People’s Food Policy Project

Resetting the Table

This week on Terra Informa, we’re talking strategy. Listen in to hear why guests like Ecoholic Body author Adria Vasil are asking us to reset the way we think about the cosmetics we buy, where our food comes from, and how forests rebuild after a fire. Then we’ve got you covered with this week’s environmental events.

Download this week’s episode.


Jill Johnstone (far right) joins in an intrepretive dance demonstration of boreal forest succession after forest fires.

Susan Roberts on People’s Food Policy

“When Canadians sit down to their evening meal tonight, two key ingredients will be missing: a coherent national food policy in the public interest, and active participation in the food system.” That’s a quote from “Resetting the Table: A People’ Food Policy for Canada”

The People’s Food Policy is the first Canadian policy to be advanced based on food sovereignty principles — an approach where food is viewed as a foundation for healthy lives, communities, economies and ecosystems.
Correspondent Kathryn Lennon spoke with Susan Roberts in November 2011 about food sovereignty, food systems change, and the need for a national food policy. Susan is a coordinator for Growing Food Security in Alberta, and a steering committee member of Food Secure Canada.

Effects of climate change on forest fires

Like us, you’ve probably been watching the recent forest fires in Australia with a mixture of awe and caution. Have you ever wondered how fires change the forests they burn, though? Or how that might change now that climate change is driving fires to come more often, and get more intense? Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached University of Saskatchewan ecologist Jill Johnstone in Yukon last summer to ask her about her research studying fire in forests there. She explained how climate change is making fire a disruptor of boreal forests, rather than a regenerator.

More on this story: Slideshow – A Sensitive Slope: Forest recovery after fire in a changing climateyourYukon article on Jill Johnstone’s researchSlideshow – Once burned, Twice shyJill Johnstone’s Northern Plant Ecology Lab cookbook

Adria Vasil on Ecoholic series

Adria Vasil, an environmental journalist and author of the best-selling Eco-holic series, has been a vocal advocate for a healthier environment for more than two decades. After witnessing the Exxon Valdez oil spill as a child, Vasil has dedicated much of her life to investigating the enormous environmental costs of corporate malpractice. But in 2004 her career took a distinctly different path when she began writing a column in ‘Now! Magazine’, one of Toronto’s Alternative Weekly’s. The column, offering tips on how people can become mobilized to help the environment through the products that they purchase and the daily decisions that they make, has spawned into three books in the now best selling Eco-holic series that covers everything from the most environmentally friendly cosmetics on the market to how to detoxify your house.  To find out more, Terra Informa’s Matt Hirji spoke with Vasil about  her career in environmental advocacy and how  her latest book, ‘Eco-holic Body’, plays into her fight for a more sustainable Earth. In this interview she explains that being conscious of the products that we consume fits within a larger paradigm of advocating for a cleaner, healthier environment.

More on this story: Ecoholic book series, Adria Vasil’s column in NOW Magazine

What’s Happening

Building Resilient Communities through Forestry Management
From January 16 to 18, the who’s who of environmentalists, first nations, and government representatives will be speaking at a conference on building resilient communities through community based forest management. This conference is happening at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn in Sault St. Marie, Ontario If you are interested in developing a research plan to counter forest management issues, sharing your own experiences, and networking with other Canadians, then make sure to register for this event. Tickets are $120 and include meals and banquet.

More information: How to register.

The Economics of Happiness
On January 19, documentary film The Economics of Happiness will be screened at beach business hub in Toronto. This documentary explores the two opposing forces of localization and globalization, as well as provides practical solutions for creating a sustainable economy. Author and director of the film, Helena Norberg-Hodge has received recognition for her groundbreaking contributions to the new economy movement, making this a must see.

More information: Reservations for the screening.

Creating (and Using) Your Fundraising Plan
This all-day workshop is happening on January 25th, at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto. The workshop is designed for grass-roots and non-profit organizations to understand how to raise and manage money. Like anything else in life, fundraising works better if you have a plan — and even better if you follow it. The registration cost is $100 per person and includes a full day of instruction, lunch, refreshments and handouts.

More information: How to register.

Invasive Species Art Competition
Artists are invited to create two-dimensional artworks of any archival media in the themes of biodiversity and/or invasive species for the Invasive Species Centre’s juried art competition.
There are cash prizes and the final date for submissions is February 8th. To register, and for more information, complete the registration form online and email the form and digital image of your artwork to programs@invasivespeciescentre.ca.

