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Des cafétérias scolaires au N.-B. procurent un débouché aux agriculteurs

Radio-Canada – Mise à jour le lundi 9 décembre 2013 à 18 h 46 HNA
Cafétéria

Un nouveau type de cafétéria scolaire, qui promeut des produits locaux, a été inauguré lundi après-midi à Grande-Digue, au Nouveau-Brunswick. Les cafétérias qui sont membres du réseau des cafétérias communautaires du District scolaire francophone Sud proposeront dans leur menu un bon nombre de produits cultivés localement. Certains agriculteurs au Nouveau-Brunswick devront s’adapter pour répondre à une demande accrue pour leurs produits. La Ferme Michaud, à Bouctouche, notamment, prévoit que ses ventes vont augmenter de 10 % en raison des activités du réseau. La présidente de la société qui gère les cafétérias mise sur des partenariats avec des intérêts locaux pour maintenir les prix au même niveau. « C’est sûr que les matières premières sont un peu plus chères parce qu’on achète des produits de très haute qualité. »— Suzanne Gagnon, présidente du Réseau des cafétérias communautaires du District scolaire francophone Sud. Vingt écoles font partie du nouveau réseau. Cinq autres écoles s’y ajouteront dès septembre prochain.

School cafeterias look to local food

CBC News, December 9th, 2013

A New Brunswick local-food group is revamping what kids are eating in cafeterias at 20 francophone schools. Réseau des cafétérias communautaires runs the project and brings homemade and local food to cafeteria menus. At École Grande-Digue, which is north of Shediac, N.B., cafeteria staff are proud of what they make for the students. “We know exactly what goes into the food,” said Nadine Richard, a cook at the school. “It’s not prepackaged, it’s not a lot of preservatives in it or anything like that. It’s all homemade food.” On the menu Monday was whole wheat spaghetti and homemade meat sauce with beef from a local farm. The vegetables and fruit are from local growers whenever possible. The cafeteria network group started two years ago in one school. It has expanded 20 of 36 schools in the francophone south school district. The goal is not to make profit, said Suzanne Gagnon, the president of the organization. “We’re helping out all the communities in general,” she said. “Not just the farmers, not just the kids: everyone is profiting from this.” André Allain’s farm has supplied about 4,500 kilograms of potatoes and carrots to schools this year. “I think it was a great concept, a really great concept,” he said. “It’s going to help every little farmer around.”

N.B. food banks reap the harvest of farm-fresh veggies

Gleaning is seeing a resurgence in North America as food security groups look to reduce food waste and help deliver fresh food to those in need. Learn how volunteers in Kent County rescued seven tons of fruits and vegetables for their local food banks.

Read more: New Brunswick food banks reap the harvest of farm-fresh veggies

Des bénévoles du comté de Kent glanent des légumes pour les banques alimentaires du N-B

Le glanage est une pratique ancienne qui renaît en Amérique du Nord alors que les promoteurs de la sécurité alimentaire cherchent à réduire le gaspillage et à offrir des produits frais aux nécessiteux. Trouvez comment les bénévoles du Réseau de la sécurité alimentaire de Kent ont cueilli plus de sept tonnes de légumes pour leur banques alimentaires en 2013.

Lien : Des bénévoles du comté de Kent glanent des légumes pour les banques alimentaires du Nouveau-Brunswick

The Table CFC’s Core Foods initiative

Most days, The Table faced two challenges: having to accept donations of poor-quality food from well-meaning people, and trying to find ways to provide adequate information about the healthy food they did have to encourage community members to try it. “I had to beg the people to take the squash, I had to personally guarantee that it was good” . That’s how Good Food Bank coordinator Wendy Quarrington describes her first year at The Table Community Food Centre in Perth. Most days, The Table faced two challenges: having to accept donations of poor-quality food from well-meaning people, and trying to find ways to provide adequate information about the healthy food they did have to encourage community members to try it. Quickly, Quarrington and her team started trying to think of what it would take to make the food bank a healthier place. Changes to the floorplan, for sure, and to the types of information included in volunteer training. More nutritional information communicated in less intimidating ways. Food samples. And, most importantly, more healthy food. They began developing a list of Core and Non-Core Foods as a guide, prioritizing judgement-free language. The list was developed in consultation with several health professionals — the way the team saw it, the list could inform the organization’s food choices and philosophy, and serve as a starting point for conversations both within and outside the CFC.

The Table now highlights Core Foods in several ways. Quarrington works with Coordinator Rosie Kerr and the Seniors’ Cooking Group to feature sample plates of community meals at the food bank’s reception desk to give community members the chance to ask questions about particular ingredients, recipes and dishes, and encourage users of the food bank to go upstairs for a meal. The Table’s Good Food Bank operates on a shop format: community members are given a certain number of points per visit, which they can spend on the items they need. (Core Foods carry a lower point count, which means community members who choose Core Foods can take home a larger quantity of food than if they choose Non-Core Foods.) The new plan, which will be fully in place by 2014, also involves reorganizing the space so Core Foods like fresh produce and whole grains are the first thing people when they see when they enter. The volunteers who help community members with their shop help provide with everything from how to read labels to describing how unfamiliar foods taste to sharing recipe ideas and storage tips.Quarrington understands that the education has to occur in the community as well. “When Kraft Dinner goes on sale at the supermarket, we get a parade of people coming in with boxes of KD. An important part of this initiative is working to educate everyone about the full cost of poor food choices on a community. People who live in poverty use the healthcare system more often. Healthy whole foods make a huge a difference to people’s health.” The Table has found an important supporter in Matt Barnabe, the owner of a local independent grocery store. Barnabe has committed to highlighting the items The Table needs by placing their “A Favourite of The Table’s Good Food Bank” flags beside the items in the store. He hopes this will help The Table receive healthier donations, and also help to get the wider community thinking about healthy food.

“As of January, 70% of what we offer will be Core Foods and 30% will be Non-Core,” says Quarrington. “Our board has committed to providing funding to ensure we can meet those targets. It’s important because it means participants will know what they’ll get, instead of arriving and having to make do with what’s there.” The Table is conscious not only of what kind of food they offer, but also where it comes from. Wherever possible, she tries to source purchased food from local producers. She buys beef from a local farmer, and squash, green beans, cucumbers from other producers. “We make a conscious effort to buy local whenever possible. This way we can value our farmers’ contributions to our community,” says Quarrington. “I don’t want to live in a small rural Ontario town that doesn’t have any farmers.” It’s by advocating that holistic view of the food system — one that considers producers and consumers of all incomes — that The Table believes can make real change in a community. And that change is already showing: healthy food donations now account for 75% of total food donations, compared with 45% – 50% in 2012.

Les meilleurs aliments pour les dons alimentaires

10 décembre 2013, SOS Cusine
Top10 dons alimentaires sur le blog de SOSCuisine

C’est le temps des dons alimentaires et la liste des produits non périssables dont les banques alimentaires ont besoin pour aider les familles dans le besoin est malheureusement très longue. On y retrouve des aliments de base tel que la farine, le sucre, l’huile, le riz, les céréales à déjeuner, les légumes en conserve, et plusieurs autres. Vous pouvez évidemment choisir des gâteries et des aliments plus chers que les familles défavorisées ne peuvent pas se permettre. Si vous voulez donner des aliments nourrissants qui se conservent longtemps, voici une liste élaborée par des nutritionnistes:

  1. Légumineuses en conserve  : Très nourrissantes et soutenantes, elles peuvent être cuisinées de mille et une façon. Nous proposons plus qu’une centaine de recettes faciles et goûteuses. Et vous n’aurez que l’embarras du choix du type: Lentilles, pois chiches, haricots noirs, rouges ou blancs, etc.
  2. Poissons en conserve : Les poissons et fruits de mer en conserve sont des aliments riches en protéines et qui contiennent des bons gras (oméga 3, notamment). Saumon, sardine, hareng, palourde et maquereau. Pensez à en offrir plusieurs variétés! Si vous choisissez du thon, consultez d’abord la liste Classement du thon durable 2013, publiée par Greenpeace afin de savoir quel type a le moindre impact environnemental.
  3. Soupes en conserve : Il existe un grand choix de soupes en commerce, mais elles sont en générale très salées. Faites attention à choisir des versions moins salées.
  4. Pâtes alimentaires et sauce pour pâtes : Aliment de dépannage par excellence, les pâtes se conservent très longtemps. Celles de blé entier sont plus nourrissantes et rassasiantes. Quant à la sauce ou aux tomates en conserves évitez les contenants en verre qui ne sont pas acceptés dans les guignolées à cause des risques de bris. Vous trouverez des centaines de recettes de pâtes ici.
  5. Beurre d’arachide et d’amande : Ils sont excellents au déjeuner ou à la collation, riches en protéines et en fibres alimentaires. Préférez le type naturel et crémeux.
  6. Craquelins : Il en existe de multiples types dans le commerce. Choisissez ceux qui sont plus riches en fibres et qui n’ont pas trop de gras ou sel ajoutés.
  7. Fruits en conserve et purées de fruits : Alternatives intéressantes aux fruits frais, choisissez ceux qui n’ont pas de sucre ajouté.
  8. Céréales à déjeuner : Préférez les sortes qui contiennent des grains entiers en premier ingrédient. Par portion, elles devraient contenir: plus de 3 g de fibres, environ 3 g de protéines, moins de 3 g de gras, moins de 5 g de sucres.
  9. Préparations pour nourrissons : Les préparations pour nourrissons sont un aliment coûteux, fort apprécié par les familles plus démunies.
  10. Lait à longue conservation : Si vous décidez de donner du lait, choisissez celui qui se conserve à température ambiante, ou des substituts tels que les boissons de soya, riz ou amandes.

Petit plus pour les canadiens : N’oubliez pas que vous pouvez utiliser la fonction  »Recherche avancée » dans l’onglet ‘Recettes’ sur le site internet, afin de trouver des recettes à moins de 1$!

Food swapping: a fast way to free, homegrown food

Food swap in Altrincham

Food-swapping events are a brilliant way to get rid of gluts, show off your baking skills or just meet like-minded locals.  I’m worried about my coconut milk caramels. Inside their paper twists, they look like small, soft brown slugs and no one wants them. There is interest in my marmalade, honeycomb, blackcurrant pastilles and flapjacks though. Even the sludgy-looking spicy blackberry chutney has attracted some offers. Meanwhile, my bid card for the caramels remains blank. I’m at my local community centre in Altrincham, near Manchester, where the Apples for Eggs food swap is celebrating its two-year anniversary in a frenzy of cinnamon buns, fruit leather and homemade pesto. The idea is simple: three times a year, when there is a lot of produce about, members meet to swap homemade, grown or foraged food. No money changes hands, and it’s accepted that everything’s been made in a home kitchen. Swapping has proved popular as a way to absorb gluts, get hold of unusual varieties of produce and meet like-minded locals.

When founder Vicky Swift set up the group in 2011, she was joining a growing international movement. “We had an allotment, with the usual gluts,” she says. “I was thinking: ‘Maybe there’s something I can do with all this food.’ My other half, Jim, said: ‘Why don’t you just swap it?'” Organising individual swaps via Facebook had limited success. “I researched food exchanging, and came across the LA Food Swap. They have guidelines for setting swaps up, so we gave it a go.” Apples for Eggs now has 159 registered swappers and events in York, Ormskirk, Henley and Stoke, with Brampton in Cumbria the newest swap. There are many similar events across the UK (find them atfoodswapnetwork.com) and in Brazil, Denmark, France and the Netherlands.

Homemade jellies and syrups. Photograph: PRAt the community centre, bids are being made. Here, your produce is your currency, and swappers are cruising the room, noting their interest by filling in bid cards at the 15 different stands before the big exchange starts. I am hopeless at growing anything so I’m offering homemade sweets and bakes, and hoping to take green stuff home. It’s not looking bad.

Martin Dolce is offering “anything” – within reason, I expect – for a bag of blackcurrant pastilles. And Sarah Walmsley has got a kilo of tomatoes for a stack of my salt caramel flapjacks. But these are expressions of interest, not promises. Dolce (whose runner beans I covet) explains that when it’s time to swap, you’ve got to move fast. “The first time I was forewarned that it would get a bit frantic. I thought: ‘I’m a businessman, I can handle it.’ I didn’t know what was going on and I missed the choice stuff. Now I proactively go and grab something I like: you want that, I’ve got that, boom. The first five minutes are crucial.”

According to Swift, Altrincham was an unusual location: “It’s not necessarily a home produce-y place,” she says. “Friends said I should do it somewhere a bit more right-on. But I’ve made some great friends, and found all sorts of other community projects.” Specialist knowledge is exchanged alongside produce. “It’s lovely to seek advice from locals, rather than referring to a recipe book or a celebrity expert,” Swift says. “There are experts in our community who really know their stuff.” Swapping isn’t for everyone. Nicki Jones, whose stand is loaded with cakes still warm from the oven, loves it, but adds: “This would be my mother’s worst nightmare. She couldn’t bear the thought of having anyone else’s things.” Happily, this ick factor isn’t much in evidence today – the focus is on getting a good swap. Fired up by Dolce’s advice, when the frenzy descends I make a beeline for my top picks. I miss out on a few things, but after some friendly but determined bartering I go home with apples, raspberries, muffins, pesto, chard, garlic, eggs, rowanberry and apple jelly, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, sausage rolls, runner beans and biscuits, which seems ample reward. And, miraculously, no coconut milk caramels: in the end, they all got swapped.

New project aims to grow “local, sustainable food economy”

(Source: Locavore News) The provincial government announced that it is joining with Food Matters Manitoba to implement a pilot project geared at helping break down barriers to buying locally grown food by government and non-government institutional purchasers. The province has invested $81,000 in the Local Sustainable Food Procurement Pilot Program. The first phase, developed by Local Food Plus in partnership with Food Matters Manitoba, will provide government with an understanding of how barriers to buying sustainable local foods influence current purchasing practices. The second and final phase of the LSFP will offer support to both farmers and purchasers.  Farmers will be educated on Local Food Plus certification regarding overall farm processes and organic certification.  Purchasers will receive guidance on how to source local sustainable items to add to their pantries and menus. Westman Journal story.

Achats institutionnels : une stratégie avant la fin de l’année

04 décembre 2013, par Yvon Laprade – Politique

Québec ira de l’avant avec une « stratégie » d’achat local qui touchera les hôpitaux et les institutions gouvernementales. « Cette stratégie sera dévoilée d’ici la fin de l’année », a déclaré le ministre de l’Agriculture, François Gendron, alors qu’il prenait la parole au 89e Congrès annuel de l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) devant 600 délégués et producteurs réunis à Québec. Il a ajouté : « Nous sommes à mettre une dernière touche à cette stratégie. Habituellement, je fais ce que je dis. La machine est en marche et ça fait du bien de le constater. » La veille, le président général de l’Union, Marcel Groleau, avait dit souhaiter que Québec aille de l’avant avec une politique visant à favoriser l’achat de produits locaux dans le secteur institutionnel. Un secteur qui a tardé, jusqu’à présent, à inclure des fournisseurs et des producteurs québécois.

Libre-échange

Le ministre Gendron, qui avait le verbe facile devant un auditoire attentif, a répété que son gouvernement était insatisfait de la façon dont l’accord de libre-échange avec l’Europe a été ratifié. Un accord qui pénalise les producteurs de fromages fins. Il a invité les producteurs à poser des questions au gouvernement Harper, et à son ministre délégué Maxime Bernier. « Dites-lui de se mouver et de se grouiller, et de casser sa cassette, a-t-il suggéré. Il faudrait qu’il soit plus éclairant. » Mais, de toute évidence, le ministre avait davantage envie de parler de ce qui va bien dans l’agriculture. « On a fait une étoile de bon bout de chemin! », a-t-il rappelé.

Buying local strategy for Quebec

(Source: Locavore News) Francois Gendron has just announced that before the end of this year, Quebec will move forward with a ‘buy local’ strategy targeted at hospitals and government institutions. Gendron, who is not pleased with the European Union free-trade deal as it will hurt Quebec fine-cheese makers, claims to be putting the final touches on the buy local strategy to strengthen the agriculture sector in Quebec. La Terre de chez nous story (in French).

Premium farm products demand likely to increase: economist

(Source: Locavore News) Consumer interest in local food and better nutrition is likely to increase the demand for premium products from the farm, such as functional foods, omega-3 eggs and gluten-free items, says a food price forecaster. Sylvain Charlebois, a University of Guelph economist, says in his annual food price index that prices are expected to rise marginally next year. Meat, grain and vegetable prices could rise up to two per cent, with increases in fruit and nut prices closer to one per cent. Owen Roberts post on FCC Express.

A Festival of Good Food Ideas

(Source: Locavore News) Well over 300 community food activists/organizations gathered over good food to share challenges, successes and outstanding accomplishments in building an equitable, local and healthy food system. This event took plate at l’Espace La Fontaine, the non-profit bistro & gallery in the heart of Parc La Fontaine. The diversity of actors present allowed for the creation of new ties between key actors of the movement working towards a healthy, just, accessible and sustainable food system for all across the country. Food Secure Canada post.

Bill to Promote Local Food Passes Final Vote

Ontario Committed to Supporting Farmers, Building Stronger Agri-food Industry

Ministry of Agriculture and Food

Ontario is moving forward to help promote the good things that are grown, harvested and processed in Ontario with today’s passage of the Local Food Act, 2013. The new legislation is part of a strategy to build Ontario’s economy by making more local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants. This will create jobs and expand the province’s agri-food sector. The new legislation — the first of its kind in Canada — will increase local food awareness, and boost sales by setting local food goals and targets in consultation with sector partners. The act will also create a non-refundable tax credit of 25 per cent for farmers who donate their surplus harvest to eligible community food programs such as food banks, and proclaim a Local Food Week that will take place annually, beginning the first Monday in June. Building a stronger agri-food industry is part of the government’s economic plan to support a dynamic and innovative business climate, invest in people and invest in infrastructure.

Quick Facts

  • The Local Food Act will also require the government to produce an annual local food report on its activities to support local food.
  • The province’s agri-food sector contributes approximately $34 billion to the economy and supports more than 740,000 jobs across Ontario.
  • The province’s farmers produce more than 200 commodities, including fruits, vegetables, livestock, dairy, poultry, grains and oilseeds. Food processors in Ontario purchase about two-thirds of the food that is produced on the province’s farms.
  • Ontario’s Local Food Fund is part of a $30 million investment from the province to create jobs and support innovative local food projects over the next three years.

Adoption en dernière lecture du projet de loi faisant la promotion des aliments locaux

L’Ontario s’engage à aider les agriculteurs et à renforcer l’industrie agroalimentaire

ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation

L’Ontario va de l’avant en contribuant à promouvoir les bons produits qui poussent, et qui sont récoltés et transformés en Ontario avec l’adoption aujourd’hui de la Loi de 2013 sur les aliments locaux. Cette nouvelle loi s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une stratégie visant à développer l’économie en faisant en sorte que les aliments locaux soient plus facilement disponibles sur les marchés, dans les écoles, les cafétérias, les épiceries et les restaurants, ce qui permettra de créer plus d’emplois et de faire croître l’industrie agroalimentaire de la province. Cette nouvelle loi, la première du genre au Canada, permettra de mieux faire connaître les aliments locaux et d’augmenter les ventes en fixant des buts et des objectifs pour les aliments locaux en consultation avec des partenaires sectoriels. Créer un crédit d’impôt non remboursable de 25 % s’appliquant aux agriculteurs faisant don de leur récolte excédentaire à des programmes alimentaires communautaires admissibles comme des banques alimentaires, et elle va décréter une Semaine des aliments locaux qui se tiendra chaque année, à partir du premier lundi de juin. Renforcer l’industrie agroalimentaire s’inscrit dans le plan économique du gouvernement de contribuer à un climat des affaires dynamique et novateur, d’investir dans les personnes et d’investir dans les infrastructures.

Faits en bref

  • La Loi sur les aliments locaux exigera également que le gouvernement prépare un rapport annuel sur ses activités en appui aux aliments locaux.
  • Le secteur ontarien de l’agroalimentaire contribue près de 34 milliards de dollars à l’économie de la province et soutient plus de 740 000 emplois à l’échelle de l’Ontario.
  • Les agriculteurs de la province produisent plus de 200 produits de base, parmi lesquels des fruits, des légumes, des animaux d’élevage, des produits laitiers, de la volaille, des céréales et des oléagineux. Les entreprises de transformation alimentaire de l’Ontario achètent près de deux tiers des aliments produits dans les exploitations agricoles de la province.
  • Le Fonds de promotion des produits alimentaires locaux de l’Ontario fait partie d’un investissement provincial de 30 millions de dollars visant à créer des emplois et à soutenir des projets innovateurs de promotion des aliments locaux au cours des trois prochaines années.

Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

(Source: Locavore News) The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems will address interconnected environmental, social and economic challenges facing the global food system. Food systems are an effective lens for understanding and acting on some of the most pressing issues facing communities, including growing global food insecurity. Food can act as a vehicle for change. School snack programs that purchase fruit directly from local producers who use low impact farming methods make the connections amongst human, community, economic and ecological well being more explicit. Through food, citizens, practitioners, policy-makers and academics can grasp the importance of ecological stewardship, social justice, prosperous economies, participatory democracy and food security. Website.

St Michael’s Hospital Provides a “Market” for Local Food

(Source: Locavore News) As part of their project for the Local Food Challenge, 2013, for one day this past summer and again in October, they set up a market for their staff and visitors in their Marketeria and provided an opportunity to sample their chefs’ local, seasonal specials, then purchase some of those same ingredients to take home. Both days were hugely successful, as the before and after photos illustrate. A survey of visitors revealed 99% of attendees loved it and would attend again! The market days provided an opportunity to make the connection between the food coming from our farms to the cities they feed, and especially how institutions such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and daycares can make local work, everyday. Local Food Challenge post.

National Magazine Spotlights Vineyard Schools’ ‘Locavore’ Lunches

(Source: Locavore News) Martha’s Vineyard public school cafeteria staff, students and especially the Island Grown Initiative got a high-profile pat on the back this week from the tastemaking foodie magazine Bon Appetit. In an article posted Friday and titled “At These Public Schools, Cafeteria Food Is Healthy, Tasty—and Locavore,” Martha’s Vineyard is on a short list of seven school systems where students are eating locally-grown food in their campus cafeterias — and even growing their own. Martha’s Vineyard Patch story.

Local & Sustainable Food Systems Network 2nd annual meeting

(Source: Locavore News) More than 60 people converged on Montreal for the second annual meeting of the Local Sustainable Food Systems Network.  The event launched with a farm tour in Les Cèdres, on the banks of the St Lawrence River. Nineteen hardy souls braved the wind and frosty weather to listen to Daniel Brisebois of Ferme Tourne-Sol and Loïc Dewavrin of Ferme Longpres tell the stories of their respective farms. The innovative and communal models of each farm, combined with their commitment to ecological farming and regional food systems helped to frame and ground the next three days of meetings. Food Secure Canada post.

“Organic Farm School” Now Accepting 2014 Applications

December 5, 2013 ACORN

Sackville, NB – The Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN)’s Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship Program is now accepting applications for the 2014 season. “Collaborating with a diverse team of ten long-standing, certified-organic ‘host-farms’, this curriculum-guided, farm-based program offers 6-month intensive placements–from May to October–for people who are pursuing a career in organic agriculture,” states Lucia Stephen, Program Coordinator. Offering a dynamic mix of knowledge, skills, and community connections, the 2014 program will provide participants with a unique combination of field learning and “classroom” work.  Whether on or off the farm, teachings will explore both the practical and the more theoretical aspects of farming – ranging from soil fertility and marketing, to the importance of farm business planning.  Participants also benefit from attending regular farm-based workshops, field-tours and major ACORN events, including the Beginner Farmer Symposium (August 2014) and the annual 3-day organic farming Conference and Trade Show (November 2014).   “While formal schools can teach you the nuts and bolts about farming, it really is the experience of farming that will instill the depth of understanding that is required to know whether farming is right for you,” states Sara Burgess, 2013 Grow A Farmer apprentice. “My experience was great. From moving through the changes and needs of a demanding growing season, to networking with fellow young and long-standing growers, my participation in the Grow a Farmer program provided immense knowledge and direction for my future as a young farmer.” There’s no doubt about it, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, over 75% of Canadian farmers will face retirement within the next ten years, leaving a looming void in agricultural production and fertile farmland in need of succession. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of aspiring producers, keen to start their own farms, but who lack adequate agricultural education and farm experience. There is a strong need for comprehensive training and resources to help bridge this gap, though the key is in finding a suitable path to take. And learning from the best. Applications for the 2014 Grow A Farmer Apprenticeship Program are now posted on the Grow A Farmer website. For full details, please visitwww.growafarmer.ca.  Scholarships are available and people are encouraged to apply early as limited positions are available.

New green VAT system proposed to encourage sustainable consumption and production

(Source: Locavore News) A new economic tool designed to encourage sustainable production and consumption has been proposed in a recent study. To ensure that the environmental impact of products is reflected in their cost, the authors of the research recommend a system of green value added tax (VAT) based on life cycle assessment (LCA). Europe Science for the Environment post.

How Austerity’s “Relentless Drive to Deregulate” Impacts the Food on Our Plate

With food writer and Guardian investigative journalist Felicity Lawrence Rob explores how austerity measures are affecting what ends up on our plate. She talks about the re-emergence of slavery in the current food system, the impact of the huge slashing of trading standards budgets, and emerging real social justice problems. Click here to read the article.

Getting Canadian Farmers to Kick their Foreign Seed Addiction

By Karen Pinchin on October 24, 2013

Canadian farmers are in a pickle. They’ve become worryingly dependent on American and European seeds. As the climate changes, newly adapted pests and diseases are parrying farmers’ every move while government-funded research programs are being slashed. Decades ago, farmers’ primary weapon was the amazing diversity of plants: if one kind of wheat failed, plant another; if a bug attacked your potatoes, switch varieties. As in most other countries, these farmers now generally rely on multinational agricultural companies like Monsanto to supply a narrow range of the latest and greatest high-yield, drought-tolerant, tasty crops. According to Susan Walsh, executive director of the agricultural non-profit group USC Canada, those seeds, which are largely grown in the southern United States and Europe, aren’t adapted to the swiftly changing Canadian environment, and that could cause major problems down the road. Without a traditional arsenal of heritage genetics that can protect a country from crop failures, that puts Canada in a perilous position. “The assumption is that you need scientists to help figure crops out and farmers will buy according to their needs,” says Walsh. “But seeds are like children. They adapt to their soils and to their growing conditions. This is about not putting all your eggs in one basket, and largely the Canadian system has done that. If you don’t take precautions there is a chance you’re going to be caught out.” This delicate situation is why one of Canada’s wealthiest and most prominent families, the Westons, is funding a new five-year, $5-million effort to wean Canadian farmers off their dependency on American-and European-grown seeds and develop a better large-scale homegrown seed industry. The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security (named for founder Gretchen Bauta, daughter of W. Garfield and Rita Weston), which launched in February after a one-year pilot phase, will support a wide range of agricultural projects, from helping to build a new network of regional seed libraries to research on organic seed breeding. Like most North Americans, Canadians currently rely on four crops – wheat, maize, rice and potato – for 60 per cent of their daily calories. For Bauta, who was born during the Great Depression, the security of those four crops is paramount and why she decided to throw her support and millions of dollars from her family foundation behind the project. She says it is “frightening” that Canadian farmers aren’t growing their own seeds.

“We are undoubtedly feeding people, but at what cost?” “We are undoubtedly feeding people, but at what cost?” says Bauta, whose father, W. Garfield Weston, turned a family bakery into a hugely profitable baking and grocery empire. “The [goal] is to try to secure the future of our food system, basic foodstuffs, that will actually feed people in need. We can’t survive on lettuce and tomatoes. This is stuff for emergency fillings of the stomachs.” In order to secure a reliable food supply, Walsh says the development of seeds must not focus solely on yield but on diversity; where five kinds of wheat are grown she wants to see 50. In order to do this, one project aim is to build a permanent network of community seed libraries in every corner of the vast country, as well as an online database that will act like an online dating site, pairing famers with seeds that have the qualities, like disease resistance, that they need. There will also be a farmer support component that will provide training, market research, market development and a fund to help Canadian seed producers grow and supply increased quantities of viable, adapted seeds. If farmers aren’t planting a diverse repertoire, Walsh says the consequences could be dire. “If we’re going to survive climate change we have to really start paying attention. In the 1970s there was a blight in North American barley crops and it devastated everything,” says Walsh. It took the discovery of a resistant heirloom gene by an Ethiopian scientist to save the barley and Canada’s brewing industry. “It could have been like the potato famine, where farmers narrowed the genetic base so small that nothing could escape it. We never know when it might happen again.”

Identifier les forces et les défis reliés au mieux-être dans la région

IDRISSA DIAKITÉ, L’ É TOILE, novembre 11, 2013

 

Le Forum sur le mieux-être a réuni près d’une centaine de personnes, le jeudi 7 novembre à l’Hôtel du village de Rogersville.

L’objectif de ce Forum sur le mieux-être est, selon la conseillère en mieux-être de la région de Miramichi-Kent, Lucie Chiasson, de développer un plan d’action pour le mieux-être dans la région.

«Ce forum nous permettra d’identifier les forces et les faiblesses et comment réduire la marge entre les deux. Par la suite, un plan d’action sera mis en place où on pourra trouver des subventions pour des initiatives au niveau du mieux-être dans la région. Il est important de comprendre que le mieux-être est axé sur quelques piliers dont la vie sans tabac, l’activité physique, l’alimentation saine et la santé psychologique et la résilience», a mentionné Mme Chiasson. Plusieurs initiatives peuvent être mises en place à travers le Forum sur le mieux-être, a expliqué Mme Chiasson.

«On peut réaliser la mise en place d’un jardin communautaire, des programmes après classes, des cuisines collectives et d’autres projets peuvent cadrer avec les subventions que nous pouvons aller chercher dans le cadre du mieux-être. On recherche également la collaboration entre les communautés parce que des fois, une communauté peut apporter des idées qui peuvent intéresser d’autres communautés.» Différents participants ont parlé de l’expérience de leur communauté lors de ce forum sur le mieux-être. Rachel Schofield Martin, du Réseau des cafétérias communautaires a quant à elle parlé de l’importance de la collaboration des différents partenaires dans la région. «On a beau avoir un projet, mais on ne peut pas le mener à terme sans la collaboration avec différents partenaires. Nous, on a mis en place le projet du Réseau des cafétérias communautaires, qui est un organisme à but non lucratif. Cet organisme a pour but d’apporter une meilleure alimentation dans les écoles du District scolaire francophone Sud. On a présentement 20 écoles qui font partie du réseau et on a créé un partenariat avec la Récolte de chez nous. Ce qui est important aussi est qu’il y a deux ans, nous avons développé ce concept à Cocagne. L’objectif était d’apporter une meilleure qualité de nourriture aux écoles ainsi que le développement d’un projet pédagogique. Le forum du mieux-être cadre parfaitement avec le concept développé à Cocagne», a mentionné Mme Schofield Martin. Paul Demers, un participant au Forum du mieux-être, a souligné l’importance de la tenue de ce genre d’événement dans la région.

«C’est très bien au niveau de la santé des populations de Kent et de Miramichi. Je crois que c’est nécessaire d’établir les branches des programmes qui seront lancés au cours des prochaines années. En outre, c’est un partage entre les différents intervenants du milieu.» Le consultant embauché pour réaliser le rapport sur le Forum du mieux-être dans la région, Marc Henrie, a mentionné que plusieurs idées ont été recensées lors du forum. «Nous allons compiler les idées des participants et un rapport devra être remis au gouvernement provincial au courant du mois de décembre.» Le Forum sur le mieux-être a regroupé des participants de Miramichi et plusieurs communautés de Kent et de Rogersville.

Plus de 1750 familles recevront l’aide du Dépôt alimentaire

MARC ANDRÉ LAPLANTE L’Étoile, décembre 11, 2013

La collecte d’argent pour permettre de remplir des boîtes de nourriture se poursuit pour le Dépôt Alimentaire de Moncton. Cette année, ce sont 
environ 1750 familles dans le besoin qui 
recevront l’aide du Dépôt Alimentaire.

Ce sont des boîtes bien garnies qui sont remises aux familles dans le besoin chaque année pendant le temps des Fêtes. Présentement, le Dépôt Alimentaire est à la recherche de dons en argent pour permettre de payer la nourriture qui sera remise aux familles dans le besoin. Le Dépôt Alimentaire contient déjà beaucoup de nourriture qui est remise aux banques alimentaires de la région, mais on ne compte pas puiser dans ces réserves pour les boîtes de Noël.

«Le monde de notre région est vraiment généreux. C’est fantastique. On le voit vraiment avec le public ici, on est vraiment chanceux», affirme Ray Gould, le directeur du Dépôt Alimentaire.

En plus de nourriture variée, les boîtes de Noël destinées aux familles dans le besoin contiennent également des dindes, grâce à la campagne organisée annuellement par Sue Stultz. Jusqu’à présent, les sommes d’argent ont été récoltées pour remplir 300 boîtes. C’est souvent un peu plus tard en décembre que la grande majorité des dons sont effectués au Dépôt Alimentaire.

«Je pense que les gens de la région vont nous soutenir. C’est difficile à dire comment ça va se passer, mais on souhaite que les dons soient aussi bons que l’année dernière, explique Ray Gould. Normalement, la campagne qu’on fait pour récolter l’argent pour acheter la nourriture va vraiment bien lorsqu’on approche de Noël, et on va souhaiter que ça continue comme ça, parce qu’on compte là-dessus.»

C’est la semaine prochaine que les boîtes seront remplies au Colisée de Moncton, alors que des bénévoles vont préparer les boîtes de nourriture, sur une période de trois jours, et livrées à chacune des familles.

Un spectacle organisé par le chœur des Metrotones permettra aussi d’amasser des fonds pour le Dépôt Alimentaire. Le spectacle de Noël aura lieu le samedi 14 décembre au Centre Wesleyan de Moncton. Des billets pour ce spectacle sont en vente au coût de 10 $, et on demande aux gens de faire le don de deux denrées non périssables.

«J’aimerais demander au public de continuer de nous appuyer. Il y a déjà 300 familles pour qui c’est payé grâce au public, et on demande au monde de nous aider comme ils le peuvent», conclut Ray Gould.

The studies suggest we still are what we eat

CHARLES MOORE COMMENTARY, Telegraph Journal December 11, 2013

The cost difference of eating healthy is very small compared with the economic costs of treating diet-related chronic diseases. It’s boilerplate conventional wisdom that the poor typically eat less healthy diets because less nutritious food and junk food are a lot cheaper than fresh fruit and produce, whole grains, nuts, seafoods, leaner cuts of meat, and such.

However, a new study entitled, “Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less-healthy options?” by a team of researchers from Harvard and Brown University, published online last week in the British Medical Journal finds that while healthy dietary choices do cost somewhat more than highly-processed foods, fatty meats, and snacks heavy on salt, sugar, cheap fats, and trans-fatty acids, the difference isn’t radically greater, and shouldn’t be prohibitive even for many lower-income individuals and families.

The researchers conducted a systematic review of 27 previous studies from 10 countries, published between 2000 and 2011, that compared prices of healthier foods that are rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish versus those of less healthy foods. The study concluded that the average price difference per day of consuming 2,000 calories from the healthiest dietary choices compared with the unhealthiest was a modest $1.48 per day greater, or just under $550 more per individual per year.

That’s not a trivial difference for the extremly impoverished, but it makes the “eating healthy is prohibitively expensive” argument seem like a reflexive truism purporting to explain why so many North Americans are overweight, and a rationalization to excuse making unhealthy dietary choices for all but the most socio-economically disadvantaged.

How much is your health worth? The study’s co-authors note that consumption of healthy foods is a priority for reducing chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular illness and several cancers, with less-healthy diets resulting in higher disease risk for lower-income people compared with higher socio-economic groups. The cost difference of eating healthy is very small compared with the economic costs of treating diet-related chronic diseases. They note that many factors, such as the logistical availability and cultural acceptability of healthy foods, as well as government and industry food policies that support production and marketing of cheap, high volume food commodities to maximize industry profit, contribute to the problem — and raise obstacles to promoting healthy dietary habits among lower-income demographics.

The researchers note that among food groups, the meats/protein category had the largest price differences, with healthier options costing an average $0.29 per serving more than less healthy dietary choices.

Relative price differences per serving for healthier versus less-healthy foods were smaller among grains, dairy, snacks/sweets, and fats/oils, and not significant for soda pop versus juice. The researchers conclude that their meta-analysis provides the best evidence so far of the small degree of price difference between healthier versus less healthy foods/diet patterns, highlighting both challenges and opportunities for reducing financial obstacles to healthy eating.

According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, almost 60 per cent of Canadian adults are overweight or obese. In the U.S., 13 states have adult obesity rates above 30 per cent, 41 have rates of at least 25 per cent, and every state is above 20 per cent. However, it’s being increasingly advocated that obese individuals aren’t necessarily unhealthy people, a fiction that is on its way to becoming another conventional wisdom factoid.

A new Canadian study published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine pours cold water on that wishful-thinking notion, finding that “healthy obesity” is a myth. The meta-analysis, co-authored by endocrinologist Dr. Caroline Kramer and her colleagues at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, evaluated all-cause mortality, cardiovascular events, and clinical characteristics of 6 patient groups defined by Body Mass Index (BMI) category and metabolic status (healthy/unhealthy). They conclude that: “Compared with metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals, obese persons are at increased risk for adverse long-term outcomes even in the absence of metabolic abnormalities, suggesting that there is no healthy pattern of increased weight.”

Something to chew on over the holidays.

Volunteer wants to help people eat better

TARA CHISLETT CHISLETT.TARALYNN@DAILYGLEANER.COM 

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Cooking is second nature to Cliff Gunn and his family, but the longtime interviewer at the Fredericton Food Bank says he knows there are many clients who pick up their food hampers and don’t know what to do with the items.“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what a squash is or how to do it,” he said. “Or cabbage. Unfortunately, the Canadian way of looking at cabbage is to chunk it up and put it in salt water.” During his six-plus years as a volunteer, Gunn said he’s tried to give as much advice as he can to struggling people, many who are male, on how to prepare certain items and create better meals. That desire to provide better advice and more assistance to his clients was what prompted Gunn to sign up for the community food mentor program. He was among 10 that graduated from the program recently. Participants in the provincial program take part in a five-day training course, led by public health dietitians and included a one-day food safety certification course. The idea is the food mentors work in the community to lead and support responses to local food security issues. Gunn said he interviews at least 1,000 people dealing with food insecurity a year. He said although there are people who struggle with access to food, one of the biggest things he sees is people who struggle in the kitchen.

“I would say a good 30 per cent of what I call my clients at the food bank get the food and really don’t know what to do with it. That causes a lot of waste, of course,” he said. “It might not be so much they have food insecurity, but that they’re food challenged. They really don’t know how to plan a menu, how to do a shopping list, how to cook a meal and how to look local and things like that.” Gunn said it’s something he notices most in male clients, although female clients can struggle, too. He said he’s hoping as a result of his training to start some programs to help those who struggle with cooking. “Food insecurity doesn’t mean you’re picking through a garbage can or something trying to feed yourself,” he said. “It just means you’re not comfortable with food.” Susanne White, the community inclusion co-ordinator for Greater Fredericton Social Innovation, said interest in the food mentor program in Fredericton has increased since it started in the Fredericton area last year.

The 10 new graduates join 34 who have already been trained in three previous classes, held in Fredericton, Oromocto and Chipman. White said there has been a lot of talk about food security over the last couple years. According to Statistics Canada’s most recent Consumer Price Index data, food prices soared by 31 per cent from 2002 to 2012, the second-largest increase as compared to all other goods except alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. Across Canada, more than a million people a month now rely on food banks to supplement their groceries. “If you can believe it, back in 2009 food issues weren’t on the radar. You roll it forward to today and that’s all people talk about,” White said. There are about 20 food mentor networks across the province. White said the benefit of the program for those who take the training is that it helps them connect with others who are passionate about food. “They learn what’s been happening elsewhere with community gardens and collective kitchens and bulk food buying programs and all those kinds of things where you bring the community together to build resources and services to address food security issues. Then you let them loose,” she said. White said a lot of great projects have come out of the mentorship program and initiatives such as the ones Gunn has been thinking about go a long way to helping address food security concerns.

“Cliff has a soft spot for folks he knows need some advice for how to take food in that food box and stretch it as far as you can,” she said. “The reality is you can take your limited food dollars and you can cook smart to stretch that farther so you don’t have to be hungry as often or eat more nutritious meals,” she said. “The more you learn, the more you know and the more power you can take back. You don’t have to feel as helpless.” Gunn said now that the food bank has transitioned to its new location, where it has a teaching kitchen and garden, he thinks it’ll be easier to start programs to address other issues related to food. “We’re taking it that one step beyond a food bank concept,” he said, noting many clients at the food bank often end up volunteering their time and energy once they’re back on their feet. “It’s really building up a community of people who can support each other.” Anyone interested in learning more about the community food mentor program can contact White at 262-0842.

Fire-ravaged food bank’s shelves refilled

Times & Transcript, 
Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 1.01.38 PM

PETITCODIAC – It’s an inspiring story even by small-town Maritime standards.

Less than 48 hours after Petitcodiac’s food bank was completely destroyed by a fire, the community has rallied to the point that the food bank now has to turn down some (but not all) donations because they don’t want food going bad on their shelves. Asked by a reporter Tuesday afternoon how everyone at Support People of Today Charitable Services Inc., also known as SPOT, was doing, manager Vicky Crossman had a surprising answer. “We are wonderful!” she said enthusiastically. Originally, Food Depot Alimentaire, the distribution centre for all the food banks in southeastern New Brunswick, was putting together emergency replacement food for the destroyed lot they had sent to Petitcodiac just a few days before Sunday’s fire. Now however, “we’ve told FDA to hold off. We don’t want to take any more than we need,” said Crossman. “The shelves are almost full and we’re expecting a tractor-trailer this afternoon.” Fire broke out at SPOT Sunday evening and despite the best efforts of the Petitcodiac Volunteer Fire Department, with help from the Elgin, Salisbury, Penobsquis and Havelock departments, the building and its contents were lost. The provincial Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. It was a particularly terrible blow, because SPOT had just moved into the building, the former Department of Natural Resources ranger station, two weeks ago. Volunteers had worked countless hours to spruce up the building and move all their food and used clothing, and the racks and shelves to hold that inventory, from their longtime headquarters on Maple Street. Undaunted, volunteers were busy over the past two days getting the operation back up and running at its old location. “We’ve got 15 volunteers here cleaning everything,” she said. Today, “we will be open to serve our clients.”

About 50 or 60 families use the food bank in the run of a month. Crossman said two used freezers and two used refrigerators have been donated, as well as large amounts of non-perishable food items. Because they didn’t initially know if they would have those appliances, they haven’t so far collected much meat or fresh produce. That’s partly why SPOT is still accepting cash donations. There’s no expiry or best before date on money, and it will also fund the other things lost. For instance, the organization had five freezers before the fire. Cash donations can be dropped off at any Advanced Savings Credit Union branch (Petitcodiac, Salisbury, Moncton, Port Elgin, Rexton and Riverview). Cheques can be mailed to 5 Mill Rd., Petitcodiac, E4Z 4M8. Those who donate are eligible for a tax-deductible receipt. Asked where the tractor-trailer was coming from, Crossman said, “Peter Saunders is our former mayor and his aunt Jean Irving has ordered a truck full of supplies for us.” Petitcodiac is Mrs. Irving’s hometown –it’s where she grew up and she has maintained a longstanding involvement with the village.

A spokesman for the Irving family said yesterday Mrs. Irving felt “very sad and concerned” when she heard about the loss of the food bank and the important service it provides with great volunteers to those in need. So she responded immediately, sending a truck full of food products. “It’s a small community and when word gets out, word gets out,” Crossman said, expressing gratitude for all the help they’ve received, large and small. Still unresolved is whether or not SPOT will go back into the used clothing business, something it has long done to generate extra revenue for the food bank. An emergency meeting of the board was planned for Tuesday night to discuss that, but the outcome was not known at press time. Besides losing inventory built up over many years, the organization also lost all the display racks and other fixtures. SPOT has served people in the area between Sussex and Moncton for the past 26 years and currently has two paid employees and 10 to 12 volunteers a week.

Fire destroys Petitcodiac food bank

GINABETH ROBERTS Times & Transcript

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 1.01.44 PM

PETITCODIAC – Less than 24 hours after a fire destroyed the new home of Petitcodiac’s food bank and second-hand clothing store, it’s clear the hearts of its staff and volunteers are still burning brightly.

On Monday morning, Murray Bunnett and Vicky Crossman, president and manager of S.P.O.T., which stands for Support People of Today Charitable Services Inc., met with other board members, and it was business as usual. “We have food banks Wednesday and Thursday, so we need to have something up and running for (those dates),” Bunnett said. “Planning starts right away. “It hits hard,” he said of the fire, “but this morning we were re-grouping and getting ready to move on.” Crossman shared Bunnett’s eagerness in moving on from what she calls a “devastation.” “I was just sick to my stomach, because I know how many hours these volunteers have put in to get this place up and running,” she said, adding she was on her way home from Fredericton when she heard the news. “It was a dream of ours to have a new building, and it was destroyed in a matter of minutes.” Bunnett heard about the fire around 8 p.m. Sunday evening, a half hour after Petitcodiac Fire Department Fire Chief Gerald Jones received a call to respond to a fire at 5 Mill Road, outside the village’s downtown core. “I never looked at the time, I just headed out,” Bunnett said. “By the time I got there, it was all in flames. “The damage was done. It’s pretty much a 100 per cent loss.” Just two weeks ago S.P.O.T. moved to that building, a bungalow with half a basement and half second-storey, which formerly was the ranger’s building. It had been previously been located on Maple Street in the village’s downtown area. Jones estimated between 50 and 70 firefighters from Petitcodiac, Elgin, Salisbury, Penobsquis and Havelock fire departments responded to the fire, as well as the RCMP. Crossman credits the firefighters with bringing down the building safely. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire. Crossman isn’t sure of the quantity of food products and clothing in the building at the time of the fire, but said they’d just received a full food order delivery Wednesday from Food Depot Alimentaire. “We were totally loaded with food,” she said. “We had five freezers full. Our shelves were full. We were ready to go for the food bank. “I don’t even know if I could put a (price) tag on that,” Crossman added, about the amount of clothing in the building. About 50 or 60 families use the food bank in the run of a month, Crossman said. More singles and couples, as opposed to large families, use its services, she added, because there are not many big housing units in Petitcodiac. The clothing store is open Monday to Friday, generating extra revenue for the food bank. S.P.O.T. has served people in the area between Sussex and Moncton for the past 26 years, and currently has two paid employees and 10 to 12 volunteers a week. The organization is accepting donations to help with the rebuilding process. Donations can be dropped off at any Advanced Savings Credit Union branch (Petitcodiac, Salisbury, Moncton, Port Elgin, Rexton and Riverview).

Cheques can be sent via mail to 5 Mill Rd., Petitcodiac, E4Z 4M8. Those who donate are eligible for a tax-deductible receipt.

Harvest for the Hungry begins next week

LAVERNE STEWART STEWART.LAVERNE@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 1.01.50 PM

The Greener Village Community Food Centre and The Daily Gleaner are launching the sixth annual Harvest for the Hungry Campaign. Over the next four weeks, individuals, groups and businesses will try to meet the growing demands of the centre that assists 2,300 people each month. The campaign’s goal is to raise enough food to keep up with the demand until the food donations start to come in during its holiday food drive, Elizabeth Crawford Thurber, the food bank’s executive director, said. The summer months deplete the centre’s food purchasing budget, and it’s difficult to keep the shelves stocked, she said. Feeding over 2,300 individuals each month is especially difficult, she said. “We purchase 95 per cent of our food over the summer months. This time of year is when we try to stock up and get ready so, by the end of Christmas, we will end up with more of a surplus to take us through January and February,” she said. Thurber said as quickly as food comes into the food bank with one food drive, it goes out to its clients, and more food is needed to meet the demand. Each month the food bank distributes 897 cans of baked beans, 2,000 cans of soup, 718 jars of pasta sauce and packages of dried pasta. Thurber said 37 per cent of the food bank’s clients are children. Every month 840 children receive supplemental school snacks from the Fredericton Food Bank. “We make up 610 school lunch kits. We put in a three-day supply of juice boxes, fruit cups, snack crackers, granola bars and fruit bars without nuts,” she said.

The campaign begins on Oct. 23 with a request for hearty soups, she said. Along with the canned soups, she said, the food bank is looking for broth, barley, lentils, dry soup mix, Oxo-type seasoning and cans of diced tomatoes to package soup kits. The kits are popular with clients and help extend food resources, Crawford Thurber said. Soup and chili packs, baking kits and pizza packs are very popular with clients, she said. A food drive that brings all the community together like the Harvest for Hungry Campaign is critical in keeping children in school with lunches, milk, eggs, bread for when they come home from school to have healthy snacks and supper, she said. The Daily Gleaner managing editor Anne Mooers said the newspaper and its employees have long supported the annual Harvest for the Hungry campaign. “It’s gratifying to see people come together to help such an important cause,” said Mooers. “Support for the campaign in this building and throughout offices and homes in the capital region shows the strength of the ties that bind us as a community.” The second week of the campaign will begin on Oct. 30, when donations of pasta and pasta sauces are requested. On Nov. 6 baked beans, dried beans and canned meats will be needed. School lunch box items such as canned sandwich meats, juice boxes, fruit cups, crackers and cheese will be required on Nov. 13.

Oxford investira 184 M$ dans la transformation du bleuet

RÉAL FRADETTE L’Étoile, 

Ça fait 45 ans que le fondateur d’Oxford Frozen Food, John Bragg, fait affaire avec des producteurs de bleuets sauvages de la Péninsule acadienne. 
À son avis, la compagnie qu’il dirige a prouvé 
depuis longtemps son engagement dans la 
région et il ne cache pas son excitation quant 
aux retombées potentielles du nouveau 
projet majeur qu’il vient de lancer. L’entreprise néo-écossaise a fini par confirmer ce que les rumeurs laissaient entendre depuis déjà plusieurs semaines. Elle va investir 184 millions $ sur une période de dix ans dans la construction d’une nouvelle usine de transformation à Tilley Road, à l’ouest de Tracadie-Sheila, tout juste à côté de celle qu’elle détient déjà à Aliments de la Péninsule, et dans l’aménagement de plus de 15 700 acres de terres de la Couronne en champ de culture de ce petit fruit. Quelque 300 emplois à temps plein et à temps partiel devraient être créés durant cette période et on estime que ces investissements se traduiront par un apport de près de 7 millions $ par année au produit intérieur brut du Nouveau-Brunswick. Il s’agit du plus gros investissement privé de l’histoire de la Péninsule acadienne, dépassant de quelque 50 millions $ le précédent record que possédait l’engagement financier de l’entreprise espagnole Acciona dans le parc éolien de Lamèque, il y a trois ans.

«Le bleuet sauvage ne pousse que dans certaines régions et la Péninsule acadienne est unique pour la production de ce fruit parce que c’est un endroit naturellement fertile. Ça ne pousse pas autant ailleurs. À ma connaissance, cette région est le seul endroit où on peut encore faire une expansion majeure et confirmer le Nouveau-Brunswick comme un vrai leader mondial dans cette industrie», a exprimé M. Bragg au cours d’une annonce à Tracadie-Sheila, en compagnie du premier ministre David Alward et du vice-premier ministre et ministre des Ressources naturelles, Paul Robichaud.

Oxford Frozen Foods, le plus grand producteur et transformateur de bleuets sauvages au monde, va entreprendre la construction de sa nouvelle usine de transformation de 140 000 pieds carrés au coût de 50 millions $ au printemps 2014. Le reste de l’argent servira à l’achat de matériel, au défrichage et à l’aménagement des terres de la Couronne offertes par la province. En échange, Fredericton recevra une superficie équivalente en terres privées. L’entente prévoit également un prêt remboursable de la province de 37,5 millions $ des poches d’Investir NB, qui servira à ériger un nouvel édifice. C’est la deuxième annonce majeure dans l’industrie du bleuet sauvage en moins d’une semaine. Le gouvernement a précédemment lancé sa stratégie quinquennale de développement qui devrait accorder une part plus grosse de la tarte mondiale à la province avec 20 000 acres consacrés à la culture d’ici 10 ans, dont 5700 dans les deux prochaines années aux producteurs de la Péninsule acadienne. M. Bragg est également très au courant de l’opposition à son projet dans la région. Le matin même de l’annonce, le président de l’Association des producteurs de bleuets sauvages du Nord-Est, Jean-Maurice Landry, s’est offert une publicité afin de dénoncer vertement le comportement du gouvernement Alward dans ce dossier. En accordant un avantage commercial à Oxford Frozen Foods, il accuse le premier ministre d’utiliser un comportement injustifié qui va donner à cette entreprise le pouvoir de façonner l’offre et le développement des terres de la Couronne selon ses propres stratégies, au détriment des producteurs locaux. «Je ne crois pas qu’ils sont beaucoup à s’y opposer, mais il y en a quelques-uns, a estimé le grand patron d’Oxford. C’est la démocratie. Nous travaillons avec plusieurs centaines de producteurs locaux depuis 1968 et nous avons un appui incroyable de leur part. Nous n’avons aucune opposition des gens avec qui nous travaillons. Ceux qui s’opposent ne sont pas au courant du dossier et n’apprécient pas le côté international de cette industrie.» Le premier ministre David Alward a rappelé l’importance de l’agriculture dans la province. Il a notamment donné l’exemple de McCain qui a fait grandir l’industrie de la pomme de terre. Il voit le même rôle avec Oxford Frozen Foods.

«L’industrie du bleuet sauvage va progresser en raison de leur capacité, la qualité de leur pratique, l’engagement d’Oxford avec les producteurs et leurs investissements dans le secteur de la valeur ajoutée. Ça va placer la Péninsule acadienne en meilleure position sur le marché mondial. Oxford a une longue histoire à succès dans la région», est d’avis le premier ministre. Le vice-premier ministre Paul Robichaud rejette du revers de la main l’idée que ce projet puisse subir le même triste sort que le textile dans la région. Après avoir englouti des millions de dollars des poches des contribuables, ces investisseurs étrangers ont rapidement fermé leurs usines et plié bagages vers d’autres cieux, soulevant la colère de la communauté locale qui y voyait leur planche de salut. «Tout le Canada a eu un coup dur dans le textile. Il fallait aller chercher la matière première dans le sud des États-Unis pour la transformer ici. Le bleuet se retrouve ici, sur tout le territoire de la Péninsule. Nous avons aussi l’expertise d’une compagnie, leader mondial dans le bleuet, qui est prête à investir 184 millions $ de son argent dans ce qui devient le plus gros investissement privé de l’histoire de la Péninsule acadienne. Oxford a donc tout intérêt que ça fonctionne. Il faut aussi dire que nous n’avons pas encore touché au marché asiatique avec le bleuet. L’accord de libre-échange avec l’Europe va nous aider et on verra que la production de bleuets ne sera jamais assez suffisante pour répondre à la demande mondiale», a signalé le ministre des Ressources naturelles. Quant à ceux qui sont contre, M. Robichaud ajoute qu’ils n’ont pas de raison de s’inquiéter, notamment grâce à l’échange équivalent de terrains avec la compagnie au terme de l’entente de dix ans. Ces acres vont représenter un potentiel important pour d’autres industries comme la forêt, a-t-il fait savoir.

Selon le producteur Hector Brideau, qui vend déjà son bleuet à Aliments de la Péninsule, cette nouvelle usine va les aider à mieux vivre de leur récolte. Il n’aura plus à engager de la main-d’oeuvre pour aller vendre son bleuet à l’extérieur de la province, fait-il remarquer. «Dans n’importe quelle industrie, il y aura du monde qui va s’opposer. Dans mon idée, tous les producteurs devraient travailler ensemble pour transformer notre produit ici. Nous avons des gens qui vont travailler dans l’Ouest parce qu’il n’y a pas d’ouvrage et dès qu’une compagnie annonce qu’elle veut investir ici, il y a des gens qui sont contre. Ce n’est pas correct. Il y a du bleuet en masse pour tout le monde», déclare-t-il. Le président du Forum des maires de la Péninsule acadienne, André Gozzo, a vivement applaudi cette annonce majeure. «Une annonce de 184 millions $ sans investissement du gouvernement, on ne voit pas ça souvent chez nous. Le bleuet est une industrie durable et, sans lancer de flèches à l’industrie du textile, une fois le champ aménagé, c’est impossible de le changer de place. C’est un très bon investissement. Il n’y a pas d’inquiétude à avoir de la part de certains producteurs locaux. Le gouvernement va leur fournir des terres et de l’argent pour des routes et des puits dans leur stratégie quinquennale. Et ceux qui ne voudront pas vendre leurs bleuets à Oxford, il y aura toujours les autres acheteurs. Ça ne nuira pas du tout à l’industrie», croit-il. Même le député libéral de Centre-Péninsule/Saint-Sauveur, Denis Landry, a donné son accord à cette annonce et, sourire en coin, il souhaite que ce soit son gouvernement, une fois élu en 2014, qui profitera des retombées.

«C’est une bonne nouvelle. Oxford a un point d’ancrage dans la région et jusqu’à maintenant, cette contribution est positive. M. Bragg a très bien réussi et je suis très optimiste que ce sera notre gouvernement qui négociera la suite du projet. Quant à ceux qui ne sont pas heureux de cette annonce en raison de l’échange des terres, seul l’avenir nous le dira. Oui, il y a des producteurs locaux qui semblent avoir un problème avec ça, mais il y a aussi les gens qui viennent me voir pour de l’emploi. Et là, on parle de 300 emplois. Faut-il toujours mettre des bâtons dans les roues de ces compagnies?», a-t-il questionné.

Bleuet : un plan pour investisseurs et producteurs

RÉAL FRADETTE L’Étoile

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Même si c’est vu comme un pas dans la bonne direction, la nouvelle stratégie provinciale du bleuet sauvage 2013-2018 ne réglera pas tous les problèmes des producteurs locaux, croit l’Association des producteurs de bleuets sauvages du Nord-Est, toujours aussi inquiète de la très probable arrivée d’un gros joueur dans l’industrie de la transformation.

Le ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêches et de l’Aquaculture, Michaël Olscamp, et le vice-premier ministre et ministre des Ressources naturelles, Paul Robichaud, ont présenté en début de semaine, à Inkerman, un plan qui devrait permettre aux producteurs actuels et à d’éventuels investisseurs d’y trouver leurs comptes.

Face à la stagnation du Nouveau-Brunswick dans le marché mondial du bleuet (10 à 12 %), le gouvernement Alward a lancé une initiative de maximisation qui ciblera les ressources humaines, l’innovation et la productivité, le climat des affaires, l’accès à des capitaux et aux infrastructures ainsi que le marketing et la promotion.

