparingly.

13. MUSIC/RADIOS: Loud music is strictly prohibited. Please use headphones and be conscious of other gardeners and neighbours.

14. PETS: Pets must be kept on a leash by your own plot. Pet owners are required to remove pet droppings. The City may prohibit any pets from the Garden, in its sole discretion.DO NOT compost pet droppings, as this is a health hazard for humans.

15. NO SMOKING IN THE GARDEN.

16. PROHIBITED PLANTS: Illegal plants, trees, woody plants or perennials are not allowed in individual plots. Vegetables, grains, berries, fruits, beans, herbs, and flowers are allowed on individual and communal plots.

17. PLANTS NOT FOR SALE: Produce or flowers from the garden cannot be sold but may be traded or exchanged with other Gardeners.

18. VANDALISM: Report as soon as possible to the Coordinating Agency so that it can be repaired quickly.

19. In the event of non-compliance with the above rules, the Coordinating Agency will issue a verbal or written notice to the member. If at the end of a two-week period the problem has not been resolved, the plot will be reassigned, and membership revoked.

20. City of London staff conduct regular inspection of garden areas; if any contravention of Rules is found, the Coordinating Agency will be notified and it may result in cancellation of garden privileges.

21. These Rules may be amended from time to time by the City.

London’s Community Gardens Program Coordinating Agency is responsible for the following:
1. City of London contact for any site issues (e.g. tools left on site, site upkeep etc.). Duties include but are not limited to: coordinating overall site upkeep, fall cleanup, compost maintenance and collecting all garden plot fees when then forwards these fees annually to the City.
2. Orienting new gardeners on operating procedures, horticultural information, coordinating trash removal, composting activities and cleanup days, answering questions and settling disputes.
3. Maintaining a current list of gardeners for communication purposes.
4. Arranging to repair any vandalism as quickly as possible.
5. In the event of non-compliance with the Garden’s Responsibilities, a written notice will be issued to the gardener. If, at the end of a two-week period, the problem has not been resolved, the plot may be reassigned and the gardener’s gardening privileges revoked.
6. Informing the City if the above responsibilities cannot be fulfilled.

Coordinating Agency Contact Information: London Community Resource Centre (www.lcrc.on.ca)
Contact Person: Linda Davies Phone #:519-432-1801 Email: lcrc@lcrc.on.ca

We need rain!

The figures below were calculated by M. Temme, one of the principles of CGL. from data from Environment Canada's weather archive pages. [http://climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climate_normals/index_e.html ]

We have definitely not gotten the average rainfall we expect for the year, for the spring planting season.

February - we had 36.16% of expected average rainfall
March           58.55% of expected average rainfall
April              36.75%of expected average rainfall
May (so far) we are at only 27.75% of expected rainfall

The chart will be updated at intervals. If you would like the a table sent to you that has monthy 2011 and 2012 precipitation amounts side by side with averages for the 1970 - 2000 period, please email communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

gLean on Me!

gLean on Me! connects London's fruit tree owners who can’t keep up with the abundant harvest produced by their tree(s) with volunteer fruit pickers and social service organizations that serve individuals and families experiencing food insecurity.

gLean on Me! is just starting up in London.  It needs people to harvest.  It needs people who have trees that need harvesting.  It needs people to help publicize the project and nurture it along.  Other cities like Edmonton and Guelph have similar projects.

Use the Facebook page to connect.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Glean-on-Me/405277856160633

 

Black out - Speak out for the environment and democracy on June 4

"Canada would be a different place without our 80,000 registered charities dedicated to everything from health to economic policy to the environment. We'd be much poorer without the two-million employees and millions of volunteers who devote their time to causes that strengthen our nation.

Recent efforts by the federal government and its backers in media and industry front groups like Ethical Oil to demonize and silence legitimate organizations ignore the important role charities play in Canada. That's why environmental and other organizations are joining with Canadians from all walks of life for Black Out Speak Out (blackoutspeakout.ca ), launched on May 7 with ads in the Globe and Mail, La Presse, and Ottawa's Hill Times and culminating in a website blackout June 4.

Canadians understand the value of charitable organizations. Close to 85 per cent of us over 15 years of age (22.2 million people) donate to charities every year. Often, it's to help people in other parts of the world. According to Charity Village, Canadians gave $20 million to the Canadian Red Cross, CARE Canada, Oxfam Canada, UNICEF Canada, and World Vision within four days of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. For supporting worthy causes, Canadians are entitled to a small tax break.

Canadians also know that our spectacular natural environment is crucial to our national identity, health, and survival, and that we can't always count on governments and industry to look out for its interests. ...   If we are committed to these ideals then it follows we should also value freedom of speech and opportunities for a range of viewpoints on matters of national interest. It's fair to place limits on the extent and types of work organizations with charitable status can do. It's fair to ask questions about donations and what, if any, influence they may have on activities. But it is unacceptable to try to silence people with smear tactics designed to discredit them and deny their funding.

... We're asking all Canadians to join us to help preserve two core national values: nature and democracy. Let's keep Canada strong and free. Please visit the websites of your favourite environmental organizations on June 4 to add your voice."

The above is a selection from an email from the David Suzuki Foundation(www.davidsuzuki.org), By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Editorial and Communications Specialist Ian Hanington. References specific to the DSF have been removed, so that the message of supporting Canada's environment and environment advocates is an overall support.

Supporting Local Farmers through Community Supported Agriculture program

“When you buy a share of what the farmer has, you’ve basically got access to everything the farmer grows.”

So says Julie Richards-Bramhill, member and very active supporter of the Triple Cord Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  Richards-Bramhill's garage in London is used as the farmer's drop-off point for the weekly produce, and members come to her place to pick up their shares.

Mervin Miller, an Amish farmer near Aylmer, is the farmer for Triple Cord CSA, now in its fourth year. 

A "Community Supported Agriculture" program allows a person to buy a share of a farm's produce at the beginning of a season.  A CSA pays the farmer for her/his produce, cuts out the middlemen involved in food transport and sales, gives a wide selection of food in weekly food baskets, and saves the eater money over the season.  The food you buy is as fresh as it can be, and you the consumer can choose organic.

Triple Cord CSA has 90 member families; there are still some shares.  This year’s deadline for Triple Cord CSA is May 17, with the first deliveries taking place the following week. Information is at  triplecordcsaorganicproduce.wordpress.com.

Richards-Bramhill also has a blog, titled Lady Locavore, which is well worth taking a look at.  Recently, for instance, she highlighted collards, an easy to grow and tasty cabbage related vegetable.  This writer happens to be growing collards for the first time this year, so a big thank you for the article and recipies Julie!

CGL thanks Debora Van Brenk and the London Free Press for highlighting Julie Richards-Bramhill's efforts to promote local eating.
More effort is needed to connect urbanites to the bountiful harvest at our doorstep. D. Van Brenk, London Free Press, May 8, 2012.  http://www.lfpress.com/news/whoslondon/2012/05/07/19729411.html

By Growing Food, the Occupy Movement Grows Up

“We don’t need corporations and we don’t need gene research to tell us how to farm. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years. We just have to remind each other how to do it.”
                        Gopal Dayaneni, urban agriculture activist, Albany CA

On Earth Day, April 22/12, hundreds of urban agriculture advocates marched under the banner “Occupy the Farm” and took over a University of California (UC) agricultural testing station.  The 5 acre site is the last of 104 acres,  originally deeded to the University in the 1920s.  It is the last agriculturally zoned land in Albany, California, and has been been used for agriculture research for over 30 years.  For at least 15 years it has been the subject of the "What to do withs."  In 1997 a representation by 40 groups had submitted a detailed proposal for an urban farm, and since there have been other such proposals.  Currently, the UC has been entertaining a proposal to build over the site.  The Occupy group planted one acre of crops on the land, while UC officials turned off water to the site (figuring this would deter the watering in phase of planting).  The next day, half an inch of rain fell, during a late-season storm. Mother Gaia wins again!                           

Read the full article, which talks more about the Occupy movement and has several useful links:  http://climate-connections.org/2012/05/02/by-growing-food-occupy-the-farm-helps-a-movement-grow-up/

.

Emerald Ash Borer - London situation

At the London City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 it was decided to not follow the recommendation from the Planning and Environment Committee to have a moratorium on ash cutting, while further information about TreeAzin program was being done. Cutting will resume. However, a three week ahead notice will be given to people and neighbourhoods where cutting is taking place.

The London Free Press Coverage of this Council decision is found at: http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/05/02/19708936.html

Recommendations from the April 16/12 Planning & Environment meeting: a)         a moratorium BE PLACED on the cutting of ash trees, unless they pose a safety hazard, until such time as the Civic Administration reports back on the communications dated April 9, March 27 and April 16, 2012, from the Westmount Rate Payers Association; it being noted that the Civic Administration met with the Westmount Rate Payers Association on March 14, 2012 to discuss and respond to the issues and those comments will be included in the Civic Administration’s response back; and,

b)            a special meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee BE HELD on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, to receive a legal opinion on the proposed moratorium on tree cutting;

Emerald Ash Borer and Neem-based pesticide TreeAzin

WE THANK THE TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDENS for this item from its May 2/12 newsletter! TBG adapted it from LEAF organization. Websites are below the main text.

How to Save Your Ash                   April 30, 2012
(Adapted from Melissa Williams’ blog post on the April 16 edition of the LEAF (http://www.yourleaf.org/) e-newsletter—and no, this is not an ad nor are we being paid for it. It’s good information.)

By now, most of you will have heard of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), which is infesting ash trees throughout metro Toronto, Scarborough and York Region. Unlike the scourges that affected elm trees and chestnuts, the good news is that there is an effective alternative to removal—a systemic insecticide called TreeAzin ™ which may also save you money in the long term.

There are approximately 860,000 ash trees in the City of Toronto and an estimated 2,800,000 growing in York Region. All are at risk of infestation and, if left untreated, most will succumb to this pest. This will create huge gaps in our urban forest canopy, a vital resource that cleans the air and conserves energy by shading our homes.

It is also important to remember that the larger a tree grows the more benefits it provides. It will take up to 30 years for a newly planted tree to fully take the place of a mature ash—and the cost of removing a mature tree is high.

If applied in a timely fashion, TreeAzin ™ Systemic Insecticide may be able to save your ash. This Canadian product was developed by Bioforest Technologies Inc. through the Canadian Forest Service, and is produced from an extract of Neem tree seeds—it is not Neem oil, however. It is the only effective pesticide available to control EAB in Canada, and works by being injected under the bark, where it is drawn upward with the flow of water and nutrients inside the tree. It will kill EAB larvae that feed on conductive tissues within the tree, and will also reduce the adult female’s fertility and egg viability when it feeds on the leaves of the tree. Injections are carried out in early summer, and treatment needs to be repeated every two years to remain effective (as long as the EAB is in the area).