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Food Security Special

This week Terra Informa comes to you from the kitchen! As we cook up our dinner we look into the origins of the ingredients we’re using and the environmental impacts of our food choices. But that’s not all! We will also look into the debate over community supported agriculture as well as delving deeper into the People’s Food Policy Project.

Download this week’s show.

Dave, Steve, Rebecca, and Kathryn gather for their home cooked sustainable meal.

Stone Soup Recipe!

Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 cups onions, 3 cloves garlic, 2 carrots, 2 cups sweet potato, 2 tomatoes, 1 bell pepper, 1 stalk celery, 1 cup corn, 1/2 cup dry quinoia, 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, 1 pinch cinnamon, 1 pinch cayenne, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp dried basil, 2 tsp paprika, 1 bay leaf, 4 cups water

Directions: 1. Chop the veggies, 2. Heat the oil and add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and sweet potato to saute for 5-7 minutes, 3. Add salt and saute another 5 minutes, 4. Add herbs and spices, quinoia and water and simmer for 15 minutes, 5. Add tomato, bell pepper, corn and chickpeas and simmer covered for 10 more minutes or until veggies are tender, 6. Adjust herbs and spices to taste and serve warm!

Community Supported Agriculture: Under the CSA model of farming, community members buy shares in a farm’s crop at the beginning of the season. Then throughout the summer, usually once a week, they receive a basket of produce, and what comes in that basket just depends on what happens to be in season. Members of the CSA get food that’s incredibly fresh, it many cases organically grown, and which has a small carbon footprint because it’s grown close to where they live. Plus they’re supporting their local economy.

Today we talk to a group which has taken the CSA model and put a bit of a different spin on it. David Adler works with Off the Hook, a community supported fishery in Halifax, and he tells us why community support is so important to the local fishery.

People’s Food Policy Project: “When Canadians sit down to their evening meal tonight, two key ingredients will be missing: a coherent national food policy in the public interest, and active participation in the food system.” (from “Resetting the Table: A People’ Food Policy for Canada”)

The People’s Food Policy is the first Canadian policy to be advanced based on food sovereignty principles — an approach where food is viewed as a foundation for healthy lives, communities, economies and ecosystems. Over the course of two years, over 3500 Canadians participated in answering the questions:  what would you like to see changed about the food system, and what recommendations would you make to the federal government? Their ideas and opinions were combined with documentation backed up by research, and distilled down to ten themes, to create a final document called  “Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada”. Correspondent Kathryn Lennon speaks with Susan Roberts about food sovereignty, food systems change, and the need for a national food policy. Susan is a coordinator for Growing Food Security in Alberta, and a steering committee member of Food Secure Canada.

More on this story:Via Campesina, The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food (a book by Wayne Roberts)

News:

Salmon virus spreads to four species in British Columbia: Several different species of salmon in B.C. have tested positive for an infectious salmon anemia. Alexandra Morton, a biologist in B.C. who collected the fish from the Harrison River, has stated that the nature of the discovery is concerning. Certain strains of infectious salmon anemia are capable of killing around 90% of infected fish.

More on this story: CTV, Vancouver Sun

Green belt around Montreal: Experts in environmental and urban planning issues signed a declaration which demands creation of a protected green belt around the Montreal region. These experts were aiming their message at Montreal Metropolitan Community politicians who will be amending the Land Use and Development Plan for greater Montreal soon.

More on this story: Montreal Gazette

Alberta to hold discussions on scarce water resources: In Alberta, StatOil, a Norwegian based energy company, has been fined $190,000 for breaking the terms of its water license issued under the Alberta Water Act. StatOil’s license allowed for the diversion of up to 10,000 cubic meters, but provincial estimates show that the project likely used upwards of 13,500 cubic meters.

More on this story: MSN Video, Edmonton Journal, CBC, Canoe

Improvements to wastewater treatment plant in Ontario: Plans to improve a wastewater treatment plant in the Halton region have been announced which will help protect Lake Ontario. These plans will ensure that the wastewater reaching the lake will continue to meet high standards, while still maintaining safe and efficient treatment of wastewater.

More on this story: Inside Halton

Canadian Wheat Board versus Harper government: The Canadian Wheat Board has ramped up efforts recently to combat the Harper government’s attempts to abolish the Board. On Friday, the Wheat Board announed a $1.4 million television ad campaign to entice supporters of the Prairie Provinces sole marketer of wheat and barley. The federal government says that by next summer farmers will be able to sell their own wheat and barley to which ever market they choose.

More on this story: CTV, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun