looks kinda, roughly, tentatively like this:
some nice friendly intro based on way too many people telling me “oh I didn’t know there was a market there!”
m5 328 b
why eat organic
Environmental reasons to eat organic – chemicals in soil, air, water, species disappearing cause of bad chemicals sprayed on pesky insects. scary DDT (everybody has heard of scary DDT, not everybody knows that its lingering and that there are still just as scary chemicals we are still using), chemicals moving up food chain. Everybody gets cancer and asthma. The amount of money is will cost in the long-run to pay for everybodys cancer treatment, then their asthma too.
personal health reasons is a large part of this – find some studies about pesticides fucking up your body and giving you cancer. Pesticides linger, build up in fatty tissues and hang out for years, unable to rid body of toxins. The current ‘dirty dozen’. The ‘high cholesterol’ in free range vrs industrial eggs. Those bugs you re spraying? They’re getting over the chemicals and building immunities.
why eat local
environmental reasons for the 100-mile diet – trucks, carbon footprint, the energy used to get that pint of raspberries from california to here in about 48 hours or else they will rot. How much food a grocery store throws out? How much food is wasted in over-stocking? (heather says theres a lot of waste in a market garden too, actually.) ah – how much food is wasted after it traveled so far. Better, slightly rigged argument. Market garden food is tilled under to use as fertilizer, maybe fed to the chickens. Grocery store food goes into the dumpster.
Supporting farmers, farming lifestyles, supporting heirloom varieties of plants and animals that are going extinct – if we didnt eat them, they wouldnt exist. How many varieties of potatoes/tomatoes/apples there used to be. where your money goes when you give it to the grocery store vrs the farmer. It goes to the farmer. End of story.
The general ‘fresher, higher nutrition’ argument.
The ‘are you on a friendly, first-name, ‘knows the name of your children and what you took in school’ terms with the grocery store clerk? Probably not.
Something you might want to touch on to bring it all together is the idea of resilience, building resilient communities, and food security in general. I realize there’s so many things you could be including and talking about, but that’s a big one that I don’t think gets incorporated into general material.
certifications and what they mean (if anything): organic, free range/free run, naturally raised, grass-fed etc – all the bullshit ones that want your money and then the ones that are actually meaningful. The “our hens are kept in state-of-the-art, weather-protected barns with the freedom to run around” and decode that to see it means nothing.
why small farms are organic but not certified (simply – its too expensive to go through that process)
markets in the GTA
info about each market: history, changes over time, vendors, what you can get, any CSA programs there. (Things to look for in each season – wild mushrooms.)
organic “pick-your-own” farms in GTA (theres two?)
restaurants that use local ingredients
info about specific restaurants: history, general feel of menu, who supplies them
delivery box programs in toronto (CSA that comes to your door instead of you needing to go get it)
butcher shops who work with local farmers
calendar of whats in season when
Toronto Farmers’ Market Manager’s Network and Farmers Market Ontario Association FMO
Vendor sales can range from $100/market for small-scale city-based vendors to several thousand per day for larger produce farms at peak season. In general, it is not considered economically viable for a farmer to come into the city for sales of less than $1,000, but many farmers have made investments in developing customer bases at small or new markets in Toronto where sales are lower, counting on longer-term success. While higher sales numbers can sound like a lot of profit, here are some things to bear in mind:
For produce farms, production costs (seeds, fertilizers and soil amendments (organic or conventional), irrigation equipment, machinery & repairs, temperature-controlled storage/washing/packing facilities, insurance, interest on farm loans, on-farm labour for cultivating, planting, weeding, harvesting, etc.) make up about 70% of the final price of produce at market.
For meat farms, sales volume is generally lower than for produce, and production costs are somewhat different, for example: a year of labour, fencing, shelter, veterinary and feed costs to raise calves to maturity, shipping and butchering costs ($45/animal plus approximately .45/lb to cut and wrap), staff to stay behind feeding animals. In the end, the total is again about 70% of the retail price at market.
So, for each $1,000 in sales, a farmer has $300 to cover all ‘going-to-market’ costs. These include:
1) Time (not including harvest, washing and packing in crates): in addition to market hours, 1.5 to two hours loading and unloading the truck on-farm, on average two hours travel at each end, plus 1.5 setup and .5 cleanup at the market, so a 4 hour market takes approximately 12 hours labour for two or more people. (Estimating the cost to the farm of having the farmer absent at peak season is harder.)
2) Gas and vehicle wear & tear: current estimates for a truck are .75-$1/km travelled, so for even the closest farms, over $100/market in travel round-trip. For farmers coming in from Niagara/Prince Edward County and other areas farther from Toronto, costs are substantially higher.
3) Equipment and supplies: tents, tables, signs, weigh scales, hand trucks, other display equipment, coolers and ice if needed, baskets, bags
4) Fees: markets charge about $25/week in table fees (or sometimes more) to each vendor to cover insurance, permit fees, some promotion, at-market equipment and manager/support staff time. Most farms also pay an extra premium on their own insurance to cover them at market.
Markets typically run for about 22 weeks, though some continue through the winter, with lower sales volume. Whatever the farmer earns at peak season must cover their expenses for much longer, and provide a buffer against crop failures; as well, for every top-notch day (eg/ peak of strawberry season) there will be slower ones, including days when inclement weather results in poor customer turnout but expenses must still be covered.
Why do they come? Farmers may work out an overall plan (participating in two markets in different parts of the city by dropping product and family/staff at one and attending the other, balancing production for a CSA (weekly box share program) with sales at markets, using direct sales as an alternative to the collapse in opportunity that occurred following mad-cow fears, combining deliveries to stores or restaurants with a trip to market…) that helps to reduce the risks and makes attending markets more viable. They also value the direct feedback, interaction and promotional value of markets. However, after calculating their expenses, it is easy to see that farmers must manage all aspects of their operations expertly to make a profit, and any trend towards higher costs would make it impossible to earn a living.
Toronto Farmers’ Market Network, August 2011
“From his post as director of food services at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus, one innovative, local-loving chef is upsetting the status quo.
Jaco Lokker, who also oversees Chestnut Residence, is in charge of feeding more than 1,000 students three (or four or five, depending on appetites) meals a day for 32 weeks of the year. Under the constraints of the student meal plan, that means putting out 13,000 plates of food a week at a cost of about $3 each. That hasn’t stopped him from converting 65 per cent of the food that passed through his kitchen last year to local fare and bringing farmers into cafeterias to trumpet it. That’s more than a million dollars’ worth of Ontario food, including all-organic Harmony milk, potatoes and Norfolk county apples.”
No more article unless I sign up with newspaper
Future of Farming in Canada:
1. How does your party’s platform address the shrinking number and growing size of farms in Canada?
2. Canada doesn’t have a national food policy. Is a National Food Policy a priority for your party?
3. Protecting farmland from development pressures has never been more important than today… what steps will your party take to both protect farmland and the ability for people to farm that land?
4. ON farmers have had to contend with free and open trade with the US without the benefit of a US-style Farm Bill for support. It leaves Ontario farmers at the mercy of the subsidized competition to the South. Does your party support either a) creating a similar Farm Bill or b) challenging the US Farm Bill at the WTO?
1. It has been suggested that “real”, economically viable farms must be at least $250,000 in sales annually- yet many organic farms are more profitable with smaller gross income than that- what approaches to agriculture are supported by your party’s platform?
2. Organic agriculture provides 30-50% greater water retention in soil, reduces on-farm energy use between 20-60%, does not rely on synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. What would your party do to support greater adoption of organic farming as a climate change mitigation strategy?
3. Seeds are a big issue for agriculture. Our pride and joy internationally is Canola- bred through public research dollars. Traditional seed breeding in the face of climate change is ever more important. Today, we have no national seed bank, and our traditional breeding programs have been gutted in favour of funding trans-gene research. Do you support increasing public investment in a seed bank and in seed stock development?
1. Canada adopted our Organic Standards in 2009- yet today we have no secure funding for maintenance and upkeep of this federal standard, nor any funding for the work of the committees that do the interpretation work. Without funding, our internationally recognized standard is at risk: what would your party do to ensure long term, stable funding for maintenance and upkeep of our hard won organic standards?
2. While we’ve had an organic standard nationally since 2009, there has been no promotional or educational campaign from the federal government to promote the logo or educate Canadians on what the logo means. Would your party invest in this promotion?
1. When the election was called, the Standing Committee on Agriculture was about to vote on a GE Alfalfa moratorium: what is your party’s position on a GE Alfalfa Moratorium?
2. Depending on the study, between 75 and 85% of Canadians want GMO foods labeled: what is your party’s position on GMO labeling and why?
3. Organic farming techniques are increasingly being adopted or, more rightly, returned to the broader farming landscape. Would your party support permanent funding for public research on organic agricultural techniques?
Farm and Food Infrastructure: 1. Local food is not a trend: it is a shift, says Sandy Houston of the Metcalf Foundation. Yet to have local food year round, Canada needs to heavily invest in and update our processing sector, as well as our post-harvest handling and storage infrastructure. What is your party`s policy on supporting investment in food processing?
2. Abattoirs are closing in Ontario at an alarming rate. The regulations in place favour consolidation, not diversity, in processing. Yet these regulations did not prevent the Maple Leaf deaths . Other jurisdictions have regulations for micro and small scale processing that is scale appropriate. What is your party’s position on appropriate regulations for local, sustainably produced processed food?