According to the manufacturer’s website, in the year of treatment, 95 per cent of EAB larvae are killed, significantly fewer eggs are laid, and of those that are laid, 98 per cent are not viable. In the following year, larvae hatching from the few viable eggs that are laid will not complete development, and the length and number of galleries that larvae have created from feeding underneath the bark of the tree will be fewer and shorter in length, compared to those in ash trees left untreated.

Because the insecticide is injected under the tree’s bark, the treatment does not present a health risk to those carrying out the injections or to the surrounding environment. Studies show that TreeAzin ™ has low toxicity to mammals, birds, bees and other non-target species and low-to-moderate persistence in waters, soils and foliage. It is registered as a Class Four pesticide, which means it is the “least hazardous that is commercial.”

However, you need to act before the crown of the tree shows 30 per cent damage. LEAF recommends that you get quotes from at least three different registered service providers before choosing which company to hire. The cost of the treatment will depend on facts such as the size, health and location of the ash tree, but may be more affordable—even over a number of years– than the costs of removal, disposal and replacement of a diseased ash tree—not to mention the time it takes for one to grow to maturity. Additionally, this cost will be spread out over years, as opposed to one lump sum for removal.
For more information about the Emerald Ash Borer, TreeAzin ™ and licensed service providers in your area, visit the Bioforest Technologies Inc. (http://www.bioforest.ca/) website

- end of article - resources follow -

Toronto Botanical Garden has lots of great things going on, year round and the website has lots of interesting articles! http://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/

Davey Tree - London
Zone(s): 1
Servicing: London
Phone: (519) 660-6271
Email: Tim.Holley@davey.com
Web: davey.com

Davey Tree (London) is the only London tree service using Neem-based TreeAzin pesticide.  It sounds like TreeAzin is a licenced pesticide... and seems to be licenced through BioForest Technologies Inc. in Ontario and Quebec.  BioForest Technologies Inc.  www.bioforest.ca

LEAF - Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests  http://www.yourleaf.org
Mission: We envision a city that is healthier because every citizen cares for the urban forest.
As an organization that champions the urban forest our mission is to... (1) Raise public awareness;
(2) Foster a sense of ownership; (3) Engage diverse communities; (4) Provide educational tools and resources; (5) Facilitate urban forest stewardship.
Contact information
Phone: 416-413-9244       email: infor@yourleaf.org
Artscape Wychwood Barns
601 Christie St, Suite 253
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M6G 4C7

Attracting Bees as Pollinators and building nesting sites

The latest newsletter of Seeds of Diversity Canada has a useful article with links to articles about different types of bees and several "how to" encourage them and build nest sites projects. The different articles outline the various types of bees and their nesting requirements and place in the natural web. http://www.seeds.ca/int/doc/docpub.php?k=8b7776006b6924027499a34fa695ec2e00000540
Our gardens benefit from having many different beneficial and pollinating insects around. If we provide plants that bloom at different times through the year, some habitat, and some food sources for their babies we'll keep the insects coming back and the gardens growing.

Seeds of Diversity Canada "supports the work of seed saving and food biodiversity protection across Canada. Volunteers are involved with Seedy Saturdays and other events, seed growing and saving, article writing and translation, and a wide range of other project and event administration activities." Check out its website at www.seeds.ca

London Co-op Store - 42 years strong

For 42 years, The London Food Co-op has lived by the words "Food for People, not for profit."

The London Co-op Store is a non-profit, member-owned, co-operatively governed natural food store which supplies its members with natural, healthy and organic products, at fair prices. As one of the oldest Food Co-operatives in Ontario, some long-time members have lived their interest in healthy, local food before most of us ever thought of it! Members may use their talents to the betterment of the Co-op by volunteering time working in the store; this work can take the place of weekley membership fees. A member may contribute to the direction of the Co-op by committee work too.

Orientation sessions are held regularly, every second Saturday, so you can take a tour of the store and be briefed on the mutual responsibilities and enjoyment that comes from membership. For more hours of operation and other information check out the website at: http://londonfoodcoop.org/ or get in touch at generalinfo@londonfoodcoop.org

The 621 Princess Ave
London ON N5W 3L9
519-679-0570

London Bicycle Festival - call for video/film-makers!

May 25 through June 10, 2012

Calling all videographers who always wanted to prepare a film about bicycles and their impact on our culture and environment.  Videos should be taken locally and be no more than 5 minutes in length. Winners to be aired on a Rogers TV Special. The Grand Prize is a mentoring session with an experienced Rogers producer.

follow the London Bicycle Festival blog at http://londonbicyclefestival.tumblr.com/

Like London Bicycle Festival on FB at https://www.facebook.com/groups/149187751818050/

Growing Chefs Ontario Growing!

Growing Chefs Ontario program expanding

Growing Chefs Ontario is a not-for-profit organization that gets local chefs volunteering in elementary classrooms, growing vegetables and cooking.  Its mission is to have chefs and food growers "engage in the community and to support food sustainability" and to encourage children's involvement in urban agriculture.

Andrew Fleet brought the project to London in 2008 from B.C., and this season the project is expanding to 20 schools. 

During the six to eight week program, volunteers visit a classroom four times.  The children sow and grow an in-class windowsill vegetable garden, all the while learning about healthy eating and tasting fresh vegetables.  On the last visit the children's own grown food is cooked for them by the chef volunteer.  A wonderful way to learn about growing and good eating!

Community Gardens London thanks The Londoner community newspaper for bringing Growing Chefs Ontario to our attention through its recent article about GCO's recent fund-raiser at The Springs restaurant. Springs' chef Andrew Wolwowicz is even one of GCO's able volunteers.  http://www.thelondoner.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3523580

Like any not-for-profit, GCL appreciates your interest, your volunteer time, and your donation to continue its programs.  Growing Chefs Ontario' website is found at http://www.growingchefsontario.ca/

Food Forward - PBS series

Don't miss Food Forward’s premiere episode, “Urban Agriculture Across America,”which is airing on PBS in April

The broadcast schedule and TRAILER!     http://www.foodforward.tv/

“We’ve all heard what’s wrong with the way we eat. Our program goes beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions from Americans striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to how and what we eat,” said Greg Roden, director of Food Forward.

"Shot entirely on location...Food Forward features food rebel John Mooney, whose space-age hydroponic farm on top of a historic building in the West Village of Manhattan, is a window into the future of rooftop farming. In Milwaukee, viewers meet the biggest name in urban agriculture, Will Allen, who is inspiring a new generation of aquaponic innovators.... After a stop in West Oakland, Food Forward finishes in Detroit with Travis Roberts, an eighteen-year-old who grew up watching the city struggle with increasing urban blight. In trouble and more than 100 pounds overweight, Roberts discovers the city’s urban agriculture movement and finds a new purpose in life through urban chicken farming. Food Forward opens the door into a new world of possibility, where pioneers and visionaries are creating viable alternatives to our food system."

"Food Forward is written, produced and directed by a veteran team, ... that includes director Greg Roden (PBS, FOX, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, contributor to the LA Times, Dallas Morning News, SF Chronicle), creator-producers Stett Holbrook (Food Editor for Metro Silicon Valley and contributor to the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Saveur, and Chow.com) and Brian Greene (Food Network, Discovery Channel, NBC) and director of photography David Lindstrom (PBS, National Geographic, Discovery)."

Food Forward website with TRAILER!     http://www.foodforward.tv/
PBS Newsroom: http://pressroom.pbs.org/Programs/f/FOOD-FORWARD

Thanks to Mike Levenson of City Farmer, for his site's reference to this!!  www.cityfarmer.info

A bit more on Hillside Church of London's community garden

Londoners have a news source that we need to be reminded of: The Reporter, an on-line publication by students of Western's graduate journalism program. 

Recently, student journalist Arden Dier was in touch with Margaret Goodyear, initiator of the community garden at Hillside Church of London.  To find out more about the vision that is changing asphalt to green, the start-up grant, and the excitement about this upcoming garden, read Ms Dier's excellent article at: http://www.fims.uwo.ca/olr/Mar2712/Gardening.html

Ms. Dier also interviewed Maureen Temme, of Community Gardens London, for this article.

Thank you Arden for you for the positive mention and for your interest in community gardening!

.

Composting Stories wanted

Community Gardens London would like to hear your positive composting stories and would love to have a few photos. Do you go big? Do you go hot? How does your garden grow and your compost live? With your permission, we'll post on this news site ... and your information could be helpful as we develop ideas to take to the City.

communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

The London Community Resource Centre has a new home!

LCRC has moved to 255 Horton Street, 3rd Floor.  This is the new Goodwill Building near the corner of Horton and Wellington, and it looks like a great location.

LCRC has been awarded the contract by the City of London to be the Coordinating Agency for London's community gardens program.  If you have inquiries about a City community garden plot, get in touch with LCRC, Linda Davies executive director at ph. 519-432-1801, extension 223.  The website remains:  www.lcrc.on.ca
e-mail:  lcrc@lcrc.on.ca
Don't forget the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/London-Community-Resource-Centre/112997211711.

Farm Apprenticeships!

Canadian Organic Growers (www.cog.ca) promotes Canadian organics and has a terrific site. It has an e-news section you can sign up for - for free.

The latest news reminds people that this is the time of year to look into farm apprenticeships!  Check these organizations for yourself and see if any programme fits with your interests! 

CRAFT - Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farm Training in Ontario - offers on-farm apprenticeships in Ontario. Within regions, education workshops or field days are then offered to all CRAFT interns.   http://www.craftontario.ca/

Manitoba Farm Mentorship Program offers on-farm training
and support. Everyone is welcome to participate. http://organicfoodcouncil.org/mentorship/become-an-intern.html

SOIL - Stewards of Irreplaceable Land - Canada's national sustainable agriculture program helps match farms and apprentices for an on-farm experience. SOIL has regional partners in Alberta and Atlantic Canada, for additional regional support.       http://soilapprenticeships.org/

WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms - offers people opportunities to stay on farms with room and board in exchange for work contribution. Often people use this as a way to travel in foreign countries, or experience farmwife without full season commitment.    
Link to Canada site:           http://www.wwoof.ca/lbv?destination=

Garden Art Inspirations!


Garden inspired art by Liz Harris Martyn, Neala Kerridwen, and Ray Clancy. Designs and whimsey!

Through March 31
Cornerstone Room, Crouch Library, 550 Hamilton Road, London

Crouch Library: 519-673-0111 http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/locations/crouch#page=page-1

London Food Charter

During the last two years members of various community organizations have been meeting to develop a Food Charter for the city of London. There was a Food Charter endorsed by Council in April of 2011.

The Vision of the Food Charter states: London is a food secure community.

The Charter goes on to say:

The City of London and its people are committed to creating a food secure community where there is:
1.  A just and sustainable food system that contributes to the economic, ecological, and social well-being of our city and rgion which balances local production and fair international agricultural trade;
2. Sufficient personal income and resources to ensoure safe, nutritious foods in adequate amounts for everyone everyday;
3.  Ready access to quality grocery stores, farmers' markets and other food sources which provide safe, nutritious and culturally-appropriate foods;
4.  Opportunity for residents to become food literate; and,
5.  Opportunity for residents to grow and sell food within the City

What involvement do you or does your group have that works toward these ideas? Let us know at Community Gardens London and we'll put your event in the news, or get in touch with Trevor Fowler, program manager, Ending Poverty Implementation Team tfowler@london.ca

A pdf of the Food Charter can be reached through London website page: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Child_Youth_Network/Food_Charter/default.htm

Community Gardening Toolkit

Community Gardening Toolkit -a resource for planning, enhancing and sustaining your community garden project.  This is a succinct 24 page guide to setting up community gardens, with neat cartoons!
University of Missouri Extension Services: http://extension.missouri.edu/p/MP906.

Proposed composting regulations left off from amendments

The councillors present* at the Public Safety Committee meeting, and the Mayor, were unanimous in deleting the two sections to do with composting that were suggested as additions to the Clearing of Land Bylaw PW-9.  Meaning, the regulations about composting and container size are not going to be added to the bylaw.

There were important and useful comments made by all the Committee members, and important and useful comments made by the head of Bylaw Enforcement, Orest Katolyk.  I think everyone there recognizes that there are opportunities for education about composting, and opportunities for many groups and projects to work together on ways to raise awareness about composting ... all in relationship to gardens and urban agriculture. 

London Community Resource Centre selected as Coordinating Agency for London's Community Gardens for 2012

London Community Resource Centre (www.lcrc.ca) has been selected as the Coordinating Agency for London's community gardens program. Congratulations to Linda Davies, executive director. The LCRC will be expected to work toward fulfillment of the Recommendations of the London Community Gardens Program Review, which was endorsed by City Council on April 4/11. http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf

If you have questions/comments, the most senior City administrator on the selection committee was Cheryl Smith, Manager of Community Programs and Funding. csmith@london.ca or phone 519-661-2500, ext. 5880.

Possible Restrictions to Composting - bylaw amendments proposed

March 6, 2012    London City Hall on Dufferin Avenue near Wellington!
 A Public Participation Meeting for citizens to comment on some proposed changes to what is now called the Clearing of Land By-law PW-9 will be part of the Public Safety Committee  meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. 
 
Some of these changes have to do with composting - putting restrictions on the size and type of composting done. 

The pertinent sections from the draft proposed bylaw changes are here in italics:

By implementing by-law regulations that address the containment and location of refuse and compost, various results can be achieved including the reduction of incidences of scattered garbage due to rodent, animal and bird ransacking, and the reduction of drifting garbage odours. The inclusion of regulations to address the removal of graffiti will further improve aesthetics within our community.

3) Compost containment Currently the by-law defines but does not regulate compost containment.  The proposed amendment introduces compost containment and location regulations.

2.11  Compost – containment and location Every owner of a residential property shall ensure that all compost which accumulates on their property is: contained within not more than 4 compost containers on their property; and contained within containers that each: (i)   have a maximum area not greater than 1.0m²; (ii)  have a maximum height of not higher than 1.8m; (iii) is located in the rear yard; (iv)  is enclosed on all sides by concrete blocks, a lumber structure, a metal frame, or a commercially manufactured compost container; (v)  does not include a fence or a building wall as one or more of the sides of a composter; and (6)  is covered in a manner to prevent the entry of rodents or other animals.

2.12  Leaf Compost – containment and location If a residential property owner chooses to compost leaves, the property owner shall ensure that all leaf compost which accumulates on their property which is not contained within a compost container as set out in section 2.11 is: (a)  contained within not more than 1 leaf compost area on their property; and (b)  contained within a leaf compost area that: (i)   has a maximum area not greater than 9.29 m²; (ii)  has a maximum height of not higher than 1.2m; (iii) is located in the rear yard; (iv)  is enclosed on all sides by concrete blocks, a lumber structure, a metal or wire frame, or a commercially manufactured compost container; (v)   does not include a fence or a building wall as one or more of the sides of a compost area; and (vi)  holds nothing more than leaves and soil.

The Public Safety Committee meeting itself starts at 4:00 p.m.  The actual time of the Public Participation part of this meeting should be listed on the meeting agenda, which should be posted  on the City website Friday afternoon, March 2.  On the City Website go to:
http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Meetings/Default/meetingpackages.htm

You do not have to be registered to speak at the Public Participation Meeting part of this.  There is always a call for people to get up and speak.

email Community Gardens London and Maureen will sent you more detailed information including the full draft bylaw changes, current Clearing of Land By-law PW-9: communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

Heather Chapman, Coordinator, Municipal Law Enforcement Services 519-661-2500 ext 5292.
hchapman@london.ca      is a good resource person and can answer questions.
 
If you want to send a note to a councillor on the Public Safety Committee, members are:
Councillor D. Brown (Chair)            dbrown@london.ca
Mayor Fontana (ex-officio)             jfontana@london.ca
Councillor Armstrong                      barmstro@london.ca
Councillor Bryant                             jbryant@london.ca
Councillor Hubert                             phubert@london.ca
Councillor Polhill                             bpolhill@london.ca

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Port Townsend WA community gardens

Community Gardens London friend, Pamela, sent along links to several programs over the wonderful Peak Moment Television website. Thanks very much Pamela!

How Many Community Gardens?- http://blip.tv/peak-moment-tv/how-many-community-gardens-5421333- is an interview with Judith Alexander, a very active member of the Food Resilience Action Group of the Port Townsend, Washington Transition group. The interview is from July 2011.

Alexander and other volunteers have helped develop over twenty community gardens in the last 5 years. Alexander is a wonderful spokesperson for community gardens. The gardens of Port Townsend are managed by the volunteers and are gardened as community gardens - cooperatively - as compared to a pay your fee and do your gardening along model. Garden help is available to newcomers, who don't feel they have to know about gardening before starting. She does point out the importance of having some garden leaders who make sure main tasks do get done. Well worth watching and listening to ... oh! and one of the gardens has a chicken coop!

For further information about the Port Townsend Local 20 20 Transition Group: www.L2020.org

 

Hillside Church in Old South to open a Community Garden! Hurrah for all involved in this community project!

News just in from the Old South Community Organization.

This Spring Hillside Church will be opening a community garden. So far, 16 garden beds have been built in the back parking lot and hopefully there will be more to come!

Cost for the garden bed rentals per season are:

$30 (small bed), with $10 refundable at the end of the season, if you participate in both spring and fall clean ups (or that can be carried over to the rental for the next season); or

$25 (half of a large bed), with $10 refundable at the end of the season, if you participate in both the spring and fall clean ups.

If you are interested in renting a garden bed please contact Karen at 519-681-7313.

Rental agreements and a copy of the Hillside Community Garden rules can be picked up at the church office (250 Commissioners Road, East near Wortley Road).  

Edible Trees Grant for Community Gardens

Thanks to KingstonCommunityGardens Network for alerting us to this!!!!  

Would you like to plant fruit trees at your community garden this season?  Tree Canada’s Edible Trees Program is offering funding for community-based projects that provide residents with access to fresh fruit and nut trees while making a positive difference to the Canadian environment. Funding is available, but not limited to, community gardening groups, community housing projects, schools, parks and arboretums.  

http://www.treecanada.ca/site/?page=Edible%20Trees&lang=en

All applications must be received by February 28, 2012.
Final Reports and projects must be completed by September 30, 2012.
Note: The number of projects will be based on available funding. In 2012 it is projected that approximately 15 projects will be funded.

Application Criteria
Tree Canada will consider projects that meet the following criteria:
Increases  equitable access to healthy food
Strengthens communities by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of city-grown food resources
Benefits the local community by providing access to the trees and their fruit by the public ( i.e. food banks, volunteers, community kitchens)
Meets the needs of the community and includes creative plans for the produce grown
Takes place within a geographic area suitable for growing fruit and nut trees
Protects and preserves the Canadian environment
Assists residents in understanding and participating in environmental activities in local communities.

Visit the Edible Trees page* on the Tree Canada website for full details. http://www.treecanada.ca/site/?page=home&lang=en

http://www.kingstoncommunitygardens.ca/
see the left menu bar  - edible trees - there's a downloadable application

Thank You City Farmer!

"In 1978, a group of young environmentalists working at the VancouverEnergyConservationCenter stumbled across a book called The City People’s Book of Raising Food by William and Helga Olkowski. It described in everyday language how the authors grew all their own food right in the middle of the city of Berkeley. This inspiring book led [them] on an exploration of urban food production ..."

Since then, Michael Levenston and others have developed and worked on varied urban agriculture projects in Vancouver, and maintained an incredible resource of urban agriculture projects in Canada, North American and worldwide.

The City Farmer website - www.cityfarmer.info - is running stories about its history.  Tune in and scroll down awhile for the anecdotes, photos and inspiration.  And send them a thank you for the incredible information and inspiration they give to us!

Get Inspired by American Public Media's Interview with Grace Lee Boggs!

This program is in several parts. Interviewer Krista Tippett speaks with 96 year old activist Grace Lee Boggs, visits the Feed 'Em Freedom Urban Growers and one of Detroit's 1600 urban gardens - gardens not just plots! 

Hear about some of Detroit's urban agriculture projects and listen to the people who are making them happen.  This is history combined with renewal.  A 50 minute broadcast and all worth listening to!

The January 23/11 City Farmer site has a link to the radio interview.
http://www.cityfarmer.info/2012/01/23/detroit-96-year-old-philosopher-grace-lee-boggs-feed-em-freedom-growers-urban-farming/#more-19595 [http://www.cityfarmer.info/   .

SPARKS Grants for Neighbourhood Projects deadline January 31, 2012

* SPARK the addition of art and beauty and greenery to your neighbourhood streets!
* SPARK the creation of places for neighbours to meet or celebrate!
* SPARK improved safety in your neighbourhood!

With City of London’s SPARKS! Neighbourhood Matching Fund, you can qualify for up to $5,000 in matching funds to help enhance, build and strengthen your neighbourhood and improve the quality of life for everyone.
The funds your organization raises may be services or donations; they don't have to be dollars.

Full information, application guide and budget worksheet at: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Community_Vitality/Neighbourhoods/SPARKS.htm
or email neighbourhoods@london.ca or call 519 661-5336..

Jerusalem Community Garden - video link

Thank you and Happy New Year to The Horticultural Channel for picking up and City Farm for linking to a short video about the Jerusalem Community Garden: http://thehorticulturalchannel.info/2011/10/profile-jerusalem-community-garden/

The Jerusalem Community Garden exemplifies re-working of land - the garden is on what used to be an estate, and the house on the estate has been renovated to be a natural history museum; water-management - the cistern has been made functional again for rainwater capture; a garden in the heart of a city; and nature education programs for children.

The film was produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the State of Israel.

City Farm: www.cityfarm.info

Some new and forthcoming books

The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities.  Peter Ladner. New Society Publishers, 2011.  paperback
You can look over the Table of Contents and read the Preface from the website of New Society Publishers: http://www.newsociety.com/Books/U/The-Urban-Food-Revolution
Book blurb from the New Society Publishers website:
               Our reliance on industrial agriculture has resulted in a food supply riddled with hidden environmental, economic and health care costs and beset by rising food prices. With only a handful of corporations responsible for the lion’s share of the food on our supermarket shelves, we are incredibly vulnerable to supply chain disruption.
               The Urban Food Revolution provides a recipe for community food security based on leading innovations across North America. The author draws on his political and business experience to show that we have all the necessary ingredients to ensure that local, fresh sustainable food is affordable and widely available. He describes how cities are bringing food production home by:
ü      Growing community through neighborhood gardening, cooking and composting programs
ü      Rebuilding local food processing, storage and distribution systems
ü      Investing in farmers markets and community supported agriculture
ü      Reducing obesity through local fresh food initiatives in schools, colleges and universities.
ü      Ending inner-city food deserts
               Producing food locally makes people healthier, alleviates poverty, creates jobs, and makes cities safer and more beautiful. The Urban Food Revolution is an essential resource for anyone who has lost confidence in the global industrial food system and wants practical advice on how to join the local food revolution.

Urban Agriculture: ideas and designs for the new food revolution.  David Tracey.  Gabriola, B.C. New Society Publishers, 2011.  London Public Library has 6 copies -  635 Tra  


The Essential Urban Farmer.  Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal.  Due for release December 2011. 
blurb: "share their experience as successful urban farmers and provide practical blueprints-complete with rich visual material-for novice and experienced growers looking to bring the principles of ethical food to the city streets. The Essential Urban Farmer guides readers from day one to market day, advising on how to find the perfect site, design a landscape, and cultivate crops. For anyone who has ever grown herbs on windowsills, or tomatoes on fire escapes, this is an invaluable volume with the potential to change our menus, our health, and our cities forever."
Carpenter does a blog: http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/ and has a previous book (I haven't seen it)

Change Comes to Dinner: How Vertical Farmers, Urban Growers, and Other Innovators Are Revolutionizing How America Eats | Paperback by Katherine Gustafson / Social Science / Agriculture & Food / Cooking / Essays / Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
Release date May 8, 2012


The City Farmer website has reviews of some of these and other books at http://www.cityfarmer.info/2012/01/01/five-canadian-books-put-urban-agriculture-on-the-map/#more-17295

City Farmer site - www.cityfarmer.info - is always the most brilliant site to go to for information about community gardens and urban agriculture in Canada and worldwide.

Community Gardens London Facebook Page

Community Gardens London now has a Facebook page.  We hope this will help communication. Thanks to Robyn Harvey for setting this up for us!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Gardens-London/220527951338866

Books for Every Child - Growing Children is as important as growing gardens!

For a child, "MY OWN BOOK!" is incredibly important.  You can give this gift.  Bookstores offer 20% off the price of books you purchase for the London Public Library's Book for Every Child project.  Please contribute.  Full details at the library link here:

http://www.londonpubliclibrary.ca/node/6818

Thames Region Ecological Association - 25 Years!

Congratulations!

Next monthly meeting is Thursday, December 8, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Grosvenor Lodge, 1017 Western Road

www.trea.ca

London wins Community in Blooms Award

http://www.thelondoner.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3361965
By Alana Power Londoner, Thursday, November 10, 2011 .

Conference notes - part one .... Great conference! Thanks to everyone who came!

The gathering From Community Gardening to Urban Agriculture in London was attended by over 50 people! Themes that are emerging include: the need to have community gardens more known about within their neighbourhoods, as a way of making friends and allies; more ways of communication between gardeners, especially when it comes to new gardeners being helped by experienced gardeners; how to communicate environmental and health benefits of growing food close to home via home/shared gardens and urban farming operations; need to change bylaws so food trees could be planted and small food growing operations could develop.

Morning Conference Notes

Ideas put onto sheets posted on wall and some notes that people wrote at tables as conversations happened - each italicized section is one person's sheet

Governance:  Why is community gardens not run out of a Food Security arm of the City of London
Why the necessity for a community agency to manage the gardens?
Are we fragmenting what should be a central function of London ...

Food security

Use the [City]  "garbage calendar" as an interface for community garden and gleaning information.  "Not far from the Tree" in Toronto is an example.
- Gleaning is not a food bank issue but a community issue
- calendar could also be used to educate people about fruit trees in the city - their value - who to contact?

Urban agriculture requires a "hub"
- suggestion of acquiring Rath Greenhouse - just outside city limits
- develop a centre for coming together, training, educating youth
- centre for "growing early" as preparation / staging
- centre for composting each site
- centre for food preservation /storage each site
- bee-keeping centre
- sustainable technologies for each garden - geo/solar heating, etc - water treatment
- other aspects

How do we utilize unused greenhouses?

How to we integrate edible plants into public landscapes and give the community "ownership" or a stake in them?

I am new to this.  How do I get started?

Mentoring Program - climate, diverse production

Training
Community composting - how can neighbourhoods move ahead with composting organic waste from their homes - then share the compost for their gardens
- cuts down on landfill and transport (carbon footprint)
- could use current community garden land sites

Beyond symbolic gardening - trying to make some money and feed family - gardening becomes initiatives

How about an online registration page for businesses to ask for an assessment of land for tree (food) planting.
- community input on city tree varieties
-community food swaps (or banks)
- early learner plantings in neighbourhood

SPIN Farming?      [note: SPIN - Small Plot Intensive ]
 By-law prohibiting the sale of produce from non-agriculturally zoned properties

Neighbourhood Food Co-ops and CSA opportunities
- social enterprise
- harnessing youth
- public land i.e. hospitals, fire stations, etc
- no lawn - we love vegetables - ... cross-out and check symbols over diagrams
- public signs as trellises for growing beans, etc. for everyone
- partnerships with golf courses
- free seeds

How can gardening be extended in (into) the public schools?
- would lead to community involvement

How can we link community gardens and garden based learning to public education?

How can we educate the public about health and nutrition with community gardens?

How to support small neighbourhood gardens?

How do we integrate community gardens into their own communities better?  Engage the broader community even if they don't have a plot?

With 600 plots are they such that those who have plot are actually in their own neighbourhood?

How was "Operation Fruit Rescue" accomplished?
- social media versus phone versus flyers?
- Community organizations

Who is interested in developing/coordinating a local food rescue and promoting a land share (swap)?
- creating an interactive website
- attracting volunteers (email list / phone tree)
- attracting students from neighbouring schools, churches, community centres, etc.

How do we implement tool-sharing programs?

Funding for infrastructure such as tool sheds, greenhouses, cold frames, systems, and BEEHIVES at community gardens -  honey at gardens!

Would love to see Bee Hives in our community gardens.
Let's see if we can utilize the greenhouses at Eldon House

Educational programming on ecological gardening that is  community-based

More gardens, especially in neighbourhoods with waiting lists (Thames)

No more tilling community gardens, encouragement of ecological gardening - including the planting of perennials, winter gardening, green manures, etc. etc.

General Gardening -
1. How to make use of back yard gardens - e.g. if occupant is too old?
2. Using available lands better - keep them current
LCRCGardens - CityGardens
1. compost - permanent site
2. place to store staking materials, etc.

Organic Seed Saving - seed sharing.  How can we initiate?
Small Group discussion highlights reported back to group
  - notes taken by Maureen and Dylan unless otherwise mentioned

Group 1 - education and community garden concept

- Maryanne MacDonald report for a group discussing education and community garden concept
- why are children not connected to earth, not know where waste goes?
- integrated process - Western and Brescia with children and parents
- Community Gardens camp for the summer - university students who need practical jobs - nutrition, food - kids get camp experience - digging/compost/woodbad (?)
and the parents in the summer don't all get summer vacation
what coordinating agency can bring this together?
university students parents children get what they need?

Woman in group 1 gave Maureen these notes - who ?
- mandatory home economics in high school - policy change
- school age programs at community level
- disconnect between youth and environment
- integration between older students, teachers, parents and young kids
- summer camps, day programs to teach hands-on experience
- will facilitate future generations'  exposure from young age carries on
- entrance to post-secondary has background in gardening, nutrition, sustainability, etc. 
-Graduates have involvement and experience.
- adults need a place to send children to learn; little time when working
- older students need education, facilities, volunteer experience, part-time jobs
- young students need education, facilities, volunteer experience, part-time jobs
- young students need connection to their food, community and environment
- coordinating body required to make programs a feasible reality
- more than just volunteers, paid and organized system

-----------------------
Group 2     Governance - structure needed to support
Elizabeth Bright-See reported for a group on the topic of Governance
- we thought we'd talk just about gardens - got onto issues about the policies in this city that work actively against urban agriculture
- How to deal with this?
- there've been good reports - what will be done with the London Community Garden Program Review?
- used analogy with the Food Charter Committee
- it now has little public face
- the Child and Youth Network is effective at many things - because it has had the City behind it [financially?] to do things
- view for people at table - there'll
- We need a Food Security officer at the City Hall level
- a central networker - support
- or we'll talk forever
----------------

Group 3          Community Engagement      

- Jessie Roder reported for the group and then other people added things
- What are the resources in each community?
- interactive map
- City about to launch a new City website - the Neighbourhood Guide (Cheryl Smith mentioned)
        - how to share resources - who's doing what?
- online presence is necessary
- moving online, interactive presence and have interpersonal community building
- you can build community online but it's not the same as people together
- Resource needing to share - tools, leaves, mulch!
- Before end of the day we'll announce day of food swap at Wortley Village - swap skills too
- Engaging the community group
- Teresa added - is there a way for us to acknowledge our own skills before we leave today - - post on wall - what we do where we are

Group 4 - Public education   - who reported?!

- London Training Centre programs that work
- Real Food involves work        food = work
- know how to get ideas, place to learn and teach to community - enhance develop
- wellness and quality of life enhanced by connection with the earth
- food preferences accounted for - nutrition - a place to invite people to learn
- actually teach! - a demonstration garden
- how to reach out to non-native Canadians to suggest farming techniques that work in this country
- sustainable living - important component.

Group 5 - What's needed at the community gardens?

- Ray Clancy reported for group
- a mentorship program            
- sponsorship of new, novice gardeners
- meet at the veteran or amateur's plot - plant identification
- community gardens website - members blog
- seed exchange
- community gardens members meetings, current meetings
- workshops at the community garden plots, libraries and local organizations
- encourage bee population
- bee kits to attract the pollinators
- community garden drop-off compost drop - need volunteers to monitor this done right
- no till gardening - permaculture - reduces weeds
- climate change resilience through whole garden practices

Neala Kerradwin's notes from this   thanks Neala!  
- gardening earlier and later - extended seasons
- year round gardening
- no tillage gardening
- thinking of permaculture in the miniature
- 20 square feet feeding a person
- community garden greenhouse space
- no bare ground
- no lawn

Notes from ?  - left on table?
- Community gardens should establish a mentorship program
-appeal to new members/gardeners
- apply to get matched up with veteran gardeners on the website
- meet at veteran's plot and/or amateur's plot to learn technique, plant identification, access to seed

Community Gardens website members blog
- what's working
- trends
- seed exchange
- questions and answers

Community Gardens members meetings
- networking
- introduce new members
-talk about current issues

Sign up for workshops conducted at community garden plots
- promoted through libraries, local organizations

Encourage bee populations
- plant flowering plants in the gardens (attract pollinators)
- have bee kits to promote wild bee populations

Make community gardens drop off sites for compost from the neighbourhood
- designated times to ensure contents is monitored by veteran members

No till gardening at the plots
- encourage permaculture / perennial gardening (climate change resistance)
- prevents weed proliferation

Notes provided by Chantelle E.

           
Thank you Chantelle!
Intro and Discussion Period - presentation by Ross Fair about London Community Gardens Programme Review

  1. London Community Resource Centre oversees all community gardens
  2. Started 1993
  3. Help from London-Middlesex Health Unit
  4. 21 gardens with 600 individual plots – all but 2 sold out last year and one has a wait list
  5.  2010 survey re: benefits
    1. Increase access to healthy fruits and vegetables
    2. Increase healthy eating
    3. Increase positive relationships
    4. Increase physical activity
  6. Outcomes – provide value for the money the city spends
    1. Gardening as an end in itself
    2. Garden together – build relationships and promote gardening
    3. Master Gardeners – special needs, low income communities
  7. Neighbourhood based, smaller in scale, community based
  8. City-wide “community garden” network
  9. Sustainable
  10. Nurtures neighbourhoods and communities
  11. Promote social equity, environmental stewardship
  12. Meaningful community outreach
  13. Tools, training and leadership
  14. Need to meet municipal standards
  15. “Strengthening Neighbourhoods” initiative/strategy
  16. Based in advocacy – getting funding, proving worth and sustainability
  17. School involvement
  18. London Food Bank – “Gleaners” – harvest trees for free – “Operation Fruit Rescue” started in Edmonton
  19. Elgin House greenhouse is unused
  20. “Over-wintering”
  21. Wastefreeworld.org

Public Education Focus Group

  1. Diverse population with diverse interests – wide spectrum of people to address
  2. Different levels of education / knowledge
  3. How do we communicate benefits?
  4. Restaurant/foodservice
  5. Through London Training Centre – industry certifications
  6. Understand that real food involves work
  7. Workshops
  8. Media releases, brochures, flyers
  9. Wellness and Quality of Life (QOL) enhanced by earth connection
    1. How to get ideas to practical application and teach young people
    2. Food preparation – nutrient preservation
    3. Need for a place to invite people to learn
    4. Demonstration Garden
  10. White Oaks Garden has some of this infrastructure in place
  11. Lack of information – address with gardening courses
  12. How can we provide the skills that some people need to start and be successful?
  13. Currently attracting many immigrants to Canada with their own ways of gardening – not always successful with Canadian soil/climate
  14. Need a facilitator in every garden
  15. Sustainable living normalization
  16. Engagement and opportunity for engagement

Notes on other focus groups:
Education

  1. Integrative process – Brescia students to work with children
    1. Community Garden camp in the summertime
    2. Students gain practical experience
  2. Need a coordinating organization to make it happen

Governance

  1. Policies that work against Urban Agriculture
    1. How do we deal with that?
  2. What to do with the information that is available
    1. Food Charter – little public / political visibility
  3. Need city staff – a dedicated paid person on the inside
    1. “Food Security Officer” – connect people, coordinate programs, need this person in place for action to occur

Community Engagement

  1. Sharing Resources – The Neighbourhood Guide
    1. What are they?
    2. Where are they located?
    3. Online presence in complement to the actual physical community
  2. Skills, extra skills, tools, leaves, mulch
  3. Job creation?
  4. Knowledge and skill swapping – online resource? For communities
  5. Devine what we have and are willing to offer

How to Start

  1. Mentorship program – learn technique, plant identification, skills
  2. Website – trends, what is working well
  3. Networking, introducing new members – talk about community issues
  4. Workshops
  5. Encouragement of bee population
  6. Making community gardens drop-off sites for compost from neighbourhoods
  7. No-till gardening

Urban Agriculture
“Growing Together With Community” – Merial Cromary, London Training Centre

  1. Local food skills
  2. Fee for service training and Employment Ontario
  3. Local, sustainable organic slow foods movement
  4. Restaurant and food service training
  5. Culinary skills and training
  6. Experiential learning
  7. Culinary production garden
  8. Farm Start program
  9. Community hub – resource centre

Susan Ladner – Goddess Grown Heirlooms

  1. There is a need to start saving seeds to increase biodiversity
  2. Need to protect ourselves against GMOs, climate change, uncertain future
  3. It’s not that hard
  4. Works with Seeds of Diversity
  5. Oppose Monsanto!

ShantreeKacera – The Living Centre

  1. Started in 1983
  2. Educating people on organics and herbalism, herb walks
  3. Offers courses and workshops
  4. Focuses on sustainability, renewability and community
  5. 1000 square foot greenhouse on property
  6.  Nutrition for both humans and soil
  7. Forest gardening
    1. Self-perpetuating, self-fertilizing, self-regulating, natural pest control

Linda Davies – LCRC

  1. Manage the community gardens (600 plots in 21 sites)
  2. People want to have a gardening experience
  3. People need help, guidance and knowledge
  4. Grow, Cook, Learn demo garden
    1. Connecting with community members
    2. Harvest and cooking classes
  5. Continuous learning opportunity – full circle gardening

Seeds of Diversity London

  1. National seed saving / seed trading organization
  2. Project grow outs, seed evaluation
  3. Protecting the diversity of Canadian seeds (much lower than in USA, need to increase)
  4. How to save seeds book is available
  5. Seed exchange catalogue

Transition London

  1. Climate change and fossil fuel shortage mean we need to deal with evolving issues
  2. Need to build resilient communities
  3. Fossil fuels are NOT needed for successful agriculture
  4. 2 day course will be offered at The Learning Centre – info is on TLC website and the Transition London website

TREA – Thames Region Ecological Association

  1. Ecological responsibility, taking action based on knowledge
  2. Composting demo plot – Master Composters do training
  3. 100 mile diet issues – education
  4. Waste management – material used when eating should be re-usable, not just recyclable
  5. So much that we currently do is not sustainable
  6. Need to take small steps, change individual behaviours
  7. Need to address bike safety in London
  8. Walkability forum

Trevor Johnston  and Tasha Densky – VeggieCity

  1. Pilot project
  2. Put employment first
    1. Hire people to do gardening for people who want gardens but don’t have time or ability
  3. Neighbourhood – Kipps Lane in EOA
  4. Increase neighbourhood involvement
  5. Skills and employment opportunities
  6. Use green processes
  7. How to collaborate with a number of partners
  8. Back yard bounty – 13 residents offered their backyards and paid $125 for people to come and do a vegetable garden – 1 time per week (9 people working in teams of 2) would harvest and bring the veggies to a central depot, all shareholders could come and pick up a share (1/13th) of the produce for the day
  9. Provided advice about how to use the veggies, some food prep demonstrated and recipes provided
  10. Mentors from gardening communities to help the young people and teach them
  11. Excess food was donated to the food bank

Jessie – Wild Craft Permaculture

  1. Designing based on natural ecosystems – homes, communities, landscapes
  2. Make people more self-reliant and self-sufficient
  3. Urban planning background, based in Edmonton
  4. Sustainable design
  5. Regenerative design

Conference Notes from Education Discussion Group

Thanks to Maryanne for submitting these!

At our table on education we discussed the following:

  1. How do we get youth involved?
  2. Life skills need to come back into the schools including our children understanding where their food comes from and how to preserve it.
  3. Need to connect the children back to the soil, back to nature.
  4. There are currently some community gardens, e.g. Museum of Archeology that have need of volunteers - getting the youth involved would be ideal.
  5. How do we work with school system and city to integrate gardening into the system.
  6. Need advocacy but need to understand where the resistance is.
  7. Could there be garden camps partering with Brescia and Museum of Archeology garden and could we integrate universtiy students, children gardeners and connect them into their community?
  8. There is a capacity issue to educate the children about gardening.
  9. Could there be a sustainability farm created?
  10. Could we create online forums to be a repository of information and to create this community.
We had more questions than we had answers but we had good dialogue and hopefully we can keep the process going.

USC 2011 Report out - Seeds of Survival

“[S]toring seeds in banks to bail us out of future calamities is only a halfway measure. Equally worthy of saving is the hard-earned wisdom of the world’s farmers, generations of whom crafted the seeds and breeds we now so covet. Perhaps the most precious and endangered resource is the knowledge stored in farmers’ minds.”
National Geographic, July 2011

The 2011 report of the Unitarian Service Committee is now available on its website:
 http://usc-canada.org/resources/publications/annual-reports/

It focuses on USC's Seeds of Survival program and its 5 areas of activity: Seed security and diversity, Climate Change, Rural Economies, Gender Equality, and Young Farmers.