L’objectif est de développer au moins 20 000 acres de production, venant autant des terres privées que des terres de la Couronne, d’ici 10 ans dans la province, dont 10 000 uniquement dans le Nord-Est. De ce nombre, on précise que 5600 acres de terres de la Couronne seront mis d’ici 2015 à la disposition des producteurs de la Péninsule acadienne, la région qui fournit près de 70 % des 45 millions de livres de ce petit fruit aux propriétés antioxydantes cueilli dans la province.

Fredericton débloquera également 600 000 $ pour l’aménagement de routes d’accès aux cultures et de puits d’eau communs (minimum de trois producteurs). Il cherchera également à faciliter la procédure d’accès aux terres de la Couronne, ce qui va favoriser non seulement les producteurs locaux, mais aussi de nouvelles entreprises de transformation désireuses de s’implanter dans le seul territoire de développement de la culture du bleuet sauvage encore disponible dans le nord-est du continent américain.

En clair, tout est dorénavant en place pour permettre au géant néo-écossais Oxford Frozen Foods d’investir plus de 50 millions $ dans une usine de transformation dans la Péninsule acadienne (une annonce en ce sens serait même imminente, ce que n’a pas démenti Paul Robichaud). En échange, la province accorde une partie des terres de la Couronne et un certain pouvoir de gestion aux producteurs locaux.

Selon le président de l’Association des producteurs de bleuets sauvages du Nord-Est, Jean-Maurice Landry, Fredericton a compris le message de ceux qu’il représente dans cette stratégie concernant l’accès aux terres de la Couronne. Mais il demeure tout aussi préoccupé que la venue d’une méga-entreprise puisse leur faire mal.

«Les ministres ont présenté un plan à court terme avec cette stratégie. Mais à moyen et long terme, le dossier d’Oxford demeure une préoccupation majeure. Nous allons continuer à travailler à faire valoir notre point. D’un autre côté, les producteurs locaux n’auront aucun problème à développer les superficies proposées dans ce plan à court terme», a-t-il fait valoir, en précisant que son association n’a pas été appelée à collaborer à l’élaboration de ce document.

À son avis, le problème fondamental du développement des bleuetières demeure entier parce que les intérêts principaux de cette industrie appartiennent toujours à des entreprises de l’extérieur de la province.

«Le résultat n’est pas mauvais, mais il n’est pas complet. C’est un début et ce qui est encourageant, c’est qu’on parle de la distribution des terres de la Couronne. Ç’a toujours été un problème. Nous allons demeurer vigilants pour ne pas revivre les conditions économiques qui ont forcé la fermeture de bleuetières», a dit M. Landry.

Le vice-premier ministre et ministre des Ressources naturelles, Paul Robichaud, a indiqué que cette stratégie désire encourager les producteurs locaux, surtout ceux qui ont déjà une expérience dans le domaine, d’augmenter leur capacité de culture. Il a aussi confirmé que les conditions étaient maintenant en place pour faciliter la venue d’Oxford Frozen Foods dans la région tout en permettant aux producteurs locaux de survivre adéquatement grâce à l’industrie.

«Nous voulons avoir une masse critique de production de bleuets sauvages dans la province pour intéresser des investisseurs dans le domaine de la valeur ajoutée. C’est notre objectif. Oui, c’est un plan qui va favoriser les producteurs, mais ça va aussi rejoindre des entreprises. On expédie 90 % de nos bleuets à l’extérieur du Nouveau-Brunswick. Nous voulons augmenter la production parce que la demande augmente considérablement sur les marchés internationaux, mais nous voulons aussi démontrer que la province est un terrain propice pour quiconque veut faire de la valeur ajoutée. Après cette annonce que nous venons de faire, j’ai l’impression que ça ne prendra pas de temps que nous aurons une autre annonce qui viendra nous parler d’investissements majeurs dans la valeur ajoutée», a laissé échapper M. Robichaud.

M. Olscamp a fait part que malgré une hausse moyenne annuelle des revenus du bleuet de 2,5 millions $, le Nouveau-Brunswick peine à améliorer sa part sur la tarte mondiale. Selon ses dires, cette stratégie placera la province dans une position favorable d’ici cinq ans et permettra à cette industrie à se développer à son plein potentiel.

Appel à la générosité

MARC-SAMUEL LAROCQUE, L’ É TOILE, 

La période des fêtes peut être difficile pour les personnes les plus vulnérables de notre société. Heureusement pour eux, plusieurs organismes préparent des projets d’aide de Noël, comme celui des boîtes de Noël, qui sont distribuées à plusieurs milliers de personnes dans la région du sud-est.

L’an dernier, le Food Dépot Alimentaire de Moncton a fourni 1850 boîtes de nourriture à des familles dans le besoin. Selon la coordonnatrice des projets spéciaux, Chantal Sénécal, l’organisme devrait donner 1750 boîtes pour cette période des fêtes.

Il est encore possible de faire des dons dans les Credit Union à Moncton, afin d’aider la campagne des boîtes de Noël.

«L’année passée, les fonds sont venus un peu tard. Nous avons eu un peu peur au début, mais nous avons eu beaucoup de soutien de la communauté. On a pu réussir notre objectif. On aimerait que ça commence un peu plus vite cette année puisque l’on est très occupé tout de suite.»

Plusieurs activités s’organisent également afin de venir en aide au plus grand nombre de gens possible. Des initiatives comme la campagne «Sue Stultz Turkey Drive» pour amasser des dindes ou encore «Fill the bus» sont des activités planifiées et essentielles puisqu’une boîte de Noël coûte 75 $.

Le Food Depot alimentaire approvisionne également les autres banques alimentaires du Sud-Est. À Bouctouche, la banque alimentaire prévoit remettre une centaine de boîtes à ses résidants, soit un nombre un peu plus élevé que l’an passé, explique la gérante Anita LeBlanc.

«L’année dernière, c’était autour de 80 boîtes, explique-t-elle. Mais cette année, je m’attends à en donner un peu plus, car nous avons eu beaucoup de nouveaux clients.»

Selon elle, le soutien de la communauté est toujours là pour appuyer les efforts de la banque alimentaire.

Du côté de Shediac, le Vestiaire St-Joseph est également énormément appuyé par la communauté. Plusieurs projets sont mis en oeuvre afin d’aider à défrayer les coûts de boîtes de Noël qui seront données à 650 familles.

La présidente sortante de l’organisme, Patricia Sirois, explique que l’un des projets, en partenariat avec Subway, aide énormément la communauté.

«C’est la quatrième année qu’ils font ça. Les gens de la communauté peuvent amener un pyjama neuf et Subway va leur donner un sandwich de 6 pouces gratuit. Tous les pyjamas vont être amenés au Vestiaire. Dans les trois dernières années, ils ont dépassé la quantité de 1000 pyjamas.»

Une autre initiative du Vestiaire est le Royaume des jouets, qui permet aux parents clients de la banque alimentaire de trouver des jouets pour leurs enfants. Ce projet est appuyé par l’initiative des Anges anonymes. Il s’agit de remplir une carte avec l’âge et le sexe de son enfant afin d’aider à trouver le jouet approprié.

«J’amène ça chez Dairy Queen qui travaille avec nous depuis une quinzaine d’années. Toutes les petites cartes des Anges anonymes seront placées dans un arbre à l’intérieur du restaurant. Les gens peuvent aller chercher une carte et ils vont aller magasiner pour des cadeaux de Noël pour les enfants. Tous les cadeaux viennent au Royaume des jouets.»

Il en coûtera environ 30 000 $ pour offrir des boîtes de Noël aux familles.

Le Vestiaire St-Joseph dessert les paroisses de St-Antoine, Notre-Dame, Cocagne, Grande-Digue, Scoudouc et Grand-Barachois.

Chaque année, les communautés ne se font pas prier pour participer, un geste que les gens apprécient beaucoup, selon Mme Sirois.

«Nous sommes très reconnaissants et les familles le sont aussi énormément. Sans la communauté, ces programmes ne pourraient pas exister», conclut-elle.

Donations could amount to hill of beans

LAVERNE STEWART STEWART.LAVERNE@DAILYGLEANER.COM , 

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Karen Horwood, regional co-ordinator at Investors Group, places a tin of baked beans on a stack of food collected over the past several weeks, which will be donated to the Greener Village Community Food Centre as part of its Harvest for the Hungry campaign.Photo: Submitted photo

Feeding the hungry is worth far more than a hill of beans.

But the hill of beans, gathered at Investors Group, will go a long way to help meet the food bank’s goal of 897 cans of baked beans during the Harvest for the Hungry Campaign.

Ian Wilson, Investors Group regional director, said its clients and consultants have been adding to the canned bean collection over the past several weeks. He said cash donations were used to purchase cases of beans to add to the hill. Now, he said, it measures two metres wide and just more than a metre high and contains roughly 700 cans.

Wilson said he hopes others will get involved in the Harvest for the Hungry campaign as well so the food bank can exceed its goal

Elizabeth Crawford Thurber, executive director of the Greener Village Community Food Centre, said it takes a lot of beans along with tinned meats to help provide its 2,300 clients with enough food to feed them for three days each month.

The Daily Gleaner has partnered with the food bank for the past six years during the Harvest for the Hungry campaign. Its goal is to raise enough food to keep up with the demand until the food donations start to come in during its holiday food drive, she said.

Over the first two weeks of the campaign, a lot of food has been donated, including 1,750 cans of soup, 937 packages of pasta and 427 jars of sauce.

“Our goal was 718 packages of pasta, so that’s good.”

Crawford Thurber said 37 per cent of the food bank’s clients are children. Every month 840 children receive supplemental school snacks from the Fredericton Food Bank.

School lunch box items such as canned sandwich meats, juice boxes, fruit cups, crackers and cheese will be required on Nov. 13.

The need for help from food banks is the same across the country. Food bank use continues to hover at record levels, according to HungerCount 2013, a national study released on Tuesday by Food Banks Canada.

Typically each month, Canadian food banks provide food to 833,000 people, and nearly four in 10 of those helped are children.

“Far too many people are looking into an empty fridge and wondering how they’re going to feed themselves and their kids,” said Katharine Schmidt, executive director of Food Banks Canada.

The HungerCount 2013 survey looked at 4,000 food banks in Canada. In March, 833,098 people turn to a food bank for help. It was the first visit for almost 80,000 of them.

The survey also showed that nearly 40,000 of those helped each month are seniors who can’t afford enough food.

One in six households assisted by food banks have employment income, but they still they can’t make ends meet, according to the survey.

“The inability to obtain enough food, when it’s abundant all around us, is physically and psychologically scarring … It’s simply unacceptable in a nation as prosperous as Canada. We are calling on the federal and provincial governments to make real investments in policies that will reduce the need for food banks,” Schmidt said.

The report said the need for help from food banks would decrease if people were able to access more affordable housing so they aren’t forced to choose between paying rent or buying food.

It also recommended that the federal and provincial governments should increase investment in education and training for people who are at risk of failing in the job market so they can become self-sufficient through employment.

It urges the federal government to change social assistance policies so people can build self-sufficiency instead of being trapped in poverty.

The report also suggests the country should invest in local food solutions to help Northern Canadians build the capacity to feed themselves.

Trick or Eat supports FDA

Times & Transcript, 

Trick or Eat in Moncton North collected 1,429 pounds of non-perishable food for Food Depot Alimentaire and raised $975.55 in online donations this Halloween.

Across Canada, over 8,000 youth and community members visited 85,000 homes in support of local food banks and the nearly 900,000 Canadians who have to access their local food bank every month.

Moncton is one of the many cities and towns across Canada that participated in Trick or Eat this year, with friends making up members of Team Fun (Moncton) putting on their costumes and gong went door-to-door on Halloween to support Food Depot Alimentaire.

“Our group of friends has really enjoyed participating in Trick or Eat for the last seven years. We appreciate the chance to help feed people in our community faced with food insecurity issues, and hopefully we contribute to some small improvement in their lives,” said organizers Shannon Samson and Tasha Campbell in a press release.

Meal Exchange’s annual Trick or Eat campaign mobilizes youth and community members to fight hunger and helps fill the shelves of more than 100 local food banks across Canada in just one night.

“Trick or Eat provides a much needed boost to food banks across Canada at a time when many are struggling to keep up with demand,” said Peter Kapler, executive director of Meal Exchange.

School garden helps those in need

SHANE MAGEE Kings County Record

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SUSSEX — Several hundred pounds of fresh produce was donated to the Sussex Sharing Club last week straight from the garden in front of Sussex Regional High School.

Danny Reicker’s agriculture class began the first fall harvest from the garden on the afternoon of Sept. 9 with representatives of the food bank on hand.

“One thing we’re always short on is perishable goods,” Alfie Smith, president of the sharing club, told students before they got their hands dirty pulling carrots, beets and potatoes.

Reicker roughly estimated 500-plus pounds of carrots and 300 pounds of potatoes were delivered.

The sharing club runs a food bank and store on Eveleigh Street.

“It’s really great to have the fresh foods to give out,” said Lois King, the club’s administrator.

The food bank usually gets fresh produce from Moncton.

Smith said they aren’t often able to get potatoes for those who come to the food bank.

Earlier this year, King said there were 200 household registered who could use the food bank service.

She estimated the food donated will last about two months, helping cover the Thanksgiving period.

King expressed her appreciation for the work done by Reicker and the students.

Reicker’s class had planted the garden in the spring.

Several other vegetable varieties are planted as well as fruit trees. The trees will take several more years to mature.

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Jesse Smith, Josiah Cora Sharp and Daniel McCullum were involved in planting the garden in the spring.

The day of the harvest, they were both digging potatoes.

“It all happened really fast and it’s cool that it worked out so well,” Sharp said.

McCullum said it was nice to see all the work put in earlier this year come together.

“There’s a lot of big ideas, but not many get followed through,” he said. “This is a good one to follow through on and give back to the community.”

He also said it gave students a better idea of what agriculture is about.

“Even though we’re in an agricultural town, a lot of people don’t know very much about it, which is surprising,” McCullum said.

He said while it didn’t look like much while the vegetables were in ground, he knows it will go a long way for those in need.

Reicker said more, including squash, onions, more carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and pumpkins, will be harvested in October.

He said some of the pumpkins will be used by the school’s culinary arts class.

After the garden has been fully harvested, winter crops will be planted, including cover crops.

He said the students were glad to be able to give back to the community.

Reicker wanted to thank those who donated time and supplies to make the garden possible.

Canstruction competition can help feed hundreds

JAMES FOSTER Times & Transcript

When the manager of the West End Food Bank saw his first Canstruction competition during a trip to the United States, the wheels started turning in his head about all the hungry mouths in Moncton that could be fed through such an event.

And now, the first Canstruction event ever in Metro Moncton is set to go from May 1 to 4 in Champlain Place, wherein groups vie to build the wildest and/or finest structures possible, with cans of food acting as the main construction materials.

“This is going to be a very neat thing,” Ben MacMichael says.

Canstruction is visually striking and it’s a lot of fun as well, but the end result is that a lot of people get to eat dinner afterwards who otherwise might not have that opportunity, as all the foods used in the event are then donated.

Competitors build their designs or structures using canned foods as their building blocks. Their extraordinary creations are then judged, exhibited to the public in Champlain Place and then donated, in this case to the area’s four food banks and three community kitchens.

MacMichael hopes that the initiative raises 10,000 cans of food.

“This is an event that groups of individuals will have lots of fun with. No athletics are required making it possible for any group to participate. Of course, in addition to having fun, we know the end result of helping those who are hungry is key to building a strong community,” MacMichael says.

A maximum of 10 teams each with a minimum of five members will be building their creations throughout the mall.

“Champlain Place is thrilled to be part of this event,” says Brian MacMullin, general manager.

“Throughout the year, we work with a number of charities who address various needs in our community, so when we were approached to host Canstruction it was a natural fit.”

Shortly after the 12-hour construction window, judges will choose the best creations in several categories. Winners will have photographs of their structures entered into an international competition, going up against winners from Europe, America and even as far away as Australia. More than 100 cities around the world will be hosting Canstruction competitions in the coming year.

With only such a limited number of teams able to enter, it’s best to get your team formed now and enter right away. The deadline is Feb. 1. Teams must be led by a professional in the design and/or construction industry, such as an architect, engineer, designer, contractor or professor of any of these disciplines.

This year’s theme is New Brunswick — a Can Do Spirit.

You can contact event co-ordinator Claire North at 232-9846 or MacMichael at 874-5307.

“For me and our board,” MacMichael says, “food banks are not just about food. They are about humanity and dignity.”

MacMichael was pleasantly surprised that Champlain Place jumped on board the initiative right away, and that the Food Depot Alimentaire that distributes food to area food banks and soup kitchens also joined the initiative with little prompting. Other sponsors are now being sought as well. Interested parties can contact MacMichael or North.

Oromocto displays Harvest for the Hungry haul

ADAM BOWIE BOWIE.ADAM@DAILYGLEANER.COM

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What does roughly $10,000 worth of food look like?

If you want the visual, you’re invited to attend a non-religious community gathering at the Oromocto Baptist Church at 11 a.m. this Sunday, where people will be able to see the spoils of a Halloween food drive in support of the Oromocto and Surrounding Area Food & Clothing Bank.

Rev. Perry Hanley, lead pastor for the Oromocto Baptist Church, said many people participate in campaigns like the annual Harvest for the Hungry effort.

But they rarely get to see, at least physically, the impact of their donations, the sheer size of their generosity.

“The donor has no clue. The guy who’s given a box of cereal and a can of soup says, ‘Well, I don’t know what this will do.’ But when they see the combined efforts of their neighbours, they’ll be excited,” he said.

“That’s what we want to get across with this event (on Sunday). It’s not a church service. We just want to say to people, ‘Thank you for your generosity. We want you to see what your generosity looks like.’ ”

Hanley said the Oromocto Baptist Church, which is located at 10 Doyle Dr., has been partnering with their local food bank for 17 years.

He knows that this is a difficult time of year for many residents, which is why campaigns like Harvest for the Hungry are so critical.

“We use the food bank as a phenomenal resource. We’ve been doing this collection and we, as a church, invest heavily in the food bank — we do regular food gatherings here at the church, we have volunteers go over to help out,” he said.

“As the winter comes on — and with the stress of Christmas, and all the extra costs that go along with that — and as the summer work dries up for some people, and the heating bills begin creep up it can become overwhelming. (The food bank) helps with food and with clothing. They’ve got a really great operation over there.”

Hanley said the church has been heading out on Halloween to collect non-perishable food items on behalf of the community resource for a number of years, often gathering a staggering haul that helps keeps shelves stocked heading into the busy holiday season. They dodge ghosts and goblins in neighbourhoods like Oromocto West, Windgate Estates and Smith Subdivision, areas where they can hit many homes in a confined space.

“We’ll collect, on average, between $8,000-10,000 worth of food (on Halloween night) by going to those subdivisions,” he said.

“As the trick-or-treaters are going out, we’re going out with our badges and an invitation to this event that’s going to happen on Sunday.”

Trick or donation:

Normally, they turn the food over on Nov. 1. But this year they decided to hold onto it for a few extra days, just so they can drive home the value of supporting these various community causes.

“It’ll all be on our church’s stage on Sunday morning. We want people to come in and see, ‘This is the food we collected.’ It’s going to be pretty impressive,” he said.

As an important community organization, they believe they can help to make a difference in the lives of their fellow citizens, both by gathering donations and offering guidance and advice.

“One of the things that happens is that we have a lot of people from the community who don’t know where to turn when they run into difficulty financially, emotionally, etc.,” he said.

“A lot of people’s crises are compounded by poverty. You can be having a bad day, but when you’re having a bad day and you’re not eating, it gets so much worse.”

Jane Buckley, director of the Oromocto and Surrounding Area Food & Clothing Bank, said it’s the perfect time of year to receive a helping hand.

“As the winter comes, and the bills start to increase, we see our numbers go up a little bit,” she said.

She said she’ll attend the community gathering on Sunday in order to accept the church’s donation. It’ll be the first in a number of community fundraisers that the food bank has planned for the coming weeks.

“We’re coming into our busy season,” she said.

“We’re launching our Angel Tree on Nov. 12 down at the Oromocto Mall. And we’re having a Home For The Holidays concert on Nov. 25, which is a concert being put on by a number of volunteers. It’s about Christmases from (the First World War) to present, with a military focus. That’s going to happen at the Base Theatre (at Base Gagetown).”

Buckley said that if anyone wanted to keep on giving, they’re welcome to select an angel from the food bank’s Angel Tree, which would see a donor buy a present for a child in need.

“The way it works is that they take an angel. It has one child’s name on it, their age, and whatever it is they want. We had a group of people from an office that came today and took 28 angels,” she said.

“It’s a pretty easy way for people to help.”

Le groupe d’experts sur les prix du homard présente son rapport

L’ É TOILE  

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Le groupe d’experts sur les prix du homard dans les Maritimes, composé de trois membres, a présenté, aujourd’hui, son rapport et ses recommandations sur l’industrie du homard aux ministres des Pêches du Nouveau-Brunswick, de la Nouvelle-Écosse et de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. Le groupe d’experts indépendants a été nommé pour examiner les facteurs ayant une incidence sur les prix du homard. «Les membres du groupe ont pris le temps nécessaire pour mener un vaste processus de consultation ces derniers mois, et je suis persuadé que leurs recommandations serviront de base pour nous aider à relever les défis auxquels doit faire face l’industrie du homard», a déclaré le ministre de l’Agriculture, de l’Aquaculture et des Pêches, Michael Olscamp.

Depuis le début de ses travaux en juillet, le groupe a rencontré environ 100 organisations représentant les pêcheurs, les acheteurs, les expéditeurs, les transformateurs, les intermédiaires et les Premières Nations de partout dans les Maritimes, de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, du Québec et de l’État du Maine. Le groupe a également reçu près de 30 documents présentés par des organismes, des entreprises et des particuliers. «Je remercie les membres du groupe d’experts de leur excellent travail», a affirmé le ministre des Pêches, de l’Aquaculture et du Développement rural de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, Ron MacKinley. «Mes collègues et moi sommes déterminés à collaborer avec l’industrie du homard des Maritimes pour apporter les changements nécessaires afin d’améliorer les revenus des pêcheurs et de tous les autres intervenants de l’industrie.»

Les membres du groupe d’experts étaient Gilles Thériault, du Nouveau-Brunswick; John Hanlon, de la Nouvelle-Écosse; et Lewie Creed, de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. «Dans chacune des Provinces maritimes, des séances seront organisées pour informer les représentants de nos industries respectives au sujet du rapport du groupe d’experts sur les prix du homard dans les Maritimes», a dit le ministre des Pêches et de l’Aquaculture de la Nouvelle-Écosse, Keith Colwell.«Nous avons la ferme intention de travailler avec nos homologues de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, du Québec et du Maine, ainsi qu’avec le gouvernement fédéral, afin d’assurer la stabilité et la viabilité à long terme de l’industrie du homard.»

Le rapport traite de cinq secteurs clés. Il visait, entre autres, à déterminer les raisons de la baisse soudaine des prix au printemps 2013 et à examiner les diverses composantes des coûts et des revenus des pêcheurs, des acheteurs et des transformateurs dans les Maritimes. Le rapport fournit également des conseils stratégiques sur des initiatives de marketing et sur des mesures pouvant être prises afin de stabiliser puis d’augmenter les prix versés aux pêcheurs. Enfin, le rapport identifie des options relatives à un système officiel qui permettrait à l’industrie de connaître le prix payé aux pêcheurs avant les débarquements.

New club hopes to put fresh food on capital city tables

Daily Gleaner – Monday Oct 7 p. A 5, BY TARA CHISLETT

A new food distribution club is hoping to put fresh, local produce into the hands of those in the city who need it most. Community Food Smart, a citywide bulk food purchasing club organized by a group of several community partners, held its soft launch last week. The club allows members to access fresh produce, sourced locally when possible and delivered to their neighbourhood at an affordable price.

Jessica Hughes, the community development director for United Way/ Centraide of Central New Brunswick, said the idea for the club for the Fredericton area came up at a New Brunswick Food Security Action Network conference last November. According to research out of the University of Toronto, New Brunswick has the third highest prevalence of children living in food insecure households at 25 per cent. The province is behind Nunavut, which comes in at 57 per cent and Prince Edward Island at 27 per cent. Hughes said before the conference, Moncton and Saint John were already running bulk food purchasing programs and Fredericton had one operating out of the food bank, but there was a strong feeling among those at the meeting that Fredericton could be do­ing more.

The club was developed through funding from the economic and social inclusion corporation. Through a partnership with CÉ D’ICI, the service that provides catering services for École Sainte-Anne, Hughes said the bulk purchasing power of the group makes it possible to provide bags of produce and fruit valued at a minimum of $30 for $15. Each month, the bags will contain six staple items – onions, potatoes, carrots, oranges, bananas and apples – along with five or six other items that are in season ‘So if it’s strawberry season, strawberries go in. This time of the year, a lot of root vegetables will go in and then we want to get feedback,’ she said. Along with the food, Hughes said there’s an educational component to the program: each bag will include a monthly insert featuring stories from local farmers and information about one of the fruits or vegetables included in the bag. ‘What some places notice is they’ll do these bulk-buying programs, people will get broccoli and on the way out people are finding hundreds of heads of broccoli in the garbage. It’s not that people don’t like it, it’s that people don’t know how to clean, store or cook with it,’ she said. ‘We include an insert with the nutritional value, how it can be stored, for how long, how to clean it, how to prepare it, what parts you can and can’t use. ‘ Along with the $15 a month, there will be a $10 fee for a 12-month membership. While the club will have target groups such as students, seniors, newcomers and low income individuals and families, Hughes said the club is open to everyone. ‘We don’t know if you’re paying out $50,000 a year in cancer drugs for your wife. That’s not our place to ask those things. If you want to access this program, you can,’ she said.

‘It removes the stigma of, ‘Oh, poor people go here.’ It’s not about being poor. It’s about the right to access affordable, nutritious food that you want.’ For the launch, four hubs were chosen – the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, the Salvation Army Family Resource Centre, the Oromocto Food Centre and the University of New Brunswick – and each hub was able to take on about a dozen orders. The first run of the program is to make sure the kinks are worked out and that the quality of the food is high, Hughes said. ‘People aren’t getting second-rate food,’ she said. ‘They’re going to get the best.’ Hughes said she expects one of the key distribution centres for the pro­gram will be the University of New Brunswick campus, which will service students from UNB, St. Thomas University and those living in the surrounding area.

Marc Gauvin, the finance and operations vice-president for the student union, said having a community distribution site on campus will make it easier for students to access fresh, local produce. ‘Students struggle with the funding a lot of the time, with the high cost of tuition and low access to student aid,’ he said. ‘Most students have to make the decision between Kraft Dinner and celery and apples just because it’s ‘What can I afford on a monthly basis? What’s my food budget?’ To be able to provide about $40-50 worth of produce for $15 is really beneficial to anyone who wants to eat healthier.’ Gauvin said while the idea that students live on things Kraft Dinner and Ramen noodles is a stereotype, price and convenience often play a big role in determining how students stock their cupboards. ‘It’s like, ‘Do I go out, go grocery shopping, buy fruit and vegetables, things that are only going to keep for three or four days and can be very expensive or do I spend money on a million Ramen noodles and they’ll last for a long time?’ ‘ he said. ‘It’s difficult and that can often be the trade off.’ Ben Whitney, the union president, said the benefit of programs such as this is that it helps students so they don’t have to choose between eating well and saving money. ‘Unhealthy food is far cheaper, so if we can provide healthy food right on campus that students can access for cheap, that’s an excellent scenario,’ he said.

Along with promoting the bulk-food distribution site, the union has been taking additional steps to increase access to quality food for students through working with Sodexo and running a new program that uses Safe Ride vans to take students to Sobeys locations on Tuesdays, when they receive a discount. Whitney said the idea is to work on removing barriers around access to food for students, something the union sees as a priority when it comes to addressing student wellness. ‘If someone doesn’t eat well while they’re here, for four years, it can have a serious impact on their health later in life,’ he said. ‘University is where students develop habits, long-term habits. So we really just want to work toward a healthier campus. That will just result in a healthier New Brunswick in general.’ For more information or to find a distributor nearest you, go to facebook. com/communityfoodsmart.

Journées portes ouvertes : La Ferme Maurifils a accueilli plusieurs centaines de visiteurs

CHRISTINE THÉRIAULT, 

Selon l’Alliance agricole du Nouveau-Brunswick, plus de 13 000 personnes ont eu l’occasion de se familiariser avec la réalité des producteurs le 15 septembre, lors de la Journée agricole portes ouvertes. Au Nord-Ouest, plusieurs personnes ont convergé vers Saint-Hilaire afin de visiter la Ferme Maurifils. Rappelons que la Journée agricole portes ouvertes permet au public d’établir un contact avec l’industrie ailleurs qu’à l’épicerie. Propriété de Régis et Patricia Ouellet, la Ferme Maurifils a ouvert ses portes à des centaines de visiteurs. «En 2012, nous avions reçu environ 300 personnes et je crois que cette année, nous avons accueilli encore plus de gens. De plus, même si Dame Nature n’a pas travaillé avec nous tout l’été, elle était de la partie pour les journées portes ouvertes. Ça fait maintenant quatre ans que nous avons de belles journées lors de cette activité», indique Patricia Ouellet. Heureuse de la participation des gens, Mme Ouellet affirme que la Journée agricole portes ouvertes est un événement important pour les agriculteurs. «Ce n’est pas tous les jours que les jeunes et moins jeunes ont l’occasion de visiter une ferme, de voir des animaux, etc. De plus, peu de temps avant l’arrivée des visiteurs, une chèvre a mis au monde un petit. Durant cette journée, les visiteurs étaient invités à poser des questions et à discuter avec nous», ajoute-t-elle, en précisant qu’il s’agit également d’un bon moyen de promouvoir l’entreprise au sein de laquelle s’investit toute une famille.

Mme Ouellet ajoute qu’il est également important pour les gens de tous les âges de savoir d’où viennent les produits qu’ils consomment. «Les gens sont de plus en plus conscients de la provenance de la viande et de différents produits que nous faisons pousser chez nous. Il n’y a presque plus d’agriculture dans notre région et nous devons encourager ainsi que soutenir les gens qui souhaitent travailler dans ce domaine.» Convaincue que cette journée portes ouvertes a été une réussite sur toute la ligne, Mme Ouellet se dit heureuse de l’appui reçu des gens «Cette année, nous avons construit un petit stand qui permet aux gens de se procurer nos produits en tout temps. Nous remarquons que plus de gens prennent le temps d’arrêter nous voir afin de faire des achats. C’est encourageant de voir à quel point la population nous appuie et c’est vraiment apprécié.»

En terminant, soulignons que la Journée agricole portes ouvertes a lieu à l’échelle Atlantique. Au Nouveau-Brunswick, la journée agricole portes ouvertes est organisée sous la coordination de l’Alliance agricole du Nouveau-Brunswick avec l’appui d’Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada et du gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick en collaboration avec le ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Aquaculture. De plus, 107 exploitations agricoles de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, de la Nouvelle-Écosse et du Nouveau-Brunswick ont participé à cet événement annuel durant lequel l’agriculture est à l’honneur.

OPEN FARM DAY DRAWS BIG CROWDS

BY ALAN COCHRANE, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

The Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick is happy that Open Farm Day is growing in popularity. A total of 36 farms throughout New Brunswick opened their doors to the public last Sunday. The event’s public attendance reached more than 13,000 people of all ages. The visitors toured the participating farms to learn and appreciate seeing how farmers feed communities and the world.

Host farms showed a lot of ingenuity in making the experience both educational and enjoyable for all ages. The public had the opportunity to take wagon rides, learn agricultural facts, view milking, tour the farms, pet animals and enjoy farm-fresh treats. Many visitors stayed for hours, went to multiple farms took the opportunity to ask many questions. Open Farm Day is recognized as a Atlantic endeavor. New Brunswick Open Farm Day has coordinated by the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick for more than 12 years with support from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and the Province of New Brunswick in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture.

Talking about food security

JON MACNEILL

Amanda Cavanaugh, centre, and Sarah Jane Thiessen, right, of the Fredericton chapter of the Campus Food Strategy Group, are working with community partners like Robyn Lippett, left, of the Fredericton Community Kitchen.

University students in Fredericton are being called to the forefront of the national campus food movement. The Fredericton chapter of the Campus Food Strategy Group is holding a mixer this month to inform students and faculty of opportunities to get involved in building a secure local food system. FredTalk involves a lecture from St. Thomas University professor Kelly Bronson on food security in New Brunswick, a screening of University of Toronto professor Jason Qu’s TEDx talk about the role students play in food security initiatives, and a panel highlighting the work happening in Fredericton by local food organizations.

The event is being thrown in partnership between the Fredericton Community Kitchen and Campus Food Strategy Group, one of 10 campus groups participating in a national food charter program. Group co-ordinators Sarah Jane Thiessen and Amanda Cavanagh said the event is aimed at showing students all the ways they can translate academic studies into concrete projects to help community partners. “It’s basically about getting you out of the classroom to apply your knowledge to real problems,” said Cavanagh, who’s doing her PhD in biology at the University of New Brunswick. “Faculty members need eager and keen students with ideas to come forward and say, ‘I have an idea and I’d really like to work with you to build it.’ And students need someone to say, ‘Here are faculty members who might be interested in helping you do that.’ ” Thiessen said the bulk of the group’s focus this year is establishing student research partnerships between professors, students and community organizations. They’ve already facilitated a few initiatives, and hope FredTalk will bring more ideas and new projects to the fore.

Currently, students from UNB’s mechanical engineering machine design course are working with campus food service provider Sodexo on devising a machine to compact waste. Complementing Sodexo’s new tray-less dining and mandatory plate-scraping policies, the project will see students design a receptacle for food waste that will compact the matter and remove water or other liquids, reducing volume. Thiessen said Sodexo has also indicated interest in a composting program, something mechanical engineering students could assist with for next year’s undertaking. Other engineering students are pairing with A Greener Village to design a compost and wastewater diversion system for the community food centre. The co-ordinators hope to see gains made in the effort to grow food on campus this year, as well. They said they’re optimistic a sociology student at STU will take the file as their major project for the school year, working closely with a professor who’s shown keen interest in campus gardening. Cavanagh said the group is open to – and can find a project for – students from any department, be it engineering, nursing, psychology or environmental science. “You can tie something to food in every discipline, and that’s really powerful,” she said.

“We have the mandate as students to do research and solve problems,” Thiessen added. “We have the resources of the university campus, the library, the online access, to do it, we’d be getting credit for it, and it’s also something these organizations really need.”

WEIGHING IN ON SOLUTIONS TO REDUCE POVERTY

BY KATHERINE HUNT, NORTHERN LIGHT STAFF, 

Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation executive director Stéphane Leclair (left) and president Léo-Paul Pinet are shown having a discussion following presentations made at the meeting about how to reduce poverty, which was held at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre on Sept. 25. Katherine Hunt/Northern Light Photo

Officials from the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation stopped in Bathurst last week for the sixth of 12 stops on its provincewide tour to gather input to use toward its next five-year poverty reduction plan. About 37 people gathered in the Paul Ouellette Room at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre on Sept. 25. Members of each of the four sectors were present, including government, non-profit organizations, business people and citizens. The purpose of the meeting was to create a dialogue and collect feedback regarding three important questions that corporation will use to create its next five-year reduction plan titled Overcoming Poverty Together. “There are 110,000 citizens in this province living under the poverty line, so we have to hear what people say,” said Léo-Paul Pinet, president of the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation. “(At) the same time find that magic formula to say we are in the position that we want to act and provide ways to reduce poverty and improve that quality of life.”

The last poverty reduction plan was implemented by the provincial government in November 2009. The questions at the dialogue in Bathurst were asked separately and tables of about six or seven people discussed answers to the questions for about 40 minutes each. The questions asked what could be done as a province, as a community, and as citizen or organization to reduce poverty and contribute to economic and social inclusion. Some suggestions from the Chaleur region for what government can do included:

  • More consultations with those living in poverty to gain an understanding of what it is like.
  • Breaking the cycle of poverty by targeting youth.
  • Adjust inflation of consumer goods and services with wages.
  • Encourage buying local.
  • Fair taxation system; back to 2008.
  • Affordable educational opportunities.
  • A provincial healthy breakfast program for all schools and students.
  • Addiction problems getting addressed.
  • Tax credits to those who help the disadvantaged.
  • Medical coverage for low-income families.
  • Some suggestions for what communities can do included:
  • Increase support of the volunteer centre, food security.
  • A smaller transit bus funded by municipal and federal governments.
  • A project to inform the community of what services are available.
  • Address the problem of people becoming involved because of liability issues.
  • Make volunteering part of education curriculum.
  • Companies need to be more responsive of needs in the community.
  • Some suggestions for what citizens and organizations can do included:
  • Be a good, caring neighbour.
  • Share what you can with people in need.
  • Advocates for volunteers. Have role models give their time to teach skills and avenues. For example, doctors, athletes, dentists.
  • Have literacy and basic essential skills programs for youth up to seniors.
  • Mentor others as a way to both teach and learn.
  • Marketing campaign for a cultural change.
  • Eliminate the negative myths of people living in poverty.
  • Pay it forward to someone in need.
  • Outreach services for seniors.
  • Mentorship programs that work with people living in poverty to bring out their strengths, creating pride and dignity.
  • Celebrate successes and build on them.

The information for each dialogue session will go to a writing team made up of people in each of the four sectors. The writing team will draft their plan and submit it to the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation board of directors for approval. The new five-year plan will go into effect on March 31. In a presentation prior to the question dialogue, Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation executive director Stéphane Leclair explained some of the things that came out of the last plan. He said more than 110 projects were launched by community inclusion networks across the province to reduce poverty at regional levels, initiatives such as community gardens. He also said that the corporation invested $1.2 million in community inclusion network initiatives. Communities leveraged three times the amount at $3 million. Prior to the dialogue discussion in Bathurst, the Bathurst Youth Centre made a 10 minute presentation to highlight three of its most successful projects that are partially funded by the corporation. Organizers of the Bathurst Youth Centre music program presented the success of the project, which sees about 20 students each year who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to learn an instrument. Bathurst Youth Centre partner projects, such as the Ideal Centre, also made brief presentations about the benefits the centre has had. There was also a presentation by the Bridges Program, a program in conjunction with the Anglophone North School District that develops personal libraries with affordable books in the homes of children. July Synott, assistant director of the Bathurst Youth Centre, said she would like the new five-year plan to feature asset mapping. Asset mapping is a positive approach rather than focusing on the problems. Instead, it proposes the development of policies based on an understanding, or “map,” of the community’s resources.

“One thing I’d like to see happen with that plan is asset mapping,” she said in an interview with The Northern Light. “More asset mapping because we have many resources in our region and we have many projects that are successful and we really need to talk about those instead of focusing on the problem.” Portraying positivity has been a common theme amongst the various dialogues in the province so far, said Pinet. “We hear, ‘Stop saying that we’re a poor province with no capacity’,” said Pinet. “Maybe transfer that type of message to be, ‘We’re New Brunswickers, (we’re) proud of the little successes we have, and great success in some areas’.” Pinet said each of the dialogues suggested that what is and isn’t working with the Overcoming Poverty Together plan should be made public. “We have to share what’s going well and even what we learned

DIFFICILE DE VAINCRE LA PAUVRETÉ QUAND ELLE AUGMENTE

MICHEL GOURD, L’ÉTOILE, 

Une quarantaine de personnes ont participé au dialogue de la Société d’inclusion économique et sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick au Foyer de soins Village de Campbellton le mardi 24 septembre. Photo Michel Gourd, L’Étoile

La Société d’inclusion économique et sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick a tenu un dialogue public au Foyer de soins Village de Campbellton le mardi 24 septembre. Parallèlement à cette tournée, de récentes études semblent démontrer que la pauvreté augmenterait au Nouveau-Brunswick. La rencontre à laquelle ont participé une quarantaine de personnes à Campbellton fait partie d’une série de 12 dialogues dans la province qui a commencé le 16 septembre et se déroule jusqu’au 9 octobre. Le gouvernement du Nouveau-Brunswick a annoncé le 26 août une série de séances publiques pour le renouvellement du plan de réduction de la pauvreté. Le résultat de ces séances doit mener au renouvellement du plan Ensemble pour vaincre la pauvreté. «Ça va très bien, les gens viennent, les salles sont pleines, qu’est-ce que je peux demander de mieux», affirme le directeur général de la Société d’inclusion économique et sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Stéphane Leclair, qui était sur place pour la rencontre.

Ces sessions doivent permettre aux participants de travailler en groupes afin d’échanger leurs points de vue, de partager leur expérience et de proposer des actions prioritaires. Selon la Loi sur l’inclusion économique et sociale, le plan doit être renouvelé tous les cinq ans par le biais d’un processus d’engagement public. «On fait un dialogue public sur le plan de la réduction de la pauvreté qui est déjà en place. On commence le processus de renouvellement à l’avance et on rencontre toutes les régions», affirme le préposé aux relations publiques qui était sur place, Marc Gosselin. Selon lui, les objectifs du dernier plan seraient déjà réalisés à 55 % et il reste encore un an et demi au premier plan. «Ces discussions, c’est pour le deuxième plan qui va entrer en vigueur fin 2014, mais il faut enclencher le processus tôt à l’avance parce qu’il y a des élections qui s’en viennent l’année prochaine. On veut que le deuxième plan soit prêt avant les élections pour que tous les partis politiques acceptent le plan. C’est un plan qui n’est pas politique ni gouvernemental.»

Dans la région, l’application du premier plan passe par le Réseau d’inclusion communautaire Restigouche, dont la coordonnatrice, Jocelyne Babin, était sur place. «Notre gros succès a été le jardin communautaire à Campbellton, ça et les jardins scolaires. L’école a fait la récolte de ce qui a été planté et c’est incroyable ce qu’ils ont sorti de ça», a-t-elle affirmé à ce sujet. Un projet de transport en commun pour le Restigouche qui avait été soulevé par le passé serait pratiquement abandonné. «C’est presque mort. On a fait une première session pour Campbellton et ce n’est même pas sorti. On a préparé les questions de Dalhousie et de Saint-Quentin et le transport en commun n’est pas sorti. Le gros sujet qui est sorti est l’implication des jeunes et leur exode.» Plusieurs indices semblent indiquer qu’il y a encore beaucoup de pauvreté dans la province. Selon une étude récemment publiée d’une professeure à l’Université de Toronto, Valerie Tarasuk, un enfant sur quatre vivait en 2011 dans une famille qui avait de la difficulté à se procurer de la nourriture au Nouveau-Brunswick.

L’insécurité alimentaire constituerait même un grave problème sur le plan social et pour la santé publique. Le 3 juin, l’organisme voué à l’élimination de la pauvreté dans la province, le Front commun pour la justice sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick, demandait des actions concrètes du gouvernement provincial. Selon cet organisme, la situation de la pauvreté au Nouveau-Brunswick ne fait que s’empirer depuis la récession de 2008. Les revenus seraient à la baisse et la fréquentation des banques alimentaires à la hausse. Jocelyne Babin, qui siège au conseil d’administration de la banque alimentaire de Campbellton, a aussi remarqué cette situation. «Les chiffres de la banque alimentaire sont encore en augmentation. Ils essayent de combler plus de demandes avec les mêmes ressources. Nous, avec notre jardin communautaire, on leur a donné une section. Ça fait un mois et demi qu’ils donnent des légumes frais à leurs clients. L’année prochaine, la grosse priorité sera que toutes les écoles vont avoir leur jardin.» Le Réseau d’inclusion communautaire Restigouche tente aussi d’avoir de l’argent pour embaucher une personne qui s’occupera exclusivement de la sécurité alimentaire qui est un problème très large dans la région selon sa coordonnatrice. Pour sa part, le Front commun pour la justice sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick a déjà exprimé son désir de profiter de la campagne électorale de 2014 pour faire passer son message.

Dialogue sur la réduction de la pauvreté : les Madawaskayens participent en grand nombre

BOBBY THERRIEN, 

La coordonatrice du RICNO, Céline Ouellette et le directeur général de l’atelier RADO, Stéphane Bourgoin. Photo archives

Plus de 50 personnes se sont déplacées à Saint-Léonard afin de participer à la deuxième tournée de rencontres publiques dans les réseaux d’inclusion communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick concernant une deuxième ébauche du plan de réduction de la pauvreté. Il s’agissait de la quatrième rencontre d’une série de 12 en quatre semaines. «Il y avait une ambiance extraordinaire dans la salle. Nous avons pu voir qu’il y a eu une participation extraordinaire des gens. Avant même de se regrouper aux tables pour entamer la discussion, les personnes présentes étaient déjà en train de discuter de solutions entre elles. Le but était de trouver des idées afin de continuer à bâtir notre plan de réduction de la pauvreté et je crois que nous avons eu de bonnes idées des gens du Nord-Ouest», indique le responsable des communications pour la Société d’inclusion économique et sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick (SIESNB), Marc Gosselin.

Au début de la soirée, une présentation standard a été faite par le directeur général de la SIESNB, Stéphane Leclair. A suivi une période de dialogue public où les gens étaient divisés en groupes et pouvaient répondre aux questions qui leur avaient été posées. Selon M. Gosselin, tous les commentaires vont être compilés intégralement et rendus publics. Notons toutefois que les médias n’étaient pas invités à rendre un compte-rendu de la période de discussion, bien qu’ils pouvaient prendre part à la présentation qui avait lieu avant. Selon M. Gosselin, cette décision a été prise pour ne pas intimider les personnes qui prenaient la parole, car certains pouvaient faire état de leurs problèmes personnels en lien avec la pauvreté. «Par respect pour ces gens qui ont besoin de parler de ces choses et qui peuvent nous aider dans notre processus de rédaction d’un autre plan, nous avons demandé aux médias, s’ils voulaient rester pour la période de discussion, de ne pas prendre de note ni de faire état de ce qui a été dit et qui l’a dit. De toute façon, ces commentaires seront publiés intégralement alors ils pourront s’en servir à ce moment.»

Pour ce qui est des thèmes qui sont les plus ressortis de cette rencontre, l’agent de communication reconnaît qu’ils sont assez semblables d’une région à l’autre. Les principaux points soulevés concernaient l’employabilité des gens et leur formation, l’engagement de la communauté dans la lutte contre la pauvreté, le transport en commun et l’alimentation saine. «L’absence de transport en commun a été désignée comme l’un des gros obstacles dans la région du Nord-Ouest. Ce manque met plusieurs barrières aux gens qui veulent travailler, faire leur épicerie, aller à l’hôpital, etc. Le transport, comme bien d’autres éléments, figurent déjà dans le premier plan de réduction de la pauvreté, mais s’il y a encore des demandes à ce sujet c’est qu’il y a encore du travail à faire de ce côté», explique Marc Gosselin.

Néanmoins, M. Gosselin soutient que depuis les débuts du Réseau d’inclusion communautaire du Nord-Ouest (RICNO) jusqu’au 31 mars 2013, plusieurs choses ont été faites pour lutter contre la pauvreté. En tout, 75 rencontres ont eu lieu, 1560 citoyens de la région ont été mobilisés dans les deux dernières années pour mettre en oeuvre un plan de réduction de la pauvreté, 124 000 $ ont été investis. Mais, avec la participation de la communauté, un effet de levier a fait fructifier cet investissement pour lui permettre d’atteindre près de 380 000 $. «On ne peut évidemment pas enrayer la pauvreté du jour au lendemain, mais pas à pas, je crois que l’on va y arriver», ajoute-t-il. Notons que le RICNO est chapeauté par l’Atelier RADO et que sa coordonnatrice est Céline Ouellette.

SESSION ON POVERTY PLAN IDENTIFIES REGIONAL, PROVINCIAL NEEDS

BY GINABETH ROBERTS, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Joanna Brown, community co-ordinator of Westmorland-Albert Community Inclusion Network, and Pat Stafford, community co-ordinator of Vibrant Charlotte County, chat before the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation’s session yesterday in Moncton. The sessions were held as part of a series of public meetings for Overcoming Poverty Together — The New Brunswick Poverty Reduction Plan. GREG AGNEW/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

About a dozen community advocates helping residents living in poverty and hoping to reduce poverty rates gathered Wednesday afternoon to discuss what’s being done now, and what should be done over the next five years, to change the face of poverty in Metro Moncton and throughout New Brunswick. The afternoon meeting was a regional session for stakeholders from the non-profit, business and government sectors to discuss the needs of the province and their own regions, held as part of a series of public dialogue sessions with the purpose of renewing Economic and Social Corporation’s “Overcoming Poverty Together — The New Brunswick Poverty Reduction Plan.” “The next plan will be, again New Brunswickers’ plan,” Stephane Leclair, executive direction of the corporation, said at the meeting.

Joanna Brown, co-ordinator for the Westmorland-Albert Community Inclusion Network, one of 12 regional committees across the province, said one of the key local areas that need to be address is collaboration — the “we vein of positive support networks,” as she put it. “Our focus is on relationship building and strengthening collaborations,” Brown said. “It’s providing a space for people to get to know each other.” During discussion, participants came up with lists of provincial and regional recommendations for the new plan. Much of the discussion was centered on gathering data — both in terms of monitoring poverty rates and assessing needs of the population. Participants said data from the national census was incomplete and inconsistent in the data collected, especially in low-income areas. A suggestion was made to invite universities to join, or lead, poverty research teams.

Further talk focused on the need to re-create adult literacy and essential skills and training services models in the province, making them holistic and accessible, especially to people living in rural areas, and targeting the “working poor” or low-income families and self-employed workers. Concerns for the same groups of people came about when discussion turned to health, drug and dental benefits, and especially in terms of paying for childcare, as participants agreed on the need for publicly-funded day care, possibly from the federal government. Forcing government to allow parents, in the year after they stop taking social assistance, to retain some benefits was another suggestion. Creating opportunities for scholarships and apprenticeships to accommodate all learning and working styles, especially for youth, was also suggested as a need for the province. Another recommendation was to make all 12 community inclusion networks self-sustainable — even hiring staff and selling products and services. Creating mobile services — going to people in rural communities, those with disabilities and seniors — was another welcomed recommendation. Locally, participants discussed the need to retain youth, help seniors in social and financial planning, make streets more accessible and change employers’ mindsets on how they hire and retain people with disabilities. The need for more networking events, like the session, was also suggested and welcomed.

The first poverty reduction plan resulted in the creation of 12 community inclusion networks in the province, which has led to the implementation of more than 140 projects directly related to poverty reduction and economic and social inclusion, according to Léo-Paul Pinet, president of the corporation. Under the current plan, Brown has worked mainly on community-based transportation and food security issues for people living in poverty. “If you can’t get to things, you’re at a loss,” she said. Strategies to better mental health and wellness partnerships to address poverty are also well underway. “It’s hard not to be (happy),” she said of the network’s success. “Like everyone says, this isn’t something that’ resolved in five years. It’s an ongoing thing.” That’s why the meeting was important to her as a liaison between community members and the corporation. “It’s to help check-in and see if the provincial plan that we’ve been working off of for the last few years is still in check, if we need to add anything, to touch base with people and get their feedback and insights,” Brown said.

In accordance with the Economic and Social Inclusion Act, the corporation must renew the strategy every five years. The initial plan expires in November 2014, and once public dialogue sessions are complete, ideas will be collected and submitted to a committee to create a list of potential actions. The final draft will approved by the board of directors in March 2014. A public dialogue session for all community members was held Wednesday evening at the Moncton Lions Community Centre, as part of a 12-community tour across the province. Discussion at this evening meeting was closed to the media. For those who cannot attend one of the three remaining sessions (Oct. 7 in Saint Andrews, Oct. 8 in Saint John and Oct. 9 in Fredericton) can submit their views on the corporation’s website: www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/esic.html.

UNE INITIATIVE LOCALE POUR LES ÉCOLES DU SUD-EST

MARC-SAMUEL LAROCQUE, L’ÉTOILE, 

Julien Robichaud, directeur du Réseau des Cafétérias communautaires et Mathieu D’Astous, directeur de la Récole de chez-nous. Photo Marc-Samuel Larocque, L’Étoile

Tout au long de l’année, les jeunes du District scolaire francophone Sud auront droit à des produits locaux dans les cafétérias d’une vingtaine d’écoles. Le Réseau des cafétérias communautaires, qui s’occupe de l’approvisionnement en nourriture dans les écoles viens de conclure une entente avec la Récolte de Chez Nous. Les producteurs membres de la Récolte de Chez Nous proposeront des produits frais aux jeunes des écoles de la région. Le Réseau des cafétérias communautaire travaille sur ce projet depuis déjà un bon bout de temps. Son directeur, Julien Robichaud, soutient qu’officiellement, l’organisme n’existe que depuis quelques mois. «On est un organisme à but non lucratif qui cherche à gérer les opérations des cafétérias des écoles du sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick. C’est un projet qui s’est développé par les petits, à partir que quelques écoles dans le comté de Kent.» Avec le début de ce projet, les gens du réseau ont pu comprendre les défis de ceux qui veulent s’approvisionner localement. La plupart des producteurs n’ont pas de réseau de distribution en place, ce qui ne laisse que deux choix à ceux qui veulent des produits frais, les acheter dans l’un des marchés de la région ou encore du producteur lui-même.

Cette année, 20 écoles du District, soit environ 8000 élèves, bénéficieront de ce programme. Le réseau s’étend de Saint-Louis-de-Kent jusqu’au Grand Moncton. «On a un camion qui va passer dans les écoles de Moncton, Dieppe et Memramcook une fois par semaine. Dans le comté de Kent, le camion va passer toutes les deux semaines.» La liste de produits qui seront acheminés aux écoles est longue. Cependant, ce ne sont pas tous les produits qui seront offerts à longueur d’année. «Par exemple, on va avoir de la viande et des légumes à longueur d’année, mais nous aurons seulement certains aliments lorsque ce sera leur saison de récolte. Des concombres, des piments, ce sont des aliments qui se conservent mal durant l’hiver. Notre menu est flexible pour permettre ça», précise le directeur.

Le réseau soutient également que le menu est semblable à ce que les jeunes sont habitués, mais la grande différence réside dans la fraicheur des aliments. Le ministre de l’Agriculture du Nouveau-Brunswick, Michael Olscamp, appuie fièrement le projet et soutient que les gouvernements provincial et fédéral ont fourni une contribution financière au programme. «C’est une très belle opportunité, soutient-il. C’est quelque chose qui était dû depuis longtemps et c’est une très belle façon de faire réaliser aux jeunes que nous produisons de la nourriture de qualité ici. Ça va leur permettre de développer de bonnes habitudes de vie.» Le ministère de l’Agriculture a fourni 36 000 $ au projet, tandis que la Société de développement régional à contribuer la somme de 17 500 $. Communautés saines et inclusives a fourni 3000 $ et l’Agence de promotion économique du Canada atlantique (APECA) a remis la somme de 17 000 $ au projet.

DE LA FERME À LA CAF

L’Étoile

Les mauvaises habitudes alimentaires de la population néo-brunswickoise, ainsi que les nombreux problèmes de santé qui y sont liés, notamment chez les plus jeunes, font souvent les manchettes. Un enfant sur trois souffre de surplus de poids, alors que les taux de diabète chez les enfants sont parmi les plus élevés et qu’encore trop de jeunes sont inactifs, au point où cela nuit à leur santé et hypothèque leur avenir. Voilà pourquoi il est encourageant et rafraichissant de voir naître des initiatives qui permettent de contrer cette tendance.

Il n’y a pas si longtemps, la nourriture que l’on proposait à nos élèves dans les cafétérias scolaires ne faisait rien pour améliorer la situation. Friture par ci, panure par là, trop de sel ou trop de sucre… bien souvent, les repas et collations au menu n’étaient pas pensés dans le meilleur intérêt de la santé de l’élève. Et trop souvent, les plats étaient concoctés avec des aliments venus d’ailleurs. Mais les choses semblent vouloir s’améliorer.

Nous en avons un bel exemple dans le sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick. Grâce à un partenariat entre la coopérative d’agriculteurs la Récolte de chez nous et le Réseau des cafétérias communautaires, qui s’occupe de l’approvisionnement en nourriture dans les écoles de la région, les élèves d’une vingtaine d’écoles auront la possibilité de manger des repas santé préparés avec des aliments locaux. Ce projet, qui a d’abord vu le jour à plus petite échelle dans certaines écoles du comté de Kent, profitera à 8000 élèves du district scolaire cette année. Évidemment, ce ne sont pas tous les élèves qui choisiront de manger à la cafétéria, mais au moins, ceux qui le feront, ainsi que les parents de ces derniers, sauront qu’ils ont la possibilité de manger santé, et d’avoir des repas préparés à partir d’aliments locaux.

Ce projet est d’abord intéressant parce qu’il va de pair avec les objectifs des autorités scolaires d’offrir des repas plus santé. En effet, des efforts sont déployés depuis quelques années pour transformer complètement le menu proposé aux élèves de nos écoles. L’initiative permet également d’offrir à nos fermiers locaux un débouché additionnel, et non le moindre. Parlez-en à un agriculteur. Il vous expliquera à quel point il peut être difficile pour les éleveurs et cultivateurs de bien vivre de leur métier à longueur d’année et de concurrencer avec les entreprises qui fournissent, à faible coût, fruits, légumes et autres produits aux grandes chaînes d’alimentation. L’impact économique d’une telle démarche, surtout si elle est reproduite partout en province au cours des prochaines années, pourrait donc être immense pour nos fermiers. Et c’est sans compter l’impact qu’un tel projet peut avoir sur l’environnement. Les consommateurs sont de plus en plus sensibilisés par leur empreinte écologique, c’est-à-dire la pression qu’ils exercent sur la nature en raison de leurs habitudes de vie. Quand on sait que la plupart des aliments que nous mettons dans nos paniers d’épicerie chaque semaine ont voyagé des centaines ou des milliers de kilomètres avant d’arriver chez nous, il y a de quoi se réjouir de la possibilité de nourrir des milliers d’écoliers en s’approvisionnant dans les fermes de la région. Les instigateurs de ce projet avaient une vision : offrir aux élèves des repas santé, préparés à partir d’aliments locaux, permettant du même souffle de donner un coup de main aux fermiers de la province. Nous les félicitons d’avoir persévéré afin que le projet soit étendu à plus grande échelle. Souhaitons maintenant que l’idée fera des petits, et que bientôt, tous les élèves de la province auront l’option de manger santé, tout en encourageant les fermiers de chez nous.

Est-ce que cette initiative est un bon moyen de promouvoir une meilleure alimentation, tout en soutenant les fermiers locaux? Dites-nous ce que vous en pensez à l’adresse info@journaletoile.com .

PROGRAMS TO HELP FOOD PRODUCERS

SHAWN BERRY, LEGISLATURE BUREAU, 

An agreement to renew the federal-provincial Growing Forward strategy will give New Brunswick food producers access to new, innovative agriculture and agri-food programming. The Growing Forward 2 initiative announced Tuesday will provide $37 million in funding over the next five years. The money will be invested in new and traditional programs covering research and innovation, market and business development and environmental stewardship. “The new programs are tailored to meet the needs of New Brunswick farmers and focus on innovation, competitiveness and market development,” said New Brunswick’s Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister, Michael Olscamp. Growing Forward 2, which stems from the original Growing Forward that concluded at the end of March, represents a significant investment in an important sector of the economy, Olscamp said. The agreement is part of a nation-wide renewed commitment among governments to ensure productivity and profitability for Canada’s agricultural sector. The programs put a focus on innovation, competitiveness, and market development and are designed to help the industry position itself to respond to future opportunities and to realize its full potential as a significant contributor to the Canadian economy.

