Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homegrown Ontario

Local food is becoming a hot topic.  Ontario has its Local Food Act, and is slowly adjusting local (ie. Ontario grown) food preferences for all public institutions in Ontario.

Leading the way, Ontario Pork Producers’ Marketing Board (OPPMB), the Ontario Veal Association (OVA) and the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency (OSMA) came together to form Homegrown Ontario in 2006.  OIPP gives a detailed account, and is now the owner of this important trademark.  Unfortunately, I haven't seem too many of these logos at retail meat counters.

In 2005, spouses Smith & MacKinnon started to exclusively eat foods that were grown or harvested from within a 100 mile radius of their home. It was a challenge, and they shared stories about their adventures with family and friends.  This lead to a few magazine articles, which lead to the book 100 Mile Diet in 2007, then a documentary film.

"Local Food" is a complex issue with no clear definition accepted by all.  Most stakeholders seem to include:

  • DTC (Direct to Consumer), where the farmer sells food directly to a member of the household that will be cooking and eating the food.
  • CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), where one or more people will "hire" a farmer to grow specified foods for them, often paying in advance, and the consumer shares (or fully owns) the risk & benefits of bountiful harvests, or crop failure.
  • FM (Farmer's Markets), where farmers gather at proximate locations on a semi-regular basis (eg. every Saturday) to sell their crops to interested buyers (personal, business, wholesale, etc.).

CFIA has adopted the interim policy that "Local Food" is:
  • food produced in the province or territory in which it is sold, or
  • food sold across provincial borders within 50 km of the originating province or territory
The inter-provincial "local food" would seem to assume a 50 km radius on each side of the provincial border, for a total diameter of 100 km centered on the provincial border,  This would allow settlements near provincial borders to continue inter-provincial economic ties, including "Local Food".

Ontario has adopted the definition that "Local" is food raised, grown, or produced within Ontario.

A big name consultant did up a report for Ontario on best practices for local food, directed at municipalities.  Is your municipality on board?  If no, why not?  What are you going to do to help get them there, and keep them there?

USDA's Economic Research Service has a nice detailed report on local & regional food in the USA.

Small Flockers support these definitions and initiatives.

We believe that poultry can and should be grown "locally", as in a neighbourhood.  Backyard chickens meet this definition.

The challenge will be access to the necessary infrastructure.  Requiring a backyard chicken farmer to ship his 4 chickens half way across the Province so that he can get a OMAFRA approved slaughter just doesn't make sense.

We have suggested mobile abattoirs that seem feasible in all aspects.

Long term, there seems to be a need for relaxed regulations that allow backyard chicken owners to kill their own birds on their own property (or perhaps at some shared community site), provided they have limited quantities of production, it is done with full disclosure to those receiving &/or eating the birds, and they follow a standard, pre-approved slaughter process.

This could be achieved by one or more of the following choices:

  • Backyard chicken grower ("BCG") visits OMAFRA site, does on-line course, passes comprehension test, and becomes certified on standard OMAFRA process for slaughtering birds.  Local health unit receives a copy of the new certification so they can do inspections as required.
  • BCG clicks on link from OMAFRA's site to suppliers who sell standard kits of equipment and materials needed for slaughtering equipment, makes selection, and purchases.
  • BCG uses pre-approved slaughter process, self-tags resulting chickens for traceability.
  • If BCG desires, they can develop their own slaughter process, have it reviewed & approved by OMAFRA, who may require micobiology testing, or on-site witnessing and approval by OMAFRA, and possibly additional terms, conditions, or restrictions.
If anybody knows any reasons why this couldn't be made to work, I ask them to post their ideas here so we can discuss tem fully.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Off-topic commercial spam that's posted so as to help sell your wares will be deleted.

On-topic comments, where you behave yourself and play nicely, will remain posted; whether they are pro or con. Everybody needs to fully understand all points of view so that we can find a solution that encompasses everybody's concerns. Give it your best shot.

If you decide to post, your posting becomes part of the public record, and SFPFC has full rights to use it (or not) in any reasonable manner or medium that suits our purposes.

Before posting, please proofread, and correct as necessary. If you subsequently discover a need to fix your previous posting, make an additional posting that refers to the original posting, then set the record straight.