From the report's introduction: 
"Over 1.5 billion farmers around the world depend on a diversity of farmer-saved seeds for their food security. This diversity is slipping away with each generation, undermining the ability of rural communities to feed themselves. 75% of our plant genetic diversity was lost between 1900 and 2000. A dynamic collaboration between farming communities, indigenous peoples, and scientists is rebuilding seed-saving traditions and farming traditions that work with nature. Biodiversity is growing.

Crop Sharing Community

Short CBC news feature about several different Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations: Sundance Fields near Olds Alberta, Eagle Creek Farms near Calgary. A bit of something positive that made the national level news on the Thanksgiving weekend. (note: there are two short commercials before the item)
http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/1221258968/ID=2150204838

Sunnivue Farm - a local, long-standing CSA

Sunnivue Farm
http://sunnivue-farm.on.ca/
Sunnivue farm is a long-standing example of innovative communuty supported agriculture.  Sunnivue farm itself  is land held in trust - the Redeeming Our Soil Economically Trust.  There are various types of memberships and volunteer opportunities available to support Sunnivue.  Non-members may shop at the store which is open from June until December 16 (for 2011) every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Directions:  http://sunnivue-farm.on.ca/directions.html

Since 1992 Alex and Ellinor Nurnberg have been Sunnivue's farmers - meaning their business (and home) is there - " helping soil, plants and animals toward greater health and sustainability through organic and biodynamic practices. Aided by apprentices, WWOOFer's (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms) and volunteers, they provide locally harvested produce for the growing number of people who know that their farming methods benefit ecology as much as the produce itself nourishes human well-being."

"The Nurnberg family, R.O.S.E. members and many friends have helped Sunnivue toward such important accomplishments as:

  • organic certification; recognition for exemplary cows and farm practices;
  • improved housing for animals and poultry - as well as for people;
  • the Sunnivue Farmstore, where customers from near and far buy organic vegetables, meat, eggs, homemade bread, healthcare items and more;
  • deliveries of produce to area homes and to Covent Garden Market;
  • collaboration with groups such as Lifespin and Camphill Ontario;
  • work/study experiences for elementary and high school students;
  • conferences about organic farming's role in health and education;
  • increased freedom from mortgage and other debts."

 

London's Community Gardens Program Review - summary

Please note:  This overview of London's Community Gardens Program Review has been written by Maureen Temme of Community Gardens London.  It is, therefore, only one person's take on the document.  The Review is broad in its content and implications, and - we think - important and worth discussing.  Please read the document for yourself and decide what is important to you.  Your ideas are the ones needed on October 16 at the gathering From Community Gardening to Urban Agriculture in London.

London's Community Gardens Programme Review is a 13 page document, and an easier read than many City documents.  Again, we encourage you to read through it.  The review was submitted to the Community and Neighbourhoods Committee (agenda item 9 of the March 29/11 meeting) by the Executive Director of Community Services, Ross Fair.  The direct link to the document is:  http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf

London's Community Gardens Program Review (LCGPR) is a commitment by the Civic Administration - endorsed unanimously by City Council, Monday, April 4, 2011 - to support a community gardens programme in London.

The Review makes 14 recommendations toward the practical development of a "Potential Vision" for London's Community Gardens Program.  This vision is stated as:  "To create a city-wide sustainable community gardens program that nurtures neighbourhoods and the people of London."   

The Review indicates that the City wants to bring the Community Gardens Programme more directly under the wing of the City, bringing its workings more in line with the City's 3 strategic priorities of Community Vitality, Environmental Leadership and Economic Prosperity.

A survey, done as part of the Review, found that people think community gardens are important and people who garden at them enjoy it. 

The review is positive about the benefits of community gardening, saying such things as: 

  • "a community garden naturally draws people together"
  • community gardens "provide opportunity for renewal away from the intensity of our urban realities"
  • community gardens "model the way in land stewardship"
  • people's ability to grow food for themselves in a community garden "promotes social equity"

Among the "key groups" identified in the Review as having an interest in community gardening are:

  • people who garden for themselves and their families
  • people interested in developing community
  • people interested in developing skills
  • people "committed to advocating for the role that community gardens can play in food security, environmental stewardship and neighbourhood renewal"

There is a general section that lists the types of gardens that can develop within a community gardening situation;  not all of these exist (yet) in London. 

There is a brief "best practices" review, which notes that most municipalities have some sort of partnership with their community gardens, and that municipalities deem community gardens to be good for their community.

There is a section titled "Areas of Improvement" which comments on things like:

  • Londoners' lack of awareness about  the community gardens
  • setting up community gardens in alignment with neighbourhoods (meaning City planning issues)
  • integration of community gardens' goals with City goals
  • need for greater coordination between the City and the agency that oversees the gardens
  • lack of engagement by Londoners in the development of individual community gardens and in the development of an overall community gardens plan
  • communication between the gardeners and the overseeing agency
  • process and procedures
  • fees
  • the role of various City departments
  • the need for partnerships between the community gardens program and various community

The fourteen recommendations in the Review focus on:

  • community garden space being available for all people want healthy food, personal enjoyment, and/or social interaction
  • future community garden planning/development being a part of City neighbourhood planning
  • a closer relationship between the City and the coordinating agency for community gardens
  • more and varied ties between the coordinating agency and its neighbourhood - partnerships for funding and projects
  • various "how to" things like fee structure, clearer procedures for all involved in community gardens

If you want to ask a question or make a comment on the Review, you could get in touch with Ross Fair, executive director of Community Services for London (rfair@london.ca).  Or, get in touch with Community Gardens London (communitygardenslondon@execulink.com).  We are neither City Hall, nor involved with management of community gardens in London, but we do care about community gardening and will help answer or direct your questions/comments as we can.  Hey! Why not come to the gathering From Community Gardening to Urban Agriculture in London, on October 16, 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Brescia Auditorium!

Pre-conference resource suggestions - this will be ongoing

What is "Urban Agriculture"?

Even the introductory descriptions of urban agriculture expand one's thinking! 

This introduction to the topic comes from Wikipedia Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in, or around, a village, town or city. Urban agriculture in addition can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agro-forestry and horticulture. These activities also occur in peri-urban areas as well.

Urban farming is generally practiced for income-earning or food-producing activities, though in some communities the main impetus is recreation and relaxation. Urban agriculture contributes to food security and food safety in two ways: first, it increases the amount of food available to people living in cities, and, second, it allows fresh vegetables and fruits and meat products to be made available to urban consumers. A common and efficient form of urban agriculture is the biointensive method. Because urban agriculture promotes energy-saving local food production, urban and peri-urban agriculture are generally seen as sustainable agriculture.

The recognition of environmental degradaton within cities through the relocation of resources to serve urban populations has inspired the implementation of different schemes of urban agriculture across the developed and developing world. From historic models such as Machu Pichu to designs for new productive city farms, the idea of locating agriculture in or around the city takes on many characteristics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_agriculture

This definition was contributed by Diane Szoller of Thames Region Ecological Association Urban agriculture is best described as a complex system encompassing a spectrum of interests, from a traditional core of activities associated with the production, processing, marketing, distribution, and consumption, to a multiplicity of other benefits and services that are less widely acknowledged and documented. These include recreation and leisure; economic vitality and business entrepreneurship, individual health and well-being; community health and well being; landscape beautification; and environmental restoration and remediation. Reference - Butler, L. and D.M. Moronek (eds.) 2002. Urban and Agriculture Communities: Opportunities for Common Ground. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Ames Iowa. CAST May 2002   

This explanation appears on a website called "Sprouts in the Sidewalk ... it's all about urban agriculture" [ http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/ua/ ]

Urban agriculture is growing food for urban markets in close proximity to where a community of people live.  More rigidly it is growing food in any manner (just use your imagination…) in or sometimes around the perimeter of cities and towns.  Even more rigidly it is:

integrated into the urban economic and ecological system: urban agriculture is embedded in -and interacting with- the urban ecosystem. Such linkages include:

  1. use of urban residents as labourers
  2. use of typical urban resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater for irrigation)
  3. direct links with urban consumers
  4. direct impacts on urban ecology (positive and negative)
  5. being part of the urban food system
  6. competing for land with other urban functions
  7. being influenced by urban policies and plans, etc.

The compiler of the site continues with these thought-provoking comments:
Urban agriculture is not a relict of the past that will fade away (urban agriculture increases when the city grows) nor brought to the city by rural immigrants that will loose their rural habits over time. It is an integral part of the urban system (RUAF.org) ...

Though the potential for urban agriculture is largely untapped and undervalued, it is currently a large industry of many small scale farmers and some large agribusinesses. Intensive urban agriculture can yield several times as much produce per area as rural agriculture.  Because inputs such as water, land, and nutrients are limited in cities, city farming uses techniques which require only a fraction of the inputs that rural agriculture use.  Also, urban farming can help to absorb some of the  urban solid and liquid waste, helping the city to reduce its waste management problems and costs.
Sprouts in the Sidewalk: http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/ua/

Sites to check out when looking for Urban Agriculture

City Farmer       www.cityfarmer.info
Canadian site (since 1994) maintained by a City Farmer executive director, Michael Levenston.  It has a survey of fascinating articles about local, national and international community gardening and urban farming projects.  It's the sort of place to just browse, or put a few key words in "search" and see what pops up.  The items and sites you find will take you farther afield, which is both the joy and the the time-user of the Internet! As its site says: "... all can grow food at home after work in back yards, community gardens or on flat roofs. ... pull up a patch of lawn and plant some vegetables, kitchen herbs and fruit."

The current website address is www.cityfarmer.info   Email: cityfarm@interchange.ubc.ca
City Farmer’s first web site Urban Agriculture Notes (www.cityfarmer.org) has hundreds of pages of information about city farming.

Nourishing the Planet - a broad-ranging website - World Watch Institute website http://blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet/
" project assesses the state of agricultural innovations—from cropping methods to irrigation technology to agricultural policy—with an emphasis on sustainability, diversity, and ecosystem health, as well as productivity. The project aims to both inform global efforts to eradicate hunger and raise the profile of these efforts. The project also considers the institutional infrastructure needed by each of the approaches analyzed, suggesting what sort of companion investments are likely to determine success—from local seed banks to processing facilities, from pro-poor value chains to marketing bureaus.                   