Tobique-Mactaquac MP Mike Allen, who attended the announcement on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, said the agreement is an important milestone in Ottawa’s continued efforts to deliver programs that work for farmers. “We will continue to work together to ensure that targeted investments in priority areas benefit the entire sector through increased productivity, jobs and economic growth,” Allen said. Nationally, the new five-year Growing Forward 2 agreement includes $2 billion for federal-provincial-territorial strategic initiatives, a 50 per cent increase in cost-shared funding, as well as $1 billion for federal-only strategic initiatives. The federal government has announced details of its three federal programs: AgriInnovation, AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness. Under the agreements, governments will continue to offer ongoing funding for a complete set of Business Risk Management programs to ensure farmers are protected against severe market volatility and unforeseen natural disasters.

MONCTONIANS WANT LOCAL FOOD

BY TESS ALLEN, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Monctonians are hankering for local food more than ever before, according to the region’s grocers. Shane Steeves, owner of Moncton’s OMG Market, says he has noticed a growing compulsion for buying and eating locally produced food among his Metro customer base. “The theme of my market is to carry as many local products as possible; that’s our driving force. And supporting your local entrepreneurs and businesses is what people want to do. It’s (a sentiment) that’s growing,” says Steeves, who carries everything from Bouctouche-grown potatoes to P.E.I.-produced hot sauce at his Mountain Road location. “Unfortunately our growing season doesn’t allow us to get as much as we could … But people are asking more and more for local products.” This is a movement also noted by operators of Moncton’s Old Fashion Meat Market. “We try to keep it as close to home as possible. We buy stuff (like beef) from Havelock and turkeys from Sussex. All our lamb is local, too,” says customer service representative Melissa Price. “It (eating local) seems to be more popular. It’s nice to support the local guys if you want to keep your money here. We try to give people that option.” Hossein Barar, owner of Moncton’s Dolma Food, believes there’s nothing new about the appeal of eating local — but increased awareness about its significance is leading this growing movement. “For thousands of years people have enjoyed local food, but what’s happening now is more awareness. People want to go back to seeing where their food is coming from,” says Barar, whose Metro hub offers much in the way of locally produced products from various meats to root vegetables. Barar says that eating local is simply a matter of “common sense.” “It’s common sense to eat things that have been grown in your backyard. It creates more jobs and it’s fresher, (so) why not eat local?” he says.

Local foodies like Dominic Kershaw and Chelsea McFadden certainly share the sentiment. Local food contributes to local economy and is much healthier. Local (food) also promotes community interaction, something I believe our generation packs for the most part,” says Kershaw. “I would much prefer to eat local foods. It is far better for the environment, as there is less fuel needed to ship the food. Also, you can find out so much more about how the food you are eating is grown,” adds McFadden. “I think it (eating locally) is becoming more popular. Every time I go to the market there are tons of people who are trying to cram in to get some fresh produce or meat. I just wish there was more availability (of local food).” This is an opinion some of the region’s larger grocery chains hope to change with a new local food campaign they plan to launch in coming weeks. Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Atlantic Loblaws Companies Limited, says Moncton’s Atlantic Superstore locations will soon be implementing an in-store promotional program entitled “Grown Close to Home” that will highlight fresh, locally grown produce with signs, stories and profiles of local growers. “As a company, we are committed to buying Canadian First, placing a priority to provide Atlantic Canadians with safe, high-quality, fresh, local and regional products through its Grown Close to Home in-store campaign,” says Boudreau. “This public awareness campaign will be present in our Moncton stores in the next few weeks.” Boudreau says the objective of the project is to “give our customers a greater awareness of these products.” “Atlantic Superstore locations across the region work closely with more than 40 local producers, both large and small, from right here in the Maritimes … that provide everything from cucumbers to lettuce to seafood and fresh produce, as well as three distributions centres in Moncton that service the whole region. Moncton is one of the best served areas in the region in terms of produce,” says Boudreau, adding that Moncton’s Atlantic Superstore locations currently offer an “ample supply of local produce” including strawberries, potatoes, cabbage and turnips to cater to the growing movement of buying and eating local. “The company is proud of their long-standing relationships with many local growers throughout the Maritimes, partnering with them to provide year-round support on industry trends, best practices … etc.” Boudreau says that as the growing season progresses over the next few weeks, Loblaw’s various locations will feature a number of other summer produce grown in New Brunswick and right across the region. “Atlantic Superstore, Save Easy’s and Nofrills (Loblaw banner stores) will also have green and yellow beans, pumpkins and root vegetables … into the fall harvest season.” Metro’s other major grocery chain is also noticing — and responding to — residents’ increased desire for local goods. “Sobeys started right here in Atlantic Canada by selling local products and our stores still carry on that tradition 106 years later,” says Shauna Selig, Sobeys’ manager of communications and corporate affairs, adding that Sobeys supports “more local farmers, producers and processors than any other grocery retailer in Atlantic Canada.” “We support hundreds of local growers and producers in Atlantic Canada and many right here in New Brunswick such as Michaud Farms, Belliveau Orchards, Lawlor Farms, Kingsclear Mushrooms, Granite Town Farms and Sussex Valley Farms.” Selig says this trend toward buying and eating local is not limited to produce from Sobeys’ perspective. “Customers are looking for local in other areas of the store as well and we’re happy to provide those choices. We purchase honey and maple products from producers here in New Brunswick and many other products such as eggs, meat pies, sauerkraut and sausage,” she says. “We have seen an increase in the requests for local products and even in customers’ knowledge of what products are available in their region. We’re always interested in hearing about new local products that customers are looking for and working with local growers and producers to get their products into our stores.”

RURAL AREAS NEED LEADERSHIP: KEYNOTE SPEAKER

TAMMY SCOTT-WALLACE, TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL, 

Gilles Lepage is the co-chairman of the Georgetown Conference being held until Saturday in the small eastern Prince Edward Island town. Lepage was among those who gave keynote addresses during the conference’s first day Thursday. Zeta Cobb, president of the Shorefast Foundation, was another keynote speaker. PHOTO: TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL ARCHIVE

GEORGETOWN, P.E.I. – An influential New Brunswick Acadian says until government puts power back into the hands of people at the grassroots level, rural communities will not redefine success. Gilles Lepage is the co-chairman of the Georgetown Conference being held until Saturday in the small eastern Prince Edward Island town. He was part of the conference’s opening keynote addresses on Thursday, attended by about 300 delegates and community leaders from across Atlantic Canada focused on turning the tide on declining opportunities in rural communities. Lepage is the former chief executive officer for the Mouvement des caisses populaire in New Brunswick who was named by Maclean’s magazine in 2003 as one of the 10 Canadians “Who Make A Difference,” and was part of the conference opening aimed at pressing the reset button on rural communities in Atlantic Canada.

He said provincial governments need to show leadership, and specifically in his province, the traditional structure in unincorporated communities needs to evolve in order for prosperity to happen. In many areas of the province, regions have been eyeing the option of forming rural communities, but for the most part citizens are opposing them. The province has promised not to push the envelope. That has to change, Lepage said. A vote on a rural community, for example, will take place in Sussex area local service districts this month.

Lepage said until rural communities become a reality – allowing like areas to share services and support one another – communities will be at a standstill throughout the province. “We must create prosperity for our citizens,” he said. And the only way to do that, he believes, is to put decisions in the hands of the people. “In our unincorporated communities, there is a total absence of leadership, there are no plans, there is not a number to call,” Lepage said. “If we want to prepare for the future we have to be mature enough to see this has to change.” Simply, Lepage said, the late premier Louis J. Robichaud created a better model for New Brunswick with improvements to education and the importance of bilingualism, but in terms of local governance, he said the landscape did not change. There has to be an overhaul, and for that to happen the provincial government needs to lead, according to Lepage.

“We are all making the same mistake, the Sussex area is no different than Tracadie or any other rural community,” Lepage said. “People who live in these communities need people elected to represent them in order to make things happen. It’s as simple as that. “And for that to happen it takes a government with courage. They lack courage,” he added. “They know the government who undertakes this will lose their next election, and in our province we are already seeing one-term governments. No one will take the risk, but it’s the only way.” And if or when the question is asked on whether rural communities – having elected mayors like towns, cities and villages – should be created, Lepage believes the province needs to turn to a broader electronic vote.

“Take those people from Sussex or all the other communities around who are out in Ontario working or in Fort McMurray and let them vote – there might be a different outcome,” he said. “These young people want to be home, but there have to be more opportunities for them to come home.” Named Rural Redefined, the Georgetown Conference has attracted people from across the four provinces, gathered with the common purpose of networking as a region to find solutions to shrinking rural identities. The event has been 20 months in the making, the brainchild of Newspapers Atlantic, which represents 70 community papers with a combined circulation of 700,000 people, including Brunswick News weekly publications. “I think there are ties that bind us in this part of the country,” said Ray Ivany, president of Acadia University in Nova Scotia, moderator of Thursday afternoon’s opening panel discussion featuring Lepage. Other speakers included Zeta Cobb, president of the Shorefast Foundation, and Donna Butt who founded Rising Tide Theatre. Both women have created successful businesses in rural Newfoundland.

“Every time we lose a community, which we lose everyday, we’re losing a lot,” Copp told the crowded Kings Playhouse Theatre in Georgetown. Cobb lives on Fogo Island, and said communities can not only survive, but thrive – resilience, however, is key. She said communities cannot be set in their ways, and people living in them need to know “how to stand in the wind” and sometimes move with it. “I think if all we can do is watch the sunset, I don’t think you can claim to have a healthy community,” she said, referring to communities that only thrive seasonally. She said for communities to survive, regardless of size, they have to be a place of production. She spoke of Fogo Island and its people who had to refocus over 40 years ago when its sustainable fishery suffered after draggers started stripping the waters 24 hours a day. When its last fishery merchant pulled out, communities in the area rallied and created a co-operative that took over the one fish plant on the island, which grew to four fish plants to create the success story of today. “Rural places need local ownership,” she said. People with rural roots need to come to the table with money and expertise, she added, along with a spirit of co-operation to work with neighbours to enhance their unique rural areas. “Its not the specialness of a place that matters,” she said. “It’s the specificity of a place that matters. “Places have value.” She said distant capital corporations are not investing to optimize a community, but instead optimizing for the return on capital. “It’s a problem for society as a whole,” Cobb said. She said rural communities have what they need to thrive, but the shift in focus must be on nature and culture. “We have everything we need, but it’s upside down,” she said. “We need to turn it around. “We need great cities … and we need rural areas. We need both,” she added. “How do we re-weave the fabric?” The world is being flattened, Cobb believes, with all-sized communities losing their charm, sense of culture and character. Butt created a theatre and subsequent festival that draws thousands of people to her small community of Trinity on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. Outside the summer season, she said, 37 people live in her community’s downtown. Like Cobb, Butt said communities cannot be built around summertime. They need schools, community events, fundraising activities, work opportunities and other services to support a high quality of life, she said. “Our wealth is within ourselves,” Cobb insisted. “We cannot sit by and watch the lights go out one by one.”

The small communities in Atlantic Canada have a commonality, she said, and that is the general fear of an eventual demise by the people living in them. People have to “re-imagine” a new way of heading into the future with community prosperity in mind, and both government and corporations, she said, have to “imagine in every conceivable way” ways to help in achieving rural success again

DES POULES PONDEUSES À BATHURST, DIFFICILE À IMAGINER POUR LA VILLE

ALICE BRAUD, L’ÉTOILE

À la demande de plusieurs citoyens de Bathurst souhaitant acquérir des poules pondeuses à l’intérieur des limites de la ville, le conseil municipal de Bathurst s’est questionné quant aux désagréments que les poules pourraient engendrer chez les résidants de Bathurst. Pourtant, des villes comme Moncton, Fredericton et Saint-Jean ont accepté que les citoyens fassent l’élevage de poules pour la consommation des oeufs.

La question sur la possession d’une poule pondeuse chez soi a été discutée de façon très sérieuse lors du conseil municipal de Bathurst. En effet, posséder une poule pondeuse dans son jardin lorsqu’on vit à l’intérieur des limites de la ville exige des règlements qui pourraient bien décourager certaines personnes désirant installer un poulailler chez elles. L’avis des conseillers était partagé lors du conseil municipal. Certains ont fait part de leur inquiétude quant au bruit et aux odeurs nauséabondes que dégagent ces volailles. Certains conseillers ont même parlé de dévaluation des maisons de la ville. «Si j’achète une maison en ville, je me pose la question à savoir si la valeur de la propriété va baisser parce qu’il y a un poulailler à côté. J’ai des inquiétudes quant à ça. Je me dis que moi, si j’achetais une maison, je n’aimerais vraiment pas avoir un poulailler à côté de chez moi», avance le conseiller Scott Ferguson.

Des poules en ville, l’exemple de Moncton et de Saint-Jean

La Ville de Moncton a permis au groupe Grand Moncton Post Carbone de tester durant un an une ferme expérimentale en milieu urbain comprenant quatre poules pondeuses. Dans un rapport rédigé par le Grand Moncton Post Carbon, on peut y lire qu’une poule pond en moyenne trois oeufs par jour, ce qui représente en moyenne deux douzaines d’oeufs par semaine. Selon le rapport, cette expérience avait pour but de démontrer l’importance de l’autosuffisance alimentaire. Un moyen qui permet également de réduire son impact énergétique sur la planète. Selon le groupe Grand Moncton Post Carbone, posséder des poules pondeuses pour sa propre consommation est une façon d’envisager une alternative économique pour réduire sa facture d’épicerie. En effet, sachant que le prix de l’essence ne cesse d’augmenter, les coûts associés au transport des aliments font indéniablement augmenter le prix de la nourriture. Autre exemple, à Saint-Jean, les personnes qui désirent posséder une poule en ville doivent se limiter à un maximum de six poules, respecter des dimensions très précises de la construction d’un poulailler et se plier aux diverses normes d’hygiène et de sécurité. En Amérique du Nord, bien des municipalités ont accepté que leurs citoyens possèdent des poules pondeuses dans leur jardin. Reste à voir si le conseil municipal de Bathurst offre la possibilité aux citoyens d’acquérir des poules pondeuses dans leur jardin.

BANQUES ALIMENTAIRES : UN PORTRAIT INÉGAL

ANABEL COSSETTE CIVITELLA, L’ÉTOILE, 

La gérante Anita LeBlanc dans la réserve de denrées non périssables de la banque alimentaire Le Vestiaire Saint-Jean-Baptiste, à Bouctouche. Photo Anabel Cossette Civitella, L’Étoile

Si d’après les plus récentes statistiques, 25 % des Néo-Brunswickois sont victimes d’une insécurité alimentaire qui va en s’accroissant, certaines régions du sud-est de la province ne semblent pas vivre cette augmentation. Selon la dernière étude sur l’insécurité alimentaire au Canada par des chercheurs de l’Université de Toronto, un quart des enfants du Nouveau-Brunswick vit dans une famille qui n’arrive pas à mettre du pain sur la table tous les jours. Ces résultats étonnent profondément Raymond Gould, directeur-gérant de la banque alimentaire qui dessert les organismes du Sud-Est, à Moncton. «Selon les chiffres que nous avons, tout le monde est servi [par les banques alimentaires]. S’il y a du monde qui n’est pas servi, c’est que ces personnes ne vont pas chercher de la nourriture ou, du moins, ils ne demandent pas d’aide.» Le directeur-gérant ne remet pas en question le rapport, mais il se questionne sur les chiffres utilisés par les chercheurs, sous-entendant qu’ils n’ont pas considéré les banques alimentaires dans leur calcul. Un total de 2500 familles sont desservies chaque année par le Dépôt alimentaire, l’organisme qui expédie les denrées de Moncton aux différentes banques du Sud-Est. Parmi les familles desservies, on compte trente mille enfants. Pour Raymond Gould, ce n’est pas la région du Sud-Est qui est la plus affectée, et encore moins celle du Grand Moncton où il y a le plus d’opportunités d’emplois. «D’une année à l’autre, ça ne change pas tellement. […] Si ça a changé, ce n’est pas plus de 5 %», calcule-t-il. Raymond Gould admet toutefois qu’entre Bouctouche et Richibucto, par exemple, la pénurie d’emplois attire peut-être un peu plus de gens vers l’aide alimentaire.

DES BANQUES AUX MOYENS INÉGAUX

Du côté du Vestiaire Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Bouctouche, même si Anita LeBlanc a vu une légère augmentation de bénéficiaires (pas plus d’une dizaine) cette dernière année, elle insiste pour dire qu’elle n’a pas à se plaindre. Avec ses deux nouveaux réfrigérateurs et son énorme congélateur, avec sa camionnette qui lui permet d’aller chercher les dons à Moncton et une boutique de seconde main attenante à la banque alimentaire, la gérante assure qu’elle arrive facilement à répondre à la demande des quelque 100 personnes par année qui se présentent à Bouctouche. Surtout si elle se compare à ses collègues de Richibucto, par exemple, qui répondent à environ 189 familles par mois… avec beaucoup moins de moyens.

Pour expliquer la différence entre les deux banques alimentaires, Rhonda Robichaud souligne qu’à Richibucto, tout est orchestré par des bénévoles. Il y a manifestement une gêne lorsque la gérante de la KCCVA Food Bank de Richibucto souligne qu’elle a vu une grosse augmentation de jeunes bénéficiaires au cours de la dernière année. «Nous n’avons aucun programme auquel les référer pour les aider», déplore-t-elle, tout en refusant de quantifier la hausse pour ne «pas montrer à quel point il y a un besoin». «Les familles qui viennent nous voir ont de plus en plus de jeunes bébés alors que nous n’avons pas de couches ou de lait maternisé à leur offrir», ajoute-t-elle. Pour Rhonda Robichaud, les statistiques selon lesquelles les Néo-Brunswickois sont de plus en plus victimes de l’insécurité alimentaire ne font pas de doute.

DONS EN CHUTE LIBRE

Si le directeur-gérant du Dépôt alimentaire de Moncton n’a pas vu une franche augmentation dans les demandes des bénéficiaires cette année, le nombre de dons, lui, a connu un changement inquiétant. «Depuis l’an passé, les dons sont descendus de 15 %. Ça montre que les gens n’ont pas l’argent, qu’ils ne peuvent pas acheter plus. C’est épeurant un peu», s’alarme Raymond Gould en précisant que la situation se détériore depuis deux ans. Il cite par exemple que les grosses compagnies qui ont l’habitude de donner le font moins par les temps qui courent. Selon lui, lorsque des personnes qui travaillent ne peuvent plus donner, c’est l’indicateur que quelque chose ne tourne pas rond. En guise de coupable : «Le prix de la nourriture monte […], mais le salaire du monde n’augmente pas beaucoup», commente le directeur-gérant qui espère que les statistiques publiées à la fin juillet auront un impact positif sur les dons faits aux banques alimentaires.

LA CUISINE COMMUNAUTAIRE SERT DES REPAS CHAUDS

DANY BÉDARD, L’ÉTOILE, 

Jackie McCue est cuisinière à la cuisine communautaire de la banque alimentaire régionale de Grand-Sault. Photo Stephanie Jellett

Pendant la période estivale, les dons à la banque alimentaire sont faibles, mais la demande est toujours forte, particulièrement depuis l’ouverture de la cuisine communautaire qui a eu lieu en mai dernier. Le président de la banque alimentaire régionale de Grand-Sault, Glenn Rioux, s’est dit surpris par le nombre de personnes qui continuent de se présenter chaque semaine. «C’était un départ lent, mais après un certain temps, beaucoup de personnes se sont présentées à la cuisine communautaire et il y a de plus en plus de demandes chaque jour. Il y a présentement 400 personnes qui viennent chaque semaine. Cela démontre qu’il y a beaucoup de pauvreté dans la région de Grand-Sault», a déclaré Glenn Rioux.

Le président ne croyait pas qu’il y aurait beaucoup de gens à la cuisine communautaire pendant l’été, mais il a été stupéfait de constater le nombre de personnes qui sont dans le besoin. Il prévoit que les chiffres vont doubler pendant l’hiver. «C’est rassurant lorsque des gens affamés viennent et nous savons que nous pouvons leur donner un repas chaud», a confié Glenn Rioux. À l’heure actuelle, la cuisine communautaire est ouverte seulement pour le dîner de 11h30 à 13h30 du lundi au vendredi. Les membres de la communauté peuvent entrer, obtenir un repas gratuit et bien manger. Glenn Rioux a expliqué que plusieurs individus ne savent pas comment se faire à manger, alors s’ils veulent une assiette pour le souper, il est possible d’en faire l’achat au coût de 1,50 $. La cuisine n’offre pas de menu spécifique, mais elle offre une variété de nourriture. «Il y a plusieurs sortes de repas comme de la pizza et du spaghetti. Nous modifions notre menu chaque jour», a indiqué Glenn Rioux. La cuisine communautaire fonctionne en grande partie à partir de dons. Sinon, ce serait difficile de servir des repas.

«C’est difficile parce que si nous n’avons pas de dons en argent, nous ne pouvons pas garder notre cuisinière. Sans cuisinière, nous serions dans l’obligation de fermer et je ne veux pas que cela se produise parce que la demande est forte», a révélé Glenn Rioux. Les gens peuvent faire des dons en argent ou en nourriture directement à la banque alimentaire régionale de Grand-Sault située au 363 de la rue Portage. Des dons de livres et de films peuvent être déposés à la Banque de Montréal. Il y a plusieurs boîtes et enveloppes à chaque église de la région. La banque alimentaire et la cuisine communautaire sont gérées par des bénévoles et une cuisinière rémunérée, Jackie McCue. «Nous sommes chanceux d’avoir des gens généreux de leur temps pour nous aider», a dit Glenn Rioux. Au Canada, 882 188 personnes ont eu recours à une banque alimentaire dans la dernière année. Parmi ces personnes, 19 524 se sont présentées à l’une des 60 banques alimentaires du Nouveau-Brunswick. Un ratio de 32 % de ces individus est âgé de moins de 18 ans. «La banque alimentaire a besoin de plus de dons de toutes sortes. De plus en plus de gens se retrouvent dans la pauvreté», a mentionné Glenn Rioux. Depuis 2008, il y a eu une augmentation de 31 % d’usagers; le facteur principal est le manque d’argent. Pour des renseignements supplémentaires à propos des banques alimentaires, on peut visiter le site Internet www.foodbankscanada.ca.

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UN JARDIN POPULAIRE À SHEDIAC

MARC-SAMUEL LAROCQUE, L’ÉTOILE, 

Si l’on avait dit aux membres du projet du jardin communautaire de Shediac qu’ils allaient devoir refuser des jardiniers par manque d’espace, et ce, à leur 2e année d’existence, ils auraient probablement ri. Pourtant, cette initiative qui a débuté il y a peu de temps est déjà très prisée par les gens de la région.

L’initiative a débuté en 2011, alors que le jardin, situé sur la rue Breaux Bridge, avait comme unique but de fournir un peu de nourriture pour le vestiaire St-Joseph. Gilles LeBlanc, coordonnateur du projet du jardin communautaire, explique que l’engouement a été très rapide, passant de 26 jardiniers en 2012 à 41 en 2013. «On ne savait pas que le besoin était si criant, mais on était conscient qu’il y en avait un. Des gens voulaient se regrouper et avoir un petit lopin à cultiver. Ce sont des gens qui sont en appartements ou qui n’ont pas assez d’espace derrière leurs maisons.» Le jardin communautaire est occupé à pleine capacité et les organisateurs ont dû refuser une ou deux personnes, par manque d’espace.

«Il y a deux jardins. Il y en a un qui est réservé exclusivement pour le vestiaire St-Joseph, avec les mêmes objectifs que nous avions en 2011. On a monté un peu plus haut dans le même champ et on a fait un jardin 90 X 90 pi. Dans cet espace-là, nous avons 41 lopins de 10 x 6 pi de large», souligne Gilles LeBlanc. Ils ont également aménagé trois bacs surélevés pour les gens à mobilité réduite. Si le projet du jardin continue d’avoir le vent dans les voiles, il pourrait bien être agrandi au courant des prochaines années. M. LeBlanc explique d’ailleurs qu’une demande en ce sens a déjà été acheminée à la paroisse St-Joseph, propriétaire du champ où se trouve le jardin. Il en coûte 15 $ pour avoir un lopin de terre au jardin de Shediac. La terre a été engraissée avec de la tourbe et elle est prête à être utilisée. De plus, les jardiniers ont accès à des engrais organiques, gracieuseté d’une entreprise de la région. Très peu de publicité a été faite pour le jardin, un peu de bouche-à-oreille et une ou deux petites annonces dans les journaux, conclut M. LeBlanc.

INCREASING INTEREST IN PROVINCE’S FOOD SECURITY

BY LAVERNE STEWART, STEWART.LAVERNE@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

Growing their own: Children at the Doone Street Community Centre show off the vegetables they helped to grow in the garden in the background. From left in front, they are Alex Lewis, 8, holding broccoli; Hunter Calhoun, 6, onions; Emily Lewis, 6, cherry tomatoes; Savannah Kuiken, 8, carrots. Back row: Brandon MacMaster, 14, green beans; Tylor Calhoun, 10, carrots; Charity Calhoun, 12, cherry tomatoes; and Madison MacMaster, 12, swiss chard. Stephen MacGillivray/The Daily Gleaner

Interest in where our food comes from and how to access safe, affordable, nutritious food is growing.

Roxana Suchorolski, co-ordinator of the New Brunswick Food Security Action Network, said food security is an issue in the province and across the country. “Food security is important for everyone. Food security is making sure we all have access to good, healthy, fresh food that’s made in a sustainable way. New Brunswick has high rates of poverty and high unemployment rates. Anyone can be one paycheque away, potentially, from feeling the effects of food insecurity,” she said.

Efforts are underway to help people throughout the province access and prepare healthy, affordable food. The community food mentor program started earlier this year to address food security issues in the province, she said. Community food mentors are being trained to help others through a variety of food-related programs such as communal gardens, cooking classes and bulk food buying programs, she said.

“Everyone has an opportunity to have an impact on the food system and on their own food security, especially if they partner with one another in their communities,” Suchorolski said. By working together, she said, people can share skills and discover what resources exist in their communities to help them to access and prepare healthy, fresh affordable foods.

Tammy MacMaster took the five-day training program last winter. “I live on Doone Street and I was already doing a hot lunch program here in my community. I wanted to do more,” she said. Through the food mentorship program, she said, she learned basic food safety, handling and cooking methods from public health dietitians. That inspired her to start a community children’s garden in her neighbourhood, she said.

This summer 25 children in the area helped with three raised-bed vegetable gardens. The gardens were fenced in and the gate was locked, but MacMaster said she quickly realized it wasn’t necessary because the neighbourhood kids are protective of their vegetable plants, she said. As they picked the produce, she said, many of the kids munched on peas and beans. Children who might not want to eat vegetables are now willing to try foods such as Swiss chard because they’ve grown it, she said. “They picked it and cooked it and were asking for seconds,” MacMaster said. Next year, MacMaster said, she hopes to be able to expand the raised-bed gardens so adults who live in the community can get involved too.

“Doone Street is a multicultural community now. We have a lot of families that have come here from other countries where they grew a lot of their own food. If we are able to expand, I know there are lots of families that would want to participate,” MacMaster said. This fall, she said, she wants to have community cooking sessions that will help people in the community learn more about preparing fresh foods. MacMaster said she’s also learning to eat better because of the program. For instance, she said, she’s discovered how delicious locally grown root vegetables can be when roasted with fresh herbs and olive oil.

Susanne White is a program co-ordinator in Fredericton. She said access to affordable, nutritious food is a challenge for many people in the city and across the province. Since the program started in February, 34 community food mentors have been trained at sessions in Fredericton, Oromocto and Chipman.  The community food mentors are sharing their knowledge with others at food banks, schools, community and seniors centres, youth groups, cultural groups, church groups and farmers markets, she said. The food mentors have facilitated workshops, provided food demonstrations, given healthy eating presentations and supported programs such as community gardens, collective kitchens and bulk food buying programs, White added. More local mentors are needed for the program, she said. “We are looking to attract people who have a passion about food who are interested in giving back to their communities on a volunteer basis,” White said.

Applications are being accepted until Sept. 11 for the next food mentor training in Fredericton in October.

The training is funded by the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation and the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities. Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard said her department is supporting a variety of community-based food security initiatives that improve access to healthy foods, increase food knowledge and skills and build stronger, more inclusive communities. “The community food mentor program vision is that N.B. communities are food secure and benefit from each other’s strengths, knowledge, skills and passions around food,” Shephard said.

To learn more about the next Community Food Mentor training program in Fredericton, call Susanne White at 262-0842, or go to nbfoodsecurity.ca/community-food-mentor-program/

ZOMBIE WALK AND FOOD DRIVE A SUCCESS

BY JAMES JENKINSON, JENKINSON.JAMES@BRUNSWICKNEWS.COM, 

Bloody faces and grunts were met with curious stares from Sobeys shoppers on Saturday as roughly 100 zombies gathered at the Regent Street location for the annual Zombie Walk and Food Drive. Last year’s walk produced roughly 700 pounds of food for the Fredericton Food Bank, said event co-ordinator John Staples, but he was pretty sure, at 5 p.m., this year’s event had surpassed 1000.

“It’s really great to see the event get bigger and bigger each year as more people take part and more donations come in,” said Chris Fougere, program director at the Fredericton Food Bank. Summer is a difficult time at the food bank, Fougere said, so this event helps to refill the shelves and give staff a head start on the Christmas season.

In its inaugural year the zombie walk had only one car trunk full of food, Staples said, but Fredericton residents have grown increasingly generous. The number of zombies in costume jumped by 20 per cent this year from 80 to 100. Prizes were available for the best-costumed zombies in a number of different categories, Staples said. The superhero zombie category is for those wishing to “zombify” their favourite superheros, while a group category was set aside for teams of two to five people.

“Then there’s the blood and gore. Basically, if they look like they just went through a meat grinder, they could win,” he said. “For those who don’t like the blood and gore, we’ve got the vintage zombie. That would be one that looks like they just crawled out of the ground, they’re all wrinkly and dried out.”

Any of the event’s 14 sponsors were invited to judge the costumes. Prizes ranged from a free room at Robin’s Inn to a free week of classes from Appleby’s Taekwando to all sorts of zombie paraphernalia from Strange Adventures and Pretty Little Freak Boutique. At the request of its passengers, a large, green van was mock attacked by the zombies. For the last 30 days the van’s been home to a Vancouver-based web series called “ding free”.

“Basically, the web series is about Tegan and Kyle and they showcase all the cool parts of Canada while advertising the fact that, if you’re with a credit union and you use a credit union ATM, you have no surcharges, so you don’t get dinged,” said the web series’ line producer Maggie MacPherson. At 5 p.m., the horde flooded the streets, taking advantage of photo opportunities along the way. The zombies started down Regent and turned on to Needham, a desolate looking, low traffic street which made for excellent zombie photos, Staples said. After marching along the downtown streets of King and Queen, the zombies of legal drinking age hit up Boom! nightclub for refreshments. “Zombies is a genre that will never – pardon my pun – die out,” said Staples. Fougere wanted to personally thank Staples for his efforts as the event’s sole organizer.

Ce Canada qui a faim: quand la ferme ne suffit pas

Publié le 27 août 2013 à 06h00 | Mis à jour le 27 août 2013 à 06h00 la Presse

Nouvellement propriétaire d'une ferme de 320 acres en... (PHOTO JASON FRANSON, COLLABORATION SPÉCIALE)

Nouvellement propriétaire d’une ferme de 320 acres en Alberta centrale, la famille Ruzicka n’arrive pas à en tirer sa subsistance: «Nous ne pouvons pas vivre de la ferme. Danny travaille aussi à temps plein comme maréchal ferrant», raconte Shannon Ruzicka.
(KILLAM, ALBERTA) L’Alberta nourrit le monde. La phrase revient comme un leitmotiv dans la bouche du gouvernement de la province, comme dans celle de l’industrie agroalimentaire. Ce slogan, cependant, laisse plus d’un fermier sur sa faim. À 20 ans, Takota Coen a un rêve. Un grand rêve. Il est convaincu qu’un jour, lui et la famille qu’il bâtira vivront de l’agriculture. À 100%. Un rêve à portée de tracteur, pensez-vous? Pas si certain. Parlez-en aux parents de Takota. Fermiers depuis plus de 30 ans en Alberta centrale, installés sur une ferme de 250 acres, ils n’ont jamais réussi à atteindre le seuil de pauvreté en cultivant la terre. «Si on ne vivait que de l’agriculture, on ne mourrait pas de faim, mais on vivrait dans le plus grand dénuement», note Michael Coen, 53 ans, rencontré en marge d’une manifestation contre l’utilisation de luzerne génétiquement modifiée organisée par son fils. Pour joindre les deux bouts, Michael Coen est charpentier à temps plein, en plus de cultiver du foin qu’il vend à d’autres agriculteurs. Au cours des dernières décennies, Michael Coen et sa femme Laura ont vu plus d’un agriculteur albertain tomber au combat et vendre sa ferme, faute de pouvoir mettre assez de pain sur la table. «Ceux qui ont les plus grosses fermes sont souvent les plus mal en point. Ils vivent criblés de dettes pour faire pousser du blé et du canola. Mais qui mange du canola?», s’interroge Takota Coen, qui espère un jour être à la tête d’une ferme où élevage de bétail, production de céréales et de légumes biologiques iront de pair.
Jeunes, fauchés, passionnésC’est ce même rêve qui anime Danny et Shannon Ruzicka. Le jeune couple dans la trentaine et leurs trois enfants ont récemment acheté une ferme de 320 acres en Alberta centrale, tout près de Viking. Ils y produisent du «boeuf nouveau», nourri uniquement de pâturage traditionnel, du poulet élevé à l’air frais et du porc biologique. Et des légumes de toutes sortes.Le décor est bucolique. Lors de notre visite, le soleil se couchait doucement sur la ferme alors que les trois enfants du couple, qui venaient d’aller nourrir les chapons, jouaient sur les immenses bottes de foin.Ce décor de carte postale cache cependant une dure réalité. «Nous ne pouvons pas vivre de la ferme. Danny travaille aussi à temps plein comme maréchal ferrant», raconte Shannon Ruzicka, assise dans la maison qu’elle et son mari viennent de faire construire sur la ferme et qu’ils payent en travaillant d’arrache-pied. «L’été, nous travaillons de 5h du matin à 23h le soir pour tout faire. Danny doit combiner deux emplois à temps plein et moi, je m’occupe de la ferme et de la commercialisation de nos produits», note celle qui se transforme aussi en enseignante l’hiver. Ses trois jeunes enfants, Madalynne, 8 ans, Joshua, 6 ans, et Molly, 3 ans, sont instruits à la maison.Pour faire connaître leur travail, les deux jeunes agriculteurs organisent tous les étés un repas sept services avec le chef Blair Lebsack, star de la gastronomie à Edmonton. La table est plantée au milieu des champs. «C’est un moment magique qui permet d’oublier quelque peu nos frustrations, partagées par tant de jeunes fermiers», note Shannon, en faisant visiter l’étable où les poulets grandissent au chaud en attendant la fonte de la neige.Le couple d’agriculteurs en vient à un constat: le système agricole canadien est malade. «Nous voulons tellement nourrir le reste du monde et exporter nos produits que nous oublions que nos fermiers ont de la misère à se nourrir eux-mêmes», déplore Danny qui a été élevé sur une grande ferme commerciale très lourde à porter pour ses parents.Selon lui, la pauvreté qui afflige une grande partie des fermiers de l’Ouest et qui les oblige à prendre un deuxième et un troisième emploi pour survivre – comme c’est le cas pour 70% d’entre eux – a un impact direct sur la sécurité alimentaire des Canadiens, qui ont peu accès aux produits d’ici.Farm OnAlarmé autant par la précarité dans laquelle se retrouvent beaucoup de fermiers que par la disparition des agriculteurs de moins de 35 ans, un groupe d’Albertains a mis sur pied l’organisme Farm On.Utilisant les réseaux sociaux, l’organisme invite les agriculteurs d’ici et d’ailleurs à partager leur histoire. Et à mettre en marche une véritable révolution. «La situation va empirer si les jeunes fermiers abandonnent la bataille parce qu’ils sont incapables de reprendre la ferme de leurs parents. Au Canada, près de 10 milliards de dollars de capital agricole doit changer de mains au cours des prochaines années. Comment cela se fera-t-il s’il ne reste plus de fermiers de moins de 35 ans?», note une des fondatrices de Farm On, Sara Wray, qui possède une petite ferme avec son mari à Bashaw.«Nous aurions voulu récupérer la ferme de nos parents en 2002, mais la maladie de la vache folle ainsi que la sécheresse ont frappé l’Alberta. La famille a dû se départir de la ferme. Nous avons dû travailler en ville pendant plusieurs années avant d’acheter une petite ferme. Ça fait trois ans que nous travaillons très fort et nous couvrons environ deux tiers des coûts.»Pour assurer la pérennité de l’agriculture au pays et du coup la souveraineté alimentaire, Farm On veut proposer à la population canadienne un éventail de solutions. La première est de mettre le consommateur directement en lien avec les fermiers. «Actuellement, pour chaque dollar de nourriture qui est achetée, seulement 0,14$ revient au fermier, ça n’a pas de sens. Les gens ne peuvent pas se bâtir une vie avec ça», conclut-elle.

Le secret? Faire moinsDon Ruzicka n’oubliera jamais le jour où le médecin lui a appris qu’il souffrait de la maladie de Crohn. «Il m’a dit, si tu fais de l’agriculture différemment, tu peux guérir.» Propriétaire d’une grande ferme commerciale à l’époque, criblé de dettes et craquant sous la pression, le fermier albertain a pris le médecin à la lettre. En 1995, il a vendu sa machinerie ultra sophistiquée et s’est départi d’une partie de ses terres. Alors que le concept de «nourriture biologique» commençait à peine à se faire connaître du grand public, le fermier de Killam a mis aux vidanges les sacs de pesticides dont il ne pouvait se passer dans son ancienne vie. Un quart de siècle plus tard, Don Ruzicka est devenu le gourou de l’agriculture biologique en Alberta centrale. L’an dernier, lui et son épouse Marie, qui l’épaule dans l’entreprise familiale, ont reçu une prestigieuse décoration de la province pour leurs accomplissements environnementaux. La viande qu’il produit -boeuf, porc, poulet- s’écoule parmi un petit groupe de clients que Don Ruzicka connaît personnellement. Et quand il regarde son compte en banque, il sourit. «Je gagne beaucoup mieux ma vie avec cette approche que lorsque j’avais une ferme quatre fois plus grande», sourit-il. Son secret? Faire moins. Le fermier albertain est heureux de fournir en protéines 50 familles. «Mes amis ont des fermes de 5000 acres, moi, je me contente de 800.» Le fermier et sa femme ont réussi à payer leur ferme plus rapidement. Les coûts d’exploitation, notamment en énergie, sont excessivement bas. Les cochons ont pris la place du tracteur pour retourner la terre. La diversité des insectes pollinisateurs et des oiseaux que le fermier entretient contribuent à la régénération de la ferme d’année en année.«Maintenant, mon plus grand désir est de donner tout ça en héritage à mes enfants ou à de jeunes fermiers qui voient les choses de la même façon que nous», dit le fermier albertain.«Le coup de pied dans la fourmilière»«Complètement ridicule», selon le ministre Jason Kenney. «Condescendant» et «mal informé», selon Leona Aglukkaq, ministre de l’Environnement. Le gouvernement conservateur n’a pas mis les gants blancs lors de la venue au Canada du rapporteur des Nations unies sur le droit à l’alimentation, Olivier de Schutter. Dans un rapport rendu public en mars, le professeur de droit international diplômé de Harvard tance le gouvernement fédéral en affirmant que les mesures de lutte contre la pauvreté manquent leurs cibles, laissant trop de Canadiens dans une situation précaire. «La situation au Canada, un des pays les plus riches du monde, n’est pas celle du Niger, mais un pays comme le Canada doit néanmoins accepter de se regarder en face», estime M. de Schutter, qui a accordé une entrevue à La Presse à partir de la Belgique. Dans ses conclusions, l’expert recommande au Canada d’adopter une stratégie nationale de sécurité alimentaire, de réviser les niveaux de l’aide sociale et du salaire minimum et de revoir ses politiques agricoles pour faire face au problème de la faim qui afflige 8,2% des familles du pays. «La balle est dans le camp des Canadiens, concède Olivier de Schutter. J’espère que le coup de pied dans la fourmilière qu’a été ma visite au Canada va susciter un vrai débat.» Un passage du rapport sur les politiques agricoles: «La libéralisation des échanges a porté préjudice à de nombreux producteurs agricoles canadiens, dont les revenus nets ont baissé et dont la dette a considérablement augmenté au cours des dernières décennies. Depuis la mise en oeuvre de l’Accord de libre-échange entre le Canada et les États-Unis, la dette [des fermes] a triplé, passant de 22,5 milliards de dollars à 65 milliards en 2007.»

Fukushima sea monitoring for radioactive impact urged

Current monitoring said to be inefficient

Posted: Aug 29, 2013 12:11 AM ET, CBC

Fumio Suzuki stands on his boat south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Suzuki's trawler is one of 14 helping to conduct weekly fishing expeditions in rotation to measure radiation levels of fish they catch in the waters off Fukushima.
Fumio Suzuki stands on his boat south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Suzuki’s trawler is one of 14 helping to conduct weekly fishing expeditions in rotation to measure radiation levels of fish they catch in the waters off Fukushima. (Koji Ueda/Associated Press)

Japan’s nuclear regulator said Thursday that it is largely unknown what impact radioactive water leaking from the country’s wrecked nuclear plant is having on the Pacific Ocean and the situation must be monitored more closely. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said the current monitoring of the ongoing leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant was insufficient and he urged a more comprehensive effort to monitor contamination in the ocean near the plant.

Also Thursday, Japanese fisheries association executives strongly criticized the plant operator over the unstoppable leaks, saying the situation could doom Japan’s fishing industry. The plant suffered triple meltdowns after the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., must constantly cool the reactors with water, and is struggling to contain the waste. TEPCO recently acknowledged the chronic leaking of radiation-tainted underground water into the Pacific, plus a 300,000-litre seepage from one of more than 1,000 storage tanks. The leak was the fifth and worst from a tank since the crisis began. The tank leak prompted the nuclear authority to upgrade its rating Wednesday to a level-3 “serious incident,” from a level 1 on the International Atomic Energy Agency radiological event scale. “We cannot fully stop contaminated water leaks right away. That’s the reality. The water is still leaking in to the sea, and we should better assess its environmental impact,” Tanaka said in a speech in Tokyo.

Tanaka said his agency recently set up a team to collect data more systematically and comprehensively to assess the extent of contamination and evaluate the impact on the ocean. Scientists have said contamination tends to be carried by a southward current and gets largely diluted as it spreads into the sea. Fisheries officials are not convinced. The recent leaks aggravated the image of Japanese seafood in and outside the country, and consumers are even shunning fish proven to not be tainted, said Japan Fisheries Cooperatives Chairman Hiroshi Kishi. “We think that contaminated water management by your company has completely fallen apart,” Kishi said, as he confronted TEPCO President Naomi Hirose at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo. “This deals an unmeasurable blow to the future of Japan’s fishing industry and we are extremely concerned.” Commercial fishing off the Fukushima coast has been mostly banned since the accident, except for limited catch of selected fish and deep sea catch. In a nation highly sensitive to food safety, there is no market for the fish caught near the stricken plant.

Updated map of the Fukushima complex showing where two high radiation readings near storage tanks were recorded on Wednesday. Updated map of the Fukushima complex showing where two high radiation readings near storage tanks were recorded on Wednesday. (Reuters)

FOOD INSECURITY REFLECTED IN SUSSEX AREA

BY TAMARA GRAVELLE, KINGS COUNTY RECORD, 

Lois King standing in front of boxes of cereal at the Sussex Sharing Club. The club has about 200 households registered to use its services, most of which have children to care for. Gravelle/KCR

SUSSEX — New Brunswick is falling behind in making sure everyone has enough to eat. The 2011 annual Report on Household Insecurity was released based on information from Statistics Canada. Food insecurity can vary from not having enough money to access healthy food to skipping meals completely due to lack of funds. The report places New Brunswick as third-worst for children living in households without food security. About 25 per cent of households with children in the province are without food security. Leading the charge nationally is Nunavut with 57 per cent of households with children living without and P.E.I. following with 27 per cent living without. In general, 16.5 per cent of households in New Brunswick are living without food security.

This is the highest the number has ever been, raising from 13.8 per cent in 2007 and 15.1 per cent in 2008. Lois King is the administrator at the Sussex Sharing Club. The club services Sussex and the surrounding area. It is more than just a food bank, though. It carries clothes, furniture and provides hot meals. King said the club definitely sees those numbers reflected in this area. “We have about 200 households registered,” King said. “Most of which are families with children.” At the beginning of each year the club registers households to use their facilities to help keep track of numbers. The list expands as the year goes on and King said they’ve been having people register consistently all year.

“Every month we get more people registering,” Kings said. “So, those percentages do reflect an increase we’re seeing here.” King said this time of year is especially hard because of the back-to-school shopping. “We have those supplies as well,” King said. “But for families already struggling to get food on the table, it’s just another expense.” Minister of Healthy and Inclusive Communities Dorothy Shephard said the provincial government realizes this is a significant issue for many people living in the province. “We have acknowledged it and are making an effort to combat this issue,” Shephard said. The department itself has given grants to healthy food initiatives and food banks, started putting community food mentors in different communities across the province and organize an after-school hour for children to learn about eating healthy.

Shephard said the best thing they do to fight food insecurity has to do with their partnership with the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation, a community inclusion network focused on reducing poverty. They hope to reduce the poverty rate in New Brunswick by 25 per cent by 2015. In the past 21/2 years the corporation invested $3.1 million into healthy food initiatives. They have also started up community gardens and any extra food grown is given to food banks. “We know how much better fresh food is for us,” Shephard said. “So, one of the things they do is promote healthy eating.”

Shephard said New Brunswick got into this state of food insecurity because of the high poverty rate in the province. “When you have a high rate of people with lower income or working poor then you have people making sacrifices,” she said. “It causes them to buy cheaper food, which is normally higher in sodium and saturated fats, which just causes bigger problems.” Shephard said she realizes that minimum wage is important, but does not believe poverty is a direct reflection of minimum wage.

“Poverty is not about minimum wage,” Shephard said. “It’s about education and we’re trying to educate people about healthy eating.” King said a lot of people who come into the club are those who have recently been laid off or work seasonally. “The people who come here want to be working and making money,” King said. “But this area doesn’t have many employment opportunities.” King thinks one way to help combat the food insecurity issue in Sussex and New Brunswick is by creating more jobs. She said there’s lots of improvement to be done in that area. “This town really doesn’t have a lot of employment opportunities,” King said. “If we create more, then that would be a huge improvement.” Until that happens, King hopes those who have some extra supplies or donations will consider giving to the club. “We run off our donations,” King said. “The more we get, the better off we are.”

UNE RÉELLE RÉDUCTION DE LA PAUVRETÉ?

ANTOINE TRÉPANIER, L’ÉTOILE, 

Le gouvernement provincial a récemment annoncé la tenue de séances publiques dans l’optique d’un plan sur la réduction de la pauvreté du Nouveau-Brunswick. Aussitôt annoncée, la réponse n’a pas tardé. Le gouvernement a-t-il réellement pris tous les moyens pour s’attaquer à un fléau dont la recette demeure inconnue?

«Avant d’entreprendre une série de consultations publiques, il serait important de nous donner un portrait statistique du nombre de personnes qui ont vu leur pauvreté monétaire réduite et aussi de quel pourcentage. Ne serait-il pas logique de nous donner une idée des actions entreprises qui ont fonctionné et qui ont réellement réduit la pauvreté ou pas?», a réagi Jean-Claude Basque du Front commun pour la justice sociale dans une lettre publiée dans les pages de L’Étoile.

Ce passage, ce n’est qu’un exemple des réactions mitigées émanant de l’annonce d’une tournée dans 12 collectivités qui se tiendront du 16 septembre au 9 octobre prochain. Le premier plan de réduction de la pauvreté mis en place en 2008 par le gouvernement libéral de Shawn Graham est venu à échéance et le gouvernement Alward tente maintenant de poursuivre dans cette lutte contre la pauvreté.

«Le succès obtenu jusqu’ici avec le premier plan de réduction de la pauvreté est principalement attribuable au caractère unique du plan, qui rassemble autour d’un projet de société commun des gens vivant ou ayant vécu dans la pauvreté, ainsi que des représentants des secteurs sans but lucratif, des affaires et gouvernemental», a déclaré le président de la Société d’inclusion économique et sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Léo-Paul Pinet.

Le but de la Société d’inclusion est de réduire la pauvreté monétaire par 25 % et la pauvreté monétaire extrême par 50 %.

Or pour Jean-Claude Basque, cette facette n’a pas encore été montrée par les agents gouvernementaux. Il déplore que la Société d’inclusion n’ait pas communiqué ses réalisations, comme le nombre de personnes ayant trouvé un emploi ou qui sont en formation.

«Le seul indice dont nous disposons, mais un d’importance tout de même, c’est que nous savons qu’il y a eu, entre 2008 et 2012, une augmentation de près de 25 % (24,8 %) dans le nombre de personnes utilisant les banques alimentaires dans la province.», écrit-il.

Mais pour le premier ministre David Alward, qui était présent à l’annonce du 26 août dernier, la tournée qu’entreprend la Société d’inclusion se doit de rassembler les acteurs des divers milieux.

«Il s’agit d’une question qui me tient énormément à cœur et que j’appuyais même avant de former un gouvernement, a-t-il dit dans un communiqué suivant l’annonce. J’invite et j’encourage tous les Néo-Brunswickois, les entreprises, les organismes et les groupes d’intérêt à participer à cet exercice d’engagement public.»

Questionné à ce sujet, Claude Snow, du Comité des 12 pour la justice sociale, a déclaré que l’intention est bonne, certes, mais que la formule est quant à elle insatisfaisante.

«Le fait que ce soit un plan qui implique la communauté et les entreprises, plutôt qu’uniquement le gouvernement me plaît moins parce que je note qu’il y a des variations entre les réseaux dans la province, donc les initiatives sont différentes, les résultats sont différents», explique-t-il.

Selon ce dernier, il faudrait essayer de mieux gérer la pauvreté plutôt que de rêver d’abolir ce fléau. Le fait est qu’il y aura toujours des gens inaptes au travail pour diverses raisons et qui devront recevoir de l’aide.

«Je crois qu’il faut venir en aide à ces personnes-là, qu’elles soient soutenues pendant toute leur vie. Maintenant, s’il y a une chose dont le gouvernement ne veut pas entendre parler, c’est bien l’assistance à long terme, même si c’est la chose la plus réaliste qu’on puisse faire», estime-t-il.

NATUREFEST BACK WITH FOCUS ON LOCAL

LAURA MACINNIS, KINGS COUNTY RECORD, 

HAMPTON – This year Hampton’s Naturefest and Locavore Banquet won’t just be focusing on the local food that goes on the dinner table, they will be looking at the table itself. From Sept. 26-29, the town will hold their annual festival celebrating nature and environmental education. The most popular event, the Locavore Banquet, promotes eating food made of ingredients grown inside the province. Inspired by the annual dinner, Brent Rourke of the Barn in Bloomfield built a table made of local wood that he decided to donate to be raffled off to a lucky winner.

“I had seen locavore dinners online in the States where a beautiful table was made of local wood, and then the dinner was held outside on that table. We knew we had a locavore dinner going on here, so we started thinking of ways we could play off that,” he said. But the table is only a part of what he has planned for Naturefest week. He said he also wanted to contribute to the environmental education that Naturefest was built around when it started back in 2006.

The Barn in Bloomfield will kick off the festival with a special trip to Elmhurst Outdoors Sept. 21. “We’ll go through the woodlot and talk about how they selectively harvest trees rather than clear cutting. Then we’ll show how we sort the lumber, grade and dry the lumber here. We want people to see how we get from a tree in the forest to an actual table,” he said. “Our goal is to grow on this. The locavore dinner is all about things that come from the ground locally that end up as a meal. We say it doesn’t stop at the meal. We can also provide that table.”

Tourism manager Jennifer Duguay said they are thrilled to have Rourke taking part with this project. “It is a beautifully made, top-quality table,” she said. A maximum of 200 tickets will be sold on the table. Tickets are $20 or $15 for anyone attending the Locavore Banquet. Over the last five years the banquet has become the must-attend event of Hampton’s Naturefest. This year’s meal will be on Sept. 27 at the Lighthouse River Centre. Only 72 sets are sold. “It’s by far the most popular event of the weekend. It is always sold out and always sells out early,” she said.

Separate from the 100-mile banquet, a locavore is someone who eats local when they can. “If we can source something local we do, and if we can’t, we don’t fret about it,” Duguay said. This year’s menu will be created by Dave Irwin, culinary instructor for NBCC in Saint Andrews. The menu this year will be a starter: “The Field and Orchard” is whipped Cortland apple butter and sweet corn tea biscuits. Soup has been dubbed “A Taste of the Earth,” and it will be cream of fiddlehead and shittake soup, house ricotta and crispy leeks. The salad, called “The River,” will be smoked shad cake, green tomato relish, Belleisle greens, blueberry honey vinaigrette, crème fraiche, cucumber caviar, beet-cured sturgeon gravlax, Cortland jam, red pepper dust, and carrot curls.

For the main dish, “On the Range” will feature white meat chicken cutlet with brown butter acorn squash silk, chanterelle glace de volaille, dark meat chicken dumpling, potato rösti, horseradish roasted turnip, pear cider beurre blanc, leek oil and crispy red onion rings. Dessert “Deux Bels Saisons” is rhubarb maple crème brulée, pumpkin and fresh thyme shortbread. Irvin will also be pairing the meal with wine from a local winery and a local Moosehead beer. She said while the dinner is meant to inspire people to buy local for themselves, it is hard to say how often people follow what they are recommending after they leave the dinner that night. But she said they do everything they can to provide people with the knowledge they need to do it themselves. “We show them every ingredient and where it comes from. If he can do it for 72 people, it should be easy for them to do it on the smaller scale.” Doing away with the EnviroFair aspect of the event this year that had tables set up with educational exhibits, Duguay said she’s excited that more hands-on activities will be offered during Naturefest 2013. Many of the events are free of charge. “We have some returning events and some that are completely different,” Duguay said. “We had a few new committee members come on board this year with new ideas. And so it’s good to have new blood. It keeps the interest going rather than having the same.” A photo show and sale hosted by the Ossekeag Camera Club will be new this year as well. “They actually approached us and asked us how they could participate in Naturefest,” she said. All of the members were invited to submit portraits of nature from around New Brunswick. There will be a donation basket for the food bank to get in to the exhibit on Sept. 26 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Lighthouse River Centre. “It shows off our local nature and our local talent.” An owl walk with the naturalist Dr. Jim Goltz will take place on Sept. 28. Art workshops will be hosted by Hooper Studios on Sept. 27, and shoreline cleanups will be held. She said they opted to step away from the EnviroFair after a couple years of seeing the interest decline both from exhibitors and attendees. “Last year it went down even more, so we decided to change things up. If it isn’t working, we’ll put our attention to things that will have more success.”

For a full list of events and details, go to townofhampton.ca.

COMMUNITY KITCHEN LOOKING FOR FRESH, LOCAL FOOD

BY LAVERNE STEWART, STEWART.LAVERNE@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

10,000 meals a month: Aimée Foreman, Fredericton Community Kitchen executive director, prepares fresh produce recently donated to the kitchen. Foreman is seeking donations of local produce to help supplement the non-perishable items that usually fill the organization’s pantries. Andrew Meade/For The Daily Gleaner

When cooks at the Community Kitchen prepare meals for their clients, they know fresh, local food is better than canned. That’s why they’re happy to see back-yard gardeners come to the door with freshly picked vegetables. Aimeé Foreman, executive director, said the kitchen is open year round and feeds more than 10,000 meals a month. The fresh, local produce people donate is a huge help, she said. “They may plant a row in their home gardens or give us some of their surplus vegetables because perhaps their garden is larger than they need.” Recently, a woman donated 4.5 kilograms of green beans, which was enough to serve more than 100 people at one meal. The kitchen uses 45 kilograms of carrots each week, she said. Foreman said donations of fresh vegetables enables the kitchen to provide nutritionally dense meals.

“It’s certainly our preference rather than serving canned or frozen vegetables. Even if it is only for one meal, it is certainly a much healthier meal,” she said. If people would like to garden but don’t have land, she said, the Community Kitchen can connect them with others who will rent them a plot of land to grow vegetables to donate. “We are trying to acquire as much local produce as possible.” The closer to the fall harvest season. the more local vegetables the Community Kitchen receives at its Brunswick Street location behind the Victoria Health Centre, she said. When there’s an abundance of donations, she said, fresh fruit and vegetables are canned for winter use or they’re given to other agencies dedicated to helping the needy. She said local eggs and potatoes are also donated regularly through a partnership it has with the Fredericton Community Food Centre. “We go through about 300 pounds (135 kilograms) of potatoes a week. It’s a lot of potatoes. It’s a lot of food.” Foreman said her goal is to provide the kitchen’s clients with as much fresh, local foods as possible. She said salads are offered at lunch and supper. When clients leave, they’re also offered snack bags to take with them that include sliced fruit and vegetable sticks.

“We present the fruit in a bowl or on a tray … There’s just a level of dignity in serving people that way.” The kitchen buys what isn’t donated. That’s why Foreman said she’s happy to have formed a partnership with Real Food Connections. “We try to purchase as much food as we can through them because it is local and they provide us with guidance about how we can acquire best pricing on other local products such as meats straight from butchers.” While the Community Kitchen receives donations of pastas, cereals and canned goods, she said the challenge is to fill in the gaps by purchasing foods to have enough to feed all of its clients. Foreman said it takes planning to provide the most nutritious foods possible but also the most cost effective because the non-profit agency has a budget it must adhere to. Much of what’s purchased includes produce, milk, meat and poultry.“I would say we receive less than 10 per cent of perishables in donations.” Foreman said she believes many people would be willing to contribute if they knew perishable items are needed. She said anyone who wants to donate some of their garden’s bounty can contact her at the kitchen. “We have so many connections with other agencies, we will share the food. We have very minimal waste.”

Trina Rodgers grows a vegetable garden at her family’s home in Marysville. She usually donates some produce to the Community Kitchen. This summer she decided to plant an extra row of green beans to donate. She dug up a piece of the family’s front lawn by hand and planted the beans specifically for the Community Kitchen. Next summer she has plans to double her efforts, she said. Her husband, Neil Rodgers, said he believes that if other home gardeners plant extra vegetables for the needy, the Community Kitchen and local food banks will be able to provide healthy, fresh foods to those in need. “I think more people could do it and probably should. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. It takes a little bit of your time,” he said.

MARCHÉ DE SHEDIAC, UN ARRÊT INCONTOURNABLE

MARC-SAMUEL LAROCQUE, L’ÉTOILE, 

Encore une fois cet été, les gens ont été nombreux à se rendre tous les dimanches au parc Pascal-Poirier afin de visiter le marché des fermiers. L’ambiance chaleureuse et le grand nombre de kiosques font le bonheur des visiteurs et des résidants. Qualifiée encore une fois de succès, la saison du Marché qui se termine dimanche prochain aura permis à beaucoup de monde de découvrir de nouvelles sortes de cuisines, ainsi que des artisans locaux. Shawn Stone, propriétaire et gérant du Marché et son épouse Treva soutiennent que le Marché de Shediac continue d’évoluer. «Chaque année, nous pensons toujours que ça ne peut pas grossir et que ça ne peut pas s’améliorer encore, mais cette année, ç’a été l’été le plus excitant que nous avons eu. Nous avons deux nouvelles initiatives cette année qui, selon moi, ont vraiment enrichi l’expérience pour les visiteurs et nos vendeurs.»

La première initiative était la venue d’un Tipi traditionnel de 14 pieds, qui a permis de faire un rapprochement entre les Premières Nations d’Elsipogtog et les gens de Shediac. Afin de créer un échange culturel plus grand entre les deux communautés, une personne était présente sur le site les dimanches afin d’expliquer aux gens la culture des Premières Nations. «Notre deuxième initiative, qui est devenue l’une de mes passions, c’est celle de l’Arbre parlant (Talking Tree), continue Shawn. Nous avons eu plusieurs échanges avec des gens spécialistes de la communauté qui ont parlé aux gens sur plusieurs sujets. On a parlé de plusieurs choses, de la nature jusqu’à sauver le monde.» On estime entre 5000 et 10 000 personnes qui se seraient présentées chaque dimanche au parc Pascal-Poirier.

«C’est le plus gros marché hebdomadaire extérieur d’été au Canada Atlantique. Cette année, nous avons environ plus de 175 vendeurs qui ont rempli une fiche d’inscription.» En plus des exposants et marchands, le Marché permet également au public de découvrir des talents musicaux de la région. Une place importante a également été donnée aux jeunes artistes en émergence. De plus, le site du Marché comprenait également une section pour enfant, où jeux gonflables et maquillage sur visage étaient gratuits pour les plus jeunes. «Une des choses qui nous rend fiers est que c’est une activité gratuite, bien située au centre-ville. La nourriture est aussi une expérience très riche. Nous avons eu de la cuisine internationale, des Philippines jusqu’à l’Allemagne, en passant par la cuisine thaïlandaise.» Le Marché permet également aux producteurs locaux de proposer aux visiteurs des produits frais. M. Stone statue donc que le marché est en très bonne santé, soulignant au passage que certaines personnes restent un peu plus longtemps dans la municipalité afin d’avoir la chance de le visiter.

FARM COMMITTED TO ORGANIC STANDARDS

BY SAMANTHA MAGEE, MAGEE.SAMANTHA@MIRAMICHILEADER.COM, 

MIRAMICHI — A family-owned and operated farm in Rogersville is committed to making a change in the way they harvest their crops and raise their animals. La Ferme d’en Haut d’la Ridge, which means the farm on the hill, produces their food organically because they want to feed others food they would be comfortable giving their family, said Rebeka Frazer-Chiasson.

Chiasson is the daughter of Jean-Eudes Chiasson, the farm’s owner and operator, and she said it’s important their values and concerns about food security show in the food they produce and sell. The farm’s strawberry U-Pick became certified organic last year and while the rest of the farm isn’t certified yet, Chiasson says they are committed to the same organic standards. “We are producing something that we want to eat, something we would want to feed our families and that reflects the kind of values we have as people and farmers.” Farms that are certified organic in Canada have to meet various qualifications as set by the Canadian General Standards Board that assess the product and how it is manufactured for quality before the goods can be certified organic, according to Public Works and Government Services Canada. Chiasson said they also take a stand against genetically modified organisms, often referred to as GMO’s. That term can refer to plants or animals that have been genetically altered or engineered using DNA from different species, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

The safety of GMO foods remains unproven but many say they are worried about the environmentally effects of the increasing use of pesticides as well as their health. Many developed nations require GMO foods to be labeled, while some have banned them altogether. In Canada there are no mandatory labellings regulations to let customers know their food has been genetically engineered, said the David Suzuki Foundation’s website. “I think we’re able to produce a sufficient amount of food in the work without altering how food is produced already.” Chiasson is also the coordinator of the Northumberland Community Inclusion Network, a group formed of people from non-profit and business organizations working towards addressing issues in the community related to transportation, housing, health and wellness, education and employment and food security. The group focuses on food-related issues such as accessibility to nutrition and eating local, things that Chiasson is passionate about. “There’s some real overlap between the food security work and this agricultural work that I am involved in,” she said. She said that her interest and passion is also that of others and is proud her family farm can cater to like-minded people. The farm, which grows its own grain and hay for the animals, has been passed down for five generations and now belongs to Chiasson’s father, Jean-Eudes. “It’s basically a one man show but now I’m getting more involved and trying to transition to local marketing,” said Chiasson who mentioned that the strawberry season

Alongside strawberries, the farm is breaking into the vegetable market and also have turkeys and chickens available. “We need to have greater community control and farmer control over the food and how its produced, it’s that value change,” she said. They are in the process of that task, which is not an easy one. Pesticides are the most common type of production method in farms and Chiasson said while they did use that method years ago they have made the change as studies have shows the harmful effects on health and the environment the chemicals can have. Chiasson said she hopes those who stop by La Ferme d’en Haut d’la Ridge will talk with the Chiasson family and learn about all the positives of organic farming. “You might have a conversation about buying a chicken or a turkey or some other pastured meats or vegetables. It’s just a good conversation starter and to bring people in. They’ll say wow, ‘I didn’t know all this was on my street.” Strawberry season is one of the farms busiest times, their strawberry U-Pick is open and she said the whole family is pitching in to help out. Near the start of the season there was an issue with insects but they used a vacuum technique to suck up the bug without harming the strawberry plants by attaching fans to the tractor. The method is just one of the alternatives to using pesticides.

For more information call La Ferme d’en Haut d’la Ridge at 775-6033. They are located just outside of Rogersville on Pleasant Ridge.

COMMUNITY FRESH BOX MAKES FRESH PRODUCE CHEAPER AND AVAILABLE

BY SAMANTHA MAGEE, MAGEE.SAMANTHA@MIRAMICHIELADER.COM, 

MIRAMICHI — A Miramichi woman believes everyone should have access to healthy food at an affordable price. This July is the first month of operation for the Community Fresh Box project, a program that aims to make fresh produce accessible and affordable for everyone. Brenda Hachey, coordinator for the project which is a branch of the Glenelg Tutoring Centre, said the idea has worked well in bigger cities like Moncton and she expects it could be a hit in Miramichi as well. “Everyone should have access to healthy food and just by being a member of this program, you’re helping someone else,” she said. The first produce boxes will be distributed July 17. Hachey said she hopes lots of Miramichi residents will take advantage of this program. “We need to get the word of mouth out there that this program is running,” said Hachey, who is partnering with the Eel Ground Health Centre.

The initial cost to sign up for the program and receive a box is $20, as there is a $5 registration fee but after that a fresh box of produce every month is just $15. “There will be some staple items like potatoes, carrots and onions, those types of things and the rest of it is seasonal. So right now we would be having strawberries… The more people involved in the program, the more you are going to get in your basket.” The food is purchased from a local wholesaler and as more participants sign up, there will be more money to buy items, meaning everyone would get more food. “You can get more food at a cheaper cost,” she said.

The boxes contain at least $40 worth of food, if the items were to be purchased straight from the grocery store. She said sometimes people can’t eat all the food that comes in the box and Hachey said sharing is encouraged. “You can go in on it with someone else or if you have a big family, you can even purchase two baskets,” she said. Hachey was recently trained as a food mentor, organized by the Northumberland Community Inclusion Network, a group formed of people from non-profit and business organizations working towards addressing issues in the community related to transportation, housing, food security, health and wellness, education and employment. As a food mentor, she discusses the importance of healthy eating food security and purchasing food locally. During her time there the fresh box idea was brought up and she jumped at the chance to organize it. Those interested in participating, can contact Hachey by going to the Community Fresh Box page on Facebook or by calling 424-0321. Pick ups are done at 1745 Water St. at the Tutoring Centre.

PROJECT AIMS TO PROVIDE FRESH FOOD TO THOSE IN NEED

BY TESS ALLEN, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables can be a challenge for anyone, but some have a harder time than others. Joanne Roy, coordinator for the Kent Food Security Network, recognized this plight and decided to take matters into her own hands. Last week, Roy launched “Project Gleaners,” a program whose goal is to provide access to healthy, locally-grown fruits and vegetables to low-income residents and needy food banks, all the while helping producers reduce waste by getting harvests off their fields. “One of our mottos is ‘bringing food to people and people to food.’ When we looked at what farmers were going through – having such a hard time getting and keeping employees and the waste on the fields – I thought it would be a good scenario to bring people to the fields (to pick the crops) and the remaining harvest could go home with those individuals,” said Roy. Roy’s program sees a third of the produce going to local food banks, a third going to participating low-income individuals, and the rest going back to participating farmers, thus making the project mutually-beneficial for all parties involved. “I was raised on a farm so I know what limitations farming and production can have, and I was also privy to being on social assistance in my younger years so I know how hard it can be to get those fresh vegetables and fruit,” said Roy.

“In the Kent County area, a lot of underprivileged people don’t have access to local healthy vegetables; they either have no transportation or funds. With a project of this manner we’re able to bring everything closer to them.” In its first week, the project has already seen great success, providing a total of 82 quarts of strawberries to the Vestiaire St-Jean Baptiste Inc. food bank in Bouctouche, 36 quarts to a local not-for-profit organization that protects women against violence, and countless more to the eight low-income individuals who spent several days picking produce from Eddy Williams’ Saint-Antoine-based farm. For his part, Williams was more than willing to help out the cause when he was approached by Roy several weeks ago. “We were getting to the end of the strawberry season and we just offered them some berries. They came and picked a few days and they were giving them to the food banks and (individuals) in their organization,” said Williams. “The food banks are always looking for products and some people need to be helped.” Williams was in fact so supportive of the project that he decided to donate his third to the local food bank. “I had enough berries on-hand,” he explained, adding that he is open to further collaboration with Roy’s project “if the occasion arises,” depending on what the season yields. If Roy has anything to say about it, the occasion will certainly arise again – and with any luck, again and again. “I’m actively promoting (this program) and… We’re still currently seeking volunteers and farmers in the Kent County. This week we’re looking at raspberries and blueberries,” said Roy.Anita LeBlanc, manager at Bouctouche’s Vestiaire St-Jean Baptiste Inc., certainly hopes to see the program continue to flourish in the near future, as it has already had a positive impact on her organization and its clientele. “The program is great, especially for our people without cars who don’t have a chance to go get those things (fresh fruit and vegetables). They benefit from (this program),” says LeBlanc. “The more food they get, the better it is.”Those interested in lending their support to the program can contact Roy at (506) 523-1239 or at kcfscsak@live.com.

FAMILIES FINDING IT HARDER TO AFFORD FOOD

BY CHRIS MORRIS, LEGISLATURE BUREAU, 

A new report has found that one-quarter of the children in New Brunswick live in households that have some degree of difficulty putting food on the table. The report by researchers at the University of Toronto finds that almost four million Canadians are caught in a squeeze between rising prices and stagnant incomes and struggle to get food for their families. Using data collected by Statistics Canada, the researchers state that New Brunswick has the third-highest prevalence of children living in food insecure households – 25 per cent. The province trails only Nunavut at 57 per cent and Prince Edward Island at 27 per cent in the national report. “There are two sides to the affordability of food – one is the cost of the food and the other is how much money you have in your purse,” said lead author Valerie Tarasuk, a nutritional sciences professor at U of T’s Faculty of Medicine.

“The fact that we are seeing such an extraordinarily high and sustained prevalence of food insecurity in New Brunswick speaks to the problem of money in the purse.” Tarasuk said the study, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, looked at data collected by Statistics Canada in its annual Canadian Community Health Surveys over a period of several years, up to 2011. The surveys include a series of questions on food security ranging from whether the respondent ever worries about running out of food, to the extreme of going without food for at least a day because of affordability issues. “We are zeroing in on the problem of purchasing power,” Tarasuk said in an interview. “The questions are carefully designed so we don’t pick up those who are voluntarily not eating because of dieting or whatever. These are people who are struggling at a household level where purchasing is being compromised because of lack of money for food. And it is compromised to the point where it is affecting quality and quantity.” The report’s findings do not come as a great surprise to Evelyn McNulty at Romero House in Saint John.

The charitable organization that provides meals for families and individuals, is seeing a steady rise in the number of people turning to its kitchen for help. “It used to be on the busiest day of the month we would prepare food for 300 and now we do for 400,” McNulty said in an interview. “Unemployment is a big factor. People really are just not making enough money. The price of food has gone up, the price of gas has gone up – everything has gone up. So if you can come and get a free meal or get help with groceries, it helps free up money for other necessities.”

New Brunswick is one of four provinces to exceed the national poverty rate for families with children. According to figures supplied by the New Brunswick government, nearly one in six children in New Brunswick – approximately 24,000 children under the age of 18 – live in poverty. Tarasuk said New Brunswick needs to aggressively attack poverty reduction and use the food insecurity figures as a measure of success or failure. “With one-quarter of children in households where someone is thinking twice about what they can serve because they don’t have enough money to buy the food that they need – that is not a good thing,” she said. “The long-term consequences of that will very definitely hurt New Brunswick because we know that to have people living in circumstances where they are worried about their ability to put a meal together, it has negative effects on peoples’ mental and physical health.” The researchers define food insecurity is the inadequate or insecure access to nutritious, healthy food because of financial constraints.

An edible landscape in the downtown core

VICTORIA DEKKER, HERE Magazine

Sequoia staff member Josie Arsenault prunes tomato plants in the store’s community garden.

Good things are growing around a downtown Moncton organics retail shop, whose community garden is filled with vegetables and herbs ripe for the taking. While many downtown lawns are lined with simple, pretty flowerbeds, the staff at Sequoia Whole Foods transformed the greenspace of the business’s corner lot into an edible landscape this growing season. “We thought it would be fantastic to have a garden growing in our neighbourhood that anyone can access,” store manager Becky McCallum said of the shop’s free, organic, U-pick garden. “People are welcome to take what they need and keep the plant growing for everyone else to enjoy. We really liked that idea of having a community around it.” Sequoia staff donated seeds and plotted the garden – which extends from the sidewalk to the curb of Fleet Street – in an effort to help enrich food security at a hyper-local level. Anyone is free to pick vegetables and fresh herbs from the site at any time with no strings attached.

So far, news of the garden has spread primarily by word-of-mouth (though it’s definitely no secret). Staff strongly encourage people to come take what they need, as they need it and often (within reason, leaving plants intact). “It was interesting to see people’s reactions,” McCallum said of the unsecured plot filled with peppers, tomatoes, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots, squash, beans, edible flowers and about 10 different herbs. “They’d ask us what we were doing outside and say ‘people are going to take your vegetables,’ and we’d say ‘that’s what we want.’ ”A few people drop by and take from the garden each day, and while none are obligated to pitch in, some pick weeds and contribute to its maintenance. The eventual goal, McCallum said, is to entirely fill Sequoia’s available greenspace with food-bearing gardens. “It’s a really different and special thing to see how the plant’s being grown and take it home, picking it yourself and having that sense of empowerment of getting it right out of the ground. It adds a different spin on increasing the community food security.”

In an area that’s populated by people from a variety of economic backgrounds, many simply don’t have the money or resources to regularly access fresh produce. While vegetables are available at area food banks, officials indicated to Sequoia that some clients simply don’t know how to prepare them, McCallum said. Anyone who picks from the garden can do so free from judgment, and can approach Sequoia’s foodie staffers for tips on cooking and using veggies they’ve never eaten before, she says. “It doesn’t matter what position you’re in – everyone deserves good quality food. We have the space in Moncton that we can grow it, and the soil is really usable. We should be taking advantage of the space that we have,” she said. “It adds to your community – feeding each other and having that culture around food. That’s something we’ve really lost… it’s interesting to go right into the dirt, pick out a few carrots, take them home and know you’ve been a part of that.”

CMA 2014 : Saint-François présente ses jardins communautaires

CHRISTINE THÉRIAULT

Photo Christine Thériault, Le Madawaska

Afin de se plonger dans l’ambiance du Congrès mondial acadien 2014, la Société culturelle de Saint-François et l’école communautaire Ernest-Lang ont procédé au dévoilement de leurs jardins communautaires. Fiers d’être Acadiens, petits et grands ont donné le coup d’envoi à cette cérémonie en participant à un tintamarre. Agente de développement culturel à Saint-François et présidente de la Société culturelle de Saint-François, Gaëtane Saucier-Nadeau explique que ce projet de jardins communautaires en forme d’étoile germait dans l’esprit de plusieurs partenaires depuis un certain temps. «Nous voulions un projet à la fois inclusif et communautaire. Heureusement, nous avons pu compter sur plusieurs partenaires. Ça démontre que lorsque la communauté participe, tout va bien.»

Tout en précisant que des participants à l’Atelier des Copains ont également mis la main à la pâte, Mme Saucier-Nadeau confirme que les jardins communautaires sont situés près de l’édifice municipal. «Durant l’été, les enfants seront invités à venir jeter un coup d’œil à leur jardin. En septembre, ils viendront récolter les légumes et nous organiserons un dîner à l’école. Ces jardins seront là en permanence et le processus reprendra l’an prochain. En 2014, année du Congrès mondial acadien, nous sèmerons à nouveau des graines et ce sera au tour des membres de la communauté de demander une pointe de jardin.»

Le directeur de l’école communautaire Ernest-Lang, Patrick Long, indique quant à lui que le projet de création de jardins communautaires en est un qui est avant tout rassembleur. «Tous ont pu s’épanouir en se consacrant à ce projet. Je tiens à remercier les membres du personnel de l’école pour leur contribution. Alors que vous, les élèves, souvenez-vous que la graine que vous avez semée grandira et si elle est bien entretenue, produira de beaux légumes. Le même scénario se produit avec votre présence à la maison, à l’école et dans la communauté pour devenir de bons citoyens. Je vous invite à venir admirer le développement de vos jardins durant l’été.» La coordonnatrice du Réseau d’inclusion communautaire du Nord-Ouest, Céline Ouellette, était sur place, le 20 juin, afin de remettre 4400 $ en guise d’appui au projet de jardins communautaires.

Direction : CMA 2014

Sur le terrain où sont situés les jardins communautaires, Mme Saucier-Nadeau confirme qu’un autre projet lié au patrimoine se développe en parallèle. «Il s’agit d’un projet en collaboration avec le CMA 2014 qui mûrit depuis environ deux ans. Nous aimerions construire un village d’antan comptant 10 maisons (10 x 10). Ces dernières ne seront peut-être pas construites cette année, mais nous entamerons les préparatifs sur le terrain. Il s’agit d’une attraction qui demeurera en permanence.» Le président du Comité du patrimoine de Ledges et Connors, Guy Landry, a eu l’honneur de dévoiler le nom du site. Rappelons qu’un concours avait été lancé à l’école communautaire Ernest-Lang, alors que les membres du Comité du patrimoine de Ledges et Connors ont pris connaissance des suggestions sans connaître l’identité des élèves. Finalement, c’est le nom soumis par William Morneault qui a été retenu pour le site soit : Ledges : Place des pionniers. Selon M. Landry, Ledges est le nom que portait la municipalité de Saint-François jusqu’à la fondation de la paroisse religieuse. «Ce nom a été abandonné à la fin de la décennie 40, mais dans la tête de plusieurs personnes, il est demeuré bien présent. Ledges signifie rochers. En effet, à l’époque, on voyageait à bord de canots et une fois à Saint-François, la rivière faisait des sillons en raison de la présence de rochers. De notre côté, nous essayons de faire revivre ce nom, car il fait partie de l’histoire», déclare-t-il. De son côté, la coordonnatrice régionale du Nouveau-Brunswick au CMA 2014, Nadine Bolduc, a félicité les participants aux projets en cours et rappelé que c’est grâce à tout un chacun qu’il sera possible d’organiser une grande fête et de montrer au monde qui nous sommes. Fier de sa communauté, le maire de Saint-François, Gérard Cyr, invite les élèves à se rendre sur le site des jardins durant l’été afin de suivre l’évolution de leur projet.

BACKYARD CHICKEN COOPS COULD BE COMING TO BATHURST

20080626-BackyardChickens

BY JENNIFER BISHOP, NORTHERN LIGHT STAFF, 

Chickens could be your new neighbours if the city moves forward with a new bylaw regarding urban farming. At an information session held by Bathurst city council on Aug. 12, councillors voted to open up talks on allowing local residents to keep chickens in their backyard. The idea put forward is that hens could be kept for personal use but owners would not be permitted to sell eggs. Bathurst mayor Stephen Brunet said there have been a number of residents in the city come forward with a request that city council review the bylaw. The existing bylaw states that chicken coops are not allowed within city limits.

“There are a lot more people returning to the land,” said Brunet. “A lot more people with gardens and this type of thing. Why not?” Fredericton and Saint John have both passed a bylaw allowing people to have two to six chickens in their yard. Moncton ran a pilot project in 2010 where the city gave people temporary permits to keep four hens for one year. At the end of the pilot project people caring for hens had to give them away and there has still be no bylaw put in place but the city is still working on it.

The report from Moncton’s pilot project was supplied to Bathurst councillors to educate them on the topic of urban farming. The results of the pilot project in Moncton indicated neighbours were not disturbed by noise from the chickens and didn’t notice odours coming from the coops, nor did they notice an increase of predators, according to the report. André Doucet, Bathurst city manager, noted that the city has put other bylaws into effect but there aren’t enough people to police the existing bylaws. Bathurst has one municipal planning officer and one building inspector who enforce bylaws. Doucet said larger municipalities usually have at least one bylaw enforcement officer. Many of the city councillors voiced concern about the possibility of this bylaw however, everyone who was present voted in favour of exploring the issue further. Councillor Anne-Marie Gammon was not present.

Coun. Danny Roy was the first to comment on the idea of urban chicken farming. “By looking at what other municipalities are doing, I think we could come up with something good for the citizens,” said Roy. Coun. Scott Ferguson said he’s concerned about what a backyard chicken coop will mean for property value of chicken owners and their neighbours.

“The property value, I think, is going to be lowered,” he said. “I do have some concerns about it. I know for one that if I bought a house, I wouldn’t want a chicken coop coming next to me.” Coun. Susie Roy said she’s owned chickens and they aren’t any noisier than a dog. She is concerned however, with the possibility of a foul smell if the coop isn’t well kept. Roy said she was pleased with the pilot project that was completed in Moncton and suggested council move ahead in a similar fashion. If that were to happen, it would allow residents who have expressed interest to try chicken farming and council would be able to see if it does or doesn’t work in the city. “In that report, there were some comments from neighbours who seemed to be okay with it,” she said. There were conflicting opinions between Roy and Coun. Michelle Branch who said she owns chickens and stressed that they do make noise. “When they lay an egg, they start squawking and they are loud,” she said. After consulting with the councillors, Mayor Brunet said the topic will be brought up at a future public city council meeting to find out what residents around the city would like to see happen.

MONCTON COMPANY TO GROW VEGETABLES ALL YEAR

BY COLE HOBSON, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Brothers Jesse and Julian Howatt are starting a growing business where they will be able to supply fresh herbs all year long. RON WARD/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT
Brothers Jesse and Julian Howatt are starting a growing business where they will be able to supply fresh herbs all year long.
RON WARD/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

A pair of brothers originally from Prince Edward Island are looking to establish an urban farming operation in Moncton in order to supply fresh produce for local consumers and restaurants all year round. Local by Atta is a new startup that is seeking to establish a hydroponic grow operation this summer, which Julian and Jesse Howatt say provides many benefits over traditional farming. “We can go 12 months of the year, which is not something that the climate normally allows,” said Julian Howatt, 28. “Another major aspect of urban agriculture that we’ll be practising is it’s growing in the city for people in the city, so it’s not like it’s an export commodity … . We’ll be growing in the Moncton area for people in the Moncton area.” Both the Howatt brothers have degrees in urban planning, and Julian said they decided to set up shop in Moncton because his brother has already lived and worked here for over two years and they realized the city had a “strong entrepreneurial culture” that drew them here.

So what exactly is urban farming and a hydroponic grow operation? Julian Howatt said urban farming can be quite broad, but essentially it involves farming practices in and around a city or an urban area. “There’s lots of urban farming on a kind of small scale that takes place in back yards. We’re looking at a larger scale,” he said. “We’re also looking at different technologies, so we’re going to be using hydroponic technologies so there’s no soil involved. We grow the plants in water that’s been mixed with a nutrient solution … . And we’re growing indoors, so we can grow 12 months of the year because we’re in an insulated, environment-controlled space.”

The company plans to start with a variety of microgreens, baby greens and leafy greens — from sprouts to spinach, to full heads of lettuce as well as some herbs such as basil. They plan to focus on two specific markets, the first being the local farmer’s markets and individual customers, with the second one being supplying local restaurants who want fresh produce. “We’ll be talking to chefs who have a specific interest in local food, in quality ingredients,” Julian Howatt said, adding that they will also be able to grow some different greens that aren’t normally seen in local restaurants because they don’t transport well.

Jesse Howatt, 25, studied in Halifax and currently works as a planner at Regional Service Commission 7 in Moncton. He will be working part-time with the growing operation in addition to his brother’s full-time effort and said he believes there is enough room for their business in addition to the great offerings already provided by local farmers. “It gives the City of Moncton and opportunity to grow some of its own food, to become a little more independent and also give the opportunity to invest back into their community,” he said. “If you think of all this money we spend on food every day to live, all that money goes to outside corporations and that are headquartered in Toronto or even out of the country.”

Local by Atta is named after the Latin word atta, which represents the genus of leafcutter ants, which Julian Howatt noted are insects that practice urban agriculture by farming only within their ant colonies to survive. Jesse Howatt said he and his brother have been planning this operation for over a year, and it feels great to “get things moving as far as getting the test facility up and finishing up the business plan and actually making something of it.” The brothers are still in the process of trying to acquire land to get started while working on some test projects as well as finalizing their business plan and market analysis.

They hope to get started selling product by the end of summer or early autumn. Of course, when people hear about “grow operations,” their mind often jumps to illegal drug facilities. Nothing unsavoury will be going on from Local by Atta, but Julian Howatt said it’s a misconception they do have to deal with. “It does appear on the surface not that different from a (drug) grow-op, but it’s a very different kind of enterprise, and most people get that, I would say immediately,” he said. “Just someone around the corner growing lettuce 12 months a year, that I can pick up at the farmer’s market every Saturday or can eat in the restaurants … and know where the salad came from. Most people I find kind of get that immediately and are kind of excited by that possibility.”

LA PATATE CHAUDE

ANTOINE TRÉPANIER, L’ÉTOILE, 

Le chef du NPD, Thomas Mulcair, croit que le gouvernement fédéral devrait s’impliquer davantage dans la pêche. Photo Antoine Trépanier, L’Étoile

Le gouvernement fédéral doit intervenir davantage dans la pêche aux homards. C’est ce que croit le chef de l’opposition officielle à la Chambre des communes, Thomas Mulcair. En entrevue avec L’Étoile, le chef du Nouveau parti démocratique du Canada a déclaré qu’il était temps que le gouvernement conservateur s’assoie sérieusement avec l’industrie pour en venir à une solution pour pallier la baisse des prix et assurer la pérennité de l’industrie. «Je pense que si on parle de homards, ça prend une concertation qui manque cruellement en ce moment. Si on ne s’assoit pas à table, comment est-ce qu’on peut prendre une décision qui tient compte des arguments des uns et des autres?», a laissé tomber M. Mulcair lorsque questionné sur la solution qu’il mettrait de l’avant pour en arriver à un règlement dans l’incertitude entourant la pêche aux homards. Encore lundi dernier, la ministre fédérale des Pêches, Gail Shea, a déclaré qu’elle n’interviendrait pas dans le contrôle des prix offerts aux pêcheurs de homards de la zone 25, dans le détroit de Northumberland.

Mais pour le chef néo-démocrate, le problème ne se limite pas seulement à la pêche aux homards. Selon lui, ce n’est pas une question d’extrême, à savoir soit un interventionnisme marqué du gouvernement fédéral dans les activités de l’industrie ou encore laisser l’industrie régler ses problèmes. Pour lui et son parti, il faut une plus grande concertation de tous les acteurs. Et même du premier ministre fédéral. «Les ministres se rencontrent, mais si les premiers ministres ne se rencontrent pas avec le premier ministre fédéral, rien ne va se décider là-dedans», a-t-il dit. Appelé à préciser sa pensée, M. Mulcair a appelé M. Harper à s’asseoir avec ses homologues provinciaux. «Le premier ministre devrait commencer par travailler avec les provinces et territoires, chose qu’il refuse catégoriquement de faire, que ce soit dans ce dossier-là ou dans d’autres. Ce n’est pas un dossier unique dans lequel il doit s’impliquer», soutient-il.

Les pêcheurs soulagés

Mis au parfum des récentes déclarations du chef de l’opposition officielle au Parlement fédéral, le directeur général de l’Union des pêcheurs des Maritimes s’est dit «complètement d’accord» avec les propos. Christian Brun maintient que depuis quelques années, la présence du gouvernement fédéral dans plusieurs aspects de la pêche a diminué considérablement. «Les gouvernements fédéraux doivent être beaucoup plus présents dans l’aspect du marketing, dans la promotion des produits canadiens de la mer. On ne prend pas de leadership, ni de responsabilité», s’indigne ce dernier. M. Brun explique que la situation de la pêche aux homards semble être une vraie «patate chaude» pour les gouvernements provinciaux et le fédéral, alors qu’on ne semble pas vouloir «se décider» à donner la responsabilité à quiconque sur certains aspects.

Il rappelle qu’à une rencontre avec l’ancien ministre fédéral des Pêches, le Néo-Brunswickois Keith Ashfield, ce dernier avait demandé à l’industrie d’être mieux organisé en ce qui a trait à l’aspect affaires. Il avait demandé à ce qu’il y ait un plan d’affaires et un plan de promotion, choses qu’auraient rendues, dans les mois suivants, les membres de l’industrie présents à la rencontre.

«Mais tout d’un coup, le gouvernement au complet a fait une volte-face complète. Les derniers gouvernements ont dit bien des choses, mais quand vient le temps d’agir, là, ils disparaissent», explique Christian Brun. Par ailleurs, le directeur général de l’UPM a déclaré que malgré la situation «pénible» que vivent les pêcheurs avec des prix des plus bas – évalués entre les 2,50 $ à 3 $ par livre — il y a tout de même un rayon de soleil qui perce les nuages gris. C’est que dans la vaste majorité des cas, les transformateurs ont laissé tomber la limite quotidienne de homards achetés auprès des pêcheurs. Aussi, il semblerait que tous les pêcheurs néo-brunswickois de la zone 25 se seraient trouvés des acheteurs, ce qui était une source d’inquiétude dans les premiers jours de pêche.

L’usine de transformation Village Bay Sea Products déclare faillite

Mise à jour le lundi 26 août 2013 à 13 h 46 HAA, Radio-Canada
L'usine de transformation de poisson Village Bay à Richibouctou-Village
L’usine de transformation de poisson Village Bay à Richibouctou-Village  Photo :  Nicolas Steinbach/Radio-Canada

Une usine de transformation de Richibouctou-Village, au Nouveau-Brunswick, déclare faillite. Village Bay Sea Products s’était placée sous la protection de la loi sur les arrangements avec les créanciers il y a un an. Selon les propriétaires, l’entreprise a subi des coups durs ces derniers temps, notamment les manifestations des pêcheurs de homard en août 2012, qui ont paralysé les activités, ainsi qu’une tempête qui a endommagé les installations rénovées à grand prix. L’usine emploie 150 personnes. Elle fonctionne toujours à plein rendement. Les propriétaires disent qu’ils vont tenter de trouver des solutions pour éviter que les employés perdent leur travail. Ils affirment notamment qu’un acheteur potentiel s’intéresse à l’usine, une option qui a « 99 % de chances » de se concrétiser, selon les propriétaires. Une vente à l’encan des biens aura lieu à la mi-septembre, à moins qu’un acheteur prenne la relève des opérations.

COMMUNITY GARDEN IS STARTED

BY JOCELYNE BABIN SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE, 

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Kerry Ann Babin and her daughter Angélique Babin along with Bob Ewing work on the new community garden at the corner of Andrew and Dover streets in Campbellton.

CAMPBELLTON — June 29 was the official planting day at the Campbellton Community Garden. The Community Garden is located at the corner of Andrew and Dover Street, in Campbellton. It was a wet and cool day but the gardeners there were eager and excited about growing their own food. We thank the Village Nursing Home for allowing us to use the lot for the community garden. The garden is sponsored by the Restigouche Community Inclusion Network (RCIN). This action has allowed new friendships to be created, knowledge to be shared and new collaboration to flourish. The 15 raised beds were built by Terry Rose Landscaping and Mann’s Garden has filled the beads with the soil, the manure and everything we need to make sure vegetables will grow healthy. Each gardner has signed a contract about garden upkeep and the fact that this is an organic garden. Now, we hope for sun and heat to help the growth of the vegetables.

PERTH-ANDOVER COMMUNITY GARDEN FINALLY A REALITY

BY ROBERT LAFRANCE, 

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Fred Clark of Carlingford is seen here tilling the new Perth-Andover Community Garden located near Legion and Beveridge Streets. The garden will have 12 plots, each 5 by 25 feet. The gardening group’s steering committee is also considering putting fence around it. Those who have fence to donate, and preferably install as well, or who want to be one of the gardeners may call Wayne Sabine at 273-3122.Robert LaFrance

Thanks to a grant through the village, thanks to the donation of work in preparing the ground, thanks to the landowners’ permission to use their land, and thanks to some organizing work from several people, the Perth-Andover Community Garden will soon be producing vegetables. The garden, located near the northeast corner of Legion and Beveridge Streets, has been tilled and marked off. Fred Clark of Carlingford tilled the soil in mid-May and it is ready to go. No chemical sprays will be used, but some gardeners may want to use commercial fertilizer, though most will use composted manure and other additions to ensure a good crop and build up the soil. “The village has applied to the government on our behalf for the grant,” Wayne Sabine of South Tilley said. He is one of three members of the garden’s Steering Committee, along with Joe Bailey and Waitie Morrisson, who is the secretary-treasurer. Sabine said that the village offered to give them some land on the south side of Legion Street but the soil was not suitable. Sylvia and Clifton Crawford, who own the land near their flood-destroyed apartment building, donated the land for the garden and it proved better for the project. “Fred Clark donated the tilling of the ground as his contribution,” said Sabine.

“We made space for 12 garden plots,” Wayne Sabine said, “each 5 by 25 foot plots with the understanding that if next year people want more we can till up more ground. We don’t want people to bite off more than they can chew the first year because it gets discouraging. We decided to start small and see how people make out because a number of them hadn’t gardened before.” He said that he wasn’t sure of the exact number of gardeners. “As far as we know, there are eight gardeners. One wants two plots, some only want a half, but there are at least eight people who expressed interest,” Sabine said. He added that the gardens would primarily grow vegetables but some people might grow flowers. “We’re sort of concerned that if people want to grow corn, though, shading their neighbour, and squash and pumpkins can spread out so much.” He said that it seemed that most of the interested gardeners are those who don’t have space to grow a garden at their residences, and not just those who want healthy and nutritious food. “We’ll see where it goes though,” he said.

FOOD BANKS GET $50,000 DONATION

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TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Residents across Atlantic Canada came together with Majesta and Cavendish Farms to help raise $50,000 through the Buy Atlantic, For Atlantic program. The funds are being distributed to the provincial food bank association in each Atlantic province to help support individuals and families in need. “Consumers across Atlantic Canada clearly share our passion and commitment for supporting those in need in the communities we call home,” said Jim Schedler, vice-president of marketing for Majesta. “We want to thank everyone who helped us reach our goal.” He said, “Buy Atlantic, For Atlantic was created by Majesta and Cavendish Farms to give back to local food banks and we know the $50,000 donation will be critical in helping get food into the hands of those who need it most.”

As part of the campaign, consumers saved $1 when buying Majesta and Cavendish Farms products and $1 was donated to local food banks across Atlantic Canada. Each provincial food bank association will receive a base donation of $5,000, with the remaining funds being distributed based on Hunger Count, a report compiled by Food Banks Canada that ensures donations are distributed across each province based on community need. That meant $12,800 went to the New Brunswick Association of Food Banks. “Cavendish Farms has deep roots in Atlantic Canada, so we’re proud to give back to our community in a way that aligns with what we do every day — providing Atlantic Canadians with food for themselves and their families,” said Greg Fash, vice-president of marketing for Cavendish Farms. Part of the J.D. Irving Group of Companies, a family business in operation for more than 130 years, Majesta and Cavendish Farms have their head offices in Dieppe.

Des agriculteurs des Maritimes se concertent

Mise à jour le mardi 6 août 2013 à 10 h 25 HAA, Radioo-Canada

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 11.41.57 AM

Des agriculteurs des Maritimes se penchent sur plusieurs défis dans le cadre d’une convention régionale à Cornwall, à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, mardi.

Les membres de l’Union nationale des fermiers du Nouveau-Brunswick, de la Nouvelle-Écosse et de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard discutent notamment de changements climatiques et de sécurité alimentaire.

Ils abordent aussi le rôle accru des grandes entreprises dans la création de nouvelles semences.

Selon le coordonnateur régional Randall Affleck, les agriculteurs font face à de nouveaux coûts puisqu’ils doivent payer des redevances sur ces semences brevetées.

Pesticides et abeilles

Entrevue avec Isabelle Brunet, porte-parole du Sierra club Canada au sujet des pesticides et des abeilles. Cliquez ici

No honey, more problems: A ‘catastrophic’ year for bee colonies

VIDYA KAURI AND PAUL WALDIE, The Globe and Mail, Published Last updated 

Screen shot 2013-08-06 at 9.39.39 AM

Freezing temperatures, killer parasites, toxic chemicals: The plight of honey bees is getting worse in many parts of the world and no one seems to know precisely why. This past winter was one of the worst on record for bees. In the U.S., beekeepers lost 31 per cent of their colonies, compared to a loss of 21 per cent the previous winter. In Canada, the Canadian Honey Council reports an annual loss of 35 per cent of honey bee colonies in the last three years. In Britain, the Bee Farmers’ Association says its members lost roughly half their colonies over the winter.

“It has been absolutely catastrophic,” said Margaret Ginman, who is general secretary of the Bee Farmers’ Association. “This has been one of the worst years in living memory.” “There are some beekeepers that have lost 70 per cent over the last winter, and you can’t even make that up in one season,” says Dan Davidson, president of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association. “That’s a disaster.”

Just why so many bees have died is far from clear. In Britain, many blame a wetter than usual fall and winter. Queen bees typically mate while flying and the wet weather kept them from moving around, resulting in lower colony populations. In the U.S. and Canada, scientists have different theories, with some blaming the Varroa mite, which burrows into bees and feeds on their blood, and others pointing to disease and an increased use of pesticides by farmers. “The decline in honey bee health is a complex problem caused by a combination of stressors,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report released last month.

There’s no doubt bees are critical to humans. By some estimates, bees and other pollinating insects, such as butterflies and moths, contribute $200-billion to global agriculture every year. Almost one-third of the food we eat has been pollinated by bees and some crops, such as broccoli and almonds, are entirely dependent on bees for pollination. David Schuit, a honey producer in Elmwood, Ont., had plans last year to expand his family’s honey business when disaster struck. He runs 35 bee yards under the name Saugeen Country Honey with his wife and seven children in Elmwood, Ont. He says he had a healthy, robust crop of bees that had survived the winter, but one spring day in May of 2012, he found his bees in “terrible agony,” going around in circles, venom dripping from their back sides. The bees were either staying away from their hives or unable to find their way inside.

“It hurts deep inside when you see your hives dying in this manner,” he says.

The family ended up losing 90 per cent of the bees on their home yard alone. All in all, Mr. Schuit said they lost around 37 million bees, and the family produced barely half the honey they make each year. They were forced to give up their 100-acre organic cash crop farm because they could no longer continue making mortgage payments on it. The loss of bees was difficult to recover through the following winter, a time when bee populations generally decline because of the freezing temperatures, and this year, Mr. Schuit says bees are continuing to die en masse. “It’s hard on us. We need help,” he says. “I’m ready to throw the towel in.”

The Schuits are among a growing number of beekeepers who are blaming sudden and massive bee deaths on neonicotinoid pesticides. These are nicotine-like substances that attack the nervous system of insects. They are also water soluble, meaning they can be added to the soil and taken in by the entire plant, making every part of it lethal to bugs. Corn, soybean and canola farmers coat their seeds with the insecticides using a machine that needs to be lubricated with talc to push the seeds out. The talc absorbs some of the pesticide and bees get exposed to this toxic mixture when the machine blows the talc out. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency noticed that honey bee deaths in about 250 bee yards in Southern Ontario and Quebec coincided with the corn-planting season. They found neonicotinoids in 70 per cent of bee samples taken from these regions.

In April, the European Union passed a two-year ban on neonicotinoids because of the risk they pose to bees. Beekeeper associations in Ontario and Quebec are calling for a similar ban in Canada, but they will likely face an uphill battle against grain farmers, who say the pesticide has been crucial to their business since it was approved for use in 2004. In July, the Grain Farmers of Ontario mailed out 28,000 postcards urging their members to call their local political representatives and oppose any kind of a ban on the neonicotinoids.

“A knee-jerk reaction shouldn’t happen until we find out more about what is actually happening from a bee-health perspective because there are are other issues that affect the bee populations,” says Barry Senft, chief executive officer of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “If we start to move away from a science-based approval process, everything then is subjective.”

The group says that a ban on neonicotinoids would result in a loss of three to 20 bushels per acre for Ontario farmers. For the average farmer with a 500-acre field, this would translate to a loss of two to 13 per cent of their gross income, making it difficult for them to compete with farmers in Western Canada and the United States, Mr. Senft says.

Health Canada says that more research needs to be done and continues to collect samples of affected bees this year. It says regulatory action to protect bees against neonicotinoids may be taken, if warranted, at any time during this review process. Ernesto Guzman, head of the Honey Bee Research Centre at Guelph University, says the Health Canada data points to a definitive link between neonicotinoids and bee deaths, but says the pesticides are not the only cause of declining bee populations. It is also not known if the pesticides are the major cause of bee deaths. Mr. Guzman says that, during the winter, Varroa mites are the main cause of bee deaths. They came from Asia about 20 years ago and are found on virtually all bee colonies.

On average, bee keepers expect to lose about 10 to 15 per cent of their numbers in the winter because the cold makes it harder for the bees to survive. Paul Vautour, the Maritimes director for the Canadian Honey Council, says a drought last fall made it even harder for his bees to withstand the prolonged winter, causing him to loss 85 per cent of his bee colonies. He had 238 colonies at the start of winter, and by May, this number was down to 36. Mr. Vautour says this was a “big loss” as a relatively small commercial beekeeper, and he had to spend $24,000 to buy 100 new colonies. Many beekeepers say they know how to manage their Varroa mites, however, and insist that they don’t cause as much destruction as the neonicotinoids. Mr. Guzman says it is important for the government to invest in independent research to help beekeepers facing significant losses.

“The beekeepers need help and they need help immediately,” he says. “Research to find answers to the problem and to answer the question of how much pesticides are killing bees relative to other causes might take many years.”

HONEY BEES BY THE NUMBERS

  • 7,000: Number of beekeepers in Canada, according to the Canadian Honey Council
  • 15 per cent: Industry-standard acceptable loss of honey-bee colonies during the winter, also known as “wintering loss”
  • 35 per cent: Annual average loss of honey-bee colonies in Canada during the last three years
  • 12 per cent: Wintering loss in Ontario in 2012, the lowest by province
  • 27.9 per cent: Wintering loss in New Brunswick, the highest by province

Luzerne génétiquement modifiée dans nos champs

Le mardi 16 juillet 2013, Radio – Canada

Une coalition représentant des consommateurs, des groupes environnementaux et des agriculteurs dénonce à nouveau le projet d’introduire de la luzerne génétiquement modifiée (GM) dans nos champs. Nous en discuton avec le secrétaire de Vigilance OGM, Thibault Rehn. Cliquez ici.

Farmers Seek Environmental Assessment of GM Alfalfa from Ontario Government

July 25, 2013. Ottawa – Two farmers have formally asked the Ontario government to carry out an environmental assessment of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa before the seed is sold in the province. Today, they launched an application under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, the first ever request relating to the issue of GM crops.

“The federal government has failed us, but the Ontario government can step in to protect Ontario’s environment and farmers,” said Dianne Dowling, an organic dairy farmer near Kingston, and one of the two applicants. In late April the Federal Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, allowed the first-ever GM alfalfa variety to be registered in Canada in spite of nation-wide opposition. This means seed companies could put GM alfalfa on the market at any time. The company Forage Genetics International has put Monsanto’s GM herbicide tolerant Roundup Ready trait into alfalfa and says it wants to introduce it in Eastern Canada.

“The federal government isn’t listening to us,” said co-applicant Dave Lewington, a grassfed beef producer from the Sudbury area. “GM alfalfa would cause big problems for us because environmental contamination would be irreversible. We can’t simply choose not to grow this, it will spread to our farm no matter what. Companies won’t look out for us, so we’re calling on the Ontario government now.” “This environmental assessment process will make a real difference. It will show why we need to prevent GM contamination, and the costs to all of us if we don’t,” said Lewington. “By protecting the environment we protect our farms, ourselves as farmers, and the food supply our customers rely on. That’s good for all Ontario.”

“Many conventional and organic farmers in Ontario share the same concerns about GM alfalfa,” said Coral Spoule of the National Farmers Union Ontario. Alfalfa is an important part of pasture and hay for animal feed, particularly for dairy and beef farmers. Alfalfa improves soil fertility and quality, and is often grown to support vegetable and grain production. Alfalfa is a perennial crop, pollinated by bees. Under the Environmental Bill of Rights, Ontario residents can request an environmental assessment if they believe a major new commercial activity could negatively impact the environment and economy of Ontario. The application points out that GM contamination would be unavoidable. It also details the environmental and economic costs of herbicide resistant weeds and increased herbicide use that would result from GM Roundup Ready alfalfa. It was prepared by a large community of individuals and groups who share concerns about the risks that GM alfalfa poses.

“We’re supporting farmers in Ontario because we all need this same protection,” said Lisa Mumm of Mumm’s Sprouting Seeds in Saskatchewan and a member of the Organic Agriculture Protection Fund (OAPF). The OAPF, along with the National Farmers Union and the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, prepared the evidence submitted to the Ontario Government and are supporting this challenge. The application is available at www.cban.ca/ONalfalfachallenge

Perceived and Potential Human Health Risks Associated with Consumption of Genetically Modified Animals

Source: National Collaboration Centre for Healthy Public Policy

This evidence review describes the elements required to assess safety of genetically modified animals and addresses the following questions: (1) What types of human health risks are associated with consumption of genetically modified foods, in general? (2) What are the general attitudes among Canadian consumers toward genetically modified animals intended for human consumption? (3) What are some of the health concerns associated with consumption of transgenic animals that are currently undergoing food safety review?

To learn more, click here.

New Report: Healthy Bargains: Fruits and Vegetables are Nutritious and Economical

A new CSPI report shows yet again that healthy food does not necessarily cost more than unhealthy options. The report compared the cost of fruits and vegetables with other commonly consumed, but less healthful, snacks and side dishes. Overall, the average price per serving of healthy fruits and vegetables was less than unhealthy options for both snacks and side dishes.

Harvesting More Than Vegetables: The Potential Weight Control Benefits of Community Gardening

There were more than 18 000 community gardens in the United States and Canada in 2011, and their numbers are growing. Researchers assessing the impact of community gardening have concluded that they confer social benefits to neighborhoods as well as nutritional, physical activity, and general health benefits to participating gardeners. Click here for the report.

A Cabaret for Cupboards

CHERISE LETSON, TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL, 

Christopher Lane (right) belts out a tune during rehearsal as Terri-Lynn Russell looks on. The duo will be performing at the Saint John Theatre Company's BMO Rehearsal Hall on August 14 for the Cabaret for Cupboards event, raising funds for the Saint John Food Bank. Photo: Ryan Melanson/Telegraph-Journal
Christopher Lane (right) belts out a tune during rehearsal as Terri-Lynn Russell looks on. The duo will be performing at the Saint John Theatre Company’s BMO Rehearsal Hall on August 14 for the Cabaret for Cupboards event, raising funds for the Saint John Food Bank. Photo: Ryan Melanson/Telegraph-Journal

SAINT JOHN – Two local performers are throwing a cabaret-style concert for the local food bank.

Christopher Lane and Terri-Lynn Russell are hosting Cabaret for Cupboards for the Saint John Food Bank on Aug. 14 at the Saint John Theatre Company BMO Rehearsal Hall. Lane said the duo has always liked to support local organizations. After previously helping the Kidney Foundation and the Kraft Dinner lunch program at St. David’s United Church, they wanted to choose an organization that needed help during the summertime. “We’ve been working together for several years now, and we always feel it’s very important to find an organization that we like to work with and support . . . we were looking for another organization that maybe doesn’t get as much press as they should and as much recognition,” Lane said. “A lot of times the food bank goes unnoticed throughout the summer, because it’s just not on the top of people’s minds. We wanted to have an event that will draw attention to that need.” Russell said they decided on the cabaret format because it would allow them to have more freedom with the content.

“The reason why we’re doing the cabaret-style is because we would like to do more comedy and risqué type of music for the musical theatre side of things,” Russell said. The show will be in two parts, with each part telling a story. The first half of the show will feature pop songs ranging from the Eagles to Bruno Mars. They will also have a backing band throughout the whole show. “We’ve taken the format where we can tell a story . . . It’s telling the story of the metamorphosis of love,” Russell said. “So we’re basically going to take them through what could be considered in either a novel or TV show, but we’re going to do it through music.” The second half of the show will be musical theatre style, featuring some jazz, comedy and songs by Tom Lehrer and Ira Gershwin. People can also expect numbers from musicals Cabaret and Monty Python. There will be refreshments, a cash bar and the Saint John Food Bank will be taking donations at the door. “On top of the fact that it’s for a great cause and you can literally help your community, it’s a great night of fun,” Russell said. “We do this for our own entertainment. We choose songs that we’re going to have fun presenting and performing and the band will enjoy doing . . . We’re going to sing things you don’t normally hear in a concert.”In a time when many people in the province are financially struggling, Lane said it’s important to give the support to the organizations who help them.“I think especially as we look at the statistics that are coming out in regards to unemployment in this region, unemployment is getting to become at an all-time high,” Lane said. “I think there is going to be more pressure on the food bank as a result of that, as people struggle to make ends meet to support their families and to support their loved ones.”

Cabaret for Cupboards takes place Aug. 14 at the Saint John Theatre Company BMO Rehearsal Hall at 112 Princess Street. Show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25. Seating is limited. To reserve your ticket call 650-4005 or email TerriLynnRussell@gmail.com.

Agriculture Gets Boost from Government

TAMARA GRAVELLE, KINGS COUNTY RECORD, 

SUSSEX – Local farmers can expect more help from the government when it comes to their career. Growing Forward 2 is a national program designed to help improve work for people in the agricultural sector. It’s a combination of federal, provincial and territorial governments to increase productivity and profitability. A total of $37 million will be invested through federal and provincial funding over the next five years towards this program.

The department of agriculture announced this on July 9 in Scotch Lake. Rocky Price, general manager of the Sussex Co-Op, said this program is great because of the dip in people interested in agriculture. “We need to focus on agriculture and we need to get our government to focus on it,” Price said. “It’s great that they’re making an effort to do it.” Although Price realizes that Sussex won’t see the full effects of this program until more farmers start participating, it is definitely something that would help rebuild the agricultural sector. He thinks Growing Forward 2 might be the thing that keeps agriculture alive in this area.

“Agriculture is diminishing and we need to grow it again,” Price said. “We’re lucky in Sussex to have a strong background in it, but chances are it will diminish if we don’t do something about it.” This program is the sequel to the original Growing Forward program started five years ago. An example of one of the things the original was able to do was put robotic machinery in Sussex area dairy farms last fall. This same machinery was being used all across Canada before then, but Growing Forward brought it to Sussex. Jim Walker and his brother Paul own Walkerville Farms, a dairy farm, out in Wards Creek. Walker said this program comes at a good time after a winter of high grain prices and he looks forward to see what it can do. “It incorporates at lot of different aspects into it that can help farmers in the long run,” Walker said. “It encourages people to do risky things that they otherwise wouldn’t have done without the financial support.” Walker said this is especially good for dairy farmers because the industry is constantly changing and improving. “Two thirds of milk production for this province is from here to Moncton,” Walker said. “(Growing Forward 2) will help us develop new products and allow us to hire someone to research and find new products. “I’m just really happy that the government put the time in to get this done.”

The Minister of Agriculture Michael Olscamp said at the announcement that the decision to launch Growing Froward 2 was decided after a consultation process with people who work in agriculture. It was created to help keep agriculture in the province at the top of its game. “I think good things are happening in agriculture in New Brunswick,” Olscamp said. “People are interested in where their food comes from and who grows it. “The funding programs being offered under the new (Growing Forward 2) agreement will serve to make our industry and our farmers more innovative, competitive and their products even better known at home and around the world.” Through Growing Froward 2 the government has also renewed the Business Risk Management programs, which help protect farmers against market volatility and natural disasters.

A full list and details on these programs are available on the Government of New Brunswick website under the agriculture department.Other non-Business Risk Management programs and industry development programs are also offered through Growing Forward 2. Information on them can be found online as well.

LA FOURGONNETTE «ACHETER LOCAL» À GRAND-SAULT

L’ÉTOILE, 

Le député Danny Soucy et Victoria Blakely, la responsable de la tournée, ont participé au marché agricole de Grand-Sault le samedi 29 juin et au Festival de la patate de Grand-Sault dimanche le 30 juin. Photo contribution Contribution
Le député Danny Soucy et Victoria Blakely, la responsable de la tournée, ont participé au marché agricole de Grand-Sault le samedi 29 juin et au Festival de la patate de Grand-Sault dimanche le 30 juin. Photo contribution Contribution

Danny Soucy, député de Grand-Sault, a accueilli la fourgonnette «Achetez Local» dans sa ville. Cette action s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une initiative du gouvernement provincial visant à promouvoir les industries de l’agriculture, de la pêche et de l’aquaculture. Elle a pour objectif de sensibiliser la population à la grande variété des aliments et des produits à valeur ajoutée locaux. Elle permet également au public de rencontrer des agriculteurs et des pêcheurs ainsi que d’assurer la promotion de l’agrotourisme et l’aquatourisme

«L’agriculture est un élément clé de l’économie du Nouveau-Brunswick et je suis très heureux d’avoir invité la fourgonnette «Acheter local» à Grand-Sault afin de souligner l’importance de nos agriculteurs», a indiqué M. Soucy. Le député Danny Soucy et Victoria Blakely, la responsable de la tournée, ont participé au marché agricole de Grand-Sault le samedi 29 juin et au Festival de la patate de Grand-Sault, le dimanche 30 juin. La fourgonnette «Achetez local» effectuera une tournée de plusieurs mois dans la province et visitera notamment des foires, des festivals et des marchés de fermiers. Pour plus de renseignements sur cette initiative et sur le calendrier des activités, consultez le site www.gnb.ca/AgriAqua.

FOOD DRIVE SET IN SHEDIAC

TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF. 

A major food drive set to help the Vestiaire St-Joseph Inc. food bank in Shediac will begin July 30 and go straight through to Aug. 17. The Smiling Angel drive will consist of volunteers going from door-to-door around town to collect non-perishable food and cans for the food bank, between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. If Shediac residents are not home during this time and would like to help out, please leave a bag with a note reading “Smiling Angel” and it will be picked up for the food bank. To volunteer for the food drive, please contact Ginette Bourque at 532-8064.

LOCAL FOOD BANK SEEKS PRODUCE

BY LAURA HUBBARD, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

West End Food Bank employees were scrambling over the weekend after an air conditioner died in their produce storage room. Ben MacMichael, manager of the food bank, says their produce is stored in a cold room with an air conditioner running to extend the life of fresh vegetables and fruit in the summer months. “We get our food orders on Thursday of every week and the key is to keep the fresh produce long enough to have it until the next order,” MacMichael says. Last week, though, much of the produce was given out on Friday because of the air conditioner failure.

He says that although the food bank does go through air conditioners quickly because they’re running them at high levels for extended periods of time, it was still a stress for the food bank and the families that rely on the donations. Much of the produce, MacMichael says, was put to the compost for the bank’s Garden of Hope, a vegetable garden that supplies some of the bank’s fresh food. He says the food bank saw lots of spoilage over the weekend.

“The food we couldn’t give out wasn’t going to waste, but it wasn’t going where we wanted it to, either,” he says. The food bank received a donation of a new air conditioner over the weekend by a local family of three women. Although the cold room didn’t have long to warm up, it still affected many families. The West End Food Bank only allows its over 150 families to come once a month, now. “If a family came in this last week, we didn’t have produce to give them necessarily,” MacMichael says. “What they were getting in their bin was next to nothing.” The West End Food Bank is always in need of fresh produce, and MacMichael encourages Moncton residents to add an extra row to their summer gardens for food donations to their local food bank.

FOOD BANK IN DIRE NEED OF DONATIONS

BY COLIN MCPHAIL, MCPHAIL.COLIN@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 9.47.23 AM

In the midst of a food shortage, the Fredericton Food Bank has turned to the community for help. Chris Fougere, program manager with the food bank, said he hasn’t seen the shelves this empty in years, prompting the non-profit organization to post a plea for donations on its Facebook page Tuesday. “Summertime is always a sparse time, but this is highly unusual,” Fougere said in an interview on Wednesday afternoon. “We usually go through a shortage during the summer. A lot times people are not around. They’re at camp or away on vacation; they’re just not in the city to donate.”

In a Facebook post on Wednesday morning, the food bank reported it “had to feed 39% more clients than last year yet we’ve received approx. 15% less donations. Hunger is a very important topic we all need to address.” Fougere said the food bank is having trouble putting together boxes of food that are both nourishing and plentiful. He said even staple items such canned beans and Kraft Dinner are on “the verge of running out.” “But it’s the other items that a family needs to get through that we are very, very low on: cereal, snack items, juice, things of that nature,” he said.

He’s had to substitute Gatorade for juice in July’s boxes. Fougere said they will be able to meet the basic needs of the capital region for the rest of the month, but he’s concerned they will fall short in August. He said 900 boxes — about three day’s worth of food — are prepared and doled out in a month. Families are usually limited to one box a month. It accounts for about 13 tonnes of food, filling their warehouse with dozens of pallets carrying food. About 100 pallets are needed per month. As of this week, after a shipment from the Food Banks of Canada, Fougere has four pallets of crackers, cookies and diapers. The next shipment is six weeks away. Fougere was pleased to see his call for donations on Facebook has seen some traction, as the post has about 27,000 views and users have shared it more than 500 times. Several people have already donated cartfuls of groceries.

“I’m astounded,” Fougere said of the reception from the community. “We don’t ask often, but every time we do need something, the people of Fredericton are right there.” The food bank prefers non-perishable items, such as Kraft Dinner, canned soup, canned beans, cereal and juice. More information and a full list of needed items can be found online at www.frederictonfoodbank.com or on The Fredericton Food Bank Facebook page.

BAD NEWS FOR BEES?

BY JAMES FOSTER, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 10.11.02 AM

The next time you eat, take a close look at that plate of food. Chances are, bees played a key role in creating about one-third of your meal. Key pollinators that they are, science has come up with a number of theories why our bees are disappearing in important numbers, and now the Sierra Club of Canada says a new poll has shown that most Canadians agree with their organization that a relatively new class of pesticides ranks among the kings of bee killers.

“The Sierra club’s poll, commissioned late last week, shows that two out of every three Canadians asked support a ban on neonicotinoids, the chemicals linked by scientists to the alarming increase in bee deaths, especially in Ontario and Quebec,” the organization says in a news release. “Ten per cent of those polled opposed a ban and 24 per cent said they were unsure.” Neonicotinoids are ingenious, in theory at least. Mostly they are applied as a coating on seeds in order to eliminate the need to spray pesticides, which can be carried by the wind into areas where they are neither needed nor wanted.

However, groups such as the Sierra Club of Canada point to recent research that shows the compounds can leach into the soil and accumulate, persisting for years in concentrations that exceed levels that can kill bees. The group says Canadians are keenly aware of the issue, and those who are aware want action. “The Canadian public have issued a strong call to action, demanding our governments move now to protect bees,” says the organization’s executive director John Bennett.

“Our polling results show Canadians are aware of the growing crisis, and expect a response.” Of the 10 per cent of respondents who didn’t support a ban, the percentage fell to six per cent when informed about bee-safe alternative pesticides. However, CropLife Canada, the trade association representing the plant-science industry, argues that bee health is a complex issue involving a host of factors, and that the facts don’t point to pesticides as bee killers. In fact, areas of the country that have never used Neonicotinoids have suffered some of the worst bee losses and other areas that do use the pesticides have seen growing numbers of bees, CropLife says. Farmers depend on bees to pollinate their plants, paying beekeepers to bring in bees and unleash them on farm properties to do their work. But they also often use pesticidal measures such as treated seeds to keep down pests too. Even in the scientific and bee worlds, there is little agreement on whether pesticides are an important cause of bee deaths. Canada and the U.S. embrace the use of neonicotinoids, while parts of Europe has banned them. Pesticide lobby groups point out that even in some places where the treated seeds are banned, bees are still dying. Mass bee die-offs are often described as “colony collapse order,” and in the season of 2006-2007 New Brunswick lost 62 per cent of its colonies, the worst bee die-off in Canada.

There are not enough fingers on one hand to point blame at all of the suspected causes for bee die-offs, which range — depending on whose fingers are pointing — from pesticides which kill the bees to other compounds that confuse them so that they can’t find their way home, to mites, disease, starvation, poor apiary husbandry, climate change, air pollution and even emissions from cell phone towers.

Qu’est qu’on mange?

ROLAND BEAULIEU, Le Madawaska, 

Il paraît que l’on mange beaucoup de choses qui sont néfastes pour notre corps, et pour une grande majorité de la population, nous ne le savons même pas. Il paraît aussi que les gouvernements, dans notre Amérique, ignorent assez souvent ce que leur disent les opposants à ces aliments, des aliments qui sont pour la plupart concoctés dans des laboratoires chimiques. Faut se demander si les emplois sont parfois plus importants que la santé des gens.

Selon certains experts, les aliments qui sont nés grâce aux organismes génétiquement modifiés (OGM) sont les pires contributeurs et peuvent même causer le cancer. Malheureusement, ces organismes génétiquement modifiés sont présents un peu partout dans nos aliments, surtout dans les aliments fabriqués à partir du maïs, des fèves de soya et du canola. On en fabrique ici en Amérique, mais il nous en arrive aussi d’ailleurs. On nous recommande fortement d’éviter les produits avec des OGM, et de nous en tenir aux produits certifiés biologiques, ou ceux qui ont une certification montrant qu’ils ne contiennent pas d’OGM, et bien sûr, aux aliments produits localement. Le problème, c’est que chez nous, il ne pousse pas grand-chose l’hiver.

L’entreprise américaine Monsanto a été l’une des premières, sinon la première, entreprise à modifier génétiquement une cellule de plante, annoncée en 1983. Et en 1987, elle devenait aussi une des premières entreprises à faire des essais d’organismes génétiquement modifiés en agriculture. Mais Monsanto n’a pas toujours été une entreprise agricole, ou qui faisait la culture de céréales ou autre produits comestibles. Monsanto a été créée en 1901 par John Francis Queeny comme une entreprise oeuvrant dans la production de plastiques, incluant les polystyrènes et les fibres synthétiques. L’entreprise a aussi été à l’origine des produits controversés et dont certains sont maintenant bannis, tels le DDT 2.4.5.T, les PCB, l’agent orange, l’Aspartame, et le Round-Up, entre autres. Suffit de dire que les produits de Monsanto et l’entreprise même sont devenus des plus visés par les partisans de l’alimentation saine et biologique.

Depuis quelques semaines, de nombreuses manifestations ont eu lieu un peu partout dans le monde en opposition aux produits de Monsanto, en particulier les OGM. Aux États-Unis, le sénat américain étudiait un projet de loi qui aurait permis aux états individuels d’exiger que tous les aliments soient identifiés comme contenant ou non des OGM. La veille d’une manifestation (March against Monsanto) contre l’entreprise, qui devait avoir lieu à la fin mai, le sénat a voté contre le projet de loi. Des pressions? On ne le saura pas, c’est certain. Dans une situation aussi volatile et controversée, il y a bien sûr des opposants et des partisans. Des études montrent d’un côté les dangers des aliments fabriqués à partir d’OGM, alors que les entreprises elles, en font l’éloge. Qui croire? Et qui prend la part des consommateurs? Bien souvent, si on regarde l’arbre généalogique des entreprises comme Monsanto, c’est-à-dire surtout celles qui sont à la bourse, on retrouve les mêmes propriétaires de l’une à l’autre. Et leur intérêt principal? Faire le plus d’argent possible, comme de raison. Je me demande parfois si les propriétaires de ces entreprises mangent leurs propres produits.

Notez bien que je ne m’en prends pas à Monsanto. Elle n’est pas la seule à fabriquer des produits que plusieurs considèrent comme dangereux pour la santé animale et humaine. Même que Monsanto a été reconnue comme l’un des 100 meilleurs employeurs au Canada en octobre 2008; et en 2009, aux États-Unis, le prestigieux Forbes Magazine l’a nommée entreprise de l’année. En tout cas, ma blonde et moi on essaie de manger un peu plus santé. Faut couper sur les produits qui contiennent les trois «engraisseurs», le sel, le gras et le sucre. Les croustilles, par exemple. Ça inclut les liqueurs douces (soda) qui contiennent des tonnes de sucres (les liqueurs diètes aussi en passant), le «fast-food» et les desserts. Vous savez, toutes les «bonnes» choses. Ce n’est pas le fun, mais notre santé est trop importante pour ne pas qu’on apporte ces petits changements.

 Roland Beaulieu a été député provincial d’Edmundston de 1986 à 1995 sous la bannière libérale. Il a été ministre du Tourisme, des Loisirs et du Patrimoine de 1987 à 1991 puis ministre des Affaires intergouvernementales de 1994 à 1995. Grandement impliqué au sein de la communauté, M. Beaulieu est aussi vice-président de la campagne de l’Arbre de l’espoir pour la région du Nord-Ouest. Sa chronique est publiée deux fois par mois. Il peut être joint à l’adresse suivante : roland.beaulieu@rogers.com

EATING LOCAL DRIVING FOOD ‘REVOLUTION’

Eating local: Krista Lea Touesnard enjoys the variety of fresh, local foods she gets in her groceries from Real Food Connections. Above, Touesnard adds fresh-cut ingredients to her salad. James West/The Daily Gleaner
Eating local: Krista Lea Touesnard enjoys the variety of fresh, local foods she gets in her groceries from Real Food Connections. Above, Touesnard adds fresh-cut ingredients to her salad. James West/The Daily Gleaner

BY LAVERNE STEWART, STEWART.LAVERNE@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

Each week Krista Lea Touesnard looks forward to seeing what’s in the produce box that’s delivered to her Fredericton home. About a year ago she started purchasing local foods through Real Food Connections. “I signed up for their box program. Once a week I would get my produce box. On the opposite week I would get my groceries, including meat, bread and cheese.” She was then inspired to include as much local food in her family’s meals as possible by shopping at local farmers’ markets. She estimates 80 per cent of what her family eats at home is locally produced. Milk and butter, oils and spices are all available from New Brunswick food producers, she said. Touesnard said she discovered that the cost of eating locally produced foods is no more expensive than buying foods imported from other provinces and countries.

“It probably balances out. When I used to go to the grocery store and stock up, I wouldn’t use everything, so a lot of it got thrown out because I was buying bigger amounts.” She plans her meals based on seasonal vegetables and will only buy ingredients needed to complete those meals. The quality of the local foods her family now enjoys is much higher than what she used to buy from larger grocery stores, she said. “It’s fresher. It’s coming directly from the farm. The meats are grass-fed and there’s no added hormones that you would find in meats produced by large farms that are selling to giant retailers,” she said.

This summer, Touesnard started her first vegetable garden at home, which has increased the family’s consumption of fresh vegetables. Now Touesnard is learning how to preserve the fresh fruits and vegetables so she will have a ready supply during the winter months. She said her children are more aware of what they’re eating now and are asking for homemade treats rather than processed, preservative-filled foods. She said she’s feeling healthier because she’s eating better. The switch to eating local wasn’t an easy sell to her children at first, she admits. Once they tried it, she said, they were convinced that the local, fresh foods taste better, she said. “Change isn’t always easy for kids, especially with foods.” Now, she said, her kids are willing to try new vegetables. Touesnard said she also had to get used to vegetables she’d never eaten before.

She’d never cooked with fennel before it had arrived in her produce order for the first time last year. While she’s eager to increase the amount of local foods her family eats, she said, she doesn’t think there will be a time when 100 per cent of their diet comes from locally sourced foods. Tropical fruits can’t be grown here, but she will continue to buy them because her family enjoys them, she said. Jenn Tyler and her family made the switch to a seasonal, local diet two years ago. The family has always made an effort to shop locally at the farmers markets in the city each weekend. When Real Food Connections opened and offered its produce delivery service, it made eating locally even more convenient, she said.

“It just becomes a no-brainer when you realize that you’re eating better food. It’s fresher, it’s better quality and the cost is equivalent to all of the stuff I was paying for imported stuff from the grocery store,” she said. Tyler estimates her family eats 90 per cent local foods in the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, she said, they eat about 70 per cent local foods. When she wants strawberries in the winter, she goes into her freezer and finds berries she put there in July, she said. It’s reassuring to Tyler to know where her food is coming from and the methods used to produce it, she said. She said she believes that eating local foods is the right thing for her family, and it also supports local farmers. “I think it’s a really great concept. If everyone did it, we’d all be better off,” Tyler said.

Stephanie Coburn, president of the N.B. Conservation Council, is a farmer in Sussex raising grass-fed beef. She’s promoted eating a local diet for more than 20 years. It’s only been the last five years that the idea has caught on, she said. She said reports of contaminated foods coming from the industrial food supply has caused people to pay attention to what’s in the food they’re eating and where it’s coming from. As a result of more demand for local foods, she said, her farm sells all of the grass-fed beef she and her husband can produce. “We used to have to give people samples and give it away, and now we can’t grow enough of it,” she said. Her son, Joel Coburn, started a free-range, organic chicken operation on the farm and is also able to sell all of the poultry he is raising at farmers markets.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency defines local foods as those coming from within the province or 50 kilometres outside the province. “I have seen the word ‘local’ on corn from Quebec and strawberries from Ontario. Their determination is that if they can get it here within 24 hours, it’s local. That’s misleading,” she said. For Coburn, buying local means the customer can purchase foods that are produced within an hour’s drive from the farm. Coburn said some people think locally produced foods should be less expensive than imported foods. However, she said, smaller farmers can’t compete with the economies of scale of the industrial food system. She said she believes people who eat a local diet are healthier than those who don’t.

“We don’t get sick. I firmly believe that part of the reason for that is because of the food we eat. I’m 66 and my husband is 70, and we work 14-hour days and we don’t take any medications.” Coburn said some people don’t see the connection between eating locally produced foods and better health. However, she said, others are paying attention to the role food plays in their health and they’re making the switch to eating local. “There’s a real food revolution happening, but there are some people who are always going to buy their food at Walmart,” she said. Coburn said the increasing demand for local foods is making it possible for young farmers in the province who want to start growing food here.The challenge those who are new to farming face is that it’s expensive to buy farming equipment. “If we can make land available to them and help them get started, I think we can make this grow,” Coburn said.

BERESFORD SOUHAITE L’IMPLICATION DE LA POPULATION DANS LA GESTION DE L’ÉCOMARCHÉ

ALICE BRAUD, L’ÉTOILE, 

La Ville de Beresford encourage les citoyens à devenir membre de l'Écomarché. Photo Alice Braud, L'Étoile
La Ville de Beresford encourage les citoyens à devenir membre de l’Écomarché. Photo Alice Braud, L’Étoile

L’Écomarché de Beresford a ouvert ses portes le samedi 29 juin pour une deuxième année consécutive. Après avoir accueilli en moyenne 1400 visiteurs chaque samedi en 2012, la Ville de Beresford aimerait qu’à l’avenir, l’Écomarché puisse s’autofinancer. Ainsi, les citoyens qui souhaitent devenir membres de l’Écomarché devront débourser la somme de 5 $. L’organisme à but lucratif qu’est l’Écomarché de Beresford est soutenu financièrement par la ville. Afin d’aider financièrement l’Écomarché, une campagne a été mise en place pour encourager les citoyens à devenir membre. La nouvelle campagne d’adhésion surnommée les «amis de l’Écomarché» permet aux citoyens de prendre part à la gestion de ce marché, selon Bruno Poirier, conseiller à la Ville de Beresford.

«Le but de devenir membre, c’est de supporter le marché et de permettre aux citoyens qui aiment l’Écomarché de lui donner un support. La carte de membre est de 5 $ et c’est un support financier important pour l’Écomarché. Ça permet aux membres de participer à la destinée de celui-ci», souligne Bruno Poirier. L’Écomarché qui est situé au Sportek de Beresford doit assumer notamment des frais de location et d’entretien. La ville aimerait éventuellement que la participation financière des membres puisse permettre au marché de s’autofinancer.

«Cette année, l’argent des membres ne couvrira pas toutes les opérations. Ça n’enlève pas le montant cette année que la ville investit, mais dans le futur, l’objectif est que le marché puisse voler de ses propres ailes. Aujourd’hui, il fonctionne avec des ententes avec la ville et les associations sportives, mais l’idée, c’est d’engager les citoyens dans la gestion de ce marché. Je sais qu’avec l’achalandage qu’on a eu l’an passé, la communauté tient beaucoup à ce marché», explique M. Pelletier. Bruno Poirier estime que l’adhésion des membres aux «amis de l’Écomarché» permet à la fois de soutenir financièrement ce marché et permet également de donner son opinion et de s’impliquer dans la gérance du marché.

«En étant membre, tu te donnes le privilège de participer à l’assemblée générale annuelle et de décider du futur du marché. Tu te donnes aussi l’occasion de t’impliquer dans des comités et sous-comités. Ce marché, il appartient aux citoyens, c’est à eux de le prendre», soutient-il. Alors que l’accès demeure gratuit pour tous, les membres auront l’avantage de pouvoir participer à des tirages de prix lors du marché et ainsi gagner des produits locaux. L’Écomarché est ouvert chaque samedi jusqu’en septembre, de 8h à 13h.

FUNDY FARMERS, FOOD PROMOTED

BY LAURA HUBBARD, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

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Foods of the Fundy Valley has been around for three years, but the last several months have been instrumental in the group’s expansion. A new chapter of the organization, Fundy Fresh, and its logo were unveiled last weekend at the Hopewell Cape farmers market, held every Saturday at the Albert County Museum. The organization received a New Brunswick Agri-food Market Development grant, which has four aspects, says Lisa Brown, board member for Foods of the Fundy Valley. The grant covers the organization’s new logo and brand, a newsletter, food map and social media training for farmers in the area.

“We came up with a logo that we felt reflected our region,” Brown says. She hopes it will be used by farmers, restaurants and anyone growing or selling locally grown food. “We wanted to brand ourselves and so we have pride in our own region’s food, to identify that this place is using local food.”

The Foods of the Fundy Valley organization has been around for three years, originally born from a community development program that showed people felt local food and education about healthy eating were lacking in the area. The organization works in partnership with the Hopewell Cape farmers market, the market in Alma, and has developed several educational programs with local schools. The hanging baskets throughout Hillsborough’s streets were planted by Caledonia Regional High School students as part of one of these programs, Brown points out. Other schools grew food and then hosted a harvest lunch with their vegetables.

“We want to create awareness that this is a region that creates food,” Brown says. “We want people to be educated and be able to decide where to buy their food, not just have one option.” Brown says part of the grant is a food map which outlines all the outlets — farmers markets, food stands and stores — that sell local foods. It will be made available in local tourist destinations and information centres. “Our goal is to make people aware of local food producers, but also hopefully improve opportunities for locals growing and selling.” The logo Brown and her team designed will be made available in restaurant windows where local produce and meats are used, and in market stalls and food courts, highlighting the same thing. A newsletter about local food in the area will make its debut mid-July. The organization’s members can also be found at farmers markets in the area each Saturday throughout the summer. “We’re just trying to create local food awareness.”

FOOD BANK EVOLVING TO PROVIDE BETTER MEALS

BY LORI GALLAGHER, GALLAGHER.LORI@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

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Volunteers and staff of the Fredericton Food Bank are showing that amazing things can happen when you couple hard work with determination. Since taking possession of the old Green Village property, located at 686 Riverside Dr., they’ve transformed the inside of the building and surrounding land, and have plans to do more. “We’ve been in our space for a little over a year now and we’ve made great progress with the help of our volunteers,” said Elizabeth Crawford Thurber, the executive director of A Greener Village Community Food Centre. “It was a huge cleanup project.” They’ve got eight hectares or about 20 acres in total, she said, and big dreams for all of it.

From the beginning, one of their goals was to improve the food available to low-income families. “We know they have the highest level of obesity, they have the highest level of diabetes and the highest risk of disease because they can’t afford healthy foods,” she said. “As a group we said how can we improve the foods that our clients consume.” They came up with four or five plans, she said. One was to go through the food donations that came in to see how they could enhance them and make them healthier. The result are soup packs, chili packs, baking packs and more, that when put together make a complete meal. They’ve served sample items, such as soups, so people can test them and give feedback. “We have our own test sampling times each month, and we started up a blog with our recipes,” she said.

Their next step is growing fresh food. They’ve got garden areas where people will be able to grow their own food for their families, as well as gardens where they’re growing food for clients. They’re in the process of converting four greenhouses to help them do that, and are already growing a selection of produce. Volunteers have built a compost area and the Community Food Centre will be the composting demonstration site for the City of Fredericton. They also have a spot for vermiculture (the cultivation of earthworms). Anyone interested in knowing more about backyard composting can learn the basics by taking part in a free workshop at the Community Food Centre on June 29 from 10 a.m. to noon. Space is limited, so call 459-7461 or email vadini.comfoodctr@gmail.com to reserve your space.

The hope is that the community will visit the Community Food Centre regularly, not only to attend workshops but to spend time. Crawford Thurber said they plan to add benches to the area around the community gardens, as well as walking trails through gardens featuring plants native to the area and through the six hectares (15 acres) of wetlands that run along the back of the property. “It’s going to be a user-friendly, hands-on facility where you can spend the afternoon and really enjoy everything this property has to offer,” she said. They can also learn as they walk along the trails. One garden with trails through it, for example, is all edible native plants, she said. “We’re creating an outside classroom for community and for schools and for groups, for teaching and education,” said Crawford Thurber. The transformation inside the building is equally impressive. They’re in the process of renovating an area for the clothing and small household items donated to the Community Food Centre, which they hope to open in about a month.

“It will be a clothing boutique for clients and a retail store,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know we have clothes.” This will allow them to provide clothes to their clients and what they do sell to the community will help generate revenue. At the heart of the building is the food distribution area. “We always need food, so we depend on our generous community, our churches and groups, to continue to do food drives. We’re currently serving 850 families, that works out to about 2,300 of which 800 are children,” she said. Right now they’re looking for cereal, canned tomatoes, kidney beans, rice, black beans, canned meat and fish, Kraft Dinner and pasta sauce. With a focus on fresh foods, Crawford Thurber said, they have started a Fresh is Best buying club, where they ask clients to budget $15 a month to take part.

“We collect everybody’s $15 and then we warehouse buy or we bulk buy and we pack their individual boxes up,” she said. “We’re trying to double their money in fresh produce.” A new addition to the Community Food Centre is the 93-square-metre (1,000-square-foot) kitchen space with three workstations, a food preparation area and seating area. Once it’s finished, this multi-purpose room can be used for workshops, meetings and more. “We hope to have it completed by early to mid-July,” she said, and they plan to begin to roll out programs in September. Crawford Thurber says there are many ways the community can support the Community Food Centre, whether it’s by donating items, shopping in the boutique, renting meeting space, volunteering their expertise or more. To learn how you can help, call 459-7461, email foodbank@nb.aibn.com or visit www.frederictonfoodbank.com.

INSTITUTE TEACHES BENEFITS OF WEEDS

BY DYLAN HACKETT, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT, 

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Next time you take a walk around your yard and scowl at the pesky weeds that seem to never stop growing, you should consider picking them and cooking them up for supper. That’s exactly the type of mentality Greg Osowski, educator at the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, is hoping people will adopt. “When I point out dandelions, burdocks or thistle, people look at me funny and say ‘you’re gonna eat that?’ ” The Cookville-based wildlife rehabilitation centre teaches people how to identify, clean, prepare and cook what most people consider “weeds.” “Most people, when I start talking about the different things you can eat, look at them like weeds and don’t want them in lawns or gardens,” said Osowski. Osowski, who has spent the last 25 years specializing in outdoor survival, said the weeds you find on your front yard or garden often taste better, and are better for you, than what’s actually in your garden.

“They have more nutritional value,” said Osowski. “The wild edibles we work with are quite nutritious, more nutritious than garden plants.” We often think of spinach as a powerhouse for vitamins and energy, when the truth is, we could be ignoring its better half. “There is a wild edible called lamb’s quarter that grows beside spinach, it has more vitamin A than spinach, yet we throw it out and eat the spinach — where you could be eating both.” The dandelion is most commonly thought of as the epitome of an invasive weed, taking over freshly cut lawns and well-kept flower beds everywhere. But it is actually jam-packed with nutrients and flavour. “People spend a fortune to try to get them off their lawn, but what you really should be doing is eating them,” said Osowski.

Osowski said he and his family incorporate wild edibles in their meals for the added health benefits. An unlikely favourite of his is burdock. “We (my family) eat the root. The stalk is also edible and the very young leaves are edible but quite bitter,” he said. Burdock “helps regulate things, cleanses your liver — you’re eating your medicine, really.” However, it takes a degree of care and attention in order to identify what is a wild edible and what isn’t. That’s why Osowski leads monthly wild edible walks, where participants are able to learn firsthand the skills necessary in identifying what is good to eat, and what is in season — these include burdock, dandelion, thistle, pine and wintergreen. “We start out at 10 a.m. at the institute and after our intro we head into the fields and the woods and identify a number of wild edibles. Typically I focus on the plants in season and what can be eaten at that time,” said Osowski. “We don’t cover as many plants as possible, but this way we will cover maybe 10 plants and we will bring them back to the learning centre, clean, prepare them and cook ’em up, then eat them.” Osowski and the Atlantic Wildlife Institute will host their next edible and medicinal plant walk on June 15 at 10 a.m. at the institute, located at 22 Cookville Rd., Cookville. Sessions are $30 and require preregistration.

YMCA COMMUNITY GARDEN CONTINUES TO GROW

BY MACKENZIE SCRIMSHAW, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Joyce Dean crouches over her plot, removing her floral baseball cap and replacing it, the beak facing backwards, on her head. In the adjoining plot, Alice Blanchard turns the soil around her squashes. The two friends have harvested plots at the YMCA Community Garden for three years. They were gardening on Friday afternoon outside of the Greater Moncton YMCA under overcast skies. “This is nice,” said Dean. “You get away from everybody and it doesn’t feel like you’re in the city, even though the traffic’s right there.” As Dean spoke, gesturing towards her garden, cars streamed past the fenced-in property on Vaughan Harvey Boulevard. Despite the noise, the two women appeared at ease while tending to their plots. This is the first year Dean and Blanchard haven’t shared a plot; Dean reserved her own. Still, the two women often work side by side in their gardens.

Dean is growing tomatoes, lettuce, baby spinach, Swiss chard and yellow beans. For Blanchard, it’s green beans, squash, lettuce, rhubarb and tomatoes. “I like tomatoes because even I don’t kill those,” she said, laughing. She spoke highly of the tiny, red fruit, intentionally mentioning them twice as “more tomatoes” in her list of crops. “They’ll grow just about anywhere.” Standing nearby, Dean said there’s a sense of community about the garden. In fact, she and Blanchard were going to trade the fruits — er, vegetables — of their labour on Friday. “I had yellow beans and she didn’t have any yellow beans,” said Dean. What would Blanchard have offered Dean in return? Blanchard paused and smiled playfully. “Whatever she wants.”

The garden existed for two years before Dean and Blanchard reserved their plot. Jaime MacLellan, director of YMCA Food Centre and Global Initiatives, said the land was tilled in 2007 and then left to lay fallow for a year. It wasn’t until summer 2008 that the first gardeners began working the land. Then in 2010 the YMCA divided the garden into 54 plots about three metres by 3 1⁄2 metres in size. There were then six raised bed plots added for people with physical disabilities. Last year, the YMCA sold all the plots in 15 minutes. That prompted the club to expand the garden this spring, adding 24 plots on the John Street side of the property, as well as two more raised bed plots. All 86 plots sold for $15 each before the new plots even existed.

The YMCA provides the gardeners with water and tools; the gardeners are required to supply only their own seeds. As for restrictions, the club asks the gardeners not to use chemicals while gardening. “We try to keep it as organic and chemical-free as possible,” said MacLellan. Once the gardeners harvest the plots, the vegetables are theirs to keep. If they have what MacLellan refers to as a “surplus,” they’re invited to donate that portion of the harvest to the YMCA’s food bank, which also has its own plot. The YMCA was faced with its first problem with the community garden last year: theft. “We’re trying to prevent that this year by putting up some signs that say, ‘If you need food, choose from the food bank plots,’” said MacLellan, “‘Cause a lot of people put a lot of work in and then they’ll come and their carrots will be gone. “It is hard to grow carrots, so it’s kind of disappointing when those all get ripped up.”

New Brunswick launches ‘Buy Local’ summer tour

14 June 2013

“I am excited about the upcoming tour, which will give New Brunswickers a chance to meet their local farmers and fishermen as well obtain information about the wide variety of locally produced food and the impressive amount of value-added products made in our province,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp. “I invite everyone to stop by the Buy Local van whenever you see it and get to know where your food comes from and the people who produce or catch it.”

Summer student Victoria Blakely will crisscross the province in the Buy Local van. Olscamp will accompany her to fairs, festivals and markets when possible.

The department is teaming up with organizations and associations that represent the province’s agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries industries to participate in the tour.

“We are pleased to participate in the launch of the Buy Local initiative,” said Jean-Eudes Chiasson, president of the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick. “The National Farmers Union heartily supports every opportunity to promote the excellent products and consummate skills of our farmers.”

Jennifer MacDonald, president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, also welcomed this endeavour.

“The Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick fully supports the New Brunswick government’s Buy Local initiative,” she said. “It is a unique opportunity for the public to meet local farmers who are dedicated to growing high quality safe food and feeding the communities in our province, and beyond. We are pleased that the government recognizes the importance of educating New Brunswickers as well as visitors about the food industry in our province. We hope that everyone will take advantage of meeting the great farmers and fishermen and learn how their food is produced.”

The first stop of the tour will take place from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at the W.W. Boyce Farmers Market in downtown Fredericton. Tim Livingstone of Strawberry Hill Farm will be on hand to explain their fresh produce box program.

On Sunday, June 23, Olscamp will hold a “Meet Your Fisherman” day in Alma. Visitors will be able to tour a lobster boat and lobster pound as well as meet local fishermen. There will be special deals on live and cooked lobster.

More details about the tour are online.

Le Nouveau-Brunswick lance une tournée estivale pour promouvoir l’initiative Achetez local

14 juin 2013

FREDERICTON (GNB) – Le gouvernement provincial a dévoilé, aujourd’hui, plus de renseignements sur la campagne Achetez local, ainsi que la fourgonnette arborant les couleurs de la campagne qui parcourra le Nouveau-Brunswick cet été.

« Je suis emballé par cette tournée, qui permettra aux Néo-Brunswickois de rencontrer les agriculteurs et pêcheurs de leur région et de se renseigner sur une grande variété d’aliments produits localement et sur la quantité impressionnante de produits à valeur ajoutée faits dans notre province », a déclaré le ministre de l’Agriculture, de l’Aquaculture et des Pêches, Michael Olscamp. « J’invite tous les gens de la province à s’arrêter lorsqu’ils apercevront la fourgonnette d’Achetez local et à s’informer sur la provenance des aliments et sur les gens qui les cultivent, les élèvent ou les pêchent. »

Victoria Blakely, stagiaire d’été au ministère, conduira la fourgonnette d’Achetez local aux quatre coins de la province. Le ministre Olscamp l’accompagnera à des foires, des festivals et des marchés de fermiers lorsque ce sera possible.

Le ministère fait équipe avec des organismes et des associations qui représentent les secteurs de l’agriculture, de l’aquaculture et des pêches de la province pour que ceux-ci prennent part à cette tournée.

« Nous sommes ravis de participer au lancement de l’initiative Achetez local », a affirmé le président de l’Union nationale des fermiers au Nouveau-Brunswick, Jean-Eudes Chiasson. « L’Union nationale des fermiers organisme appuie vivement toutes les occasions de promouvoir les excellents produits et les incroyables compétences de nos agriculteurs. »

La présidente de l’Alliance agricole du Nouveau-Brunswick, Jennifer MacDonald, a également accueilli cette initiative avec enthousiasme.

« L’Alliance agricole du Nouveau-Brunswick appuie sans réserve l’initiative Achetez local du gouvernement provincial, a-t-elle dit. Il s’agit là d’une occasion unique pour le public de rencontrer les agriculteurs locaux qui ont à coeur de cultiver des aliments sûrs et de qualité supérieure et de nourrir les collectivités de la province et d’ailleurs. Nous sommes heureux que le gouvernement reconnaisse l’importance de faire connaître l’industrie alimentaire de notre province aux Néo-Brunswickois et aux touristes. Nous espérons que la population en profitera pour rencontrer de remarquables fermiers et pêcheurs et apprendre comment est produite la nourriture qu’elle consomme. »

La tournée s’arrêtera tout d’abord au marché des fermiers W.W. Boyce, situé au centre-ville de Fredericton, le samedi 15 juin de 6 h à 13 h. Tim Livingstone, de Strawberry Hill Farm, sera sur place pour expliquer en quoi consiste le programme de boîtes de fruits et légumes frais offert par son exploitation agricole.

Le dimanche 23 juin, M. Olscamp tiendra une journée « Rencontrez vos pêcheurs » à Alma. Les gens pourront alors visiter un homardier et un vivier à homards et rencontrer des pêcheurs locaux. À cette occasion, des homards vivants ou cuits leur seront offerts à bon prix.

De plus amples renseignements sur la tournée sont disponibles en ligne.

New road signage promotes agri-tourism to visitors

19 June 2013

MONCTON (GNB) – A new highway sign symbol will begin appearing throughout the province to promote the developing agri-tourism sector.

The blue sign depicting a barn and farmer was unveiled today at the Magnetic Hill Winery, an agri-tourism site in Moncton, by Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp. The sign lets visitors know that there are authentic cultural and agricultural experiences open to the public.

“Agri-tourism connects people with where their food comes from and with the people who produce it,” said Olscamp. “Agri-tourism offers a hands-on learning experience for children as well as a great outing for all ages.”

Agri-tourism can involve organized tours of farms, orchards and vineyards, as well as attractions such as corn mazes. It may also involve visits to a facility that produces value-added products such as where potatoes are made into chips, or where apples are made into cider and juice.

“For many years, experiencing the foods and food products that are unique to a region has been of great interest to visitors,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Trevor Holder. “The launch of the new agri-tourism signage will help visitors find and experience first-hand these unique food and food products that New Brunswick has to offer.”

Front-line tourism employees from area attractions also attended the launch and learned first-hand about agri-tourism through visits to Verger Belliveau Orchard, the Magnetic Hill Winery and B&B, and Brigg’s Maple Ltd.

The Moncton area Really Local Harvest Coop has developed New Brunswick’s first agri-tourism routefeaturing seven different experiences.

“These agri-tourism experiences offer visitors the opportunity to get a taste of life on the farm and learn about production and processing techniques while enjoying the colours and splendid vistas of the countryside,” said Mathieu D’Astous, executive director of Really Local Harvest Coop. “This is a great opportunity for people to get out into the field and discover our region’s farms, wineries, orchards and nurseries.”

The Buy Local website also list agri-tourism experiences throughout the province. There is also a Cottage Winery Road map and a list of farmers markets.

LINKS:

Nouvelles affiches routières faisant la promotion de l’agrotourisme auprès des visiteurs

19 juin 2013

MONCTON (GNB) – Un nouveau symbole routier fera son apparition dans toute la province pour faire le promotion du secteur de l’agrotourisme en plein essor.

L’affiche bleue, qui représente une grange et un agriculteur, a été dévoilée, aujourd’hui, à la Magnetic Hill Winery, un site agrotouristique de Moncton, par le ministre de l’Agriculture, de l’Aquaculture et des Pêches, Michael Olscamp. L’affiche fait savoir aux visiteurs que des expériences culturelles et agricoles authentiques leur sont offertes.

« Grâce à l’agrotourisme, on peut apprendre d’où viennent les aliments et rencontrer les gens qui les produisent, a déclaré M. Olscamp. L’agritourisme offre une expérience d’apprentissage directe aux enfants et une belle sortie aux personnes de tous âges. »

L’agrotourisme peut prendre la forme de visites organisées de fermes, de vergers et de vignobles, ainsi que d’attractions comme des labyrinthes de maïs. Il peut également prendre la forme de visites à des installations qui produisent des produits à valeur ajoutée, comme une usine de production de croustilles ou une usine de transformation de pommes en cidre ou en jus.

« Depuis plusieurs années, l’expérience d’aliments et de produits alimentaires qui sont uniques à une région intéresse grandement les visiteurs », a affirmé le ministre du Tourisme, du Patrimoine et de la Culture, Trevor Holder. « Le lancement de la nouvelle affiche agrotouristique aidera les visiteurs à trouver et à goûter directement les aliments et produits alimentaires uniques qu’offre le Nouveau-Brunswick. »

Les employés touristiques de première ligne d’attractions régionales participaient également au lancement et ils ont appris directement ce qu’est l’agrotourisme grâce à des visites du Verger Belliveau Orchard, de la Magnetic Hill Winery and B&B, et de Brigg’s Maple Ltd.

L’organisme La Récolte de chez nous, de la région de Moncton, a développé la toute première route agrotouristique du Nouveau-Brunswick  qui met en vedette sept expériences différentes.

« Ces expériences agrotouristiques offrent aux visiteurs l’occasion de goûter à la vie à la ferme et de se familiariser avec les techniques de production et de transformation tout en profitant des couleurs et des splendides sites de la campagne », a dit le directeur général de La Récolte de chez nous, Mathieu D’Astous. « C’est une belle occasion pour les gens de se rendre sur place et de découvrir les fermes, les vineries, les vergers et les pépinières de notre région. »

Le site Web Achetez local énumère également des expériences agrotouristiques de partout dans la province. Il y a également une carte des vineries locales et une liste des marchés agricoles.

LIENS :

Maritime Lobster Panel to begin work in early July

27 June 2013

FREDERICTON (GNB) – The three-member Maritime Lobster Panel will begin meeting with industry organizations in early July. The independent panel was appointed by the fisheries ministers in the Maritime provinces to examine factors affecting lobster prices.

“The work that the panel will be doing is a step in the right direction to addressing the challenges facing the fishing industry,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp. “We are confident that, with the input from the industry stakeholders, the panel will come up with elements of a solution to this situation.”

The panel will invite organizations representing fishermen, brokers, buyers, shippers and processors throughout the Maritimes to meet with it during July. It is scheduled to meet with aboriginal lobster participants during the week of Aug. 5.

“This has been a challenging spring for harvesters, and we look forward to the panel’s recommendations for the live and processed lobster industries to move forward successfully,” said Sterling Belliveau, minister of fisheries, Nova Scotia.

The panel has been given a mandate to look at the common factors affecting the East Coast fisheries while recognizing the differences among the provinces and within each province.

“I encourage individuals and organizations representing the lobster industry to make their views known to the panel,” said Ron MacKinley, minister of fisheries, aquaculture and rural development, Prince Edward Island. “This is an important opportunity to have a say in how we create a more viable lobster fishery.”

The panel has been asked to provide its perspectives and recommendations on five issues:

  • To determine why there was a sudden drop in price this spring and whether this was reflective of market conditions.
  • To examine the various cost and revenue components of harvesters, buyers and processors in the Maritimes with a view to determining viability thresholds and, to the extent possible, the ability of any single sector of the industry to influence unduly the price paid at the wharf.
  • To provide strategic advice to the three provinces on marketing initiatives.
  • To recommend options for a formal system or systems where the industry would know the price that will be paid harvesters in advance of landings.
  • To provide advice on a reasonable course of action to stabilize, and then increase, the price paid to harvesters while respecting the principles of owner-operator and fleet separation and protecting a fair return to the other businesses involved in the lobster value chain.

Individuals or organizations wishing to make written submissions are asked to do so by Aug. 23 either by email, lobsterpanelhomard2013@gmail.com; by fax, 902-425-1325; or by regular mail:

Maritime Lobster Panel,
P.O. Box 34097,
Scotia Square,
Halifax, N.S.
B3J 3S1

The panel members are Gilles Thériault of New Brunswick; John Hanlon of Nova Scotia; and Lewie Creed of Prince Edward Island. The ministers are looking forward to receiving the panel’s report in September.

Le groupe d’experts sur les prix du homard dans les Maritimes commencera ses travaux début juillet

27 juin 2013

« Le travail qu’entreprendra le groupe d’experts est un pas dans la bonne direction pour s’attaquer aux défis que doit affronter l’industrie des pêches », a déclaré le ministre de l’Agriculture, de l’Aquaculture et des Pêches, Michael Olscamp. « Nous avons l’assurance que grâce à la contribution des intervenants de l’industrie, le groupe parviendra à trouver les éléments d’une solution à cette situation. »

En juillet, le groupe va convier à une rencontre les organisations représentant les pêcheurs, les intermédiaires, les acheteurs, les expéditeurs et les transformateurs de partout dans les Maritimes. Le groupe rencontrera également, pendant la semaine du 5 août, les participants autochtones à la pêche au homard.

« Les pêcheurs ont connu un printemps difficile, et c’est avec intérêt que nous examinerons les recommandations du groupe d’experts pour permettre à l’industrie du homard vivant et transformé de continuer à progresser », a précisé le ministre des Pêches de la Nouvelle-Écosse, Sterling Belliveau.

Le groupe a reçu pour mandat d’examiner les facteurs communs qui ont une influence sur les pêches sur la côte Est, tout en tenant compte des différences entre les provinces et internes à chaque province.

« J’encourage les personnes et les organisations qui représentent l’industrie du homard à donner leur point de vue au groupe d’experts », a indiqué le ministre des Pêches, de l’Aquaculture et du Développement rural de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, Ron MacKinley. « La consultation sera pour eux une occasion importante d’avoir leur mot à dire sur la façon dont nous allons pouvoir améliorer la viabilité de la pêche au homard. »

Le groupe d’experts a été invité à présenter son avis et ses recommandations sur cinq enjeux :

  • Déterminer les raisons de la baisse soudaine des prix au printemps et si cette situation était le reflet des conditions du marché.
  • Examiner les diverses composantes des coûts et des revenus des pêcheurs, des acheteurs et des transformateurs dans les Maritimes en vue de trouver les seuils de viabilité et, dans la mesure du possible, la capacité d’un seul secteur de l’industrie à influencer indûment le prix payé au quai.
  • Donner des conseils stratégiques aux trois provinces sur les initiatives de marketing.
  • Recommander des options relatives à un système ou à des systèmes officiels qui permettraient à l’industrie de connaître le prix payé aux pêcheurs avant les débarquements.
  • Fournir des conseils sur des mesures pouvant raisonnablement être prises afin de stabiliser et puis d’augmenter les prix versés aux pêcheurs, tout en respectant les principes de séparation des propriétaires-exploitants et de la flotte et en protégeant un rendement juste pour les autres entreprises associées à la chaîne de valeur du homard.

Les personnes ou les organisations qui veulent présenter leurs observations par écrit doivent le faire d’ici le 23 août par courriel à l’adresse lobsterpanelhomard2013@gmail.com, par télécopieur au 902-425-1325 ou par courrier à l’adresse :

Groupe d’experts sur les prix du homard dans les Maritimes
C.P. 34097
Scotia Square
Halifax (N.-É.).
B3J 3S1

Les membres du groupe d’experts sont Gilles Thériault, du Nouveau-Brunswick, John Hanlon, de la Nouvelle-Écosse et Lewie Creed, de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard. Ils présenteront leur rapport aux ministres en septembre.

UN BILAN POSITIF POUR LE RIC-PA

MARC-SAMUEL LAROCQUE, L’ÉTOILE, 

Le Réseau d’inclusion communautaire de la Péninsule acadienne (RIC-PA) dresse un bilan plus que positif de sa dernière année. C’est du moins ce qui est ressorti de l’assemblée générale annuelle qui se tenait à Tracadie-Sheila, la semaine dernière.

Une vingtaine de personnes étaient présentes à l’AGA. Selon la coordonnatrice de l’organisme, la dernière année a permis à de beaux projets d’avancer. Durant l’année, Julie Landry Godin a suivi de nombreuses formations, elle qui est en poste depuis le mois de mai 2012. Toutefois, la coordonnatrice a également piloté quelques projets, vers la fin de l’année.

«Ça a été une année d’apprentissage. J’ai suivi beaucoup de formations pour me perfectionner. Il a fallu faire le tour des partenaires, rencontrer les gens. Vers la fin de l’année, j’ai commencé à mettre des projets en place, mais ça s’est déroulé après le mois de mars.»

Le RIC-PA va faire partie du processus des États généraux de la jeunesse, qui se dérouleront bientôt dans la Péninsule acadienne. La coordonnatrice souligne qu’ils vont s’assurer que la question de la pauvreté y soit abordée.

L’un des gros projets de l’organisme porte sur le transport communautaire, un service qui manque dans la Péninsule. En 2011, le RIC-PA a retenu les services d’Irène Savoie afin de préparer un rapport sur la question. Ce projet de transport communautaire est très important pour les gens à faible revenu, selon l’organisme, car le transport est souvent l’obstacle majeur lors de la recherche d’un travail ou encore lors d’un retour scolaire. Les personnes âgées de la région pourraient également bénéficier de ce service.

«On est pour l’inclusion sociale et aussi pour la réduction de la pauvreté. On vise à donner une chance aux gens qui vivent dans la pauvreté d’avoir un système de transport qui est équitable et abordable, tant pour eux que pour le reste de la communauté.»

Ce service faciliterait également l’accès aux soins médicaux.

La prochaine année sera occupée pour le RIC-PA, qui continuera à travailler sur plusieurs dossiers, tels que la sécurité alimentaire, en collaboration avec les banques alimentaires. Le Réseau d’inclusion aide également les gens qui veulent réaliser des projets et qui ont besoin d’aide. Advenant que le projet suive la mission du RIC-PA, ces derniers peuvent mettre le responsable du projet en contact avec les bonnes personnes.

LES NÉO-BRUNSWICKOIS SONT MAL PAYÉS

ANTOINE TRÉPANIER, L’ÉTOILE, 

La croissance de la rémunération au Nouveau-Brunswick est égale ou inférieure à la moyenne nationale depuis septembre 2012. C’est ce que la récente étude de Statistique Canada révélait la semaine dernière. Jean-Claude Basque du Front commun pour la justice sociale fait le point sur un fléau difficilement explicable.

Un Canadien moyen était rémunéré 910,25 $ par semaine en avril dernier. Au Nouveau-Brunswick? On parle plutôt de 807,81 $. En avril 2012, le même Canadien moyen recevait 890,51 $ (un peu moins de 20 $ de plus). Au Nouveau-Brunswick? Ce montant était de 804,81 $, soit 3 $ de moins, précisément.

«C’est inquiétant. Absolument», lance d’emblée le porte-parole du Front commun pour la justice sociale au Nouveau-Brunswick.

«Ça veut dire qu’il y a une stagnation dans les salaires. Si on regarde, la plupart du temps, la place où il y a le plus d’employés, c’est dans le secteur des services et souvent ce secteur ne voit pas le salaire augmenter tellement.»

Pour Jean-Claude Basque, il y a deux façons d’analyser ces chiffres. D’abord, le salaire hebdomadaire de tout un chacun n’a à peu près pas augmenté. Puis, il faudrait regarder à toutes les catégories d’emplois pour constater qu’il y en a qui sont complètement au beau fixe, comme ceux de l’hébergement et la restauration où on attribue le salaire moyen à 364 $ en avril.

«Ça veut dire qu’une grosse partie des gens sont dans ces secteurs. Ceux qui sont au-dessus du 800 $ sont généralement syndiqués, donc en santé, en éducation, etc. Une grosse partie des travailleurs est certainement en bas de cette moyenne», constate M. Basque.

LA BAISSE DES SALARIÉS PERSISTE

«C’est inquiétant, très inquiétant. C’est surtout très difficile à comprendre cela. À moins que le monde ait été ailleurs, il y a moins d’emplois», note a priori l’activiste pour le droit des plus démunis lorsqu’on lui souligne la baisse de 1,1 % de salariés au N.-B. dans la dernière année. Cela signifie qu’en un an, la province a perdu 3500 travailleurs.

«Où a été ce monde-là? S’il y a eu une diminution de travailleurs, on dit que le chômage est très élevé à 10,5 %. Ce n’est pas tout le monde qui a été sur le chômage. S’ils n’ont pas été sur le bien-être social, soit ils ont lâché le marché du travail, ce qui est presque impossible, ou ils sont allés ailleurs que ce soit l’Ouest, l’Ontario ou le Québec. Les emplois ne sont pas nombreux ici», s’empresse de noter M. Basque.

Ce dernier souligne qu’il est inquiet de voir une diminution aussi marquée de la main-d’œuvre, celle qui se rendra directement sur le chômage ou on ne sait trop où.

«Quand tu regardes de 2008 à 2012, il y a eu une baisse de 7000 emplois et ces gens-là, il faut qu’ils aient été quelque part d’autre», rajoute-t-il.

GROUP REACHES OUT THROUGH GARDENING

BY DYLAN HACKET, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

SACKVILLE — Open Sky Co-operative is reaching out to the community through gardening.

“We provide support and opportunities to those that experience barriers through the earth, animals, and through food,” said Open Sky’s General Administrator, Margaret Tusz-King.

The co-operative is a local 11-acre organic farm in Middle Sackville that provides programs and support to adults who face barriers due to social, developmental or mental health challenges.

“I’m in my 50s, it works for me. There is a whole field of horticultural therapy, and hospitals and schools are realizing the therapeutic aspects of gardening,” said program director Norm Hunter.

Working with people who live with mental illness for 20 years, Foster says they bought the land with the goal of helping people who experience barriers socially and vocationally.

“We bought the land for this experience. Getting outdoors in general is a great thing, and gardening is spectacular. You get to be involved. It all starts with a seed and ends with a salad.”

This is the second summer for the therapeutic gardening program, and Tusz-King says the program hopes to expand and help more people who suffer from isolation issues.

“It’s growing. Last year we had three people working and living here, and a few more that came from the community. We are looking to have eight day program participants this year.”

Participants are able to garden the vegetables and eventually harvest them. Open Sky also has animals that they use in their program, including hens, turkeys, chickens and goats that Foster says enjoy having visitors around.

Growing and gardening healthy food is a major part of the program and is the learning experience offered at Open Sky, but both Foster and Tusz-King say that cooking is the centrepiece of the experience.

“Much of what we eat we grow here. We are really into food, and it’s a huge potential for a lot of young people, many of which don’t cook at all,” said Foster.

“I didn’t even know how to make bread until I came here. It’s easy to make,” said Christian Watts, a participant from last year. “Last year making yogurt was a big thing we used to do. We also made cookies, muffins, banana bread. Majorly we made salads. We also did lots of soup-making too.”

The program runs from mid-May to late October and is open to volunteers who are interested in learning more about Open Sky and its therapeutic gardening program.

“Those of us who started recognize a huge services gap with young adults, and it’s difficult for them to get training, employment or social activities with mental disabilities,” said Foster. “We are just starting and building up who we are in the community through gardening.”

LES CHANGEMENTS CLIMATIQUES DANS VOTRE COUR

ANABEL COSSETTE CIVITELLA, L’ÉTOILE, 

Alors que les effets des changements climatiques sont toujours plus spectaculaires dans l’Arctique, un minidocumentaire mettant en vedette un couple de Néo-Brunswickois de Kierstead Mountain tente de montrer que les transformations ont lieu dans notre cour tous les jours.

Lee et Alice Whitney ont le visage de bons grands-parents. Ils vivent sur leur ferme de 80 acres depuis bientôt quarante ans. Lorsqu’on leur demande ce qui les a poussés à quitter Toronto dans les années soixante-dix pour s’installer près de Sussex sans même connaître le Nouveau-Brunswick, l’homme et la femme se regardent, l’air rieur. Lee Whitney s’exclame : «Oh! C’est une longue histoire!»

On comprend surtout qu’ils en avaient marre de la ville.

Dans le but de faciliter leur arrivée sur la ferme il y a 36 ans de ça, ils ont accumulé quantité de notes quotidiennes sur la croissance de leurs plantes, la pression barométrique, le jour de la floraison et le jour de la perte des feuilles, l’apparition et disparition des chants des grenouilles, etc.

Pour ces deux professeurs maintenant à la retraite, cela allait de soi de récolter des données qui leur permettraient de couvrir les tomates au bon moment en automne ou de planter les semis après les dernières gelées au printemps.

«Je ne sais pas trop pourquoi j’ai commencé. Mon père le faisait, donc je l’ai fait aussi, j’imagine», explique Lee Whitney en apportant la caisse d’une tonne, remplie des calepins usés jusqu’à la corde.

La rigueur dont les Whitney ont fait preuve durant toutes ces années a fait d’eux les sujets parfaits pour le projet de documentaire d’universitaires de Mount Allison. Dans une vidéo d’un peu moins de vingt minutes, les auteurs Ben Phillips et Craig Norris mettent en image et en mots les années de données compilées par les Whitney. Des étudiants en environnement de la Mount Allison University ont quant à eux analysé et mis en graphique les informations.

Pour Lee Whitney, les méthodes scientifiques de prédiction du climat n’ont rien de bien utile.

«Lorsque nous nous sommes installés ici, nous nous sommes fiés aux prédictions climatiques et météorologiques écrites dans des livres pour planter notre jardin. Puis, nous nous sommes aperçus que chez nos amis qui habitaient à quelques kilomètres d’ici, au bas de la côte, les conditions climatiques étaient complètement différentes. Je n’ai rien contre la science […], mais même avec tous ces instruments sophistiqués, le mieux, c’est d’ouvrir ses yeux.»

Pour Lee Whitney, il faut changer notre philosophie concernant les changements climatiques. Tout d’abord, nous devons cesser de considérer la terre comme notre possession, insiste-t-il.

Après le tournage et le visionnement de la vidéo créée à partir de leurs notes, les résultats graphiques obtenus par les étudiants de Mount Allison ne surprennent pas Lee et Alice Whitney. Ils se doutaient depuis des années que la saison chaude commençait plus tôt et les feuilles des arbres tournaient rouge plus tard, par exemple. Tout de même, ajouter leur grain de sel dans un documentaire comme celui-là est «vraiment excitant», souligne Alice Whitney.

Du côté de Ben Phillips, coauteur et instigateur du projet, un documentaire comme le leur vient communiquer des informations généralement étanches au commun des mortels.

«La communication, c’est un gros échec de la science. Dans notre cas, c’était vraiment intéressant de voir comment on pouvait créer des illustrations et des sons pour rendre ça compréhensible par le public en général», souligne-t-il.

La vidéo peut être visionnée à l’adresse suivante : http://nbmediacoop.org/2013/05/16/the-whitney-journals-a-citizen-sourced-climate-data-project-video/

PLANTING THE SEEDS OF KNOWLEDGE AT LIBRARY

the Northern Light

Main story imagePlanting the seed of knowledge
Robin LeBlanc (left) was doing some seed trading during the inaugural Bathurst Seed Exchange held at the Smurfit-Stone Public Library on Saturday. The event was to allow gardeners trade their valued seeds and to educate the public about safeguarding their heritage, preserving biodiversity and ensuring food security. Mr. LeBlanc is a geography instructor at the École Secondaire Népisiguit. He is shown here with Jeanette Williams (centre) of Charlo and Lise Arseneault of Dalhousie. Glen M.Vienneau/Special to The Northern Light

The inaugural Bathurst Seed Exchange was held at the Smurfit-Stone Public Library last Saturday.

The event was to allow gardeners trade their valued seeds and to educate the public about safeguarding their heritage, preserving biodiversity and ensuring food security.

Réal Morneault s’implique bénévolement chez RADO depuis neuf ans

CHARLES VERRET, 

Réal Morneault. Photo Charles Verret, Le Madawaska

L’atelier RADO fêtera ses 30 ans d’existence le 28 juin. Cet organisme à but non lucratif qui vient en aide aux personnes à faibles revenus est d’une importance capitale pour la région, puisque durant les neuf dernières années le nombre de repas distribué annuellement est passé de 12 000 à 24 000. Réal Morneault qui est bénévole chez RADO depuis neuf ans a bien voulu répondre à nos questions.

Le Madawaska : Quand avez-vous commencé à faire du bénévolat? Réal Morneault : J’ai commencé à faire du bénévolat en 1975 et depuis je me suis impliqué dans plusieurs organismes de la région. J’ai beaucoup été impliqué au niveau des différents comités sportifs, mais pas exclusivement.

Le Madawaska : Comment en êtes-vous venu à faire du bénévolat pour RADO? R. M. : J’ai commencé à faire du bénévolat pour RADO en 2004, quand j’ai été élu comme conseiller municipal. Comme il y a toujours un des conseillers qui est nommé par le maire pour venir aux réunions de Rado et siéger sur le comité d’administration, Gérald Allain m’a attribué ce mandat lors de mon élection. C’est à partir de ce moment que j’ai commencé et comme j’ai aimé mon expérience et les gens avec lesquels je travaillais, j’ai continué à m’impliquer après mon mandat comme conseiller municipal. J’ai aussi été le président de RADO pendant deux ans soit en 2010 et 2011.

Le Madawaska : Quelle est la mission de RADO? R. M. : La mission de RADO est d’alléger le fardeau de la pauvreté au sein des personnes à faibles revenus dans le comté de Madawaska. Plus de 10 % des résidants du comté du Madawaska utilisent les nombreux services offerts par RADO. De plus, souvent des gens nous demandent si ce qu’offre RADO va aux bonnes personnes. Pour être admissible à l’aide de l’Atelier RADO, la personne doit venir rencontrer le directeur général avec ses papiers d’impôts qui prouvent qu’il a un faible revenu. À partir de ce moment, une carte lui est délivrée et il peut avoir accès aux différents services offerts.

Le Madawaska : Pouvez-vous nous parler des services offerts par RADO? R. M. : L’Atelier RADO offre un service de banque alimentaire qui consiste à faire la distribution de paniers de nourriture aux personnes à faibles revenus. Il y a aussi une cuisine communautaire qui permet de préparer des déjeuners et des dîners qui sont servis gratuitement ou à très faibles coûts. Plus d’une centaine de repas sont servis chaque jour. Pour la nourriture, on a aussi des partenariats avec une épicerie et deux restaurants de la région qui nous fournissent différents produits pour la cuisine et qui nous aident beaucoup. RADO récupère également des vêtements et des jouets qui sont encore en bon état pour les redistribuer aux personnes dans le besoin. Finalement, RADO a aussi un service d’urgence. On vient en aide à des gens qui viennent de vivre une situation d’urgence et qui ont besoin d’aide immédiatement.

Le Madawaska : Où la population peut-elle amener les dons de vêtements, de jouets et de nourriture non-périssables? R. M. : Tous les dons peuvent être apportés directement à RADO au 325, rue Saint-François. Chaque petit don compte puisqu’avec le climat économique des dernières années, un nombre croissant de personnes utilisent les services de RADO et pour continuer à offrir ce service, nous devons compter sur l’appui et la générosité de la population et des différents organismes qui nous soutiennent.

TIDE HEAD SCHOOL STARTS A SCHOOL GARDEN

BY CAROL GIGNAC, SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE, 

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TIDE HEAD — Tide Head School has created a magnificent discovery garden. The principal, Heather Ross, the students and the teachers have been planning this project literally from the ground up. “This project has been incredibly useful in teaching the students so many aspects of the science curriculum – from actual seed germination to the understanding of metamorphosis of the insects that are plant-friendly,” said Ross. “The hands-on activities began with the planting of their seeds in April, and they have been able to watch and care for their plants in their classroom, which looked like a mini-greenhouse.”

This school garden is a part of a larger pilot project that was brought forth through the Restigouche Community Inclusion Network. The network has a food security working group and school gardens was a project it initiated with three schools: l’École Mosaïque du Nord in Balmoral; l’École Versant Nord in Atholville; and Tide Head School in Tide Head. “All three schools were approached and accepted the challenge. We wanted school garden projects to have many benefits to the students, including educating the students on growing produce organically, encouraging healthy eating and creating a micro-enterprise,” said Jocelyne Babin, the coordinator for the network. The network is the main funder for this pilot project, and has contributed to all three schools for their garden projects. Open for Business is also involved in the pilot project, and Julie Thériault-Guitard, the executive director of Open for Business, was instrumental in securing additional funds. Open for Business will also offer entrepreneurship tools to the students in September, when the students harvest and sell some of their fruits and vegetables.

“This truly is a community schools project, as many organizations, businesses and individuals have supported the school in this initiative. RCIN and Open for Business have been the catalyst of the project, and we have been fortunate to have the gardening expertise of Wayne Mann and the farming knowledge of Bruce Bremner. BMR has been a great community partner, as we needed many tools and materials to get the garden ready. Now, with summer vacation starting, we have students and their families who will volunteer their time to water and weed the garden,” said Ross. Everyone is welcome to view the garden, which is located directly behind the Tide Head School.

STUDENTS CROSSING FINGERS FOR BOUNTIFUL HARVEST

BY MICHAEL STAPLES, STAPLES.MICHAEL@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

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Planting seeds of independence: Grade 5 students from Gibson-Neill Elementary School were at the Marysville Community Garden to transplant seeds they started as part of a school project. The harvest from their contribution will be donated to the Fredericton Food Bank. Above from left are Edee Klee, co-chair NB community harvest gardens Inc.; Kate Windle, Sydney Campbell, Alicia Adams and Jacey Dunphy. Stephen MacGillivray/The Daily Gleaner

The Fredericton Food Bank received a shot in the arm Tuesday from an unexpected source. The injection came courtesy of a group of Grade 5 students from Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary School. The energetic group visited the Marysville Community Garden where they transplanted seedlings as part of a school project. The undertaking, called Plant a Row, Grow a Row, saw more than 200 plants brought to the garden over the lunch hour. The harvest from the effort will be donated to the local food bank. If all goes well, there will be an abundance of cantaloupe, two different kinds of romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, basil, as well as marigolds and nasturtiums. The latter were planted to attract bees and encourage pollination. Organizers are hoping that at least 95 per cent of the plants will survive the summer and produce. Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary School teacher Christine Levesque-Martin said the project is designed to not only get the children involved in the community but to also do things that really matter.

“The food bank doesn’t often get fresh food,” Levesque-Martin said. “This is a great way to get the kids involved in letting them know that this is an important part of their community.” Levesque-Martin said when the garden idea first emerged, she explained to the children what it was all about. She said students immediately expressed an enthusiasm for learning how to plant, grow and help mankind. Grade 5 student Alicia Adams said the project was fun because it’s down to earth. She said she wanted to be part of the garden experience because she likes planting things and helping those who need it the most. Sydney Campbell, another student at the school, said what excited her about Tuesday, aside from helping others, was it was the first time she has planted on her own.

“I am really excited to see what’s going to happen, if they’re going to grow or not survive,” Campbell said. “I have learned that plants are very delicate and they need help to survive.” The plants were all grown in the school’s classrooms. “We started in early to mid-May,” Levesque-Martin said. “They have been growing ever since. We’ve had a few casualties but more good ones than casualties.” Now that the plants are in the ground, many of the children have volunteered to return over the summer with their parents to look after them. Levesque-Martin said two things will ultimately define project success: participation and the harvest. “Both the food that will go to the food bank and the experience that the kids have with planting is very important because we’re becoming more dependent on our own crops that we grow.” Edee Klee, co-chair of the N.B. Community Harvest Gardens and an employee of the Fredericton Food Bank, said the organization welcomes any produce it receives. “I am overwhelmed,” Klee said. “I think the fact that they did what they did is so empowering for so many people.” In the fall, a new collection of Grade 5 students will be brought to the garden to not only see the harvest but to get them interested in being part of a similar project in 2014. Garden co-ordinator Lorette Peters described the day as fantastic.

“They (students) are being made aware of the needs of the Fredericton Food Bank,” Peters said. “They will get the experience to transplant and see it grow over the summer.” Peters said Tuesday’s event was a first for the Marysville Community Garden. The garden is home to more than 60 individual gardening plots for individuals to rent for their own gardening needs as well as three large plots managed by the Fredericton Multicultural Association.

GROWING KNOWLEDGE AT NACKAWIC MIDDLE SCHOOL

BY ALLISON ADAIR, 

Grade 7 students Shane Moorcroft and Spencer Walton empty a food collection bin into the composter. PHOTO BY ALLISON ADAIR
Grade 7 students Shane Moorcroft and Spencer Walton empty a food collection bin into the composter. PHOTO BY ALLISON ADAIR

About 20 Nackawic Middle School students, with guidance from teacher Jody Crawford, have spent the winter preparing a community garden. Some students collected food scraps for composting and others planted seeds and looked after the plants as they grew in the school’s greenhouse. This is the second year the school has planted a garden. The project was made possible by a grant from the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport.

“It’s for the kids to see how it is done, and to try to make the environment a bit better through composting,” Crawford explained. “The kids did a great job getting it ready.” This year, the students are growing carrots, onions, radishes, beets, peas, cucumbers, squash, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and garlic, as well as various flowers. Grade 8 student Robin Barclay helped plant the seeds in the greenhouse in early spring, then transplanted them into the garden when the weather warmed up. She also helps with the weeding. “Maybe once a week we go and do what needs to be done,” she explained. “I already knew how to do (most of) it — weeding is a little bit harder though.” “I didn’t know it would grow so fast, it seemed they grew just like that,” she added, snapping her fingers.

Grade 7 student Zachary Foreman waters the plants in the mornings and after school. “Mr. Crawford noticed I was coming in early as a walker,” he explained. “He asked if I wanted to water, I have been watering ever since.” Foreman said he like plants and helps his dad out in the garden at home. He likes the community garden program and thinks it would be good for other schools to try. “I learned about two different types of flowers and good ways to check if they have enough water, good ways to take care of plants,” he said. “If the dirt is light brown, it needs watering. If it is dark, check to see if the dirt is moist. If it is, they don’t need water.” This is Grade 7 student Shane Moorcroft’s second year working on the garden. He helped out with the plants last year, and this year he has been doing the composting. “I just like helping out, really,” he said. There are bins in various locations around the school for students and staff to leave their food scraps. “I go around the school, collect all of them, bring them and put it all in one bin, weigh it, record it and put it in the compost,” he explained. “We have worms in there too.” Moorcroft said he has learned a lot in the two years has participated in the garden project. “I learned how worms decompose food,” he said. “They don’t like citrus fruits.” “Worms like lettuce and apples,” added Grade 7 student Spencer Walton, who also helps out with the composting. The students have collected approximately 80 kilograms of compost since January.

Now that the plants have started to grow, it’s time to harvest some of the vegetables. The radishes are ready to eat, and some have been sent home with students. Members of the community are welcome to pick what they would like. “Hopefully it will be there for people to use, not abuse,” Crawford said. He will be doing most of the weeding and watering now that school is out for the summer.

CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF CO-OPERATION AND COMMUNITY

BUGLE-OBSERVER STAFF, 

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The Woodstock Farm and Craft Market will be celebrating its 40th anniversary on Friday, July 12, with a big public party. The program will include music, cake and punch, speakers, special awards, treats and favours for children (and adults) and special deals on vendor’s products. The party will get underway at the market’s riverfront location (220 King St.) at 11 a.m. The market opens at 8 a.m. on Friday. The Woodstock Farm Market Co-operative has been serving home and farm-based businesses in the Carleton County region for 40 years by providing a direct sales outlet for their products. These small businesses are a vital part of the community. The Woodstock Farm and Craft Market is a unique business. It is a non-profit co-operative that enables individuals, families and small enterprises to get started in business and build up a regular trade for their products.

During its first 40 years, the market has enabled many farmers and market gardeners to build up a local trade for their vegetables, fruits, eggs and meat products. Many individuals have also come into the market over this time with home baking, jams, jellies and preserves. A wide variety of arts and crafts producers have conducted business in the market. The Woodstock Farm Market was established by producers in 1973 because they wanted a local outlet for their products, and to provide a place for other local farmers and craftspeople to build up their businesses. Money spent on local products recirculates in the community and makes it stronger. The Woodstock Farm and Craft Market is incorporated as a co-operative. It is run by a board of directors elected by the co-op membership. Although many vendors have come and gone over the 40 years, the sense of community that was present at its founding has continued to be the spirit of the market. Loyal customers are as essential to a successful market as are the vendors. No clearer example can be given of how a good economy works for the mutual benefit of all its participants. The Market Birthday Party is on July 12. Watch for further information as the date approaches.

Educating about local food is key

BY TAMARA GRAVELLE, KINGS COUNTY RECORD, 

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SUSSEX — Local food suppliers say the trick to selling their product is to talk to customers about it. At the beginning of the month, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a change to labelling on foods advertised as locally grown. Any product that is grown within the province or within 50 kilometres of a neighbouring province can now be labelled as local food. For example, any vegetable that is grown in Springhill, N.S. can be sold all over New Brunswick with the “local food” label on it under these new rules. Previously, food could only be labelled as local if it originated within 50 km of the place it was sold or if the food came from the municipality or neighbouring municipality where it was sold. Tressa Leaman is the manager of Winterwood Natural Foods on Broad Street. She said she would prefer the old definition of local to this new one. “I don’t mind eating food from the Maritimes or Atlantic Canada,” Leaman said. “I would just prefer it being New Brunswick food.” Leaman said there is a lot of dialogue between her staff and her customers, so if a product comes in labelled as local but she knows it came from the 50 km radius in Nova Scotia, she’s going to tell her customers that. “But I am happy that things will be coming from the Maritimes instead of the States,” Leaman said. “Or even someplace further, like China.” She said she thinks it would be better if instead of labelling things as local, if the producers just put which province the product came from on the label.

Rocky Price is the general manager of the Sussex Co-op and has already taken this same approach. The store has all the local suppliers for the store posted above the cash registers. Price also already labels things as “Atlantic” if the product is not from New Brunswick. He said he doesn’t understand why the policy needed to be changed, because he thought it was fine before. “The CFIA made it broader instead of tighter,” Price said. “I don’t know why that change was made without any consult or comment from them.” Price said this policy could just confuse people about whether they are eating locally. “This new labelling system isn’t what local might mean to most people,” Price said. “When you think local, you think that it’s a short distance from your home. That’s not always true with this policy.” Price said educating the consumer on where their food is coming from is the main thing that has to be done now. Price said this policy might make it harder for farmers to market their business because a larger area will be defined as local now, but he doesn’t think the local food movement will suffer as a result.

“The local food movement is strong enough and large enough that it won’t be affected,” Price said. This new policy is only an interim policy, and will remain in effect until a labelling review is completed by the CFIA.

Des personnes à besoins spéciaux cultivent un jardin communaitaire

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IDRISSA DIAKITÉ, L’ÉTOILE, 

Afin de venir en aider à la clientèle de la banque alimentaire de Richibucto, les personnes à besoins spéciaux de Kent, qui résident à l’Auberge O’Leary Inn, ont décidé de mettre la main à la pâte en cultivant un jardin communautaire. C’est dans le cadre de leurs projets d’entreprises sociales, qui regroupent un volet café et un volet des arts que les personnes à besoins spéciaux ont décidé à créer un jardin communautaire sous une serre aménagée à l’arrière-cour de leur auberge. Le projet qui a commencé il y a quelques semaines est très apprécié par les personnes à besoins spéciaux. En visitant ce jardin communautaire, les gens peuvent se rendre compte que tous les résidants de l’auberge ont planté des légumes et des plantes de leur choix. Gabriel Richard de Saint-Charles, un des résidants de l’Auberge O’Leary, affirme que c’est une bonne initiative de leur permettre de vivre une expérience enrichissante en aidant les plus démunis de la région. M. Richard, qui a une bonne expérience du jardinage biologique, a mentionné que leur projet peut être vu comme une agriculture soutenue par la communauté.

«J’ai planté plusieurs légumes et plantes dont la coriandre, l’ail, et nous avons toujours quelque chose à faire au niveau de notre jardin. Ça nous occupe et je trouve que c’est amusant de faire ce projet communautaire», a confié M. Richard. Joline Daigle, de l’Aldouane, a planté de la salade, des cantaloups et en est à sa première participation à un jardin communautaire. «Généralement, c’est ma mère qui s’occupe du jardin, mais j’aime l’idée du jardin parce que ça nous donne de quoi faire. J’aime arroser les plantes et ce qui est important, c’est que les produits seront divisés entre nous et la banque alimentaire.» Charline Lavoie, dont la fille réside à l’Auberge O’Leary, a déclaré que le jardin communautaire est un bon exemple de partage entre les gens de la communauté. Les premières récoltes du jardin communautaire des personnes à besoins spéciaux de l’Auberge O’Leary Inn sont prévues pour l’été. Depuis l’année dernière, les gens de la communauté peuvent venir prendre leur café à l’Auberge O’Leary Inn du mardi au samedi de 8h30 à 10h30 et de 13h30 à 15h30. L’argent amassé dans le cadre de cette activité sert à financer les activités des personnes à besoins spéciaux.

The value of urban veggies

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VICTORIA DEKKER, HERE Magazine

If you happen to notice a couple young guys quietly slipping in and out of retrofitted shipping containers in the fall, don’t call the cops – their hydroponic grow-op really IS producing vegetables. Jesse and Julian Howatt have a passion for sustainable urban planning. The P.E.I.-born brothers have taken that passion and are busy building a business that will provide locals with fresh, urban-grown veggies for all 12 months of the year. “In the city where land is more valuable, you want to get as much out of the land as possible,” said 28-year-old Julian of the urban agriculture startup, dubbed Local by Atta. The farm-raised brothers, who each studied urban planning in university, recently decided to set up shop in Moncton growing microgreens, baby greens and leafy greens like lettuce and basil. After experimenting with small-scale urban farming at home in Toronto, Julian decided to combine forces with Jesse (who had been living in the Hub City since 2010), and the pair is currently in the planning and development stages of their startup.

“We’re very interested in seeing vibrant towns and cities. Most have unused space towards their centre, so we hope to use a little of that space and make it more productive.” While a number of soil-based urban farming setups are successful in condensed spaces, the Howatts tout quality, consistency and speedy turnaround as the key benefits of growing food in a large-scale water- and nutrient-based system. In a permanent, climate-controlled indoor space free from the mercy of the elements, vegetables can be grown quickly and densely. Locally grown vegetables offer added nutritional benefits over those farmed elsewhere and shipped, as plants lose nutrients the longer they’re out of the ground. Once it’s up and running, Julian says Atta will be able to offer some vegetables not commonly seen in commercial grocery stores. Large-scale foreign producers need to choose plants that can withstand lengthy travel, whereas local producers can choose plants that don’t necessarily require that hardiness.

“You can ensure top-quality product because you’re eliminating that time and distance that most of the produce we get here has to go through. A lot of it comes from California, so it’s travelling for a week before it arrives at the grocery store,” Julian said. “We can harvest and within hours it will be with the customer.” Once the business plan is complete, the brothers plan to set up Local by Atta near the city centre. Presently, they’re on the hunt for affordable land to rent and 40-foot shipping containers to purchase and retrofit with water and power for a hydro setup. If all goes according to plan, the business will be running by the end of summer and supplying consumers, farmers’ markets and restaurants by fall. “It’s about that connection between the consumer and farmer, knowing where your food comes from and the story behind it.”

Greenland salmon fishery threatens sustainability: Ashfield

BY KRIS MCDAVID, MCDAVID.KRIS@MIRAMICHILEADER.COM, 

OTTAWA – Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield says the federal government has serious concerns over a recent escalation in Greenland’s harvesting of wild Atlantic salmon and is committed to helping broker a deal that would see the fishery scaled back. Ashfield’s comments come days after conservation groups such as the Atlantic Salmon Federation and Miramichi Salmon Association expressed frustration over a lack of progress in recent talks aimed at illustrating the devastating effects Greenland’s salmon kill could have on the fish’s fragile North American population. Greenlandic fishermen harvested roughly 36 tonnes of salmon in 2012. Each year, the salmon journey to the waters off Greenland to feed after spending the balance of the warmer months in North American river systems, including the Miramichi.

The North American Salmon Conservation Organization, an international watchdog group, has seen its efforts to put a cap on Greenland’s annual subsistence harvest and put a stop to factory sales have come up short. There are now fears that Greenland’s three-month salmon harvest, which gets underway in August, could double in 2013. Ashfield said the fishing activities in Greenland are an affront to what should be a common goal of supporting a sustainable fishery. “Fisheries and Oceans Canada is very disappointed with reports that Greenland has changed its domestic policy on wild Atlantic salmon harvests, which could potentially exceed the internationally accepted limit by 35 tonnes,” the minister said in a statement released to the Miramichi Leader.

“The purpose of international organizations like the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization is to encourage cooperation, thereby ensuring fisheries sustainability. Greenland’s actions go against these objectives and the government of Canada urges it to adhere to internationally acceptable levels.” The salmon federation is predicting as much as 75 tonnes of wild salmon could be caught this season, a figure that amounts to roughly 22,000 fish. Federation president Bill Taylor noted earlier this week that representatives of Denmark – of which Greenland is a territorial holding – have so far been resistant to the demands of the North American contingent, noting that Canada’s annual salmon harvest is far greater.

He said the disconnect can be explained by the fact that Canadian anglers and First Nations communities reportedly collectively killed 135 tonnes of salmon in 2012, which is about the equivalent of 63,000 fish. From 2002 to 2009 the salmon federation and the Iceland’s North Atlantic Salmon Fund reached a private sector agreement with Greenland’s fishermen that saw both organizations invest in alternative economic development opportunities in exchange for the voluntary suspension by the fishermen of their right to fish salmon commercially. The agreement allowed Greenlanders to conduct a modest subsistence salmon fishery that ranged between 10 to 25 tonnes (3000 to 7500 salmon) annually. “Controlling the Greenland fishery is fundamental to conserving and restoring wild Atlantic salmon runs in North America,” Taylor said.

“(We) are committed to doing everything reasonable and possible to negotiate an agreement for this season that conserves salmon, while respecting Greenland’s international rights.” The latest threat to a species which is already listed as endangered in the United States comes just as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans released some troubling data concerning the number of salmon that returned to the Miramichi River watershed in 2012. Neither of its Southwest or Northwest branches met their spawning requirements a year ago, with a historically low number of grilse – a salmon that returns to the river after one winter at sea – being recorded by biologists. The activities taking place in Greenland is just one a number of different factors local conservationists are eyeing as contributing factors to the steep decrease in the salmon count. The number of large salmon recorded at a series of monitoring stations along both of the Miramichi’s main branches in 2012 were down anywhere from 25 per cent to 59 per cent when compared with 2011, with small salmon down even more – about 75 per cent fewer recorded than in 2011.

The presence of a growing striped bass population in the Miramichi River, which prays on baby salmon, as well as the impact of a litany of predators at sea, including seals, or an unknown weather phenomenon are all scenarios that are being looked at. Ashfield said the Harper government is committed to being a part of the dialogue moving forward. “Canada will continue to work closely with Greenland and other members of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization to identify best practices and ensure that all nations respect their obligations towards our common objective of ensuring sustainable fisheries,” he said.

Nutrition tips – Strawberries

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BY MELISSA BOUDREAU, DIETITIAN, PUBLIC HEALTH, 

Having an abundance of locally grown foods that are fresh, nutritious, and affordable gives us many reasons to celebrate. That is why Public Health dietitians want to give you information on a featured local food each month. From June to September, strawberries delight the palates of young and old alike. And the good news is that strawberries are among the healthiest fruits available. Strawberries are low in calories, ½ cup of fruit has a mere 25 calories. They are also rich in vitamin C; in fact, there is more vitamin C in eight strawberries than in a whole orange. They also contain high levels of folic acid, a vitamin especially important to women during early pregnancy.

Strawberries are also a good source of fiber, ½ cup contains 2 g of fiber, which is the equivalent found in a slice of whole wheat bread. This fruit is also rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent certain cancers and several other diseases. Eaten fresh, strawberries are deliciously sweet. As a culinary ingredient, strawberries can be used just about anywhere! They can be used to make pies, preserves, coulis, or smoothies. They can also be added to yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, or garden salads. The possibilities are limitless; so go ahead, give these little sweet treats the attention they deserve!

New local food rules won’t alter Fredericton business

CBC News ,Posted: May 29, 2013 8:10 AM AT

A Fredericton retailer says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s decision to alter the definition of local food to include anything sold within the province its grown will not change his business

A Fredericton retailer says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s decision to update the definition of local food to include anything sold within the province in which it’s grown will not change his business. The agency’s interim decision to extend the term local food from anything grown with 50 kilometres, a standard it had in place since 1974, to the entire province was announced this month.Levi Lawrence owns Real Food Connections and estimates 95 per cent of what he sells is grown or produced in southern New Brunswick. Lawrence said he takes pride in knowing where every cheese product or fresh vegetable on his store’s shelves originates. He even posts a map in his store to show customers where every wholesaler is located in the province. Lawrence said broadening the definition of the term local will not alter how his business operates or buys products.

“I buy local first so I don’t buy a less expensive good from Nova Scotia that’s grown in New Brunswick,” he said. “I stay true to seasons and once I follow all the rules everything else fall into place. I don’t need to advertise that I’m local.” Lawrence points out some products are not always made in New Brunswick. He said he purchases a tofu made in Nova Scotia, that uses certified organic soy beans from Prince Edward Island. Lawrence said there are no similar products in New Brunswick, so he believes that is the most local and sustainable tofu made in the area. Real Food Connections lists its 37 suppliers on its website, including the owner, product and location. Lawrence said he built his business based on three core principles: accountability, traceability and transparency. He said he guarantees the name of the producer, region and method of growing. Lawrence said those three factors offer shoppers important information when they are buying their food. Supermarket chains, such as Loblaws, wouldn’t comment directly on the CFIA’s new interim policy on Tuesday but stated in an email the company is committed to buying Canadian first.

Growing the business

Meanwhile, the Fredericton store is trying to grow its own operations so it can offer local food options to more people and businesses across the province.Real Food Connections has a map in its Fredericton store to show shoppers where their food is grown or produced.

Real Food Connections is a grocery store, but it also offers a delivery program to customers in the Moncton area.

Lawrence has also launched a crowdfunding initiative in the hopes of raising $20,000 so the business can expand its equipment and qualify for a higher health licence so it can sell wholesale to other businesses. Lawrence said people in New Brunswick tend to want to purchase local food for three reasons. He said it keeps money in the province, they appreciate the higher quality that comes from smaller scale producers and it ensures accountability and food safety. “Local food trumps everything else,” he said.

PLUS DE 100 MARCHANDS AU MARCHÉ DE SHEDIAC

Plusieurs nouveautés au marché de Shediac cet été. Photo archives

IDRISSA DIAKITÉ, L’ÉTOILE, 

C’est le dimanche 2 juin prochain que le populaire Marché de Shediac se mettra en branle avec plus d’une centaine de marchands au parc Pascal-Poirier de Shediac, à partir de 9h du matin. Ces dernières années, le Marché de Shediac est devenu le plus grand marché d’été hebdomadaire en plein air du Canada atlantique, souligne Treva Stone, une des organisatrices du Marché de Shediac. «Depuis que nous avons commencé le Marché de Shediac, l’événement grossi chaque année. Cela fait plusieurs années que nous accommodons plusieurs centaines de marchands qui viennent vendre plusieurs produits aux gens de la région, mais aussi aux touristes tous les dimanches. C’est incroyable d’avoir chaque année de nouveaux vendeurs qui souhaitent venir au Marché de Shediac, ce qui prouve que le marché est populaire», de mentionner Mme Stone.

Cette année, c’est la 7e édition du Marché de Shediac et les organisateurs ont décidé d’apporter quelques changements à l’événement. «On a de nouveaux boulangers, de nouveaux artisans et beaucoup de nourriture au marché avec des saveurs d’ici et d’ailleurs. Nous allons avoir une tribune pour inviter les gens à venir nous partager leurs points de vue quant à leurs projets de développement communautaire. Cela peut toucher les dossiers comme l’environnement ou d’autres causes qui passionnent les gens de la communauté. Nous allons également avoir un échange culturel avec les autochtones d’Elsipogtog, mais il reste encore des détails à définir dans les prochains jours pour ce qui est de cet échange», a mentionné Mme Stone.

Tout comme l’année dernière, une place importante sera consacrée aux activités familiales. Mme Stone a fait savoir que la famille occupera une place importante dans la programmation du marché de Shediac. «On va encore avoir la zone pour enfants avec le château gonflable tous les dimanches. Il y aura des clowns, des ballons, et du maquillage. En ayant du divertissement pour les enfants, cela permettra aux parents de venir au marché avec leurs enfants. Notre objectif est que le marché soit un endroit où les familles peuvent venir faire leurs achats et s’amuser», a déclaré Treva Stone. La capacité de brancher un important marchand au réseau électrique du parc Pascal-Poirier a toujours été un problème pour les marchands du dimanche à Shediac, c’est du moins ce qu’affirme Treva Stone. «Nous allons voir le déroulement de la première journée pour avoir une bonne idée. Ce qui est sûr c’est que la capacité de brancher plusieurs marchands au réseau électrique du parc Pascal-Poirier est limitée. La Ville de Shediac nous aide énormément dans ce sens chaque saison», a mentionné Mme Stone.

Le Marché de Shediac sera ouvert tous les dimanches, de 9h à 14h, à compter du 2 juin jusqu’au mois de septembre. Vous pouvez visiter le site internet www.shediacparkmarket.com pour accéder à plus d’informations.

ATTIRER LES GRANDES ENTREPRISES COMME COSTCO DANS LA RÉGION

*Please note that the Costco article may be controversial for some readers and we welcome all comments. Please note that the NBFSAN does not endorse any companies mentioned in the news, rather we want to ensure New Brunswickers are aware of what’s being discussed throughout New Brunswick.// S’il-vous-plaît notez que l’article sur le Costco peut être controversé pour certains lecteurs et nous invitons tous commentaires. S’il-vous-plaît notez que le RASANB n’endosse aucune compagnies mentionées dans l’actualité. Nous voulons plutôt que les Néo Brunswickois soit au courrant de ce qui est discuté à travers la province

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ALICE BRAUD, L’ÉTOILE, 

L’économie de Bathurst doit se diversifier, selon le directeur du développement économique de la Ville, Scott Tidd. La venue d’un Costco, qui alimente les discussions depuis des mois dans la région, est loin d’être gagnée, et la Ville doit d’abord penser à augmenter sa population et solidifier son économie.Tandis que le rôle du directeur du développement économique de la Ville est de faciliter les entreprises à venir s’installer dans la région, bon nombre de personnes ont espoir de voir l’arrivée prochaine du supermarché Costco dans la région. Mais rien n’est gagné pour l’instant et le dossier est encore loin d’être réglé. Pour attirer une entreprise telle que Costco, telle que les exigences sont établies par la compagnie, il faudrait avoir davantage de personnes dans la région, selon Scott Tidd.

«Ce n’est pas confirmé du tout. On a besoin de s’agrandir dans différents domaines. On ne correspond pas vraiment à la structure de Costco. Il faut qu’on attire plus de monde, mais ce serait une bonne entreprise à avoir», souligne Scott Tidd. Si celui-ci ne pense pas que Costco viendra s’établir à Bathurst dans les six prochains mois, tout pourrait changer si la compagnie choisissait de changer certains de ses critères. Pour chaque succursale, Costco compte 50 000 membres. «Si Costco aime avoir 50 000 membres, il faut se dire que pour chaque maison, on a besoin d’un membre. Mais les gens sont prêts à voyager pour venir au Costco. On est en communication depuis longtemps avec eux, ils nous connaissent et on est sur la liste. Donc si Costco change sa structure pour s’établir dans des marchés plus petits, rien ne dit que dans quatre à six mois tout peut changer», conclut-il.

MISER SUR LA DIVERSITÉ DES ENTREPRISES POUR RELANCER L’ÉCONOMIE

Le directeur du développement économique de la Ville de Bathurst facilite les démarches et créé des liens entre les entreprises de la région et les nouvelles compagnies. «Avec le développement du vieux moulin, par exemple, le but c’est d’aller parler avec les entreprises déjà ici et les nouveaux entrepreneurs pour créer un lien. Les entreprises ont toujours le choix de gérer comme ils veulent, mais nous, on est là pour faciliter la tâche», souligne-t-il. L’importance, selon Scott Tidd, est aussi de consolider les entreprises et commerces déjà existants dans la région. «Parfois les entreprises existantes dans la région fonctionnent à 90 %. Si on peut les aider à fonctionner à 100 %, dans trois ans, on pourra avoir deux ou trois autres employés de plus dans les compagnies», ajoute Scott Tidd. Tandis que le Nord est souvent associé à une économie défaillante, c’est aussi l’image de marque de la région qu’il faut pouvoir changer, selon le directeur de la Ville. Celui-ci pense que bien des opportunités sont à saisir dans la région.«C’est la communication et l’image de la région qu’il faut travailler. Il faut que dans les autres régions et les autres provinces ou ailleurs dans le monde, les gens puissent savoir qu’il y a des opportunités à saisir», souligne Scott Tidd.

Blackville Community Members Earn Food Safety Certification

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Kenneth MacIntosh and Alice Bryenton prepare cream cheese stuffed pears. Darlene Jardine asks gardening questions of guest speaker, Lucie Chiasson, regional wellness consultant for the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities, farmer, and founder of the Food Security Network.

BY KELSEY RAMBARAN, RAMBARAN.KELSEY@MIRAMICHILEADER.COM, 

MIRAMICHI — The Greater Blackville Resource Centre recently hosted the first community food mentors program, which was supported by the Community Inclusion Network. The program lasted five weeks. Twelve participants were involved in the program and attended one session per week in a shared learning environment. They learned from both the various instructors and each other.

“When we first heard about the community food mentors course we immediately knew it was something we wanted to help bring to our community,” said Stacy Underhill, secretary and treasurer of the Greater Blackville Resource Centre and coordinator of the food mentors program, in a news release. The course used hands-on presentations and guest speakers to help participants learn basic cooking skills, safe food handling, healthy eating, how to properly read food labels, how to eat well on a budget, community food actions, how to feed children, vegetarian eating, gardening tips and local sources of food. Each of the participants received their food safety certification.

“It made so much sense for the Northumberland Community Inclusion Network to work on this project with the Greater Blackville Resource Centre since it complements both organizations’ visions of a community that uses people’s energy and abilities to increase access to good, healthy and affordable food,” said Rébeka Frazer-Chiasson, coordinator for the community inclusion network, Region 7. In today’s society consumers are faced with many issues involving food and food security, which continues to become complex. There are many food choices, conflicting information about health and diet, limited meal preparation time and the ever constant questions about how and where food is grown. On top of that, some people have additional challenges, such as low income, limited transportation, limited kitchen facilities or limited preparation skills and knowledge about food. Certified community food mentors share their skills in food and nutrition within their community. Subsequently, the goal of the program is to use a shared learning experience to develop food mentors in New Brunswick communities in order to increase knowledge of information on food skills, healthy eating practices and local food sourcing.

A few of the graduates from the program would like to start a community garden and are looking for residents in the Blackville area who may be interested. People would share a plot of land, tools and the workload to care for the garden. The harvest would then be shared between participants to do with what they choose. The size of the garden would depend on interest. For members of the community who don’t have the tools or space available and would like their own garden plot, there will be an opportunity to rent one. There would be a fee of about $10 to $20. Anyone interested in joining the planning committee, renting a garden plot, starting a community garden, or wanting to learn more, contact Ken MacIntosh at kmacintosh@xplornet.ca or 506-843-7872. For more information about the program, visit their website, bfoodsecurity.ca/community-food-mentor-program.

Demandes anticipées auprès des banques alimentaires

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IDRISSA DIAKITÉ, L’ÉTOILE

Les différents organismes de la région, dont le Réseau d’inclusion communautaire de Kent et les banques alimentaires, estiment que les bénéficiaires des différentes banques alimentaires de la région vont augmenter, notamment en raison du trou noir que créera la nouvelle réforme de l’assurance-emploi. C’est du moins ce qu’affirme Colette Lacroix, du Réseau d’inclusion communautaire de Kent. «Les intervenants des organismes sont en train de se préparer à savoir comment chaque communauté peut pallier le nombre élevé de demandeurs aux banques alimentaires lors de ces semaines de trou noir qu’occasionnera la réglementation de l’assurance-emploi. C’est pour cette raison que nous voulons nous assurer que nous avons les ressources nécessaires en place, à savoir les jardins communautaires et les cuisines collectives qui permettent aux gens de se mettre ensemble pour faire à manger, mais aussi d’acheter des produits en grandes quantités», a confié Mme Lacroix.

Toutefois, Mme Lacroix dit ne pas avoir les derniers chiffres du taux de fréquentation des banques alimentaires de la région, mais confirme qu’il est important pour les organismes de la région de travailler ensemble pour trouver des solutions aux problèmes d’alimentations. Après avoir procédé au lancement du jardin communautaire et des cuisines collectives, Colette Lacroix fait savoir que d’autres projets seront réalisés par son organisme dans les mois à venir. «On travaille pour le mieux-être, pour faire la promotion de la santé psychologique, physique et autres. On travaille avec plusieurs intervenants afin de mettre en place des programmes qui font la promotion de l’activité physique et de la bonne alimentation. Il faut s’assurer que nous avons les ressources dans la région à ce niveau. On travaille également sur l’entrepreneuriat social et notre objectif est d’aider les gens à démarrer de petites entreprises pour pouvoir développer les compétences nécessaires et d’améliorer leurs conditions. La solution, quand on décide de réduire la pauvreté dans le comté de Kent, consiste à améliorer la situation socioéconomique des gens. On est en train de faire une évaluation des ressources que nous avons dans Kent et on aura un bon profil de chacune des communautés», a-t-elle déclaré. Puis, le projet pilote de transport communautaire dans la région entame sa phase active avec le processus de recrutement de chauffeurs bénévoles. «Notre premier objectif est de chercher les chauffeurs bénévoles, d’ouvrir un dossier à ce niveau et de faire les vérifications nécessaires avant de faire la promotion auprès des clients. Ce projet sera rodé pour une période de deux mois avant d’être élargi au reste du comté de Kent», a conclu Mme Lacroix.

Proposed Changes Should Concern All

The Victoria Star, BYLINE, 

The National Farmers Union (NFU) urges farmers and all Canadians interested in food and seed to respond by May 23 to the federal government’s proposed changes to the Seeds Act Regulations. The changes will have far-reaching implications that should concern all farmers and the general public, and are being made through the Canada Gazette process. The Seeds Act and its regulations were originally set up to protect farmers and all of Canadian agriculture from unscrupulous seed dealers and poor quality seed. But the proposed changes to the regulations clearly show that the federal government is prepared to let seed companies decide what farmers can and cannot use for seed. The proposed changes will eliminate the requirement for independent field-testing and minimum performance standards before new varieties of soybeans and all forages (hay crops such as alfalfa) can be registered. They will also allow seed companies to unilaterally de-register varieties at will, regardless of their value to farmers.

If companies are allowed to de-register varieties, they can stop farmers from accessing and using perfectly good varieties. We expect seed companies will use this opportunity to put farmers on a “variety treadmill”, de-registering old varieties so that the only varieties available to them will be expensive new varieties subject to patent restrictions or royalty charges under Plant Breeders Rights. Variety trials ensure that new varieties are a fit for Canadian growing or market conditions. Without independent testing, we won’t know if a new variety will be any good. This means that farmers will become the field-testers, and we will be taking risks that will cost us if it doesn’t perform.

Currently a committee of experts for each crop must recommend it, based on performance, before a new variety can be registered. The proposed regulation will eliminate that step, allowing seed companies to register a new variety by simply supplying their own basic information to the CFIA. The new system will allow pretty much automatic registration of soy and forages. GM alfalfa still needs to be registered before it can be sold in Canada. The changes make it so decisions to register varieties are based more on benefit to the seed company than on the interests of farmers and the people their products feed. The NFU supports continuation of the current variety registration system, where recommendations for registration are based on data from independent testing assessed by crop variety experts. Proposed amendments to the variety registration regulations under the Seeds Act have been posted in the Canada Gazette Part 1. Public comment on the changes is being accepted until May 23, 2013.

Terry Boehm, NFU President

FCC Launches 10th Drive Away Hunger Program

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, FCC’s EVP and Chief Operation Officer Rémi Lemoine and Food Banks Canada’s Executive Director Katharine Schmidt at the FCC Drive Away Hunger national launch, at the Ottawa Food Bank. Contributed photo
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, FCC’s EVP and Chief Operation Officer Rémi Lemoine and Food Banks Canada’s Executive Director Katharine Schmidt at the FCC Drive Away Hunger national launch, at the Ottawa Food Bank. Contributed photo

BYLINE, 

Farm Credit Canada and its partners throughout the country will strive to collect a record five million pounds of food for Canada’s food banks this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the FCC Drive Away Hunger program. “To date, we’ve collected the equivalent of almost 10 million pounds of food through Drive Away Hunger,” said FCC President and CEO Greg Stewart. “To mark this anniversary, we want to surpass this mark by collecting another five million pounds of food.” “That’s a lot of food, but the problem of hunger weighs heavily on everyone and we are proud to do our part to help feed those less fortunate,” said Stewart, noting that hunger “touches nearly a million Canadians each month, many of whom are children.”

FCC’s Drive Away Hunger program involves driving a tractor and trailer through various communities to collect food and cash donations for food banks across the country. One hundred per cent of donations go to Canadian food banks, and anyone can visit www.fccdriveawayhunger.ca to make a cash donation. At today’s launch, FCC donated $100,000 to Food Banks Canada. Half of this amount will be used by Food Banks Canada to support all individuals and families who use food bank services, while the remainder will be equally split between Hunger Awareness Week and the Rural Support Program, which provides additional support and resources to food banks based in rural communities. This year, FCC Drive Away Hunger program tours will take place the week of October 14 in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, including the FCC corporate office in Regina. FCC is also collecting food and cash donations in field offices across Canada from May 7 to October 18.

“This initiative is an excellent example of the generosity and sense of community found throughout Canadian farm families,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “I’m happy to see FCC and the agriculture community continue to demonstrate leadership through the Drive Away Hunger program.” FCC’s enthusiastic partners are also a major reason for Drive Away Hunger’s success year after year. As a Platinum partner, BDO, national accounting and financial advisory firm, has once again committed to collecting food for the Drive Away Hunger program. BDO has raised more than 651,000 pounds of food and $185,000 since 2008. “On behalf of BDO, I am thrilled to announce our continued support of the FCC Drive Away Hunger campaign,” said Keith Farlinger, Chief Executive Officer, BDO. “This will be our sixth year of participation, joining forces from coast to coast to collect food and monetary donations. We are proud to partner with FCC once again to assist Canadians in need across the country.” Parrish and Heimbecker Limited (New Life Mills) and Windset FarmsTM are also national partners playing an important role across Canada in collecting donations and helping FCC achieve its goal.

FCC Drive Away Hunger began in 2004 when an employee in Ontario organized a local tractor tour. He collected food donations from his local community as a way to give back and help food banks serve people in need. Since then, FCC Drive Away Hunger has grown dramatically, with 9.2 million pounds of food and $760,000 collected to date. “As one of Food Banks Canada’s Top 10 Food Drives, FCC’s Drive Away Hunger campaign is making an impact in rural communities across the country,” said Katharine Schmidt, Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “The passion and drive of their employees is inspiring and is a testament to the commitment they have to their communities. We are thrilled to partner with FCC in 2013 and wish them a successful and food-filled 10th anniversary.”

Bientôt un jardin communautaire à Richibucto

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 11.07.24 AM

MARC-SAMUEL LAROCQUE, L’ÉTOILE, 

Au début juin, un jardin communautaire prendra forme, sur le terrain de l’ancienne école Eleanor W. Graham de Richibucto, qui est maintenant le centre multifonctionnel de la municipalité. Ce projet débutera avec un jardin qui peut accueillir quelques personnes, mais les responsables du projet voient l’idée grandir d’année en année. Ce jardin, qui sera composé de trois boîtes surélevées et d’un de 12 pieds par 12 pieds au sol sera construit le 7 juin prochain. La coordonnatrice de la sécurité alimentaire pour le réseau de sécurité alimentaire du comté de Kent, Joanne Roy, explique que l’un des buts de ce projet est d’apprendre aux gens comment faire pousser leur nourriture.

«On vise à faire la construction d’un jardin à but non lucratif, explique-t-elle. On veut apprendre aux gens de la communauté à faire pousser leur propre nourriture. On veut que tout le monde ait accès à de la nourriture saine d’ici. Avec le terrain vide qu’il y avait ici, on s’est dit que ce serait une bonne idée pour les gens qui sont en difficulté financière et pour les autres.» Les gens de la communauté ont fait des dons et ont financé le jardin. Grâce à cet appui, l’activité de juin se déroulera sans anicroche. «Les gens et les entreprises de la communauté ont été généreux avec nous. Jusqu’à présent, le projet pour les trois boîtes et le par terre de 12 pieds par 12 pieds est prêt à être fait.» Le jardin, dans sa première forme cet été, pourra accueillir de sept à huit personnes. Cependant, ce dernier pourrait bien grandir d’année en année, si les gens de la communauté s’impliquent. Au début juin, des bénévoles et d’autres groupes seront à Richibucto, afin de construire le jardin. «Ça fait comme deux mois que je travaille dessus. Toute la journée du 7 juin prochain, de 9h à 16h, on va avoir une initiative supportée par Centraide du comté de Kent. Ils viennent nous aider à construire le jardin au complet», conclut-elle.

Urban Chickens Waiting for Approval in Moncton

BY JAMES FOSTER, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

Years after a Moncton property was given an experimental permit to host chickens and grow food, the city is inching its way towards a bylaw and regulatory framework that could open the door to urban farming. “It’s all part of the Plan Moncton review,” says Bill Budd, the city’s director of urban planning, “and the draft zoning bylaw is in the process of being finalized.” After that, however, city councillors will get one last chance to review the bylaw and suggest changes. And even if council approves it by this fall, the process doesn’t end with either a yay or nay to inner-city small-scale food production, rather it sets out the framework under which council can begin a review of the idea with a view to eventually approving it or nixing it, Budd explained Thursday. It would “allow exploring opportunities to facilitate inner-city food production.”

Both Fredericton and Saint John are threatening to leap ahead of Moncton on the so-called “urban chickens” agenda that was pioneered, at least in New Brunswick, by Moncton as those other two cities have proposed bylaws and regulations coming soon before their respective councils on the issue, though it is not yet clear if their proposed bylaws are as comprehensive as what Moncton envisions, with regulations that would allow Moncton residents, in certain cases and in limited numbers, to have laying hens (not likely chickens for meat production) and to produce food on their urban properties. A group called Post Carbon Greater Moncton unveiled the concept by converting a residential property in Moncton, with four laying hens producing about two dozen eggs per week, fruit trees and a garden, back in 2009. They studied the project for more than one year, including its impact on neighbours, and found no ill effects — even from the chickens, with very little noise and no objectionable smells.

The results of the group’s study were passed on to various cities, including Moncton which is where it sits almost four years later, while Fredericton and Saint John are almost done the process of endorsing and regulating inner-city food production. Michel Desjardins of Post Carbon Moncton says the matter has taken so long in Moncton that some residents are proceeding on their own. “Coops are popping up not only in Moncton, but in Dieppe and Riverview as well,” Desjardins says, “and I know they are popping up.” Post Carbon Greater Moncton has agreed all along that allowing more widespread urban food production will require regulations, for example on the number of chickens and not allowing noisy roosters and the like. Urban food production is seen by the group as a good step towards food security in the area, and an ecologically sound source of fresh food.

To be fair to the city, it only included urban farming in its Plan Moncton exercise last year, and developing bylaws, regulations and zoning changes can take time. But Desjardins noted that Moncton had a head start on this growing trend, and it now trails its sister cities in getting urban food production regulated and underway. “We were the first out of the gate with the idea but now we are being passed by the other two communities.” With the coming later this year of the wider community vision from the Plan Moncton exercise and the new updated zoning bylaws, city council and staff will then have the framework within which it can devise a set of regulations that would accommodate inner-city food production while safeguarding the enjoyment of neighbours’ own properties. Or they could shoot down the entire proposal. More likely, Budd said, is they will take a look at regulations in Saint John and Fredericton and perhaps other cities where this is done to see which rules might work well for Moncton. Urban farming to one degree or another is done in many North American cities, including in Canada cities such as Niagara Falls, Vancouver and Victoria; in the United States in cities such as New York, Chicago and Seattle.

Gardening Movement Started in Dalhousie

On Sunday, May 19, Rachel Haché and Sylvie Pilotte explained some of the possibilities of a movement that started in England and could spread to Dalhousie. It involves planting flowers and vegetables and making fresh food available to the community. (Bill Clarke/Tribune)

On Sunday, May 19, Rachel Haché and Sylvie Pilotte explained some of the possibilities of a movement that started in England and could spread to Dalhousie. It involves planting flowers and vegetables and making fresh food available to the community. (Bill Clarke/Tribune)

BY BILL CLARKE, 

DALHOUSIE — The “Dalhousie Blooms” movement is underway here. A meeting in Rotary Memorial Park on Sunday afternoon led not only to discussions about what is possible, but to planting of sunflowers along the fence beside the east parking lot in front of the former AbitibiBowater property. During the meeting, Rachel Haché and Sylvie Pilotte explained a program that started in Todmorden, a town in England that shares something with Dalhousie: it lost its industry. Haché said that a group of ladies decided that, if nobody else was going to do anything, they would. This grew into the “incredible edibles” movement. They planted food plants, particularly herbs, to which people could help themselves. The aim is to have more food produced locally and, eventually have the community grow all its own food. Citizens, businesses and schools are all lending a hand. This is something she’d like to see happen in Dalhousie.

Haché said that Dalhousie has a chance to become the first community in New Brunswick to be part of that movement. She said that they’re not planning to take on big projects. Instead, they’ll start with smaller things and let the movement grow. She said that they are looking for suitable places to grow these plants. Pilotte had researched the concept and hopes Dalhousie can become a leader.

Keeping Our Tummies Full in a Warming World

Bugle Observer BY CARL DUIVENVOORDEN, GREEN IDEAS, 

“When’s the last time you were really hungry?” I asked my sons during a recent conversation about food. The answer was silence, because my family and I are among the lucky. We won the biggest lottery of all just by being born in this land of plenty, where food is abundant, easily taken for granted and wasted with impudence. Yet food production, essential to our existence, is facing significant challenges in a warming world. Here’s a quick overview, and what you can do about it.

Ingredients

Successful food production depends on a few critical factors: good growing temperatures, the right amount of moisture, and topsoil. There’s reason for concern with all three. Ten thousand years of agricultural experience have taught humans to grow crops in areas where the climate is best suited to their production. But the crops we most depend on, such as wheat, corn and rice, are very sensitive to changing temperatures. Last year’s record hot summer in the United States gave a taste of what warmer temperatures from climate change might bring: thousands of heat records were set, and corn yields in particular plummeted. Last month, the International Energy Agency warned that the target of limiting warming to 2 C is slipping out of range because of lack of action. Current emissions trends suggest a rise of 6 C is possible – devastating to crop production as we know it.

Closely related, rainfall patterns are changing. In Atlantic Canada, warmer air carrying much more moisture will deluge us with more intense rainfalls. Just last fall, three consecutive storms each dumped over three inches of rain on parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. And just as some places will get more rain, some will get less. According to a new UN report, land degradation and desertification are issues in over 150 countries and an area three times the size of Switzerland is being lost annually. (Ironically, Canada pulled out of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in March and is now the only UN member country not on board.) Topsoil, the underappreciated medium that produces over 99 per cent of our food, is also under pressure. Globally, wind and water erosion take a heavy toll. (Erosion is why most rivers and streams run brown in spring.) It is disappearing forever under the asphalt, concrete and lawns of urban sprawl. It’s said that the best land in Canada can be seen from the SkyPod of the CN Tower. Unfortunately, much of that will never again be available for crop production. Add it all up, toss in population growth, and it’s easy to understand why food security will be a huge issue in the coming decades.

What to do

If all this makes you uneasy, there is much you can do to take charge of your own food security:

  1. Plant a garden: it’s incredible what can be grown even in a city backyard. If you have never tried it, now is the perfect time to start. You can get all the supplies and advice you need at your local garden centre.
  2. Buy a weekly food basket: community supported agriculture is a fast-growing trend where consumers partner with local farmers and get a basket of fresh food every week. Farmers like the guaranteed market for their produce; consumers like the constant supply of fresh, local goodness.
  3. Strive to waste less: each day, Canadians waste enough food to feed a small country. Enough said.
  4. Eat better: less meat, more veggies, less processed food, more homemade food. Better for the planet and much better for you.
  5. Stock your pantry: to prevent trips to the convenience store and for the comfort of having a reserve on hand.
  6. For the hard-core, build a root cellar and join a co-op.

In a prosperous country like Canada, it’s easy to become disconnected from our food supply. But climate change and other issues would suggest it’s a good time to reconnect. 

La Récolte de Chez Nous veut évaluer l’approvisionnement local

La photo nous montre le jardin d'un membre de la Récolte de Chez Nous. Photo contribution
La photo nous montre le jardin d’un membre de la Récolte de Chez Nous. Photo contribution

IDRISSA DIAKITÉ, L’ÉTOILE, 

La Coopérative de la Récolte de Chez Nous, Centraide ainsi que le Center for Rural Justice de la St. Thomas University entament une évaluation du système d’approvisionnement en produits locaux pour la région du sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick. Des sessions de discussions autour de ce thème se tiendront à Dieppe, ce soir à 19h à la salle communautaire de Hopewell Hill, et le lundi 13 mai à l’école Blanche-Bourgeois de Cocagne à 19h. L’Étoile s’est entretenue avec Mathieu D’Astous, directeur général de la Coopérative de la Récolte de Chez Nous.

L’Étoile : Quel est le rôle de la Coopérative de la Récolte de Chez Nous? Mathieu D’Astous : La Récolte de Chez Nous est une coopérative d’une trentaine de fermes basées au sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick. Elle a été créée en 2000. Je pense que nous sommes dans une bonne période de développement. Un de nos défis est de faire comprendre aux gens l’importance de consommer les produits locaux. Notre premier mandat est de faire la promotion de nos membres et de leurs produits. Le marché de Dieppe est notre plus gros projet, mais nous travaillons à développer d’autres initiatives.

L’Étoile : Quel est l’objectif de l’évaluation du système d’approvisionnement en produits locaux? M.D. : Dans l’ensemble du pays, on assiste à une hausse de la demande pour des aliments sains, produits localement et de manière durable de la part des marchés à grande échelle, notamment les institutions, les épiceries et les restaurants. Afin de répondre à cette demande, il faut que chaque étape de la chaîne de valeur, de la ferme à l’assiette, soit améliorée. L’évaluation examinera, entres autres, les habitudes de consommation des citoyens de la région ainsi que les défis d’accès et d’approvisionnement en aliments frais et locaux. Elle vise également à demander aux gens ce qu’ils pensent du système d’approvisionnement de notre région et quelles sont les forces de la région ainsi que les lacunes qu’ils aimeraient corriger. On a fait une série d’entrevues individuelles, sondées des groupes cibles et la prochaine étape, ce sont les consultations publiques. C’est une opportunité pour les gens de la région d’identifier les lacunes, les solutions et les opportunités pour continuer à bâtir un système d’approvisionnement alimentaire local. On invite les gens à participer massivement aux différentes consultations publiques dans leurs localités.

L’Étoile : Quelle est la prochaine étape après les consultations publiques? M.D. : Un rapport sera rédigé par notre partenaire, Center for Rural Justice de la St. Thomas University. Ce rapport nous permettra d’orienter nos projets. Par exemple, on tentera de savoir s’il y a une meilleure manière à approvisionner les écoles de la région des produits locaux. Nous aurons donc à élaborer un plan d’action collectif par la suite.

L’Étoile : Quels sont les projets à venir de la Récolte de Chez Nous? M.D. : La saison est déjà commencée pour nos centres de jardins. On fera un lancement pour le site internet du Marché de Dieppe au mois de juin. Nous invitons le grand public aux sessions de discussion afin de partager son point de vue sur le sujet de l’approvisionnement en aliments locaux au sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick. Ces rencontres auront lieu le jeudi 9 mai à 19h à la salle communautaire de Hopewell Hill à Dieppe, et le lundi 13 mai à l’école Blanche-Bourgeois de Cocagne à 19h. Pour plus de renseignements, veuillez contacter la Récolte de Chez Nous au 854-8557, ou à info@recoltedecheznous.com.

Fiddleheads: The Great Hunt for Fronds is On

Photo: Tammy Scott-Wallace/Telegraph-Journal Dave Sharp of Roachville makes his way along the banks of the brook in search of one of the province’s most sought-after, short-lived treats -- fiddleheads.
Photo: Tammy Scott-Wallace/Telegraph-Journal Dave Sharp of Roachville makes his way along the banks of the brook in search of one of the province’s most sought-after, short-lived treats — fiddleheads.

TAMMY SCOTT-WALLACE, TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL, 

ROACHVILLE – It’s not a hunt for the faint-hearted, and chances are anyone who wants to go along will be sworn to secrecy. For those who scout out their favourite spots along the banks of local rivers, brooks and streams this time of year, they know their timing has to be just right as they plot to fill their bags and baskets with what some consider the most lucrative treasure of the season – fiddleheads. Dave Sharp of Roachville knows the back land of his community outside Sussex like the back of his hand. He doesn’t think twice about trudging over the roughest terrain, dodging sharp branches and wading through the current of McGregor Brook to harvest the wild, edible fern that is a precious commodity in the province for at least a few weeks of the year.

“When the spring comes and the grass starts to turn green, you know fiddleheads are not far behind,” the senior said while scouring the woods’ floor, his feline friend Bella close by. “And you usually don’t tell too many people where you’re looking. If you tell everyone you don’t get any for yourself,” he said with a laugh. “That’s a bit selfish but that’s how it is.” Sharp watched with an experienced eye the spots along the brook, crossing back and forth where he needed to, where the sun hit the plants just right. In those places the fiddleheads were ripe for the picking. “You almost need two hands for those ones,” he said, pointing to a lush cluster poking out of its mound on the ground. Fiddleheads have been out for just over a week and Sharp has been to many of his regular spots well off the beaten path nearly every day, collecting some good feeds. “It’s an addiction. You can’t leave one behind – sometimes you can’t see them until you’re on top of them,” he said, reaching for another small collection after he had already washed his batch in the brook, using an effective bucket washer he made by hand.

“You can’t leave these,” he added, spotting more, “and in another day or two those ones over there will be ready.” Sharp expects most years he picks about 50 pounds of fiddleheads. Some get blanched and frozen, but most are boiled and eaten fresh at suppertime or given away to family and friends. He shared a story his uncle told him about a trip out getting fiddleheads to describe how quickly they seem to grow in the right conditions. “He says he was picking a patch of fiddleheads and moved along, and when he turned back to the same patch he had just picked it was ready to be picked again,” Sharp said. “I think he just missed some, but they do grow fast. People will say all you have to do is stand and watch them grow.” In some places, depending on whether they are under sun or shade, the fern has grown too long and the tight coil that resembles the scroll of a fiddle unfurled. It’s too late for those, but Sharp predicts over the course of the next week or two they will continue to pop up throughout the region and be snatched up quickly.

He expects he will be out for plenty more. “It’s like tending your garden,” Sharp said. “If you’re not there in time it goes to seed and you’re too late.” The culture surrounding fiddleheading is respected by those who know it well. Directions to favourite picking spots are not widely shared, and for the diehards, no ditch is too deep or any mosquito too big to swat to collect them. “If you don’t go picking fiddleheads, something’s wrong,” said Sharp. “You’re missing out – that’s how I see it anyway. A couple pounds are worth it if it takes all day. “It’s gathering – living off the land – instead of buying all this stuff wrapped up in fancy packages at the grocery store.” There are not many trips out on his fiddlehead hunts when he doesn’t have his fishing rod with him. “It’s getting out, breathing fresh air and you’re bound to see something a little different every trip out,” said Sharp, who often took his children and now his grandchildren on his search and pick excursions. “Fiddleheads are good to eat but it’s also good entertainment getting out in the woods. It’s good therapy for an old fella.” Health Canada says fiddleheads should be cleaned, then boiled at least 15 minutes or steamed for 10 to 12 minutes before they are consumed.

Event Will Promote Food and Drink

Wine tour: NB Liquor launched its new brochure Wednesday showcasing the NB cottage wineries. Above, Anick Lanteigne, president of A Acadien Atlantic shows off their signature dish, smoked salmon pate, at Wednesday’s launch. James West/The Daily Gleaner
Wine tour: NB Liquor launched its new brochure Wednesday showcasing the NB cottage wineries. Above, Anick Lanteigne, president of A Acadien Atlantic shows off their signature dish, smoked salmon pate, at Wednesday’s launch. James West/The Daily Gleaner

BY LORI GALLAGHER, GALLAGHER.LORI@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

Foodies take note: The provincial government is shining a spotlight on the best of homegrown New Brunswick food and drink, even producing a map of wineries to help people find our hidden treasures. An event at the ANBL Train Station was the first in a series that will roll out across the province to promote the New Brunswick wine industry, local food, agri-tourism and aqua-tourism.

“We have seen increasing consumer demand for local food and interest in where our food comes from,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp. “This initiative will not only promote a wide variety of locally produced food but also make consumers aware of the impressive amount of value-added products produced in the province, and of the opportunities to visit where the food and products come from.” The Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and NB Liquor co-hosted the event with Olscamp’s department.

“This is a great opportunity tonight to celebrate what we have to offer in terms of local products, and some real local talent with the producers in this room,” said Tourism Heritage and Culture Minister Trevor Holder. Wine, seafood and dairy products were front and centre at the launch. Alex Haun of St. Andrews, this month’s featured chef on the N.B. Tourism website, was on-hand preparing oysters from Maison Beausoleil in Neguac. He said he enjoys working with quality local foods. “And it’s a passion as a chef, getting to know the fishermen, getting to know their stories,” he said. “I like knowing my farmers and my fishermen.” Haun doesn’t believe you have to be a chef to do delicious things with oysters. “Don’t be afraid of anything when it comes to food,” he said. “Try it.”

He encourages people to go to the N.B. Tourism website and try the chef recipes found there. David Craw and Sonia Carpenter are the husband-and-wife team behind Motts Landing Vineyard and Winery in Cambridge Narrows, one of the vineyards offering samples of their products at the event. “Sonia is the winemaker and I’m the grower. I’m also the president of the Grape Growers Association,” said Craw. “It’s been a long time coming that we start exposing ourselves more collectively. People don’t realize that there’s wine made in New Brunswick, in particular grape wines.” Motts Landing is a 6½-acre vineyard where they produce 14 different wines. “Eleven of them are grape wines, one is a combination of fruit and grape, and the other two are fruit,” said Craw. Most of what they use they grow, and anything else is purchased from other local producers. “The cottage wine industry has to be predominantly local,” he said.

Motts Landing is one of the 14 vineyards featured in The New Brunswick Winery Route, a new map put out by NB Liquor. “We’re very excited about the map because it’s supposed to be displayed in the tourist centres,” said Craw, as well as on the N.B. Tourism website. “From our experience of people coming to our store on the farm, most people plan their holidays ahead, so they will have already found us on the Internet through tourism, then they can get a hold of our site.” If they haven’t, they’ll now have another opportunity to discover the vineyard when they drop into one of the tourism centres in the province.

He believes it’s also good for locals, though many find the local vineyards through farmers’ markets. On top of selling in the store at the vineyard, Motts Landing sells at The Northside Market and the Woodstock Farmers’ Market. Craw encourages people to come out and meet the owners of the different vineyards around the province. “I think that’s part of the cottage wine industry. Aside from buying wine, you get the experience,” he said. You can go for a nice drive, meet the owners and have a chat. NB Liquor is the organization behind The New Brunswick Winery Route map. “We really wanted to support our New Brunswick cottage producers. Each and every year they’re coming out with more innovative products,” said Marcelle Saulnier, the communications officer with NB Liquor.

What’s interesting is that it’s not just wine being created in our backyard, but beer and spirits as well, she said. “We’re always excited for our New Brunswick producers to get a bit more public attention,” she said. Saulnier hopes that by having a forum like this, more people will have the opportunity to taste their products and then will want to come out for a tour of the vineyard. Among those who came out to The Station on York Street to sample the local food and wines were Uwe and Beate Kuester, the owners of The Schnitzel Parlour. “We like to support local business,” said Uwe Kuester. “We’re using local products in the restaurant, and we’re always interested to see what new products are coming so we can adjust the menu,” said Beate Kuester.

This event offered a great opportunity for them to do some research. “I think it’s time we start thinking about healthy eating again,” said Beate Kuester. And people want to know where there food is coming from, added Uwe Kuester. Besides the displays of seafood and wine, Real Food Connections of Fredericton had a wide selection of New Brunswick cheese for people to sample.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

Shopping stress: Like many others, columnist Kelly McGee finds it difficult to keep the family food budget in check when prices are rising and good, healthy food is much more expensive than junk food. metro creative graphics
Shopping stress: Like many others, columnist Kelly McGee finds it difficult to keep the family food budget in check when prices are rising and good, healthy food is much more expensive than junk food. metro creative graphics

COMMENTARY, KELLY MCGEE, OH, PLEASE!, 

Money. Some believe it’s the root of all evil. It definitely changes everything, as another expression claims, and not always for the better. While I wish it really did grow on trees, and am not really sure it can’t buy happiness, I do know it could buy a few things that would make me giddy and content, at least for a while. I think everyone will agree there just never seems to be enough money, especially lately. I have a hard enough time keeping my household budget on track; I can’t imagine the challenge facing governments, non-profits and other large organizations. I think we’ve all felt the effects of downsizing in recent years, either by losing a job or being affected as a customer of a business. I know our household went through a very difficult time several years ago when we were suddenly sideswiped by a job loss and only one paycheck was coming in. Let me tell you, more than once I sighed or screamed, “oh, please!”

Well, to be truthful, the language may have been a little stronger. Sure, we still had some money coming in, it could have been much worse, but we were living the life of a two-income family. It was a major hit. It was almost two years before a second income was back in the picture, and a lot of debt was accumulated along the way to stay afloat. No, I’m not looking for sympathy, we were never in danger of losing our home or vehicle, and there was always food in the cupboard. There are people in much more dire circumstances. What I learned, though, was not to take money for granted. Families, and marital relationships, have been destroyed by similar circumstances. It’s frustrating to not be able to buy the things you want and need for you and your family. One place that brings this frustration to the surface is the grocery store. When did food get so expensive?

I’ve always been a coupon clipper; I love a deal and go through the flyers each week. Recently I started using a calculator to keep track of the dollar amount I’m putting in the cart. What an eye opener! It’s incredible how quickly things add up! Never mind the weeks when you need things like laundry detergent, paper towel, toilet paper and so on. I have no idea how people on social assistance do it, especially if they want to eat healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish can be pricey. It’s no wonder so many of us buy junk food, as well as frozen, canned and processed foods.The grocery store can be a mind-boggling place when you are on a strict budget. More than ever I’m making a list and sticking to it. I’m also trying to plan ahead for meals, which I admit isn’t always easy.

Kudos to the local food banks who are doing their best to educate clients about budgets and meal planning though classes. Community gardens in the city are proving to be popular and effective as well. And how lucky are we to live minutes from several farms and markets where fresh fruits and vegetables are available in season for reasonable prices. During the summer is when I actually eat better as there’s nothing better than steamed, fresh vegetables that perhaps only hours before were still in the field. I think in the senior year of high school, or freshman year in university, there should be a mandatory course that teaches students about things like budgets, how to manage a household, how to navigate the grocery store and meal plan, how to rent an apartment, the potential dangers of credit card debt, and most important — how to save money. Maybe I’ll just start buying lottery tickets. Surely the odds would be in my favour at least once? Right? Kelly McGee works for Astral Radio in Fredericton. She was born and raised in the capital and has an opinion about everything — just ask her husband. Oh, please! will appear every second Thursday in The Daily Gleaner and online.

Less Food Wasted at Hospital With New Setup

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BY KELSEY RAMBARAN, RAMBARAN.KELSEY@MIRAMICHILEADER.COM, 

MIRAMICHI – The Miramichi Regional Hospital has saved about $50,000 since officially launching a bedside ordering program last year. Patient calorie consumption has increased 30 per cent, and leftovers were reduced by 40 per cent, says report from the Horizon Health Network on the project. “Our staff realized how important and crucial their role is in getting the food to the patients,” said Monique Comeau, the hospital’s director of food and nutrition services.

This new project is part of the Horizon Health Network’s efforts to improve efficiencies and find cost savings, as part of the provincial government’s Performance Excellence Process. Nutrition staff at the Miramichi hospital were concerned with the amount of food waste on patients’ trays, so they started working with Nick Hughes, process improvement facilitator for the Horizon Health Network. Since starting the project, food waste has been reduced to 20 from 42 per cent. Before, patients used to get a menu for the following day with their breakfast, said Comeau. Now staff go to ask about patients about their appetite around 10:30 a.m. and within and hour and a half they get their food. This means fewer people ordering food that they won’t be eating and that then has to be disposed of, and more patients eating properly. Feedback and comments are positive and patient satisfaction has increased from 93 to 96 per cent, said Comeau. The project has now been shared with the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, to help reduce their food waste as well. The projects are updated annually focusing on strong economy and enhanced quality of life. The idea is to determine where improvements can be made and to increase care. To be chosen to participate in the Performance Excellence Process, Horizon had to demonstrate organizational leadership and readiness, human resource capacity and competencies, and potential return on investment from process improvement efforts and initiatives, explains a report released on the Horizon website. For more information on the program, the report can be found at en.horizonnb.ca/media/382446/pep_book_eng.pdf.

Give It Up for Hunger

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BUGLE-OBSERVER STAFF, 

This week, May 6 to 10, is Hunger Awareness Week. Volunteer Family Services, which operates the Woodstock Food Bank, has already been out in the community delivering an important message.On Saturday morning, staff and volunteers operated a “no-toll” road on Deakin Drive in Woodstock. Instead of asking passing motorists for a financial contribution, explained Volunteer Family Services executive director Sandra Ogden Olmstead, the event was designed to distribute information about hunger in Canada and food banks’ efforts to tackle the issue.

“Donations will follow,” she said, “this week is about awareness.” She said Volunteer Family Services is proud to be participating in this week’s Give It Up for Hunger campaign. She explained Hunger Awareness Week is a week-long initiative that challenges Canadians to learn more about the issue of hunger, the important work of food banks and to take action. Statistics circulated during the campaign point out that nearly 900,000 Canadians will visit a food bank for assistance this month alone. Of those, 38 per cent are children. Olmstead said the area served by Volunteer Family Services and the Woodstock Food Bank, which stretches from Nackawic to River Du Chute, is seeing increased need for its services. She said 33 per cent more people are turning to the food bank for support. On average, she said, more than 400 people use its services in a month.

All across the country, she said, Canadians are being encouraged to Give It Up for Hunger during the Hunger Awareness Campaign, adding it is especially important in local communities. What does “giving it up” really mean? The campaign provides three simple steps towards awareness of hunger. Give it up: Close to 900,000 Canada had to rely on food banks last month. On May 8, the campaign encourages Canadians to understand what it’s like to have food out of reach by fasting for a day and giving up breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Give a shout: Share your experience by going online to show your support via Facebook, Twitter or a blog. Give it out: Donate foods, funds or your time to the local food bank. Food bank staff and volunteers across Canada, including Olmstead, urge that “together, Canadians can make an impact on the solvable issue of hunger in Canada and find solutions to hunger in communities across Canada.”

National Hunger Awareness Week Relevant in the City of Miramichi

BY SAMANTHA MAGEE, MAGEE.SAMANTHA@MIRAMICHILEADER.COM, 

MIRAMICHI — Local food bank co-ordinators are hoping that the second annual National Hunger Awareness Week, from May 4 to 11, will see an increase in food or monetary donations in conjunction with the weeklong initiative, organized nationally by Food Banks Canada. Silas Jardine, co-ordinator of the food bank and vice-president of the Greater Blackville Resource Centre, which opened last August, said he knows for a fact that there are hungry people in his community.

“There’s a lot of hungry people here in this area, there’s no work and anyone who is working is gone out west (and for the rest of them) it’s pretty tough here in Blackville,” said Jardine, who has been working for years to have a centre opened in the area. He was finally able to realize that dream when pastor Albertine LeBlanc and her husband Jean-Claude LeBlanc opened Voice of HOPE Ministries, which encompasses the food bank and a clothing depot, where second-hand clothing items are sold to help fund the food bank and keep the shelves full for roughly 25 regular clients. Jardine praised the efforts of local grocery stores and people from within the community for providing goods and funds that are vital help the not-for-profit organization stay afloat. Because the centre is relatively new, it hasn’t yet qualified for any government grants, but they are hoping it will this summer, he said.

“Anything we do is out of our own pocket,” said Jardine, who says he likes to organize a feast every now and again and have people come, get together and collect some donations. He said he thinks the national awareness week is a good idea because it shines a light on a real issue in Canada. Jardine said he hopes the Greater Blackville Resource Centre will see a few extra donations come in that week. June Somers, co-ordinator of the Miramichi Community Food Bank, said she is also hoping to see a spike in donations, noting the spring is a slow time of year for them, compared to their high point for donations around Christmas However, she hopes people will remember that giving spirit which is so prominent in the yuletide season and keep in mind that the food bank needs help all year.

“(The shelves) are getting very low, I am buying most of the stuff now,” she said. Some necessities that would be greatly appreciated are staples such as peanut butter, canned vegetables, pasta and cereal. Somers said the awareness week is a good way to shed some light on the issue of hunger in Canada and said she can relate as she knows first-hand more than 400 families and individuals here in Miramichi that would go hungry without the service. “And sometimes that goes over 400.” Anybody interested in donating funds, food or volunteering at either food bank, can call 622-1838 for the Miramichi Community Food Bank or 843-9024 for the Greater Blackville Resource Centre.

En cas d’urgence, faire face aux 72 premières heures

Le Comité régional de planification des mesures d'urgence de la Péninsule acadienne travaille à assurer que les citoyens de la région soient prêts à faire face à un sinistre. Photo contribution
Le Comité régional de planification des mesures d’urgence de la Péninsule acadienne travaille à assurer que les citoyens de la région soient prêts à faire face à un sinistre. Photo contribution

RÉAL FRADETTE, L’ÉTOILE

Si jamais une catastrophe survenait dans la Péninsule acadienne, seriez-vous prêts et organisés à faire face à une situation d’urgence et survivre aux 72 premières heures? C’est ce que demande le Comité régional de planification des mesures d’urgence à tous les résidants dans le cadre de la Semaine de la sécurité civile. Le passé a prouvé bien souvent que la région n’est pas à l’abri d’une condition qui nécessiterait l’intervention rapide de secouristes dans une communauté afin de répondre à leurs besoins immédiats. Il suffit de penser à des inondations comme Le Goulet a dû subir, de violentes tempêtes de neige comme c’est la coutume chaque hiver, des pannes électriques généralisées, un accident routier majeur, des incendies, un déversement de produits chimiques, le verglas, le brouillard ou encore à une pénurie d’eau.

«Même si nous sommes impuissants devant la plupart des catastrophes naturelles, il est possible d’atténuer les risques et les conséquences éventuelles de toute situation d’urgence auxquelles nous pourrions avoir à faire face un jour, peu importe qu’elles soient d’origine naturelle ou humaine», résume la coordonnatrice du service et consultante à la Collectivité ingénieuse de la Péninsule acadienne, Thérèse Haché. Afin de bien répondre en cas de pépin majeur, il faut d’abord connaître les risques possibles qui peuvent survenir dans notre secteur immédiat, préparer un plan d’urgence qui permettrait de savoir quoi faire le cas échéant et posséder, dans un endroit facile d’accès, une trousse d’urgence qui contiendrait des articles qui assureraient l’autosuffisance pour au moins 72 heures.

Cette trousse serait composée de deux litres d’eau par personne par jour, d’aliments non périssables comme des conserves, des barres énergiques et de la nourriture déshydratée, un ouvre-boîte manuel, une lampe de poche à manivelle ou à piles avec des piles de rechange, une radio à manivelle ou à piles, une trousse de premiers soins, des clés additionnelles pour la maison et le véhicule, de l’argent comptant en petites coupures et de la monnaie, un exemplaire du plan d’urgence, les coordonnées des personnes-ressources ainsi que quelques articles particuliers (médicaments d’ordonnance, préparations pour nourrisson, matériel pour les personnes à besoins spéciaux et pour les animaux domestiques). L’ensemble doit être révisé et remplacé au besoin toutes les années. «Chacun doit faire sa part, ajoute Mme Haché. Chaque individu ou famille peut apprendre à faire face à des situations d’urgence. L’expérience a montré que la préparation individuelle est importante puisqu’elle aide les gens à mieux s’en sortir pendant et après une catastrophe majeure.»

Un plan d’urgence familial doit comprendre ses sorties d’urgence, un lieu de rassemblement, un itinéraire d’évacuation du secteur touché ainsi qu’une attention particulière vers les personnes à besoins spéciaux. Cette stratégie doit également inclure les politiques d’urgence à l’école et à la garderie, la désignation et les coordonnées à jour des personnes-ressources, tout comme l’apprentissage aux enfants de techniques simples d’identification, d’utilisation du téléphone et du service 911. Afin de répondre à certains besoins particuliers, ce plan d’urgence doit aussi posséder des fiches de renseignement de santé, des sacs de médicaments d’ordonnance et de documents médicaux, des accessoires portables et accessibles comme une marchette ou une bonbonne d’oxygène ainsi qu’un réseau de soutien personnel. Pour les animaux domestiques, ça prend l’emplacement des refuges ou hôtels qui les acceptent, une réserve de nourriture et d’eau et un système de transport.

En cas d’urgence, les étapes sont de suivre le plan d’urgence, prendre la trousse d’urgence, assurer sa propre sécurité avant de venir en aide aux autres, surveiller les instructions des autorités, rester en place jusqu’à ce que la sécurité soit rétablie ou qu’une ordonnance d’évacuation soit donnée en plus de limiter les appels téléphoniques aux urgences. «En tant que personne responsable, il faut prévoir un plan d’urgence. Et ça ne prend que 20 minutes à faire. On peut ainsi atténuer les répercussions sur une famille ou un bien. Les autorités locales interviennent vite, mais elles ne peuvent s’occuper de tout le monde en même temps. Quand on est prêt, ça permet aux intervenants d’aider ceux qui en ont le plus besoin en premier», poursuit Mme Haché.

May Day Protests in Woodstock

New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon PHOTO BY DOUG DICKINSON
New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon PHOTO BY DOUG DICKINSON

BY JOHN TRAFFORD, 

The recent changes to the employment insurance program and the Idle No More movement have sparked discussion all across Canada.On Wednesday the discussion came to Woodstock in the form of a May Day protest down Main Street, beginning at Tobique-Mactaquac MP Mike Allen’s constituency office and ending at Premier David Alward’s office on Connell Street. The participants in the rally criticized the federal and New Brunswick Conservative parties for what they saw as their mismanagement of EI reforms, lack sensitivity toward Canada’s environment, and a lack of respect for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples. Organizer of the protest Scott Davidson opened the speakers’ list by introducing participants and laying out the agenda of the rally. After the rally Davidson said the purpose of the protest was “to gain awareness, and we felt to bring this to the premier’s own constituency office on his own doorstep, to make a point, to make a point on what is international workers day … we felt this was an appropriate time and place.”

Protest co-organizer Bev Sappier-Paul criticized what she sees as federal initiatives designed to assimilate Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples, citing “13 pieces of legislation” designed for that purpose. Sappier-Paul also condemned the federal government for defending the what she said is the underfunding of First Nations schools and child-welfare agencies. “I am ashamed, because no federal administration in my life time has done as much as this one to alienate First Nations Peoples” said Sappier-Paul. She also criticized both federal and provincial environmental policy. “What are we going to leave for them?” said Sappier-Paul, referring to future generations of Canadians. “The Conservative government has emptied environmental review processes of meaningful content, like lessening of the Navigable Waters Act from millions of protected waters to only a handful.”

Tobique First Nation’s Hart Perley, describing herself as an activist, criticized the Canadian government’s historical disregard of First Nations Peoples’ treaty rights. “Two hundred and fifty years of seeking to have our historical treaties and rights recognize and affirmed, which predated all existing Canadian legislation and polices” said Perley. “Two hundred and fifty years that we have been struggling with all the different governments that have held Canada.” “The denial of our rights has created poverty within our people.” Perley also addressed the federal government’s EI reforms, saying the Harper Conservatives do not have a right to make changes to a program that belongs to the people alone. “Look at the EI and pension reforms that they (the Harper Conservatives) are doing,” said Perley. “What is the sense of paying into these if they can’t be utilized by the ones that paid into them?” David Coon, leader of New Brunswick’s Green Party, joined the May Day protesters in Woodstock, saying the Harper and Alward governments are failing to address economic and environmental issues in a sustainable way. “Our governments have let their agendas, out of weakness, be set by private interests, by corporations, by money” said Coon.

Rather than attempting to find a sustainable way to address economic and environmental problems, he said, the feds and the province have only created more problems, citing the development of shale gas resources as specifically worrisome. “What are the proposals that David Alward and Stephen Harper have? Fracking,” Coon said. “To get more gas out of the ground in the most damaging way one can imagine.” Danny Légére, the president of the New Brunswick chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said Harper is widening the wage gap in Canada. “As much as we want to celebrate workers day, it is also a day of sadness because the growing gap of disparity between the very rich and the rest of us continues to grow,” he said. Légére also condemned EI program changes. “What the Harper government, along with the Tory MPs in this province, are trying to sell us is that the changes to EI will be good to workers, will be good for seasonal workers. And that, brothers and sisters, is absolutely wrong!” said Légére. However, Légére praised Alward for calling on the prime minister to place a moratorium on the changes to the EI program until the issue can be studied in a more in depth way. In an interview with the Bugle Thursday, Alward said seasonal work is important to both the New Brunswick and Canadian economies. “The reality is that these industries are vital not only to New Brunswick but right across the country” he said. Alward said that EI reforms could threaten the supply of food in Canada. “If we think about agriculture as an example, as well as fisheries, and the importance of those industries to ensure a safe, high-quality food supply for Canadians, speaks to the importance of those industries” he said. Charles Thériault, the administrator of the website, Is our forest really ours? used the May Day protest to raised awareness of forestry issues. He criticized the management techniques of JD Irving, Ltd. forestry operations in New Brunswick. While the protest saw a turnout of only 15 to 20 people, Davidson the rally still helped to raised awareness of the discussed issues.

Le Dépôt Alimentaire Souligne la Semaine de Sensibilisation à la faim

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MARC ANDRÉ LAPLANTE, L’ÉTOILE

Le Food Dépôt Alimentaire de Moncton tente de récolter des fonds dans le cadre de la semaine de la sensibilisation à la faim. La campagne se déroule à compter de samedi, et tout au long de la semaine prochaine. Le directeur du Food Dépôt Alimentaire, Ray Gould, explique que l’organisme souligne depuis des années la semaine de la sensibilisation à la faim. C’est depuis l’année dernière qu’on a commencé à profiter de la semaine pour récolter des fonds. Selon M. Gould, la campagne se déroule dans une période de l’année cruciale, puisque les dons se font beaucoup plus rares pendant la période estivale.

«Pendant l’hiver, il y a tellement de campagnes qui se déroulent. Les employés d’une entreprise peuvent faire une campagne après le temps des fêtes et il y a beaucoup de dons. Il y a les écoles aussi qui font des dons. Ça nous garde aller pendant une bonne période», explique Ray Gould. La campagne permet donc d’amasser une certaine somme, qui peut être distribuée aux banques alimentaires de la région. C’est le Food Dépôt Alimentaire qui distribue la nourriture dans le sud-est de la province. L’an dernier, la campagne entourant la semaine de la sensibilisation de la faim leur a permis de distribuer environ 20 000 $ parmi les différents organismes. Selon Ray Gould, ces campagnes deviennent de plus en plus importantes, puisque la quantité de dons a grandement diminué. Il croit que l’augmentation du coût des aliments y est pour quelque chose.

«Quand on voit les coûts monter, les gens nous disent qu’ils ne peuvent pas donner plus. Les campagnes pour récolter de la nourriture rapportent moins. Au lieu de recevoir 2000 livres, on va parfois en recevoir 1500», souligne Ray Gould. Le Food Dépôt Alimentaire mise sur l’amour du hockey pour tenter de récolter le plus de fonds possible, à travers sa campagne, qui se nomme «Tape-m’en 5!». Les gens sont invités à faire le don d’une somme de 5 $, et ils vont courir la chance de gagner un voyage, toutes dépenses payées à Montréal pour voir un match des Canadiens.

Dès le samedi 4 mai, des billets seront vendus aux marchés de Dieppe et de Moncton, alors que la deuxième période aura lieu le lundi 6 mai sur la rue Main à Moncton, devant l’édifice L’Assomption, entre 11h et 13h. «Sobeys va faire un barbecue, ils fournissent tout, souligne Ray Gould. Ce sera la deuxième période. La troisième période aura lieu le vendredi 10 mai, entre 11h et 12h, devant la brasserie Molson, alors qu’il y aura un autre barbecue. Des billets pour le tirage seront vendus lors des activités, et tout au long de la semaine. Mais Ray Gould précise que les activités ne se terminent pas là. Le tirage sera fait au bar Overtime, sur la rue Main, le vendredi soir, entre 17h30 et 19h30. Le directeur du Food Dépôt Alimentaire indique qu’il s’agit de la période de prolongation.

RFC Crowdfunding Campaign for Real Food Creations

Local Food talks Coming to Area

BY VANESSA GALLANT, TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

There will be three public discussions to explore and develop efforts to provide more local, sustainable food in southeastern New Brunswick held May 8, 9 and 13 in Dieppe, Hopewell Hill and Cocagne, respectively.

These discussions are open to the public – whether local farmer, fisher, purchaser or interested citizen – and are meant to identify the issues surrounding the local agriculture and food concerns of each community. It is also about the local food projects currently in operation, creating and strengthening partnerships between those projects, groups and individuals in order to resolve those concerns. This is part of an initiative started by the Really Local Harvest Co-op, the United Way and the Rural Social Justice Center for Research and supported by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Value Chain Program.

“We’re inviting the people to come out to talk a bit about (local food) in their communities; to talk about what’s working for them in terms of having access, impressions of access to local food and to see where there are gaps and where there can be improvements,” says Matthieu D’Astous, a Really Local Harvest Co-op representative. There has been an increase in discussion and demand for local food products across Canada, and D’Astous explained that southeastern New Brunswick has its own unique challenges and conveniences in terms of meeting those demands, sometimes from large-scale markets. “If you look at what’s going on elsewhere, I think that for a region where the population is relatively small, there’s a lot going on. More than ever, there are a lot of community groups and organizations that are interested in supporting the development of agriculture, healthy eating, and local products. There seems to be more excitement towards agriculture and local food.” Farmer and president of the Really Local Harvest Co-op, Kent Coates echoed this sentiment.

“Agriculture has a lot of potential to grow in our region. The information compiled through this project will enable us to better answer the needs of consumers while creating new partnerships throughout the region.” Discussions are being held on various dates for the three different communities: the first on May 8 at 7.p.m. at the Dieppe Market, the second on Thursday May 9 at 7 p.m. at the Hopewell Hill Community Centre, 3940 Route 114 in Hopewell Cape, and the third on Monday May 13 at 7 p.m. at the Ecole Blance Bourgeois, 29 Cocagne Cross in Cocagne. For more information, contact the Really Local Harvest Co-op at 854-8557 or info@reallylocalharvest.com.

Speerville Flour Mill Loses Major Contract

obeys will no longer carry any Speerville Flour Mill products. They are, however, still available at Fresh Market in Woodstock. PHOTO BY JIM DUMVILLE
obeys will no longer carry any Speerville Flour Mill products. They are, however, still available at Fresh Market in Woodstock. PHOTO BY JIM DUMVILLE

BY LAVERNE STEWART, 

A New Brunswick flour mill has lost one of its major customers. Sobeys will no longer carry any Speerville Flour Mill products. The decision was made last month after the grocery chain failed to reach a new price agreement with the Speerville mill, located near Woodstock, said Sobeys spokeswoman Cynthia Thompson. The grocery store chain had carried 27 different products from Speerville over many years, she said.

Annual sales of the Speerville product amounts to about $390,000, she said. The decision to no longer carry the company’s product came after Speerville wanted price increases of about 20 per cent on its top five selling products including oatmeal, quinoa, millet, black chia seeds and flour, she said. “Some increases were actually higher than 20 per cent,” Thompson said. She said Sobeys had worked with Speerville for years to manage the grocery chain’s profit margins and to maintain competitive prices for its customers. However, Sobeys decided it couldn’t pass those increased prices on to its customers, she said. “Given the significantly lower costs for similar products from other Atlantic and Canadian vendors … it’s caused us to have a look at what some of the alternatives were,” she said.

Other Maritime suppliers in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have been found that provide similar food products, including Valley Flax Flour and Omega Crunch from Nova Scotia, Duinkerken Foods in P.E.I. as well as an organic supplier from Quebec. The prices of the new food producers are significantly lower than the new higher prices Speerville wanted. Sobeys will continue sell the Speerville products that remain in its inventory.

“It will be available until the customer picks it up. We keep an eye on expiry dates so there may be a point where we would remove it for that reason,” she said. Thompson said given a choice, Sobeys will always sell local food products first as long as they meet food safety, quality, supply and competitive pricing criteria. “It’s a really unfortunate situation for us that we haven’t been able to come to an agreement with Speerville. Ending a relationship with a local vendor is a really difficult decision and it’s one we’re ending regrettably,” she said.

Speerville Flour Mill issued a statement Friday saying its products are still available at Atlantic Superstore, Co-op, local health food and corner stores, and several farmers market stalls in Atlantic Canada. “Customers who have difficulty finding our products can feel free to contact us,” it said.

The news release said the mill has always supported local, organic farmers and has constantly been involved with creating situations that could breathe life back into the rural community.Speerville said Sobeys’ decision will have ramifications, including a hardship for many local farmers who have already purchased grain and planned to plant a crop for harvest and sale to Speerville Flour Mill. “We have other local, Maritime producers and processors who distribute their product through our value chain,” Speerville said. “These people will be impacted as well. Our challenge is to maintain and grow our loyal customer base to enable us to continue developing markets so we can support the hard, working, local and organic farmers.” The mill questioned whether the products that will replace the ones it sold through Sobeys will be comparable to theirs. “Are these products labelled organic? Natural products have no teeth to back up their claim. Certified organic requires a rigorous, annual inspection and adherence to the federal organic standards. Have they been grown and processed in Atlantic Canada?” the news release stated.

Speerville said people need to be diligent to understand the true nature of the products they purchase.

For the Love of Food and the Boys and Girls Club

REID SOUTHWICK, TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL, 

SAINT JOHN – Organizers behind this year’s Fundy Food Festival raised an estimated $22,000 for the Boys and Girls Club over the weekend, while food lovers dabbled in the latest creations from local chefs. Thirty caterers, restaurants and wine suppliers shared their best fare with a sold-out crowd at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal on Saturday. Colourful cupcakes, mouth-watering curry and even dainty entrees made from molasses were served up to 350 foodies.

“This is the 12th year and it has been a very social event,” said C.P. Theriault, chairman of the fundraiser. “It’s certainly taken on an atmosphere all on its own where people get to sample some food, sample some wines and meet good friends. What’s better than that?” From ticket sales, auctions and other donations, organizers expect to have raised $22,000 or more for the Boys and Girls Club of Saint John, beating last year’s record of $20,000. The auctions offered several impressive packages for food connoisseurs. The Hilton Hotel offered a seven-course European dinner at its royal suite. The New Brunswick Community College’s package gave four couples overnight stays at the Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews, a seafood dinner, a whale-watching tour and breakfast. In the end, though, the efforts were all to help provide more programs for children.“The Boys and Girls Club touches so many people in the community,” Theriault said. “Everyone in this room is grateful for them to have them do what they do.”

Family Meals: Good Food and So Much More

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ANNE MARIE HARTFORD, Th Daily Gleaner- LET’S TALK, 

Family meals provide the most consistent protective factor against stress and adversity for a family. The research is conclusive and impressive — families who eat together reap many benefits: nutritionally, behaviourally and developmentally. The nutritional benefits include:

  • Lower risk of obesity
  • Increased intake of fruit and vegetables
  • Decreased intake of fried foods
  • Decreased intake of sodas
  • Higher intake of protein, calcium, and fibre

Our bodies, especially those of children, require specific amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals, and fiber to function well and develop in healthy ways. Many children and adults are not getting the needed quality fuel to produce healthy results. Without the proper nutrition our bodies do not have what they need to give us what we want – energy, vitality, and healthy development and functioning. Family meals predict a child’s behaviour more than church attendance or school grades. The behavioural benefits include:

  • Increased reading readiness and academic success
  • Increased chance of graduating from high school
  • Decreased use of drugs and alcohol
  • Strengthened family relationships
  • Children will try new foods when they are enjoying being together.

The conversation around the table allows everyone to learn about their family history and encourages connection with extended family, ethnic heritage and community of faith. Children learn social and life skills such as responsibility and teamwork when encouraged to participate in meal preparation and clean up. Asking everyone to share something they enjoyed that day helps children develop language skills. Rhonda Broad, a local home economist, puts it this way: “As a parent, the value of sharing dinner time with my children was how much I learned about them, their ideas, their friends and any issues on their minds. If I just asked how their day went, it was always “fine,” and I learned nothing about how things were really going for them.” Children feel they have more control over their environment when they have an active voice within the family — making them part of the decision of what to have for a meal, how to prepare it and who is to participate in what way rather than asking them what they want. The mental wellness or developmental benefits for every member of the family are even more impressive:

  • Lower risk of depression
  • Lower risk of suicide
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Increased emotional stability
  • Better psychological adjustment

Children who eat dinner with at least one parent five to six times per week are more likely to acknowledge and follow the boundaries and expectations set by their parents. A decrease in high-risk behaviours correlates with the amount of time spent with family, especially during family dinners. All of these findings apply equally to toddlers, school-age children, teenagers and young adults, as well as to parents and extended family members. Some shared meals are better than none, so plan what you can and keep trying to increase the number of opportunities for eating together. If having dinner together is a challenge; try sharing breakfast, lunch or late night snacks. The key is to balance work and other obligations with family time.

Food is not only about nutrition for the body, but rather about nourishing the whole person. Nutritious family meals nourish the body, the mind and the spirit. If you have not considered it before, now is the time. Plan the next family meal and at that meal plan the next one and so on. It is easier to set and continue with the pattern if started when children are young. However, it is never too late! I would appreciate receiving readers’ suggestions on how they balance their schedules to make family meals happen on a regular basis. Please share your experiences with healthy and simple family meal ideas that work for you and your family. I will share these in a future column. Anne Marie Hartford is the executive director of Family Enrichment. Her column appears every four weeks. Please send your comments to info@familyenrichment.ca.

Metro Food Bans Need Public Support

TIMES & TRANSCRIPT, EDITORIAL, 

We are pleased to see that Moncton’s Open Hands Food Bank has joined the fold of the Food Depot Alimentaire’s computerized registration system and see it as a step in the right direction toward further streamlining of our region’s delivery of service to the needy.

With the help of the Food Depot, Open Hands will receive new computers and Internet connection to join in the registration system. As stated by operators of the food banks, the registration system is an essential tool used to determine the actual need of people seeking help from the food banks. This helps them track how many people use the food banks and make sure the system isn’t abused. Since Open Hands is one of the largest food banks in the region, with a client base of about 600 families, it was important for it to join in the system.

With demand increasing, food banks have to tightly manage what they have and make sure people aren’t double dipping. The food banks and soup kitchens of Metro Moncton depend on public donations to survive and the public deserves to know that they are making the best use of their resources. The Food Depot Alimentaire has been making moves for all food banks to join together to better serve those who depend on them. And in turn, it calls upon the generosity of donors and volunteers to carry out its mission.

Today, the Food Depot Alimentaire conducts an exercise blending two long-time passions of people in Metro Moncton — the love of hockey and the desire to help others — in a series of public fundraising events. Organizers have gathered together teams of prominent citizens, businesses and volunteers to help in the fundraising activities at various venues. They will be selling tickets and accepting donations of cash and non-perishable food items.

We commend those volunteers and businesses who have stepped forward to help feed the plates of those who are in need, and those who continue to seek more sustainable, long-term solutions to the problem of hunger in our community.

Premier Salon Bien Dans sa Peau au CEPS La photo nous montre : Lita Villalon, professeure à l’Université de Moncton, Rachelle Poirier, Luc Bourque et Marie France Gadbois du comité organisateur du salon Bien dans sa peau. Photo Idrissa Diakité, L'Étoile

La photo nous montre : Lita Villalon, professeure à l’Université de Moncton, Rachelle Poirier, Luc Bourque et Marie France Gadbois du comité organisateur du salon Bien dans sa peau. Photo Idrissa Diakité, L’Étoile

IDRISSA DIAKITÉ, L’ÉTOILE, 

La première édition du salon Bien dans sa peau, un nouvel événement, de grande envergure, entièrement francophone, se déroulera les 1er et 2 juin, au CEPS de l’Université de Moncton.

Ce premier salon Bien dans sa peau verra la participation de plusieurs professionnels de la santé et du bien-être, dont des exposants en acupuncture, alimentation, chaussures, danse, dentisterie, diététique, mise en forme, laser, massothérapie, naturopathie, orthèses, physiothérapie, poids santé, produits naturels, psychologie, soins de la peau, spa, sports, yoga et zumba. L’idéatrice et responsable avec les médias pour le salon Bien dans sa peau, Marie France Gadbois, a confié qu’il y a du rattrapage à faire dans la promotion de la santé et du bien-être du côté français. «On a constaté qu’il y a un manque de ce genre de salon pour les francophones et le coordonnateur du salon Bien dans sa peau, Luc Bourque organisait ce salon au Québec pendant plusieurs années. On s’est mis ensemble et on a décidé d’organiser le premier salon Bien dans sa peau au CEPS à Moncton. On veut que les Acadiens en fassent leur salon et on attend beaucoup de monde. Pour l’instant, on a une majorité des représentants qui viennent du Sud-Est. Par contre, ce sont des participants qui ont des ramifications à travers la province et des fois à l’extérieur de la province. Notre objectif est de faire un événement annuel, tout en augmentant la représentation des autres régions», a mentionné Mme Gadbois.

Lita Villalon, professeure en nutrition à l’Université de Moncton, est une des conférencières au salon Bien dans sa peau. Mme Villalon a plusieurs attentes par rapport à ce premier salon Bien dans sa peau. «J’aimerai beaucoup sensibiliser les gens au fait que l’on peut avoir du plaisir à bien manger. Il est important d’avoir une alimentation saine et c’est très important parce que la nourriture est au cœur de notre santé et de notre bien-être. Il y a bon nombre de francophones qui n’ont pas tout le temps la chance d’avoir la bonne information en français. Ce salon est une occasion de leur expliquer comment se prendre en main pour bien se nourrir et je pense aussi aux personnes âgées et aux jeunes mamans qui ont plus de questions au sujet de la nutrition. Il faut simplifier la nutrition pour que les gens puissent bien s’y retrouver», a déclaré Mme Villalon. Pour Rachelle Poirier, qui fera une conférence sur la santé physique, mentale et émotionnelle, l’importance des intestins, est également d’avis que c’est important d’avoir ce genre de rassemblement de professionnels francophones au sujet de la santé et du bien-être. «Je vais partager de mes connaissances au niveau de l’importance de la santé des intestins et de la santé globale. J’espère que nous allons rejoindre le plus possible de monde.» Le salon Bien dans sa peau se déroulera du 1er au 2 juin, au CEPS de l’Université de Moncton. Le coût d’entrée est de 7 $ et l’entrée pour les enfants de moins de 12 ans est gratuite. Les gens peuvent participer aux conférences gratuitement.

Government Doesn’t Understand Seasonal Work

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, THE NORTHERN LIGHT, 

To the Editor:

(Editor’s Note: This is an open letter sent to Conservative Haldimand-Norfolk MP Diane Finley, Minster of Human Resources and Skills Development. For transparency purposes, the author of this letter is also the son-in-law of Acadie-Bathurst NDP MP Yvon Godin.) Government of Canada’s decision to modify the Employment Insurance (EI) program in order to push seasonal workers to abandon their seasonal job to find year-round employment is wrong. Obviously, you don’t understand how crucial seasonal work is for Canada. You also don’t seem to seize Government of Canada’s responsibilities in regards to seasonal work. Seasonal work is thousands and thousands of employments across this country. It’s fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, maple industry and a lot more. It’s the food Canadians feed their families with on a daily basis. Nobody can do without food.

Seasonal work is also numerous public jobs like teachers assistant, substitute teachers, school bus drivers, school janitors, etc. These people jobs are to prepare our children for the future. It looks important enough to me. Seasonal work is also tourism, festivals, forestry, road construction, etc. Does Canada socially and economically need seasonal work? The answer is clearly yes. I mean, we’ll always need roads as well as construction workers to build them and improve them. It’s basic stuff to me. Seasonal work is vital for both urban and rural Canada.

Therefore, it’s the Government of Canada’s obligation to insure seasonal work is protected and valued in this country. It’s presently not the case. Your government even put in place a reform of the EI program that penalizes frequent EI beneficiaries which are very often seasonal workers. This awkward move from your government is wrong. Paving cannot be done during winter at minus 30 degrees Celsius. Same thing for fisheries. And guess what; maple season is spring. And schools are closed during summer. It is what it is. Canada’s Employment Insurance program must better accommodate Canadian seasonal workers. We cannot force these people to quit their job for a full time one nor can we force them to find 1, 2 or 3 other jobs to fill the rest of the year.

I believe all these hardworking men and women who choose to occupy one of these precious seasonal jobs have the right to do so with dignity and without being discriminated or treated as lazy. They have the right to be seasonal workers and to count on a minimal financial security until work kicks back in. To conclude, EI premiums must remain for the purpose of EI and must not be used to pay for things like Israeli-Palestinian conflict, war in Afghanistan, war ships, war jets, armored limos, more prisons or Conservative Party propaganda. Presently, your government is misusing billions and billions in EI premiums belonging to Canadian workers and employers. Please stop considering EI as an enrichment opportunity for your government. This program is in place to support Canadian people not your government.

Guy Lanteigne, St. Sauveur

Ottawa distances itself from N.S. senator on fishery

Conservative Senator Stephen Greene wrote of “immoral” fleet separation policy

Paul Withers, CBC News, Posted: Apr 24, 2013 3:25 PM AT, Last Updated: Apr 24, 2013 4:49 PM AT

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The fleet separation and the owner-operator policies are seen as instrumental to maintaining small boat fisheries and the coastal communities that depend on them. (CBC)

Federal Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield has reaffirmed so-called fleet separation, distancing the federal government from a letter written by a Nova Scotia Conservative Senator that questioned the Atlantic fisheries policy. This week it was revealed Nova Scotia Conservative Senator Stephen Greene had lobbied Ashfield for an end to fleet separation, offering to help “drive a stake through the heart” of “one of the worst industrial policies in Canadian history.” Greene argued the policy stops vertical integration in the fishery, stifles economic growth and encouraging a culture of dependence.

“It has crippled economic development in Atlantic Canada, cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and forced the Atlantic fishery to be more seasonal than it otherwise would be,” Greene wrote to Ashfield in a March 2012 letter obtained by the federal Liberal Party though the Access to Information Act. Asked about the Greene letter in the House of Commons, Ashfield repeated a pronouncement last fall that the government would maintain the policy. That statement ended months of speculation on the future of the fishery. Early in 2012, the Conservatives issued a white paper on the future of Canada’s commercial fishery that omitted fleet separation, which ensures companies that catch seafood cannot also process it. The future of another policy called owner-operator, which requires fishermen to own the boats that catch fish, was also up in the air. Both are seen as instrumental to maintaining small boat fisheries and the coastal communities that depend on them. “On September 21, 2012, I categorically stated that we will not eliminate the Owner-Operator Fleet Separation policy. I don’t know why the opposition continues to try to instil unfounded uncertainty and fear in an industry that is facing much more challenging issues,” Ashfield said Tuesday.

Greene did not respond to CBC inquiries about his letter.

Related Stories

Owner-operator fleet separation policy to stay intact
Ashfield talks fisheries modernization in Halifax
N.S. fishermen fear future if federal policy changes

DFO gets F in free expression from journalism group

Annual report gives improved grade to Access to Information program

Source: CBC News, Posted: May 2, 2013 5:24 PM ET / Last Updated: May 3, 2013 10:58 AM ET

Canadian Coast Guard to Lead Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise in Canada's High Arctic as Part of Operation Nanook 11DFO was singled out ‘for its zeal in muzzling scientists and keeping critical research findings from Canadians,’ said a news release from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been given an F in an annual Canadian press freedom report card. Although the federal government as a whole received a C-, Fisheries and Oceans Canada was singled out “for its zeal in muzzling scientists and keeping critical research findings from Canadians,” said a news release from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Thursday. The organization, which advocates for the rights of journalists and media workers to express themselves, released the annual report card in conjunction with World Press Freedom Day, which takes place Friday.

The report accompanying the report card said DFO received the failing grade because:

  • It did not allow scientist Kristi Miller to speak to the media about her work on salmon diseases for two full years after the research was published.
  • It is one of the departments under investigation by the information commissioner for allegedly muzzling its scientists.
  • It was singled out for “severe limits on publication” that could prompt scientists in other countries to pull out of collaborations with Canadian scientists.

A more detailed article in the report said that as of January, DFO scientists have been told they must now get departmental approval to submit research to science journals and the department has the power to pull scientific articles that have already been accepted for publication. It also has proposed confidentiality provisions “that, for the first time” would apply to non-government and non-Canadian research collaborators. “The Harper administration isn’t the first government to try to massage the message,” wrote Ottawa journalist Bob Carty, author of that section of the report. “But in my experience, it’s never been this bad. Some journalists have given up even trying to get a comment from a federal scientist in Canada — it’s easier to call someone in the U.S. or the U.K.”

Communicating science ‘a priority,’ DFO says

In response to the report, Barbara Mottram, press secretary to Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, said in a statement that “communicating its science is a priority for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the department’s record is solid.” Mottram added that the department responds to about 380 media calls per year, publishes weekly science feature stories on its website, and releases science advisory reports “documenting our research.” The reports provide updates on individual fish and shellfish stocks, ecosystems and habitats. In the case of Miller, Mottram said she was not allowed to speak about research published in 2011 in order to “protect the integrity” of hearings later that year at a public inquiry into the 2009 collapse of the Fraser River sockeye salmon stocks. However, she said the written report, published in the journal Science, was widely available. Other organizations graded in the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression report included:

  • The Access to Information program, which got a D-, up from F in past years. That was due to ” a very slight increase in completed federal ATI (access to information) requests and a slight decrease in the number of requests denied for security reasons.”
  • The federal government overall, which received a C-. CFJE praised the government for withdrawing its controversial internet surveillance bill. However, the group criticized the government for its suspension of Justice Department lawyer Edgar Schmidt for claiming that the government’s way of judging whether legislation was consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was illegal.
  • The Supreme Court, which got a C, down from B+ last year. CFJE said the court broke no important ground this year, unlike last year when it made some significant rulings about free expression.
  • The Parliamentary Budget Office, which got an A for “its contribution over the past five years to the discourse in Canada bout access to information, transparency and accountability of government.”

External Links: CJFE Review of Free Expression in Canada (Note:CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

New Co-op Grocery Store Being Designed

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BY TAMMY SCOTT-WALLACE, KINGS COUNTY RECORD, 

 

SUSSEX — It looks like the Sussex region will be getting a new grocery store. One milestone has been surpassed and store designs to suit the Sussex Place mall are being drafted, announced Rocky Price, general manager of the Sussex and Studholm Agricultural Society #21. The board of directors for the co-op held a membership meeting on Wednesday night. “It’s going to be a great night for the future of Sussex and our co-op,” said board chairman Bill Anderson. The news was simple – in recent weeks members have been overwhelmingly generous in their commitment to fund a new grocery store to replace the crowded, outdated store they run now on Park Street in Sussex. Under the province’s Small Business Investor Tax Program, which allows the co-op to sell $1,000 shares to members, a goal of $450,000 was required. As of the meeting, $650,000 had been invested through the program. The board has gone ahead and approved the design and development phase, Price said.

“This was the go point for us,” he said. “We are moving forward with the project and we will have a new Sussex Co-op store in our very near future.” Members of the country’s oldest agricultural co-op who believed they could generate the money they needed among themselves applauded the news. Members would prefer not to borrow funds for the project if possible. It is important, Price said, to maintain the momentum to raise the $825,000 that would fulfil the complete wish list to create a store with everything they want to offer customers. “The past few weeks we have seen tremendous response to our investor program,” Price said. Another $175,000 should be attainable in the farming region, said one member at the meeting. “It shouldn’t be that hard,” said Myrna Smith. “People are building million-dollar homes for two people.” Price said at a cost of $825,000, the store will see modern, expansive offerings not seen at the modest store now. He said there will be a section for prepared meals which is attractive to the younger generation, as well as an expanded frozen foods department and bakery. An organics section which is growing in demand will also be available, as well as locally grown meats and produce – the staple of the Co-op – will be more plentiful.

“We fully intend to do it right the first time,” Price said. While the tradition of the grocery store will change once it is moved away from the auction barn, a modern touch is what will allow the new venture to thrive. Young people and getting in the convenience items they want, said Carl Smith, is the name of the game. Of the total cost, $450,000 will be used for new and old equipment, and the remainder spent on construction and installation. Price said while April 28 was the deadline for the investment program, the province has extended that date by 60 days. “That will allow us to continue buying shares until June 28,” he said. He added a front-page flyer ad will reach 10,000 people this month outlining the program for potential investors. Price said the timeline would see the designs for the new store finished by June 10, final board approval of them by June 24, and the project put to tender and returned by July 8. Tenders would be awarded by July 29, and from there construction is expected to take 12 weeks with anticipated completion and opening Oct. 2. Price said currently the Co-op grocery store, which only offers 4,100 square feet of retail space, sees about $3.2 million in sales annually. The goal with a new store is $6 million. He pointed out, however, a 17,000-square-foot store is capable of doing $1 million, and with the commitment members have shown the project, he expects that to be attainable.

“We are looking at three to four times our offering and doubling our sales – that seems realistic,” he said, adding currently statistics show about 3,000 customers at the store a week, and the average food basket ringing in at about $21. The industry standard, he pointed out, is $40. “We’re only doing half the business our competitors are,” he said. He believes that basket will be filled with a new store and more options. “I want it to be the place to go, the place to be,” he added. “The grocery business is a growing business. As the population grows the demand for food grows – people have to eat.” The co-op currently has about 3,000 members, which is growing over last year’s 2,700. When the new store opens, Price added, the store will more than double its staff by growing from 15 employees to 40. Mary MacDonald, zone representative for the Co-op Atlantic board of directors, said the community’s support on this project has been inspiring. “I personally never doubted and truly believes you would do this,” she said. “This is co-op town for over 170 years, how could you not do it?”

A Delicious Destination

Stephen Bubar, Stan Richard and Jessica Allison represented NBCC St. Andrews last year. Photo credit: Cindy Wilson.
Stephen Bubar, Stan Richard and Jessica Allison represented NBCC St. Andrews last year. Photo credit: Cindy Wilson.

BEN BURNETT, HERE Magazine,

Foodies, rejoice! The Fundy Food Festival is back and this year is tastier than ever.The event, meant to highlight Saint John’s fabulous cuisine scene, is celebrated by a growing community of food-lovers who continue to make the festival a success year after year.Fundy Food Festival board chairman C.P. Theriault is hoping for another sellout event in its 12th year.

“It started much smaller, where local restaurateurs wanted a celebration of their wares and they basically organized it,” Theriault said, explaining that the fest expanded beyond its original venue, the Saint John Arts Centre, and now takes place at the Marco Polo Cruise Ship Terminal.He said part of the reason the event has grown exponentially over the years is a growing public interest in the art of cooking and the buy-local movement. This year, the Fundy Food Fest will feature 30 food vendors, as well as two wine vendors. Attendees get a coupon booklet with one coupon for each vendor.“It’s a very festive atmosphere,” Theriault said. “People are very interested in what the vendors are doing.”In addition to returning participants like Urban Deli, Piece O’Cake Custom Creations, Saint John Ale House and many more, each year the festival tries to introduce new vendors and events. This year, East Coast Bistro will make its first appearance.

“The diversity (of restaurants) in Saint John is amazing for a city of this size,” Theriault said. “People want to go to an event where they can sample so much in one night.”Another highlight will be a competition between culinary students from the New Brunswick Community College in St. Andrews. The program partnered with Crosby’s to see which student could best incorporate molasses into a recipe, and guests will have the chance to sample the dishes and then vote for their favourite.The event also features a silent auction and a popular chef’s auction, which includes packages like a night at the Algonquian, a lobster boil and whale watching with chef Dave Irwin.“We make an effort to offer better stuff every year,” Theriault said.

Proceeds from the Fundy Food Festival support the Boys & Girls Club. Last year, it raised $20,000 for the cause. Saint John The Fundy Food Festival will take place on May 4 from 5:30-9:30 p.m. at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal, 111 Water St. Tickets are $75 each, available by calling 634-2011 or 633-9797.

COUNCIL NAMES ECO-HEROS

BY STEPHEN LLEWELLYN, LLEWELLYN.STEPHEN@DAILYGLEANER.COM, 

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick will present its annual Milton F. Gregg Conservation Awards in Fredericton on Saturday at Memorial Hall at the University of New Brunswick.

The award for lifetime achievement will be presented to Alma Brooks, a Maliseet grandmother and longtime activist for the Wulustuk River, also known as the St. John River, said the council in a release. Charles Theriault, who uses the power of film to engage New Brunswickers on the threats facing our forest and people, will receive the award for environmental activism. The Taymouth Community Association will be recognized for its organizational achievements. The awards ceremony will be held at the council’s annual fundraiser and awards night. The council said it is holding an eco-soirée with popular Acadian indie-folk trio Les Hay Babies. The Gregg Conservation Award winners are selected by council’s board of directors from nominations submitted by the organization’s membership. The Milton F. Gregg Conservation Awards have been presented annually by the Conservation Council since 1981. Tickets to the event are available online at conservationcouncil.ca/eco-soiree, at Conserver House (180 Saint John St., Fredericton), Westminster Books, True Food Organics or by emailing forest@conservationcouncil.ca.

COMMUNITY GARDEN GROWING ONE SEED AT A TIME

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Sally Colpitts of the Sussex Co-op, left, and Grace Mathews of Communities in Bloom said plots are now up for grabs in the Co-op Community Garden.

BY TAMMY SCOTT-WALLACE, KINGS COUNTY RECORD, 

SUSSEX — A community garden project unearthed in Sussex is focused on igniting the agricultural spirit in families and individuals. The Co-op Community Garden, in partnership with the Sussex Communities in Bloom Committee, was created without a lot of fanfare last season. A handful of gardeners planted and tended their seeds, and harvested the fruits of their labour at the shared garden space near the Co-op Country Store on Union Street. This year organizers want to see the garden full and families well fed with food they grow themselves. And if there is produce left over, gardeners are encouraged to donate some of their yield to help feed the hungry in the community, whether that is a neighbour or food bank.

“Pay it forward,” said Sally Colpitts, Co-op’s liaison for the project. “Why let it sit there on the vine and go tough? Share it. “Usually there’s an abundance and people just can’t get it all eaten before it goes bad.” Colpitts said last year the Co-op donated the space, and local farmers tilled and prepared the rows for gardeners. That will be done again this year. Already a tonne of organic chicken manure has been added to the soil, and the Co-op will ensure the patch is fertilized and amended for fine growing. For $20, people can borrow a modest lot in the garden, and they can work that land the way they see fit. In all, there is space for 25 gardens. That lot will remain in the same gardener’s hands year after year as long as they want it for the fee.

“You’re there until you tell us you’re not coming back,” Colpitts said. In future years if the idea takes off, Colpitts said there is more land the Co-op has in the vicinity for use. “When it comes to anything gardening – you get into it and the world changes somehow,” she explained. “You get your hands dirty, you feel good about it. It’s therapy, it’s relaxing, and at the same time you are growing your own food.” Grace Mathews, who moved to Sussex just over a year ago, recently joined the active Communities in Bloom group as a volunteer. With a farming background, she is the team leader on this community garden project. She envisions a garden where families can bike to on Sunday to check in on their vegetables’ growth, weed and water. Or seniors who have downsized to smaller homes with less rural land can gather regularly to offer tender loving care to their garden.And when gardeners gather on their own schedules, she sees potential for young and old, experienced and inexperienced, learning together by sharing the best techniques and the right crops for the conditions for a successful harvest. Mathews said there will also be Communities in Bloom or Co-op representatives around to offer advice like the most plentiful seeds to plant, for example, and the proper way to plant them.

“I just see so much potential here,” Mathews said. Mathews said the community garden helps feed the community and educate on the importance of agriculture, and it is also a benefit when Communities in Bloom judges review the area and the way the public participates in outdoor community ventures likes this. Judges will be here in July to evaluate the different ways the community is tied together to create quality of life, local activates and beauty in the area. “The contest is our motivation,” Mathews said. “Our reward is the public coming together to make this a more vital community and beautiful place to live.” This fall, following the season-end harvest, Colpitts said the Co-op will host a market day for people who want to turn a profit on some of their vegetables. Colpitts is also hopeful if families grow items together, children will not only learn that everything on their plate doesn’t come from a grocery store, but the vegetables they grow could help enliven the fall Sussex agricultural fair which Colpitts said has become complacent. The fair offers money prizes for vegetables entered in various categories. At the community garden, there is even a small, wheelchair accessible garden that allows those with disabilities easier access to their favourite gardening hobby.

To reserve a garden plot, contact Communities in Bloom at cibsussexnb@gmail.com or Mathews at 944-0341.

LE PREMIER «STREET FOOD» À BATHURST

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Joel Aubie installera sa cuisine mobile proche du parc Richelieu à partir du mois de mai. Photo Alice Braud, L’Étoile

ALICE BRAUD, L’ÉTOILE, 

À partir du mois de mai, les habitants de la région pourront profiter du concept de la «street food»; une cuisine mobile qui offrira des mets préparés par le cuisinier Joel Aubie. L’Étoile a rencontré l’initiateur de ce concept, Joel Aubie.Le camion de Joel Aubie, équipé comme une cuisine, est fin prêt pour accueillir ses premiers clients au mois de mai. La cuisine mobile offrira des mets cuisinés et préparés sur place. Un concept que Joel Aubie a rapporté du Mexique et de Vancouver.

«J’ai fait un voyage à Mexico et là-bas, tous les soirs, tu peux manger dans la rue des plats de toutes sortes qui sont très bons. J’ai vécu à Vancouver et dans cette ville aussi le «food truck» est très répandu. Alors quand j’ai décidé de revenir ici à Bathurst, j’ai eu l’idée de tenter la même idée», commente Joel Aubie. Le menu de Joel Aubie pourra satisfaire les papilles des adeptes de sandwichs et de hamburgers. La cuisine mobile offrira également des mets venus tout droit du Mexique. Plusieurs employés travailleront avec Joel Aubie.

«Ma fille a de l’expérience en “business” et en administration, donc elle aussi fait partie du projet. Je vais avoir des employés et je travaille aussi avec mon partenaire», commente Joel Aubie. Si c’est la première fois que Joel Aubie prépare des plats dans un camion, il n’en est pas à sa première expérience en tant que cuisinier. Après avoir travaillé dans différents restaurants à Halifax, Montréal ou encore Vancouver, Joel Aubie a également travaillé sur un voilier en tant que cuisinier. Le camion, quant à lui, doit répondre aux mêmes exigences que pour les restaurants. «On doit respecter le même règlement sanitaire que dans les restaurants et toutes les lois qui s’appliquent. C’était une des règles à respecter par la Ville pour ouvrir ce camion», décrit Joel Aubie. Même si la Ville de Bathurst a souhaité que le camion respecte certains règlements, le conseil municipal a répondu de façon positive à ce nouveau projet.

«La Ville était très enthousiaste à cette nouvelle idée et le conseil s’est vraiment accommodé pour nous aider dans notre projet», décrit Joel Aubie. Le camion sera installé aux abords du parc Richelieu, au centre-ville de Bathurst, à partir de la première semaine de mai jusqu’au mois de novembre. Durant les mois d’hiver, Joel Aubie ne restera pas les mains dans les poches puisqu’il a déjà l’idée d’offrir des repas à domicile. «Pendant l’hiver, je vais ouvrir un concept de dîners privés comme des menus dégustation chez les gens. Je donne aussi des cours de cuisine pour les particuliers chez Sobeys maintenant», décrit-il.

EMBRACING THE LOCAL RESTAURANT SCENE

 

Restaurants line Prince William St. in Uptown Saint John. Photo: Topher Seguin/Telegraph-Journal
Restaurants line Prince William St. in Uptown Saint John. Photo: Topher Seguin/Telegraph-Journal

KURT PEACOCK, THE NEXT CITY, 

Soon after our kids arrived, my wife and I stopped going out for dinner regularly, and our honeymoon dining experiences were instead replaced by the occasional evening reception, the odd quick lunch together somewhere near the Saint John City Market, or – cue the middle-class typecasting – the weekend trip to a family restaurant chain, complete with cups of crayons. Since we lived in the very heart of uptown when our lives were first taken over by the likes of Sesame Street and the animated brat named Caillou, we missed out on much of the local foodie renaissance that took hold a few years back. While we lived uptown, streets like King, Princess, Canterbury and Prince William formed the heart of a restaurant district in Saint John. Specific food events – be it the Chop Chop Restaurant Week, or the occasional beer or wine showcases – have built upon this momentum.Of course, timing is everything, and a lot of the very restaurants that have made for a dynamic dining scene in Saint John are now facing serious economic headwinds. The Magnolia Café only recently reopened after commercial setbacks caused it to close just a few months ago. A number of restaurants are quietly for sale, and veterans from the industry have informed me of ever-shrinking margins.