Sprouts in the Sidewalk ... it's all about urban agriculture ... website maintained by Leslie Heimer http://sidewalksprouts.wordpress.com/ua/

Garden City Harvest - Urban Agriculture in Missoula, Montana

Growing a Garden City*: how farmers, first graders, counselors, troubled teens, foodies, a homeless shelter chef, single mothers, and more are transforming themselves and their neighborhoods through the interesection of local agriculture and community - and how you can too.
A long title to an inspiring book. Fifteen people involved with the Garden City Harvest programs of Missoula, Montana recount their stories and their excitement about food and food production. The ideas are inspiring and the photographs wonderful. Example after example of how food connects people, not just the growers but all the eaters - and remember, eaters are every one of us!

Missoula has become what the book terms an Agriculture Supported Community: "a community bound to one another by local food and farming ... encompasses diverse members and multiple locations and projects, each undertaken to improve lives and create individual connections."

Missoula, Montana is a city of only 68,000 people. One in 5 people live in poverty, and it has a frost-free growing season averaging fewer than 100 days (short).  Missoula's Garden City Harvest has 7 neighbourhood-based farms and community gardens and produces 100,000 pounds of food per year grown to feed people in need.

Garden City Harvest website is www.gardencityharvest.org
and states "Garden City Harvest builds community through agriculture by growing produce with and for people with low-incomes, offering education and training in ecologically conscious agriculture, and using our sites for the personal restoration of youth and adults ... Garden City Harvest was established in 1996 to provide local, sustainably grown produce to those in need. We are reviving the regional tradition of producing our own food for our community, focusing on the 20% of Missoulians who live in poverty.
Garden City Harvest has community education programs that offer children and adults opportunities to do some gardening or farming. GCH has four farms around Missoula, including one that works in conjunction with the University of Montana's environmental sciences masters degree program and another that gives job experience to young people. All the gardens provide food for social agencies in Missoula. There is also a program offering employment and therapeutic support to at-risk youth referred by several social agencies. The teens work at a mobile food market, and harvest and deliver produce for low cost to seniors. employment.

The Garden City Harvest project also has community gardens in low-income neighbourhoods in Missoula. Each community garden provides "the participants with a 15 by 15 foot plot, tools, water, compost, straw, common space, and the knowledge and guidance of a garden coordinator. Weekly programs for young gardeners include lessons about gardening, botany, food sources, and cooking.

In their own words "Our gardens are places where long time growers and newcomers garden together, learn from each other, and share resources. Gardens reduce stress on food budgets. They teach an essential skill: how to grow our own food. Gardens mean self sufficiency, pride, and the taste of a homegrown tomato. They bring people together for potlucks and workdays."

PEAS farm          The PEAS farm - part of the Garden City Harvest - is the 10 acre farm where students in the Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society program of the University of Montana work as part of their degree. Check this post for a great overview. Facing Hunger in America, July 7, 2011                http://facinghungerinamerica.blogspot.com/
*Growing a Garden City: Written by Jeremy N. Smith. Published in 2010 by Sky Horse Publishing (Thomas Allen in Canada). London Public Library call # 635.0978685 Smi

Canadian Organic Growers Blog of Perth-Waterloo-Wellington

The COG Blog   http://localorganic.wordpress.com/
For a good read. The COG Blog is the initiative of the Perth-Waterloo-Wellington chapter of Canadian Organic Growers, an organization supporting farmers, gardeners, and all citizens in building an organic food system.

Learn more about the chapter’s work at www.cogwaterloo.ca, and the work being done nationally at www.cog.ca

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Growing Food Locally - video from UK


http://transitionforestrow.org/video/growing-food-locally

Made for Transition Forest Row, this video looks at the need to grow more food locally and some of the different ways that can happen in a community. These include, garden share, allotments, CSA farms, and more.

There are some truly heartening statements from people who care about the quality of food they eat, the need to reduce "food miles" to table, and the importance of healthy soil.  It is obvious that good relationships - friendships and mutual respect - develop when people connect with each other over food.  Neighbours who open up a yard for gardening, allotment gardeners, members of community supported agriculture operations and the farmers ... all know each other more.

The Transition movement is community-level movement - different in each community - looking at practical ways in which we can develop our own skills and be more resilient as fossil fuel becomes less readily available, as climate changes, and as economic uncertainty affects us

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Kitchen Garden Day - Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011 - let's get planning! Please let Community Gardens London know your celebration plans - communitygardenslondon@execulink.com

In 2003, Kitchen Gardeners International* decided to celebrate healthy food, as a response to Snack Food Month events organized by those industries! It is an opportunity for people anywhere** to get together with friends, family, and members of their local community to celebrate the pleasures and benefits of home-grown foods prepared by real people we know.

Goals:
-To celebrate the positive role of organic kitchen gardening in society, health, and gastronomy
-To raise awareness about the benefits of eating local and to encourage people to explore local food options in their areas
-To build community spirit, at local and international levels, around the universal experiences of gardening, cooking, and eating

We get to choose how to celebrate Kitchen Garden Day .... with gatherings of friends and neighbors at a shared garden or other locale enjoying food together, or at our own home enjoying one simple local apple. The pause to think about food, gardens, cooking, and eating is important.
-a walking tour of gardens in your area
-a kitchen garden or local agriculture potluck
-a kitchen garden taste-test
-a harvest or planting party
-a benefit for a local food/gardening charity
-a kitchen garden "teach in"
-a single food theme party
-an activity at a local farm

*Kitchen Gardeners International http://kitchengardeners.org

**http://kitchengardeners.org/blogs/preeti-patil/indias-urban-gardeners-are-busy-planning-kitchen-garden-day-festivities-shouldnt-

London's Million Tree Challenge

London's Million Tree Challenge
ReForest London and the City of London are the founding partners in an initiative to plant 1,000,000 trees in London during the next 10 years.  Already over 25 London organizations, institutions and corporations have signed on to promote tree planting initiatives within their organizations.  Individual Londoners are also being challenged, as the important people who own more than 80% of land through home and business property.

The Million Tree Challenge begins with a first phase goal of One Tree for Every Londoner in the next three years.

“A tree provides vital natural infrastructure that contributes to our health and economic well being and sustains our environment for over a hundred years,” said David Crockett, Chair of ReForest London. “The cost- benefit grows every year from a tree planted today. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the next best time is today to realize this beauty and value.”

Learn more about the challenge at http://www.reforestlondon.ca/ or www.milliontrees.ca.  You'll also find out about the benefits of trees to environment and economy, tree planting and care.  You can record trees you plant or pledge to plant, or sponsor tree planting.

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Food Down the Road

Community Gardens London's team members are absolutely inspired by the interesting and useful articles that fill the latest issue of Food Down the Road.

A publication of National Farmers Union Local 316, Food Down the Road  is not just a  connection to local food in Kingston and countryside.  The articles takes any reader beyond her or his back yard or shared garden, into the farms surrounding cities, and beyond to the foodweb issues that affect us. 

We won't mind if you skip the rest of this entry to go straight to the on-line version of Food Down the Road. The brilliant people involved actually had a flash mob of 100 people show up at the Kingston Farmers' Market on June 4, mingling and reading the latest edition of the newspaper. (www.fooddowntheroad.ca)

The lead item is titled Food Sovereignty. Aric McBay, author of the piece and editor of FDtR, says that "At its core, the idea of food sovereignty is simple: communities should have a say in where and how their food is grown." McBay explains that all of us are affected by how food is grown or travels through our community: we all eat. The choices we make may add to a local, vital food system or may contribute to destruction of land and loss of jobs half way across the world. How do we make food choices that maintain jobs in our local community, contribute to children's health, heal soil, reduce fossil fuel use, and ensure that local varieties of food - usually the tastiest -continue to be grown? McBay brings all this together in this wide ranging article.
 
Among the other items:
Karen Holmes on Meeting the Challenges of Local Food
Greg Williams on Food and Oil
... a directory of local food growers and stores for Kingston and area
... two articles about children and healthy eating ... an item about seed saving and .... read for yourselves at:  www.fooddowntheroad.ca

Maureen, of Community Gardens London, feels privileged to have been given a printed copy of Food Down the Road - several days prior to its launch - by Karen Eatwell, executive secretary of the Ontario NFU and co-partner, with her husband Peter Duenk, of Duenk (organic) Farms.  Thanks Karen.  As always, you pass along some really important resources!  http://eatwellfoodsatduenkfarm.blogspot.com

Veggie City - Northeast London

The Veggie City project is an innovative urban agriculture project starting up in Northeast London's Kipps Lane community.  The goal is to distribute fresh produce to local residents in the community.  
 
The Veggie City project incorporates aspects of  Community Shared Agriculture (CSA), with a garden-share-on-unused-backyard-space program, and a work training program for young people.

Area residents who have space for a vegetable garden and also want fresh produce, register to allow their space be gardened and  also pay $125 for a share in the produce grown through the season at the various gardens involved in the project. The $125 CSA share is less than a share would be on a farm-based CSA because the resident/shareholder's own land is being used.   

Garden work is being done by young people who live in the community.  They will be in each garden twice per week.  They will gain real world work skills like marketing and contracting, as well as physical gardening skills, to help them find jobs in future.

Produce grown will be brought to a central location and shareholders will pick up their weekly bounty once a week.  If there is extra produce it will be sent to a local foodbank operating out of the Life Resource Centre on Huron Street. Once a month Veggie City will participate at the Northeast Community Market on Kipps Lane and sell produce there.

This neighbourhood project brings together people who might not have met each other. Experienced neighbourhood gardeners are helping teach organic gardening skills to the young gardeners, and neighbours lending their yards are meeting each other too. Local organizations and businesses are pitching in enthusiastically in quite varied ways.

Everyone involved is learning that there are links between simple neighbourhood gardens, urban agriculture on a scale to feed cities, and economic and environmental sustainability.

Partners in this Project include: City of London, Fearnlea Flowers Ltd., Fire Roasted Coffee Company, Home Depot Canada Foundation, Life Resource Centre, London InterCommunity Health Centre, London Training Centre, Middlesex London Health Unit, LUSO Community Services, Tim Hortons, TLC Professional Landscaping, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

If you live in the Kipps Lane area and want more information about participation, or if you want to find out more details about the Veggie City project and how such a project is run, contact Tosha Densky, Youth Co-ordinator with Neighbourhood and Children's Services at tdensky@london.ca    There's a blog at http://londonveggiecity.blogspot.com

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Healthy Eating to get Easier in Westminster Park

London has many organizations and City departments that work together on projects to help Londoners have affordable, healthy food.

On Sunday, June 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Westminster Park Neighbourhood will hold its first farmers' market in a parking lot on the corner of southdale and Adelaide Streets.  Weather permitting, the outdoor market will be held weekly until around Thanksgiving.