While it is often tempting to turn to local issues in the search to lay blame, the restaurant industry is facing serious challenges in every part of New Brunswick. The Times & Transcript – which normally gives plenty of positive press whenever a new chain restaurant comes to the hub city – recently published a fairly revealing article on the looming closure of City Grill, one of Moncton’s better independent restaurants. The Moncton owners felt it was time to renew under a new name and menu to better face increasing competition from national chains. “It’s a survival business,” the restaurant’s owner told the Times & Transcript. I suspect that there are many, many other restaurant owners currently in survival mode, given the state of the New Brunswick economy and the intense competition in the restaurant sector.Looking back to the 2008 economic crisis, the numbers certainly back this observation. According to seasonally adjusted data from Statistics Canada, New Brunswick restaurants took in around $11.7 million more in sales receipts in January 2013 than they did in January 2008. While that may sound like an impressive increase, it works out to only 16 per cent more in monthly sales at the end of five years. Other provinces have a restaurant industry that fared much, much better over this period – on the Prairies, increases ranged from 23 per cent in Manitoba to 34 per cent in Saskatchewan. In Alberta, the increase was 28 per cent, while in Newfoundland and Labrador the sales receipts were up 45 per cent. There’s no surprise here, really – more restaurant sales generally follow a natural resources boom.

The challenge for New Brunswick? There hasn’t yet been (despite the wishes of energy promoters) a local natural resources boom, and the expenditures provincial restaurant owners are dealing with are far outpacing the restaurant receipts coming in. The minimum wage has increased 38 per cent since 2008 (going from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour). And while a number of social justice advocates applaud the minimum wage increase, most economists will tell you that there can be – and usually is – a negative employment consequence, if the wage increase outpaces the ability of the local economy to adjust.Because a number of New Brunswick restaurant workers are paid minimum wage as a base salary (they make more, when tips are considered), the provincial restaurant industry is right now seeing the negative unemployment consequence that economists often talk about. From January 2008 to January 2013, the number of New Brunswick workers employed in food or beverage service declined by close to eight per cent. Only two other provinces saw employment declines during this same period. Increased employment has been the rule almost everywhere else .

What to do about the current malaise in the restaurant sector? Given how a vibrant food scene strengthens a community (hence the current push for food trucks in the city), it’s obvious that different levels of government should be doing something to strengthen the local restaurant sector.For the city, setting specific policies in support of increasing residential density helps a good deal. Many noticed how vibrant the central core was a couple of weeks ago, as a night with Leonard Cohen prompted many suburban couples to take in a dinner before the big show. If we had more residential density throughout the city centre, local restaurants would have the opportunity to book many more full nights, and would depend less on the really big regional events to improve their books.For the province, I personally believe that loosening the NB Liquor monopoly on booze distribution would help an awful lot. On most nights, the biggest contributor to restaurant margins is alcohol sales. If the province loosened some of its pricing treatment toward the bulk alcohol purchases of restaurants, it would likely make up for any lost NB Liquor revenue in the form of increased HST receipts.

The local restaurant industry would surely benefit as well. Once I find a good babysitter, I’d go and have a drink to that.

Kurt Peacock is a columnist with the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. He can be reached on Twitter @kurtpeacock or by email atpeacock.kurt@telegraphjournal.com.

Jenny Lotus : l’alimentation vivante en symbiose avec l’âme et la nature

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Jenny Thériault, également connue sous le nom Jenny Lotus offre une série d’ateliers portant sur l’alimentation vivante. Photo Charles Verret, Le Madawaska

CHARLES VERRET, 

Jenny Thériault, originaire de Caraquet, lance une série d’ateliers sur l’alimentation vivante qui auront lieu au courant du mois de mai chez Coiffure Illimitée au 106 rue de l’Église. Ces ateliers font partie de son entreprise nouvellement lancée, Jenny Lotus.Jenny nous explique que «pour ceux et celles qui se demandent qu’est-ce que l’alimentation vivante, c’est une alimentation qui comprend des germinations et des fermentations. Par ces processus, on donne plus de vitalité aux aliments vivants. On peut donc faire un repas qui comprend 25 % de germinations, avec 50 % d’aliments crus et 25 % d’aliment cuit, par exemple.»

Après avoir suivi pendant trois ans le baccalauréat en nutrition de l’Université de Moncton, campus de Moncton, Jenny Thériault a déménagé à Montréal pour travailler dans une boutique d’aliments naturels où elle a d’ailleurs suivi des ateliers qui lui ont permis d’apprendre les vertus des différentes plantes médicinales et des produits naturels. Elle a aussi fait un séjour en Équateur qui lui a permis de parfaire ses connaissances. Pour l’instant il y a trois ateliers de prévue, qui seront donnés à différentes dates. Il y aura un atelier sur le Kombucha, aussi nommé champignon de longue vie, qui est une texture vivante composée de bonnes bactéries et d’une culture de levure. Cet atelier sera composé d’informations sur le procédé de fermentation du Kombucha. L’atelier se donne à trois dates différentes, soit le 28 avril, le 12 mai et le 26 mai à 13h.

«Les personnes présentes pourront apprendre comment faire leur propre fermentation et en apprendre plus sur les vertus de ce champignon. Ce thé fermenté préparé à base de Kombucha est très vivifiant et remplace les probiotiques», précise Jenny Thériault. Le second atelier portera sur les germinations. Ce cours vous apprendra comment il est simple de cultiver votre nourriture sur votre comptoir de cuisine et vous enseignera les techniques de pousses. Cet atelier aura lieu le 5 et le 19 mai à 13h. Pour ce qui est du dernier atelier proposé, il aura lieu le 1er, le 8, le 15 et le 22 mai à 18h et portera sur l’alimentation arc-en-ciel. Dans ce cours, Jenny y abordera la combinaison alimentaire et le pH des aliments, la purification et vous entretiendra du livre du Dr Gabriel Cousens «The Rainbow Diet.»

«Cet atelier éclaire mes plus grandes découvertes de mon voyage à travers la nutrition. Une alimentation consciencieuse, en symbiose avec l’âme et l’unité.» Notons que tous les ateliers sont végétaliens et sans gluten en plus d’être accompagnés d’un cahier de cours pour chaque participant. Le coût d’entrée est de 25 $. Jenny offre aussi des ateliers privés, des tours d’épicerie guidées, du counseling et un cours de cuisine vivante à domicile. Ce dernier est une démonstration concrète afin d’intégrer l’alimentation vivante dans notre cuisine à l’aide de recettes démonstratives et de conseils. Elle sera aussi présente cet été au marché sur la rue Hill pour vous rencontrer, discuter et prendre des inscriptions, tout ça accompagné de produits à goûter.

Pour plus d’information, elle peut être rejointe au (506) 740-7023 ou par courriel à jenny.therio@gmail.com. Vous pouvez aussi consulter son site internet (http://jennylotus.weebly.com/).

FOOD BANK IN BLACKVILLE DESERVES APPLAUSE

BY TERRY WHALEN, LETTERS TO THE EDITOR- Miramichi Leader, 

If there is one decision which many continue to applaud, it is the decision by one individual to do something that truly makes a difference in a community. What appears to be the most recent decision by an individual which has made such a profound difference in the well being of his fellow citizens was the decision of Silas Jardine to establish a food bank in the village of Blackville. To have a food bank in Blackville not only originated with Silas, it was his determination which inspired all sectors of the community to support his idea which continues to be widely applauded. Since it was established in June 2012, its value to those in need has come to be a reflection of the authentic character of Blackville citizens, a character that is an example of a people who never hesitate to assist their neighbours in need.

From the outset, support for Silas’s idea of a food bank was received with enthusiasm by Pastor Albertine Leblanc who did not hesitate to assist Silas in making the food bank not only a reality, but also a success. Under the leadership of Silas and the support of Pastor Leblanc, others in the community willingly became volunteers in its operation. In anticipation of its first June anniversary date, their excitement is clearly evident. As the wider community becomes more aware of not only the existence but the importance of the food bank and thrift store is to well being of those who require service, it is not surprising that support and donations to sustain its operations are growing daily. As Silas and the Greater Blackville Resource Centre directors continue to provide the leadership, they are thankful for the new volunteers who willingly offer their own special skills and commitment for the continued success of the Blackville Food Bank.

Terry F. Whalen sr., Miramichi

LOW EARNING GROWTH FOR NEW BRUNSWICK

THE CANADIAN PRESS, 

OTTAWA – New Brunswick had the lowest earning growth among all the provinces, increasing only 1.3 per cent. Statistics Canada says average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees were $909 in February, up 0.9 per cent from January. On a year-over-year basis, earnings increased 3.1 per cent. The agency says the year-over-year growth of earnings outpaced the national average in construction, public administration, administrative and support services and professional, scientific and technical services, which all grew by four per cent or better. In accommodation and food services, earnings edged down 0.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis. Annual growth was above the national average in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

CFIA RECALLS BRAND OF CHICKEN STRIPS

THE CANADIAN PRESS, 

OTTAWA –The public is being warned not to consume Le Champ du Coq brand seasoned, cooked chicken breast strips because they may be undercooked and consequently contaminated with salmonella. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product has been distributed in Quebec and Ontario but could have been sold in other provinces and territories as well. The chicken strips are distributed by Quebec-based Desco Services Alimentaires Inc, have a best before date of November 5 and bear the stamp “CANADA 209.” There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

Aquaculture company ordered to pay $500K for pesticide use

Kelly Cove Salmon pleaded guilty to 2 charges related to deaths of lobsters in Bay of Fundy

CBC News, Posted: Apr 26, 2013 11:23 AM AT, Last Updated: Apr 26, 2013 1:57 PM AT

Environment Canada found the dead lobsters had been exposed to cypermethrin, an agricultural pesticide that's illegal for marine use in Canada.

Environment Canada found the dead lobsters had been exposed to cypermethrin, an agricultural pesticide that’s illegal for marine use in Canada. (CBC)A New Brunswick aquaculture company has been ordered to pay $500,000 after pleading guilty to two charges in connection with the deaths of hundreds of lobsters in the Bay of Fundy from an illegal pesticide about three years ago. Environment Canada had charged Kelly Cove Salmon and three company executives in November 2011 with 11 counts each of depositing a substance that’s harmful to fish into fish-bearing water, under the Fisheries Act.Kelly Cove Salmon, a division of Cooke Aquaculture, which is based in Blacks Harbour, pleaded guilty to two of the counts in St. Stephen provincial court on Friday morning. The company was fined $100,000. It was also ordered to pay $350,000 to the University of New Brunswick’s environmental studies program and an additional $50,000 in trust to the environmental damages fund. The charges against Cooke’s C.E.O. Glenn Cooke, vice-president Mike Szemerda, and Randall Griffin, the regional production manager for Kelly, were withdrawn.

Sends strong message

Robert Robichaud, regional operations manager for the environmental enforcement division of Environment Canada in New Brunswick, told CBC News he was pleased with the penalty. He said it sends a strong message to the industry that violating Canada’s environmental laws will not be tolerated. According to the agreed statement of facts presented to the court, Kelly Cove Salmon used cypermethrin at 15 of its sites in six different communities between October 2009 and November 2010. Cypermethrin is an agricultural pesticide that’s illegal for marine use in Canada and toxic to lobsters. It’s a fast-acting insecticide and has been used to kill sea lice in European fish farms. The six communities involved included: Grand Manan, Deer Island, Seeley’s Cove, Red Head, Maces Bay and Campobello, the courtroom heard. Hundreds of dead and dying lobsters were hauled up in traps in 2009 and 2010, an investigation by Environment Canada revealed. In November 2009, four lobster fishermen discovered a large number of dead lobsters, officials said. Tests showed the lobsters had been exposed to cypermethrin, they said.

In December 2009, two commercial lobster fishermen had about 15 crates of lobster in Clam Cove, near Deer Island. Several hundred pounds of those lobsters were also dead and tests showed they too had been exposed to cypermethrin. The following day, Environment Canada officials took samples from a site operated by Kelly Cove Salmon in Seal Cove, Grand Manan and found the presence of cypermethrin. The maximum penalty for the charges is up to $1 million per charge and up to three years in prison.

Host Food Secure Canada’s Next Assembly

Food Secure Canada is a national member-based non-profit organization that educates and advocates for zero hunger, sustainable food systems, and healthy and safe food for all. Since 2001, FSC has hosted biennial assemblies that have brought together the many diverse actors in the food systems and food movements to learn together, strengthen our networks, and build our analysis and actions to advance our goals. These vibrant 3-day events often include a feast and tours that highlight local producers, businesses and organizations. You can read about our past assemblies on FSC’s website.

In November 2014, FSC will be hosting our 8thNational Assembly and we are looking for a host organization and community to help make it happen. FSC holds the assembly in a new community or region of Canada each time to make this exciting event accessible to different communities as well as to highlight regional food issues.

Host organizations will benefit from their efforts through a heightened profile for your organization and local food issues at national level as well as a stronger connection between the local community to the national level food activity. Your community may also benefit from the influx of food systems actors and activists to your community.

Host organizations play a crucial role in shaping the flavor and success of FSC assemblies. Their role includes:

  • working with a national team to decide on assembly theme and to help shape the program;
  • fundraising from regional and local sources;
  • managing most event logistics (finding venue, organizing food and feast, recruiting, training and managing volunteers, etc.);
  • building the food movement in your community;
  • developing a local communications plan to highlight key events and amazing resource people;
  • organizing tours of local food initiatives, organizations;
  • and much more!

If you are interested in hosting this exciting event, please submit a 2-3 page proposal including the following:

  • Name(s) of organization(s) that wish to host, the mission, and the capacity of the organization(s) to take on this work.You may also name other organizations that you would bring on board should you become the host. If you are not already an active FSC member, please describe your work in more detail. If you are an FSC member, tell us how you are involved.
  • Why is your community the place for the next FSC assembly? It could any number of things – the location, the issues being faced locally that need national attention, a fantastic venue, an amazing sponsor, etc.
  • An outline of possible venues in your community that could accommodate 4-500 people including beds (hotels) for at least 250 people. An estimate of their cost would be helpful (ex.: in 2012 the host organization partnered with a University that provided space for free).
  • An outline of the local / regional organizations that may be willing to support the assembly in kind (i.e.: location, staff time, etc.) or with financial support.
  • Please feel free to consult the report and other documents from our last Assembly.

FSC will select a host organization / community based on:

  • A demonstrated capacity to take on the work (either one or several organizations) and to build an Assembly that reflects our values: equitable, healthy, and sustainable;
  • The availability of appropriate space to host the event (big hall to hold at least 3-500 people with 6-10 break out rooms plus the proximity of beds for most of these people);
  • A place that the Assembly has not taken place recently;
  • A clear idea of how to start fundraising locally;
  • An ability to attract new and diverse participants to our event;
  • The issue / campaign that you wish to bring light to using this assembly; and
  • Your enthusiasm!

Please submit you proposal to communications@foodsecurecanada.org by May 17th. The amazing team from Edmonton who hosted the assembly in 2012 is also available to offer advice on what this involves. You are welcome to call Amanda or Nydia to discuss: (514) 271-7352.

Industry voices dominate at Canadian Food Summit

BY HANNAH RENGLICH, APRIL 18, 2013
The 'Future of Farming Enterprises' session at last week's Canadian Food Summit.

Fellow Canadians, have you eaten today?

If you did — and even, or especially, if you didn’t for lack of physical or economic access to food — you should know that behind closed doors sits a group of industry leaders claiming to be non-partisan, objective, independent and representative. They are hammering out a national food strategy for Canada. On April 9 and 10, the Conference Board of Canada hosted their 2nd Canadian Food Summit in Toronto, an event focusing on, in their own words, “constructive ways to make the most of our opportunities, resources and talent to achieve the great economic potential of the food sector and meet the full range of Canadians’ food needs.”

Industry interests get prominence 

Conference participants included an interesting array of representatives from government, civil society and industry — with industry interests most prominently featured in all of the presentations, panels, and plenaries. Representatives and voices came from Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Weston Bakeries, Nestle Waters, Loblaw Companies Limited, McCain Foods Limited, H.J. Heinz Company of Canada, and several biotech companies including CropLife Canada, Cargill Limited, and Syngenta Canada Inc. It’s worth mentioning that April 9 was also the pan-Canadian Day of Action against genetically modified Alfalfa, as 38 communities rallied to protest its commercial release (one just down the road from the Food Summit at St. Lawrence Market).

The cost of a ticket to the Summit ranged between $695 for a non-profit or small business to $1,225 for a corporate or government representative, making the event inaccessible for some of the voices most needed at the table for consultation — anyone who experiences hunger, those with small farm or food enterprises, students and youth, and those without disposable income for mid-week events that take them away from day jobs. To increase the representation in the room, the J.W. McConnell Foundation funded 10 non-profit organizations to attend — people who made full use of their entrance badges to ask the difficult questions in each and every plenary session, and were among the few to stay until the bitter end (by which point most of the industry players had long since gone home).

Average Canadians not setting the food agenda 

The Summit purported to be a platform to “engage delegates in refining the draft Canadian Food Strategy,” which is being developed by the Centre for Food in Canada (CFIC). It costs $11,400 annually to join the Centre for Food in Canada’s Steering Committee as a participant investor, which buys you passes to biannual meetings and special events, access to research findings, and the right to offer input on the choice of research and meeting topics. If you hope to have more say, you can contribute $50,000 annually to become a Champion Investor, which grants you the right to define the research agenda for CFIC, access research results before public release, and advise CFIC in its planning and decision making. So where does that leave the average Canadian in the Canadian Food Strategy? Clearly, you are not setting the agenda. The CFIC and Conference Board of Canada suggest you have the opportunity to offer feedback on what they are creating, proudly citing their 13 focus groups they held across the country, including one in the North! Yes, you are being offered a strategy that is akin to the pre-cooked, packaged and processed meals that many of these industry leaders derive their livelihoods from — and a consultation process that feels like a difficult to locate customer feedback hotline number hidden on the back of the box.

The Food Summit was falsely billed as inclusive, as the front cover of the conference program proclaimed, “Help shape the Canadian Food Strategy by taking part in live consultations!” The “in depth discussion and dialogue” it claimed to be offering were, in reality, five minute question periods following hour-long presentations. One hour’s worth of unmediated conversation in small self-directed groups on pre-cooked outcomes and actions falling out of the CFIC’s five priorities and eight strategic goals, heavily weighted toward “industry prosperity,” concluded the two-day event. Neo-Malthusian fearmongering prefaced panels at the Food Summit, as speaker after speaker forewarned of burgeoning populations and the need for increasing yields and efficiencies through innovations. Tim Brown, President and CEO of Nestle Waters North America assured the audience that “there is technology that is going to be solutions for this stuff.” Meanwhile, co-panelists waxed poetic on the possibilities for monetizing Canada’s excess — including our land, food and water.

Little industry interest in household food security 

It may be that we are all afraid — both industry and civil society — but for very different reasons and of very different outcomes. Perhaps to appease the strident voices of citizen groups and non-profit participants, a session on Household Food Security was included on Day 2 of the Summit, at the beginning of which there was an exodus of nearly half the plenary’s participants. An industry statement? Of the remaining audience, in an instant poll asking if they would consider including action in their business to further household food security, 18 per cent said no and 16 per cent said maybe. Alarmingly, civil society and industry are at a point where the same language is being used to describe challenges and visions for the future of food; however, these matching vocabularies are underpinned by vastly different meanings. For an example of each, read the Centre for Food in Canada’s report on Governing Food, as compared with Food Secure Canada’s position paper on Food Democracy and Governance. Opinion within the food industry on the relevance of the Centre for Food in Canada seems divided, as the attendance at the Summit was an estimated half of the 2012 Summit, and the Conference Board of Canada made personal phone calls to invite participants to attend.

Christie Young, Executive Director of FarmStart, remarked: “The idea that you can develop a national food strategy that ends supply management, gets ‘government out of the way,’ rationalizes and coordinates regulatory frameworks across provinces and builds a ‘Canada brand’ and all the quality assurance that goes with it without aiming it at government at all seems dependent on the unfathomable good will of industry players who are all very competitive.” It’s hard not to question the legitimacy and purpose of the whole event, especially after scouring the CFIC’s research reports in further detail. For a group that claims to recognize the value and importance of working with civil society and government to further a national food strategy, the Conference Board of Canada’s actions speak loud and clear. Government is referred to as merely a ‘stakeholder’ in the CFIC research reports, while the olive branch extended by Food Secure Canada to co-host the 3rd Food Summit was sharply rejected.

Towards a people’s food policy

Food Secure Canada spent three years engaged in kitchen table talks with over 3,500 Canadians in order to listen to the needs of Canadians in the development of The People’s Food Policy, which is deeply rooted in the concept of food sovereignty. This internationally-recognized approach values food providers, localizes food systems, works with nature, and puts control into the hands of ordinary people at the local and grassroots level. Food Secure Canada is not the only organization working on national food policy, but it is the only group calling for a food policy in the context of food sovereignty, acknowledging the links between health, hunger and sustainability, and including ordinary Canadians as the primary policy reference points.

Lauren Baker, Vice Chair of Food Secure Canada and Coordinator of the Toronto Food Policy Council, argues, “We need a whole of society approach to the development of a national food policy. One that sees food as a public good that generates health, environmental sustainability as well as economic opportunity.” Baker asks: “How do we meaningfully engage a much broader group of food system players in this discussion?” So let’s continue the conversation, and call upon values-aligned members of industry to join the civil society movement for progressive food policy to support healthy food systems and communities. As an individual, consider discussing these issues with others with whom you may not normally engage on the topic of food or public policy. Forward this article to a friend who has not seen it, but who by virtue of their need to eat on a daily basis may have some ideas about what is needed to create a truly nourishing food system in our country. We need to make sure this process is deep, deliberative, dialogic and truly democratic.

Hannah Renglich holds an MA in Natural Resources and Peace from the UN-mandated University for Peace and a bilingual BA in International Studies from Glendon College, York University. For the past seven years, Hannah has worked with food security organizations as well as on ecological farms and community gardens, feeding her interests in food sovereignty and environmental justice. Hannah is fascinated by the power of co-operation and the facilitation of social consciousness, and motivated by the potential of small differences to fuel impactful change. She sits on the boards of the Carrot Cache, the West End Food Co-op, and REAP-Canada, as well as the advisory councils of Urban Produce and Nourishing Ontario.  She writes and teaches about food justice and building a culture of peace through food through the PeaceMeal project. While getting acquainted with the world, Hannah is trying to find a way to apply her energy toward the development of hope and human agency, while gleefully coordinating the Ontario-wide network of Local Organic Food Co-operatives.

AN ECO-FRIENDLY EXTRAVAGANZA

BY JON MACNEILL, VICTORIA DEKKER AND ALEXANDRA DAVIS

You’re an eco hero every day: you use energy-efficient light bulbs, you turn off the tap right away – hell, you even recycle! But with Earth Day coming up on April 22, it’s a good time to think extra hard about supporting green initiatives, conserving nature and reducing our impact on the environment. Read on for info about how you can embrace a sustainable revolution, protect New Brunswick animals and purchase fresh produce from local farmers.

 The New Economy

David Coon says there is something extraordinary happening in New Brunswick right now, if you look with the right set of eyes. The local food movement is thriving in communities across the province, businesses and enterprises following alternative economic philosophies are emerging to meet new demands and interest in green building and renewable energy is growing every day.The leader of the provincial Green Party says all this activity is related to a global movement known by some as the “sustainability revolution” – dubbed the fastest and most profound social transformation in recent history – and he believes New Brunswick could champion the paradigm shift in Canada. Coon has been touring the province since February, visiting businesses, cooperatives and social enterprises that are building what he refers to as “the new economy.” He said the idea is to showcase the entrepreneurs, primary producers and other social innovators who are forming a greener, sustainable economy that isn’t dependent on fossil fuels.

“By profiling these examples, it gives people a sense that we can do something different, and that there is some real hope for moving in a new direction here – because in fact it’s already happening,” Coon said when we met up with him last week in Fredericton. The challenge now, he said, is getting government to endorse the new economy, and stop catering to the old. Coon said the provincial government should create a business environment and craft policies that encourage the growth of enterprises taking a “new economy” approach. That would include mechanisms like Community Economic Development Investment Funds, which have been used in Nova Scotia to start community-led wind farms.

“If you change the lenses you’re looking through, then all kinds of new opportunities become evident,” he said. “The road is clear, we just need to choose to take it, and I think people are ready for that.” To learn more about David Coon and the Green Party’s “New Economy Tour,” head to greenpartynb.ca or follow the party leader on Facebook at on.fb.me/14qNf6E.

Wildlife Wish List

Reps from the province’s only wildlife rehab centre are reaching out for a hand to help keep the operation running. The Atlantic Wildlife Institute released its annual wish list late last month, categorizing items the facility desperately needs donated.

“They’re crucial,” said wildlife care director Pam Novak, referencing a list of around 60 items required to maintain the animals in the centre’s care. “These are things we know we need almost on a daily basis.The not-for-profit private institute was established in 1996 and occupies a 120-acre conservation site near Sackville. Its focus is on rehabilitating wildlife and spreading environmental education and training. It relies heavily on public donations, as it receives no government funding for its efforts. Currently, between 75 and 100 animals are housed at the facility, including raccoons, bear cubs and birds. As spring continues, the centre is approaching its busiest time of year when an influx of baby animals is born. The majority of the facility’s cash is dedicated to covering day-to-day expenses. The wish list – which includes items like feeding and cleaning supplies, animal housing and yard equipment – offers donors a real-life look at what’s needed to keep operations running. If enough supplies aren’t collected, the institute may be forced to reduce the number of animals in its care, Novak said. Currently, they don’t have to turn any away, but have been forced to do so in the past.

“That’s what we look to avoid, because we don’t want to turn animals away if they do need care,” she said, adding staff encourage people who encounter apparently distressed animals to call before bringing them in. Of the 4,000 or so calls the centre receives each year, only a few hundred animals require care. Roughly 50 to 75 per cent of the animals brought to the institute survive and are re-released into the wild. To view the Atlantic Wildlife Institute’s 2013 wish list, visit atlanticwildlife.ca, email awi@xplornet.com or call 364-1902.

Fresh Food

Thanks to the increase of Community-Supported Agriculture programs in recent years, reducing your environmental footprint and supporting local farmers while enjoying delicious, fresh produce has never been easier. Here are a few of New Brunswick’s many CSA programs. Pick one, sign up and you can eat local throughout the months ahead.

  • PEACEFUL MOUNTAIN ORGANICS- peacefulmountainorganics.com: If you think a typical CSA box has more veggies than you can eat in a week, check out Peaceful Mountain Organics Produce Packs. Choose a large produce pack for $50 per week, or a smaller one for $35. The packs include veggies, herbs, fresh bread and eggs, plus customers can choose extras from the Kingston Peninsula farm’s website. Pick up your pack from the Kingston Farmers Market, or from a yet-to-be-announced location in Quispamsis or Saint John.
  • CHESTNUT ACRES- chestnutacreslimited.com: Supporting a CSA program just got easier than grocery shopping. Certified Organic farm Chestnut Acres, located in Kingston, will deliver a weekly box right to your doorstep for a $5 delivery charge. That’s right – you can enjoy produce ranging from apples to zucchinis throughout the warmer months without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.
  • STRAWBERRY HILL FARM- strawberryhillfarm.ca: Located in Pembroke, this farm delivers full or half-size weekly boxes to central pick-up locations in Fredericton, as well as spots in Woodstock and Hartland. And you don’t have to worry about going into withdrawal during the winter – Strawberry Hill offers a bi-weekly box during the cold months filled with fresh winter greens.
  • ALVA FARM- fermealvafarm.com: These Saint-Maurice farmers know what’s up – Alain Rousselle and Eva P. Rehak have over 10 years of combined experience working in organic agriculture. Alva Farm still has 65 spots available for its CSA program, so sign up and pick up your weekly box from a drop-off point in Moncton or Dieppe starting in mid-June.

EARTH DAY IN MONCTON FOSTERS CO-OPERATION

Davina Mazerolle, 4, of Moncton has flowers painted on her face at the Earth Day event at the Moncton Market yesterday. VIKTOR PIVOVAROV/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF, 

The feeling of community and co-operation emanated beyond the doors of the Moncton Market yesterday. Hundreds of people from all walks of life streamed in and out of the downtown, taking time to check out of their harried, rush-rush everyday lives and check into Earth Day Greater Moncton.School children from all over Metro showed what they perceived as eco-friendly ideas and what society can consider in terms of protecting the environment through art projects which sat and hung along the hallways into the main hall. Drawings, model cardboard energy-efficient homes and several sculptures made of natural materials depicted what tomorrow’s leaders may bring to the table in terms of energy conservation and respecting the great outdoors.

At least 250 people gathered just before noon to take in the buffet dinner in the larger hall section of the market. It was a bountiful blend of braised chicken, root vegetables, seasoned potatoes, coleslaw, brown bread, fresh cider to drink and several yummy deserts to choose from. The meal could have passed for something prepared at a fine dining establishment. In this case, all of the food and beverages are locally grown and homemade by a team of volunteers, and there were certainly no plastic cutlery and Styrofoam plates. Representatives from Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview councils helped out by manning the buffet food and serving up each portion with a smile. Instead of eating microwave dinners while sitting and catching up on some silly TV show, or grabbing takeout and stuffing it down while driving to the next appointment or engagement, local families and friends were sitting with one another, face to face, enjoying a healthy, fresh meal. While eating, or waiting in line for food, people listened and swayed to the soothing sounds of classic Simon & Garfunkel hits sung by duo Simone & Garfunkelle, a.k.a. Ashley McNally and Andrea MacKenzie.The man behind the day of food, fun and education, Olivier Weil, could be seen flitting about the market, helping out as many volunteers or those manning booths as humanly possible. The well-known environmental advocate helped to seat a few gentlemen one moment and then was carrying a large pan full of fresh food from the kitchen to the buffet tables so that everyone could get a warm meal.Sabrina Coutourier, a self-described naturalist, stopped by the event with her baby boy, Marcel. She had been to an Earth Day event a few years back and said that this time around, the organization and turn-out is “100 times better.”

“I think they’ve found their footing,” she said. “There’s so many people here and I’m glad to see that.” The turn out and the large donation of time it took to organize and run the event rang true to the 2013 theme of “Connect! Connect! Connect! Coming together”.

PRÉSERVER LA TERRE ET SE SOUVENIR DES TRADITIONS

ALICE BRAUD , L’ÉTOILE, 

Le 22 avril, un peu partout dans le monde, des activités seront organisées en l’honneur de la Journée de la Terre. À Bathurst, la réserve naturelle de la Pointe Daly a souhaité organiser des activités autour des traditions autochtones et de la nature pour souligner cet événement.La réserve naturelle de la Pointe Daly de Bathurst célèbre depuis des années la Journée de la Terre. Pour l’année 2013, la réserve naturelle fera découvrir les traditions autochtones au public, en organisant des célébrations, en racontant des contes et en donnant des recettes de cuisine.

«Il y a plusieurs choses qui sont faites souvent dans le cadre de la Journée de la Terre, comme le compostage ou le recyclage dans les écoles, mais nous on essaye de faire quelque chose de différent pour que tout le monde puisse se rassembler autour des traditions. Le thème commun sera la nature», commente Janet Doucet, la coordonnatrice de la réserve Pointe Daly.Ainsi le Micmac et conteur Gilbert Sewell procédera à une célébration traditionelle qui consiste à «invoquer les bons esprits de la terre», en brûlant une plante sauvage de la région, appelée «Herbe sucrée» dont l’odeur s’apparente aux arômes de la vanille.

«Pour les autochtones ici, la terre est sacrée. C’est une culture qui, d’après moi, est proche de la terre. Les autochtones ont les ressources et les connaissances de la terre, que nous, nous avons perdu avec l’apparition des technologies. La Première Nation de Pabineau ici, c’est vraiment une richesse pour nous. C’est pour ça que la Pointe Daly a crée un partenariat avec eux», commente Janet Doucet. Le pain traditionnel autochtone, le Banique, sera également offert au public avec du sirop d’érable.

«Partager de la nourriture ensemble et surtout le banique, c’est symbolique. C’est un plat amérindien amené en Amérique par les Écossais mais les Autochtones ont ensuite adapté la recette. C’est un symbole du partage entre les Européens et les Autochtones», raconte Janet Doucet. Des contes seront également racontés au public, par Gilbert Sewell dans sa langue d’origine et en anglais. Des conteurs de la région Chaleur, comme Jean-Baptiste Roy, Arièle Savoie, Gilles Bryar ou encore Brigitte Lavallée raconteront également des histoires sur le thème de la nature. Un rallye d’observation sera également au programme et permettra au public de se questionner sur les méthodes utilisées pour contribuer à la sauvegarde de la planète. Les événements de la Pointe Daly se dérouleront le samedi 20 avril de 11h à 15h, pour le rallye de l’observation et le dimanche 21 avril à partir de 13h pour les contes et les traditions autochtones. Les activités sont ouvertes aux enfants.

AUTHOR GOES AGAINST THE GRAIN

William Davis says grains are making us fat, sick and miserable in his book Wheat Belly.

VICTORIA DEKKER

Bakers, head for the hills. A pitchfork-wielding, nutrition-crazy lynch mob’s a-comin’, and they’re out to massacre the latest apparent evil to optimal health: wheat. That’s right, sinful sugar, ferocious fat and soul-sucking sodium have been demoted on the list of high-offending foods, now falling to grains, which according to Dr. William Davis, are making us sick, fat and miserable.

“Wheat is a perfectly crafted food to make people diabetic, yet we’re told that it should dominate our diet,” said Davis, author of the New York Times-bestselling Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health. The U.S. cardiovascular specialist says humans are not biologically engineered to properly process modern wheat, a plant that’s been dangerously altered over years of complex and denatured breeding. Health Canada suggests at least 60 per cent of our calories should come from grains, and today, the average diet includes approximately that amount of wheat, corn and soy. Davis says after generations of over-consumption of high-glycemic foods and wheat’s bastardized protein, gluten, we’re left with a dangerously overweight population plagued with a myriad of health problems including diabetes, cardiac disease, celiac disease and depression.

“None of this would be necessary if the USDA and Health Canada got it right to start,” he said, citing what he calls “a cultural bias” toward embracing grains. “They, in fact, got it so God-awful wrong that they advocate the worst possible solution: cut your saturated fat, cholesterol and eat more healthy whole grains. It’s the equivalent of saying ‘all Canadians should consider smoking a pack of cigarettes every day because it encourages deep breathing for lung health.’ ” In Wheat Belly, Davis outlines how and why going against the grain can benefit health. He claims cutting out wheat can change hunger, improve memory, concentration, lower blood sugar and pressure, and promote around three to four inches of fat loss in the midsection within the first six months.

Today, making sense of proper nutrition is a daunting task. In a paleo-this, gluten-free-that world, it’s not uncommon for health-conscious people to jump from one buzzworthy nutrition trend to the next. Anyone who’s struggled with weight loss can attest to attempting at least a few, including liquid diets, blood type diets, Weight Watchers, Atkins or South Beach. Critics claim the plan is something of a dressed-up low-carb diet. While it is a little more complicated than just cutting out wheat (the book suggests eliminating all processed foods, most sugars, potatoes, soy-based, corn-based and marketed gluten-free products), Davis says Wheat Belly was never intended as a diet or plan, per se. He rejects the diet designation and says rather, the book is an attempt to encourage awareness about how agribusiness has changed our food and that an epidemic of ever-decreasing health is the result.

“We must be alert to those changes in order to be healthy now,” he said.

Dr. William Davis visits the Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., at 7 p.m. on April 26. Tickets are $30, available at capitol.nb.ca. Call 856-4379 for more information.

MAINE LOBSTERMEN JOIN UNION

CLARKE CANFIELD, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 

PORTLAND, Maine – A union representing thousands of Maine’s shipbuilding and paper mill workers now has its sights set on lobstermen.

With promises to fight bad legislation and negotiate prices for their catch, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has been recruiting fishermen in some of Maine’s most lobster-reliant communities. So far, more than 250 fishermen have signed up for what will be called the IAM Maine Lobstering Union.Maine has more than 5,000 licensed lobstermen who account for about 85 per cent of the U.S. harvest of North Atlantic lobsters, which are caught from roughly Maine to New Jersey. Riley Poole, who has joined the union, says the idea of lobstermen joining a labour union may be at odds with the traditional image of the self-reliant, independent lobsterman. He says but with fishermen getting rock-bottom prices for their catch and expenses continuing to rise, lobstermen have to do something to preserve their way of life and Maine’s traditional fishing communities.

“I’m looking toward the future and if other people don’t, they won’t be able to continue being independent,” said Poole, 29, a fourth-generation fisherman. “They’ll have to get a job somewhere else or work on a corporate boat. The way of life, the way we’ve been doing things, is at jeopardy right now and I think this is a channel we can use to preserve that.” Others aren’t so sure. Lobsterman Genevieve Kurilec-McDonald of Stonington said the union has no experience in the lobster industry. People join unions to negotiate with employers over pay and working conditions, she said, but lobstermen are independent businessmen, not labourers, so it’s unclear who they’d bargain with.

“I think commercial fishermen are fiercely independent, and to give up that independence to an organization without any experience in the industry would be a mistake,” she said. For generations, fishermen for most the part have sold their daily catch to lobster dealers, who pay the going rate for the day. There are also about a dozen harvester-owned co-operatives in various fishing ports where fishermen bring their catch. With lobster prices on the decline in recent years, fishermen have struggled to make a decent living. Last year’s prices – fishermen got US$2.69 a pound on average, the lowest price since 1994 – prompted Vinalhaven fisherman Magnus Lane to call up the machinists union in December in search of information. Unless lobstermen take more control of their own situation, they’re liable to lose their livelihood, he said.

“We could get squeezed out like the farmers in the ’80s, and we don’t have Mellencamp and Willie to sing for us,” he said, referring to musicians John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson, who helped organize the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to help family farms. “But it didn’t help them either. We can go down just like the farmers did to big corporations.” Union organizers have been meeting with lobstermen and training some of them on union matters at IAM headquarters in Maryland. Once it receives its charter, the Maine Lobstering Union will work to provide members who pay their $12.05 weekly dues with benefits such as health care and pensions and represent them before legislators and regulators. It’ll also negotiate catch prices, said union organizer Joel Pitcher.

An end goal is to form a large union member-owned co-operative where fishermen would bring their catch and wield some power in the marketplace, he said. But the union will succeed only if lobstermen are active, Pitcher said. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association, a trade group with about 1,200 members, has launched a website that raises questions and concerns about the union.“Can lobstermen even form a union to negotiate prices without running afoul of federal anti-trust laws?” the site asks. “And what does a machinist union know about lobstering?” Association executive director Patrice McCarron said lobstermen already have the MLA and other lobster organizations to represent them in the legislature and before regulatory boards. She also fears that the union could run afoul of the Sherman Antitrust Act – just as lobstermen did in 1957 – if it attempts to negotiate lobster prices for fishermen.

“My frustration is they aren’t answering the basic questions,” she said. “What are you going to do? Who are you representing? What issues are you working on?” Union membership in the U.S. has been on the decline for decades, falling from 17.7 million workers in 1983 to 14.4 million in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labour Standards. Within the fishing industry, the Seattle-based Deep Sea Fishermen’s Union represents crew members working on halibut, sablefish and crab boats off the coast of Washington and Alaska. In Canada, the Maritime Fishermen’s Union represents fishermen in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union represents about 10,000 fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as shore workers. The Newfoundland union negotiates the prices fishermen get for their seafood. If the prices aren’t agreeable, fishermen sometimes go on strike, said Bill Broderick, a union director. Just this month, Newfoundland crab fishermen went on strike in a dispute with crab processors. About 200 fishermen protested at a Newfoundland port, dumping 30,000 pounds of crab in the harbour.

“We take our strikes seriously here,” Broderick said. “When fishermen mean business, we mean business. That’s the only way to send a message.” Poole, the Vinalhaven lobsterman who’s joining the union, said Maine fishermen don’t want to strike. “We want to work, but we have to face these problems we have,” he said. “We can’t sit back and do what we’ve always done.”

Marc Gauvin: Starting the food fight

ALEX WALSH / THE BRUNSWICKAN

This year, Marc Gauvin, UNB student union vice-president finance and operations, gave university administration some food for thought.A strong advocate for student representation in the campus food provider contract negotiations, Gauvin is part of the food petition movement on campus, to see healthy, affordable food served on campus.Gauvin said the food provider contract was a big accomplishment, with the overall experience being a good one. However, he said it was a poor experience, in terms of discovering how the administration works with the student union.“We hear from other schools and other institutions, saying, ‘Why does the administration push back so hard on you guys?’ Because [other student unions] usually [are able to] work pretty well with their administrations, [they ask us], ‘Why do you guys have to work so hard?’ or ‘Why do they want to work against you so much?’” said Gauvin.

“One of the things I learned this year is that it’s really difficult to get the administration on board with something, and really get them listening.” Gauvin said the administration has their own budget to balance and their own interests. Though students should be the administrations’ primary interest, Gauvin wouldn’t agree that it is the case.“For the food [provider] contract, we’re pushing for affordable, healthy food. That doesn’t seem like much. But the university is thinking ‘money’. Although they want to meet these demands – I know they do – they also need to think, ‘We need to get the best deal we can,’” said Gauvin. One of the most recent actions of the food petition movement was a walk-in on a food provider contract negotiation meeting, to present the students’ demands to ResLife executive director, James Brown. Brown responded to the demands on April 2, though, Gauvin said, they were unsatisfactory.

“He presented us with his outline. It wasn’t satisfactory, so we have to bring it to our committee and analyze it again. He didn’t meet all the points in our demands,” said Gauvin.“I think we saw a couple of little good things out of it, but definitely not to the standard we want it. Hopefully, we can move forward [further].” Gauvin said Brown took the time to listen, even cancelling a food contract negotiation meeting, in order to meet with the UNBSU. “As we learned this year, [it had to come down to] walking in on the meeting and doing a petition. Lesson there: We should have gotten that [having our voices heard] earlier,” said Gauvin. Gauvin said something he and the incoming president, Ben Whitney, will address is the potential creation of an information packet to be handed down. This way, the future student union members can get a head start on dealing with food contract issues before the contract is due ending. “The university tends to rush things through, and the way it seemed, by doing these meetings, was that it was kind of just a formality; just pushing stuff through the committee,” said Gauvin. “And now that we’re coming down to the deadline, we kind of have to do something. If we had done this a couple of years ago, or a year ago, we would have had a better chance to analyze and really taken the time to look through this.” Gauvin said three two-hour meetings is not, in his mind, enough to work out issues within an important subject such as the food the campus will be having for the next ten years.

DESERTIFICATION JUST TOO IMPORTANT FOR TO IGNORE

BY DAVID SUZUKI, 

The federal government recently pulled out of an important global treaty: the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. It’s aimed at fighting drought, a problem that affects almost 30 per cent of Earth’s land surface and threatens the well-being of more than a billion people worldwide, including in our Prairie provinces.

Every year, the cumulative effects of overgrazing, over-cultivation, deforestation, poor irrigation and increasing extreme weather events — including those that cause drought — permanently degrade close to 10 million hectares of land. This has led to a creeping loss of places where food can easily be grown. The deterioration of dry-land ecosystems has already created desert-like “dead zones” that can no longer support human life in places such as sub-Saharan Africa. No region is immune. Close to three-quarters of North America’s dry lands, including parts of the Prairies, are vulnerable to drought. And sudden loss of agricultural productivity can be devastating to farm communities across Canada.

Under the UN convention, close to 195 countries are working to improve living conditions for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity and to reduce the effects of drought, including food and water shortages, malnutrition, mass migrations, increased political instability and war. Many aid and development experts believe this international agreement is critical to advancing global economic, political and food security. Canada is the only country to walk away. The convention is a rare example of people from around the world coming together to address the root causes of environmental and social crises. It was passed shortly after drought-related crop failures and resulting malnutrition, starvation and mass migrations ravaged the Horn of Africa in the 1980s in places like Somalia and Ethiopia. Canadians opened their hearts and wallets to these horrific droughts. Our government matched public efforts with leadership in helping to negotiate the Desertification Convention, signed in 1994. Canadians even led its decision-making body for many years. Through our partnership in the convention, previous federal governments also poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research, education and direct aid to drought-stricken nations.

Canada’s past leadership is no surprise. Drought is a serious problem for our farmers. We are, in fact, officially designated as an ‘affected nation’ under the convention, given that 60 per cent of our croplands and 80 per cent of our rangelands are in dry-land areas. Earlier droughts, such as the dust bowls of the Dirty ‘30s, triggered severe erosion and dust storms, and resulted in tragic consequences, including massive unemployment and abandonment of farms across the Prairies. The current government even recognizes our social and economic vulnerability to droughts. A 2008 study by Environment Canada and the Saskatchewan Research Council found that a severe dry period in 2001-02 resulted in $3.6 billion in losses to farmers from reduced agricultural production in Canada. The study warned that climate change is likely to cause more droughts and associated economic risks. As one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world, we’re contributing to worldwide drought.

Canada was once renowned internationally for progressive ideals and values that help improve the world — from the creation and deployment of peacekeepers by the government of Lester B. Pearson to our support for a global ban on anti-personnel land mines with the passing of the Ottawa Treaty (also known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention). The world community recognized many of our leaders for these efforts with Nobel Peace Prizes and nominations. By abandoning the UN Desertification Convention, as well as other important international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, we’re sending the wrong message to the world community. We’re saying that exporting resources like oil and timber matter more to us than contributing to dialogue and partnership on global issues. That Canada snuck out of the agreement without even notifying the UN secretariat:, just to save about $300,000 a year, makes matters worse.

Nature doesn’t heed human borders, and global problems like drought and desertification require global solutions. Canada was wrong to pull out of the UN Desertification Convention. Doing so further isolates us on the world stage as a partner in addressing environmental issues and tarnishes our hard-earned reputation when it comes to making the world a better place to live. Science Matters is a regular column by David Suzuki. This edition was written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Ontario and Northern Canada Director General Faisal Moola.

GMO fears do not ‘translate to the average consumer’

Most Canadians not informed about GMOs, experts say 

By Althea Manasan, CBC News Posted: Apr 11, 2013 5:03 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 12, 2013 3:55 PM ET

Trinity, 4, holds up an anti-genetically modified alfalfa during a demonstration outside the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. While farmers and other interest groups rally against genetically modified organisms, does the average Canadian consumer really care what's in their food? Trinity, 4, holds up an anti-genetically modified alfalfa during a demonstration outside the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. While farmers and other interest groups rally against genetically modified organisms, does the average Canadian consumer really care what’s in their food? (John Rieti/CBC)

Although many farmers took up placards this week to protest the possible introduction of genetically modified alfalfa into Canada, experts say that for the average Canadian consumer, the issue of bioengineered foods barely registers.”These concerns among farmers and informed groups of consumers does not translate to the average consumer. They are too far removed from the concerns of the farming community,” says Andreas Boecker, an associate professor at the University of Guelph whose research includes studying consumer acceptance of GM foods.

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, first hit the market in 1994 — the first product was the “Flvr Svr” tomato, designed to stay ripe for longer. Since then, there has been ongoing debate over the safety and environmental sustainability of these so-called “frankenfoods.”

What are GMOs, or genetically modified organisms?

Genetic modification is a process where scientists can combine genetic traits from entirely different plant and animal species, essentially “cutting” a trait from one organism and “pasting” it into another.This is done to give crops desired traits that don’t occur naturally — such as resistance to pesticides, diseases or insects — usually to improve yield.One of the major environmental concerns behind GMOs is cross-pollination, where genetically modified crops designed for a specific purpose contaminate surrounding crops, acting as a kind of weed.Over the years, we have heard warnings that GM foods could destroy agricultural diversity, create potentially harmful strains of crops or put local farmers out of work. Boecker says that while there haven’t been any recent surveys looking at Canadian attitudes toward GM foods, studies from the mid- to late-2000s suggested that a majority of people in Canada have no strong views on the matter.”And if you go by shopping behaviour,” Boecker adds, “most foods that they buy have some share of GMOs.”

Apathy or lack of information?

Thousands of products in Canada’s food chain contain some form of a genetically modified item — and because there are no mandatory labelling requirements, it’s difficult for consumers to know which ones do.Ottawa has approved dozens of GM crops, but most are not actually grown or sold in Canada, except for corn, canola, soybeans and the sugar beets used to produce white sugar. Products that contain any of these items, including most processed and packaged foods, likely contain genetically modified ingredients. Many meats are also affected, since animals are often fed GM crops.

Registered dietitian Christy Brissette, who is working on a masters in nutrition at the University of Toronto, says that many Canadians do have concerns about GM foods, but that they lack the knowledge to make informed decisions at the grocery store.”It’s definitely a hot topic. It’s something that clients and patients ask about a lot,” says Brissette, adding that there is a lot of misinformation about GM foods.

Organic dairy farmer Ron Vice addresses the small but vocal crowd at an anti-GMO protest in Toronto.Organic dairy farmer Ron Vice addresses the small but vocal crowd at an anti-GMO protest in Toronto. (John Rieti/CBC)In fact, a survey conducted last year by the B.C. Growers’ Association found that 76 per cent of Canadians feel that the federal government hasn’t given them enough information on GM foods. Another nine per cent said they’d never even heard of GM foods.”I think a lot of people have seen what happened in Europe, with a lot of lobbying to European governments demanding that these foods be labelled so that consumers can then make educated choices,” Brissette says. “I think Canadians want that same kind of transparency.”

Boecker agrees that most consumers are not well-informed when it comes to food science, but he is skeptical that mandatory labelling of GMOs would lead to any sort of sea change in the way Canadians shop.

Tips to avoid GMOs

While foods that contain GMOs are not required to be labelled in Canada, registered dietitian Christy Brissette says there are tactics to help consumers to avoid them:

  • Choose organic foods. “Anything labelled as organic cannot be genetically modified.”
  • Cook meals from scratch. “Some of the biggest culprits … in our food supply are things like corn and soy, so by avoiding processed foods and packaged foods, you are avoiding genetically modified foods.”
  • Develop relationships with local farmers. “There are great farmers’ markets across the country.… By actually speaking to the farmers, you can become educated.”
  • Avoid sugar. “Granulated sugar comes from sugar beets, which are genetically modified.”
  • Plant your own fruits and vegetables.
  • Look for smaller food companies that voluntarily label their products as GMO-free.
  • Become an advocate for stricter legislation. “Go ahead and contact companies and express to the government that this is something we want labelled.”

“The average Canadian family is very busy … both parents work, so there’s little time to be spent on food shopping and preparation,” Boecker says. “Convenience and value for money are the biggest drivers of purchasing decisions.”While a series of food scandals in Europe during the 1990s — including the mad cow disease epidemic in Britain — led to stronger, more outspoken views on genetic engineering in that region of the world, Boecker doesn’t see Canadians following suit.”At the moment, I can’t see any event that could trigger a turning point. So far, not a single study has provided evidence of health risks,” says Boecker. “You would need, not necessarily a catastrophic event, but firm, solid scientific evidence.”

Assessing the risks of GM foods

So far, scientific evidence into the health risks of eating GM foods is scant.While there have been several studies suggesting that GM foods are not as similar to their non-altered counterparts as previously thought, Boecker points out that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad for you.

Health Canada’s official stance on GM foods is that they are safe for consumption.But Brissette says that a lack of evidence doesn’t mean people should shrug off their concerns.”In my mind, it’s still a proceed-with-caution area. We’ve only had GMOs sold in Canada since 1994, so we haven’t had any studies on the long-term effects on our health or the environment,” she says.”We won’t know until years and years down the line.”

CONSULTATION IS A SMOKESCREEN

Source: The Victoria Star, April 14th, 2013

For those of us who care deeply about locally-based food systems and who recognize the role food can play in strengthening our communities, ecosystems and economies, it can be tempting to jump at each and every opportunity to get a piece of our vision mentioned in larger discussions about food and agriculture. As part of its Canadian Food Strategy project, the Conference Board of Canada is inviting organizations and individuals to public consultations across Canada this winter. The National Farmers Union received such an invitation.

Some local food activists have suggested it is important to attend. Others have turned down invitations, citing concerns that the strategy is a Canadian Food Industry Strategy, not a strategy to provide sufficient, healthy, safe and culturally appropriate food to all Canadians.

The Conference Board of Canada’s food strategy work is funded by private companies and government bodies. The Board describes itself as an applied research organization. The Canadian Food Strategy it is developing is really just another private-public partnership project whereby private interests benefit from public research dollars. Given that the project is being funded by companies such as Loblaw (Canada’s largest food retailer), Maple Leaf Foods (one of Canada’s largest food processors and agri-business companies), Nestlé (the world’s largest food processing company) and Heinz (a US-based multinational food processing giant), it is not a surprise that the focus of the strategy is to create more profit opportunities for these research ‘investors’.

Calls for the Canadian government to adopt a national food strategy are coming from a variety of places including Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, and the Peoples Food Policy, a project led by urban and rural food and farming advocates. No doubt the Conference Board of Canada hopes that by including public consultation in its research project it will build support for its own vision for our food system. Instead of harnessing the widening public energy and interest in food to create a food strategy for the public good, the government has invested in the Conference Board of Canada’s project, once again putting the interests of corporate Canada ahead of the interests of Canadian citizens advocating for a just and ecologically sound food system.

Nutritionists and food activists would be happy to see Canadians eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, which is one of the desired outcomes under the Healthy Foods section of the consultation. Those five servings could easily come from unprocessed or minimally-processed fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers and distributed directly to eaters through local food co-ops, farmers’ markets or small retailers. However, other “desired outcomes” listed under the Healthy Foods section include industry-developed healthier food choices, quicker approvals for foods with health benefits and food product innovations.

Unprocessed food is both healthier and more affordable, but encouraging its consumption limits opportunities for food processors and manufacturers to make money by breaking fresh produce into components and rearranging the components into innovative but healthy edible products.

Adding a few local and healthy food references to the list of desired outcomes in this food strategy does not alter its overall focus. As a farmer committed to providing food to my local community, my whole farm – not just a small piece of it – is geared towards working with nature to grow food for local people. Those of us committed to a food system that gives citizens a say in how our food is produced and where it comes from need to continue to work together to bring our vision forward. We also need to consider whether providing our input at each and every discussion of food and food strategies will help bring about a real shift in thinking about food.

The Conference Board of Canada’s food strategy consultation should be understood as a sophisticated and expensive “push poll”. Under the guise of seeking our opinions, its true purpose is the promotion of the vision of its corporate investors. It is not a genuine opportunity to advocate for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable food system.

Ann Slater is an Ontario farmer and National Farmers Union board member.

N.B. FOOD LABELLING LAW ONEROUS: GROCERS

Source: Moncton Times and Transcript,

BY ERIC LEWIS,

The Retail Council of Canada and representatives from major grocery store chains met with provincial Department of Health officials yesterday over what they feel are unnecessary food labelling laws affecting grocery stores in the province.

Jim Cormier, director of the Retail Council in Atlantic Canada, said the province began enforcing a food labelling regulation this year that has been in the Public Health Act since 2009, but ignored until now.

“Even the food inspectors that go around on behalf of the province … it’s been on the books since 2009 and nobody said a word,” Cormier said, noting the council was representing the concerned grocers.

In every province but New Brunswick, grocers can list either the “best before” or “packaged on” dates on perishable foods, Cormier said. However, the New Brunswick government now mandates that grocers use the “packaged on” date.

“In every other province in the country, we can use either or,” he said. “We’re well within the confines of the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.”

The New Brunswick-only regulation will end up costing grocers simply because they’ll have to change their regional or national labels for one market.

“The cost in the I.T. department alone in making this change at a regional or national level will be enormous … this would have to be done at least on a regional level, so if New Brunswick forces us to make this change, it means that we’re making the change for Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, Newfoundland as well, or we have to do it on a national basis. You’re getting into huge red-tape headaches.”

Cormier said it is simply a matter of government getting in the way of a business using what are already safe business practices, and he criticized the province for suddenly enforcing a 2009 regulation that had never been brought up before.

“You go into any grocery store in New Brunswick and you’re going to see ‘best before’ and ‘packaged on’ dates. So, it just shows how ineffective and generally useless this regulation is because nobody knew it existed and nobody from the province was enforcing their own regulation.”

He said it’s not that retailers don’t want to advertise “packaged on” labelling, they just want the freedom to use either. He said customers actually prefer seeing a “best before” date, because “if you just use ‘packaged on’ labelling, that’s assuming that the consumer understands how long that product is going to be good.”

The Department of Health was unable to provide much detail on the regulation or the reasons for it on Friday.

“Labeling guidelines were implemented in 2009 and apply to more than grocery products: they also include restaurant and ready-to-eat products,” said spokesperson Mélanie Sivret.

She said Public Health’s primary concern is to protect consumers and offer them the information they need to make appropriate decisions.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency requires all foods with a durable life of 90 days or less, when packaged at retail outlets, to be labelled with a “best before” date or a “packaged on” date, and there are a few specific details that go with each label so the consumer knows how they should store a product and how long they should keep it.

Cormier said Friday’s meeting with government officials went well. The Retail Council was asked to provide more information on their concerns, which Cormier said they will do. In the meantime, while the issue is being discussed between the two sides, the province has asked their inspection agents not to enforce the regulation in question.

“That’s definitely reasonable and we appreciate that,” Cormier said.

He declined to say which three grocery store chains were represented at the meeting, but offered that the Retail Council represents more than 55,000 store fronts across Canada, including major grocery store chains. The council’s website notes that their grocery members represent more than 90 per cent of all grocery sales in the country.

DIETICIANS’ POLITICAL ACTION SETS GOOD EXAMPLE

BY NORBERT CUNNINGHAM, Source: TIMES & TRANSCRIPT, 

The T&T reported this week on a dedicated group of Metro Moncton dieticians who’ve banded together to lobby governments to act to tackle problems related to unhealthy eating and diets.

Impressive

It may surprise some that I find their effort impressive and laudable. I’ve more than once made some fairly harsh criticisms of many in the public health arena for their shortcomings, however well meaning. And I have serious concerns over the eager readiness of many to virtually dictate and control people’s lives right down to what they can and can’t put into their mouths. It’s offensive and dangerous to democratic principles. It also ignores the fact human behaviour, by its very nature, isn’t always fully rational. At some point, even the well meaning need to back off and let people be.

Still, the effort of these dieticians reflects dedication beyond the strict call of duty at whatever specific jobs they hold, extending into genuine caring and good citizenship by actively getting involved and trying to improve society and people’s lives via better health.

How can you criticize that? It’s what democracy is about. The more people who participate in some way — especially by talking with those who hold power — the better governed we’ll be. Simply complaining, as many do, achieves nothing positive. Participating does.

Congratulations to these women. Their approach is smart. I have no doubt they’ll make progress. They’ll also learn a few things they don’t know now or that may surprise them — but that’s life and comes with striving.