This is a joint project of the Child and Youth Network, Investing in Children and residents of the Westminster Park area, helped by David Cook, owner of Fire Roasted Coffee and the force behind the Western Fair and Masonville farmers' markets. 

Westminster Park does not have a store that sells fresh fruit or fresh vegetables, keys to healthy eating and - it is hoped - reduction of childhood obesity and diabetes.  This project will be a first step to changing Westminster Park's designatioin as a "food desert", a neighbourhood where there is a "disadvantaged population" and no access to affordable groceries.

Westminster area does have a community garden located at Westminster Optimist Park. The garden is a partnership of the City of London through LCRC, the Southdale Caplaincy, UWO, Neighbourhood Resource Assn of Westminster Park, Wilton Grove Senior Public School and St. Francis Catholic School. This garden began in 2009. For information about plot availability, call the London Community Resource Centre at 519-432-1801 or email lcrc@lcrc.on.ca

2 news items related to this are:
June 6/11       London Free Press: http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2011/06/06/18246341.html
May 26/11    The Londoner:  Westminster Park won't be a "food desert" any longer, at least for this summer.   http://www.thelondoner.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3137108

EcoVox TV launching series on Rogers Cable

Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m. beginning June 8, 2011

WATER! is the first episode in a new TV series highlighting environmental topics -  from walking and biking, to giving up bottled water, growing a vegetable garden to buying local, this show is a natural extension of the EcoVox magazine launched in the fall of 2009.

Maryanne MacDonald of Waste Free World London and EcoVox environment journal was asked by Rogers Cable TV to bring us the stories of inspiring Londoners who have taken action to reduce their impact on the earth. She'll be speaking with Londoners who are passionate about protecting the environment and are willing to share their knowledge. 

Rogers Cable Schedule:  http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=1&rid=9
EcoVox London: www.ecovoxlondon.com

Amazing Tree Quest

The Amazing Tree Quest is a city-wide contest to celebrate the important role that trees play in our lives. London is proud to be the Forest City, and our city is full of amazing trees. The contest allows you to nominate trees located in London, Ontario. This year, you can enter a tree, tree-inspired art, or a video. Click "Enter to Win" in the left menu to enter your tree or video.


Further information and a great video about the trees of 2010's Amazing Tree Quest: http://reforestlondon.ca/londons-amazing-tree-quest.

Old East Common is Oasis of Green for East London

On May 27/11 residents of Old East London celebrated the neighbourhood's new recreational green space.

Old East Heritage District residents and LIFE*SPIN initiated the project in 2006 and have been assisted by ReForest London, which planted 19 trees; Beal Secondary students who built a garden shed with materials donated by David Tulett, Marc Corriveau Construction and Home Depot; and Gabriele Sanio of Micro Environments who donated her time and expertise to the landscape design.  A donor wall acknowledges community members' help, and complements the gardens.

Ontario Street, just north of Dundas Street - Look for the Oasis!

For further information:  LIFE*SPIN   (www.lifespin.org) Tel: (519) 438-8676    Email: life@execulink.com

 

London Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy - funds available - deadline June 12, 2011

London's Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy (LSNS) supports community gardens because they are places that connect individuals to each other and to their neighbourhoods, and because shared gardens are green spaces that add to the beauty of our city.  The LSNS year end report*, accepted at Council in April 4, 2011 included ideas to do with increasing the number of community gardens. 

Aligning with this, the Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy group has some funds available to support community projects (not just for community gardens!). 

Think up a great idea to strengthen your neighbourhood and take a look at the requirements page at the SPARKS link to see if you and your group are eligible: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Community_Vitality/Neighbourhoods/SPARKS.htm

- the explanation of the project seems pretty clear, and there is contact information if you have questions
- applications must be sent in by "registered not-for profit groups" or other ad-hoc groups "in partnership" with a registered not-for-profit.  There is an explanation given for how to form a partnership.
- deadline for application is June 10/11
- this is a "matching funds" project, but that doesn't mean your group has to make its contribution in cash. It sounds like - for example  ....  if a group wanted $4,000 for a project, the group could submit in its proposed budget that it had $250.00 donated, plus $750.00 worth of donated materials, plus $1,000 worth of volunteer time lined up; the group's application would be for $2,000 money.

*The LSNS first year report can be found on the CNC agenda of March 29/11, agenda item 19.  Go to url http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/meetingpackages.htm This will take you to the new PDF formatted agenda and items.

Full information about the London Strengthening Neighbourhoods Strategy (LSNS) is found at: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Community_Vitality/Neighbourhoods/Strengthening_Strategy/default.htm

Vacant Lot Gardening Association 1918 ... London Ontario 2011 +

Many Canadians today do not know what 'rationing' was. During World War I and II resources like metals and paper, and food, were available in limited quantities in Canada; people were only allowed a certain number of eggs per month, or a certain amount of butter or flour. Food grown on farms was shipped overseas from Canada to feed Canadian soldiers, and there were fewer male agricultural workers around. Food production had to make changes. Growing fresh food in cities - like right here in London - was the logical thing to do. City-grown food helped feed cities.  Gardens were grown not just in people's backyards, but were on land adjacent to many local companies.  In London, gardens were organized through committees in the (then) 4 wards of the city. 

The London (Ontario) Advertiser of June 11, 1918 reported:

"Nearly 500 lots are being cultivated this year under the direction of the London Vacant Lot Gardening Association. Practically all the vacant land in the city has been utilized. ... The smallest number of lots being cultivated in any one ward this year is more than twice the number planted in all four wards last year ... Plans are already being discussed for making the campaign next year even more successful ... Efficient work has been accomplished by Ald. S.R. Manness, F.R. Watkinson, W.A. Wilson and L.S. Holmes, as chairmen of the four wards, with the assistance of their committees. ... About 175 lots have been secured in Ward 3 by Ald. Watkinson. In addition to this the employees of many of the large firms in the east end are cultivating land supplied by the companies. Street railway employees are planting twelve acres with potatoes; McClary employees are gardening about ten acres; the McCormick Manufacturing Company has donated nearly seven acres for the use of their employees; Beatty Bros.' employees have a large tract in Chelsea Green, which they are farming in an effort to beat the Hun and the high cost of living. The weather so far has been favorable for the amateur gardeners, and the crops are all doing well. Many have been supplying their tables with home-grown lettuce, radishes, etc., for some time, and this fall will see numerous cellars full of potatoes and other vegetables."
 
Now we are in 2011.  Over the next few years there is going to be a tremendous increase in the number of people who have home vegetable gardens, or who garden in a shared garden. Certainly some of this will come as people realize the cost savings and health factors of fresh, organic food. But other interest will come we recognize the environmental costs and financial cost increases of fossil fuel used for transportation, and what are called agricultural inputs (synthetic fertilizer and pesticides). Home gardens and urban farming will develop to ease the stress on individuals and communities as fuel prices go up and climate change becomes even more evident.

Over the next few years there will be a great increase in the number of shared gardens in London; their locations, set-ups and reasons for being will be shaped by gardeners, neighbourhoods and evolving community need and awareness.  Projects arising from the recent Community Gardens Program Review and the implementation of the Food (Security) Charter for the City will interweave as people get together on projects to do with their concerns in food issues and food growing.  Exciting times!

[Right now, here in London, there is an established community garden program. It has expanded over the last years and has a waiting list for its 600 plots. To reserve a plot, see www.lcrc.on.ca

Seeds of Survival program of the Unitarian Service committee - sustaining life, securing livelihood

The gardens we have at our homes and that we share with others in our neighbourhoods are part of the worldwide network of gardens and small farms in communities.  Your care for your own garden and for the Earth is a gift to yourself and others.  Don't underestimate this. 

The Unitarian Service Committee (http://usc-canada.org/) projects nurture farmers and the Earth.  Its Seeds of Survival (SoS) programs work to "promote long-term food security for marginal farming communities in developing countries. It stresses the importance of using time-tested farmer knowledge and practices, limiting the need for external farming methods that are often incompatible with local growing conditions.  The first objective of SoS is to ensure a secure source of food and livelihood for small-scale farmers without losing the resource base essential for sustaining it. The second, and equally important goal is to promote crop diversity."

SoS programs encourage young people to farm, promote gender equality, encourage biodiversity and innovation within traditional knowledge systems, and respect the knowledge of farmers in their communities. 

If you'd like to learn more ... http://usc-canada.org/what-we-do/sos/

Urban Farming Steps to the Future

Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  With two acres and 6 greenhouses right in the middle of the City, it teaches young people to grow food and sells the healthy produce to the surrounding community.  It's pretty amazing and the best thing is to check out its website at: www.growingpower.org.

Growing Power was just awarded $450,000 to build 150 hoop houses (a type of plastic tent greenhouse) on vacant land within the city.  150 people will be trained and employed to work in these neighbourhood farms over the next three years.  Growing Power will have to raise even more to do the project right, but founder Will Allen is confident in the program and its precedent for green jobs: "“We can find this money. The low overall cost for the benefits the program will bring – both in terms of creating jobs and providing fresh, nutritious food for urban families – will hopefully be a powerful formula for success.”

reference article: Growing Power Initiative to create 150 new jobs aimed at African American males
from:  Milwaukee Courier newspaper, 16 April 2011
http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2011/04/16/growing-power-initiative-to-create-150-new-jobs-aimed-at-african-american-males/

London's Community Gardens Program Review

London's Community Gardens Program Review was accepted at City Council, Monday, April 4, 2011. The review was attached to the Community and Neighbourhood's Committee report of its Tues. March 29/11 meeting. The report can be found at: http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%209.pdf

The London's Community Gardens Program Review states that the Municipality of London wants to support community gardens in London and it makes 14 recommendations toward the practical development of a "Potential Vision" for London's Community Gardens Program.  This vision is stated as:  "To create a city-wide sustainable community gardens program that nurtures neighbourhoods and the people of London."   

If you want to ask a question or make a comment, get in touch with Cheryl Smith, manager, community partnerships and funding for the Community Services department for London (519 661-2500-5880, email: csmith@london.ca).  Or, get in touch with Community Gardens London (communitygardenslondon@execulink.com).  We are neither City Hall, nor involved with management of community gardens in London, but we do care about community gardening and will help answer or direct your questions/comments as we can. 

Council and Committee agendas are found at page: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Meetings/Default/meetingpackages.htm

Food Charter for the City of London

The Food Charter for the City of London was also accepted at Council on April 4.   This document, is found at: http://council.london.ca/meetings/CNC%20Agendas/2011-03-29%20Agenda/Item%2020.pdf .

 

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