Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

Not Far From The Tree

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Not Far From The Tree BannerOne of the cool projects we heard about at EcoSuave was “Not Far From the Tree.” They are a non-profit organisation in Toronto that “help fruit tree owners make use of the abundance of fruit that their trees offer by dispatching teams of volunteers to harvest it for them. One third goes to the fruit tree owners, another third goes to the volunteers for their labour, and the final third is distributed (by bicycle or cart) to community organizations in the neighbourhood who can make good use of the fresh fruit.” Last year (2008) they picked 3003lb of fruit!

We thought this was a GREAT idea and will consider calling them if our lonely pear tree is as abundant as it was last year.

Here are some similar organisations in the rest of the province and Canada:

EcoSuave Experience

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

LocalEating @ EcoSuave

Tanny and I have been a little buried with our day jobs (which have recently extended into evening/night jobs) recently so we’re a bit behind with our posts. We’re on vacation currently so the site will get some more attention in the coming days.

As we had written previously we were fortunate to be invited to this year’s inaugural EcoSuave fundraising event. We had a table set up with two laptops connected to and hosted a video testimonial to local eating. Tanny and I had a GREAT time. The event was very well organised, with a lot of yummy local food and a lot of very friendly guests. It’s the first time we’ve ever actively promoted the site and it was fantastic to get feedback from people. I hope some of you found your way to our site after the event!

The video testimonal was setup as a way to enter a raffle for a wonderful gift basket of sustainable goodies. We’re planning to release the video on our site once it’s ready, but due to the excitement and energy level in the room it’s pretty difficult to hear many of the speakers on the video so I will be captioning them before I post it.

LocalEating at EcoSuave

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Josh and I have our outfits picked out and all ready for ecoSuave2009. We feel very fortunate to be asked by the organizers to attend this event. We’ll have a table there to talk to people about eating locally and a special activity that will get you entered into a draw for some awesome prizes. The whole event sounds like fun – there is live jazz and an array of food prepared from local ingredients. The food will be set up at sampling stations and is included in the ticket price. Check out the Enlightened Events website for more details.

If you’re in Toronto, maybe we’ll see you there!

The influence of the “Local Eating movement” on big business

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

You’ve probably noticed the same advertisements I have from Loblaws (and sister companies). Loblaw corporation (part of Westons ) has begun to get the word out that they support local Canadian farmers. Part of me would like to think that the groundswell around local and sustainable eating has encouraged them to buy more local produce. The cynical part of me would reference The Corporation .

Frankly, I think Loblaws, and most chain grocery stores carry a reasonable amount of seasonal, local produce – but they also carry a lot of non-local produce during seasons when it is not necessary (US and Chilean apples in the autumn?). The press release I mentioned above states that:

Loblaw purchased $750-million of Canadian produce in 2007 -
approximately 25 per cent of their total produce selection.

I guess the Loblaw group should be commended for typically moving in the right direction. The PC organic line is quite extensive. They were also quite quick with the re-usable shopping bags. They even have a more environmentally friendly concept store in Scarborough (link ). Call it good business, listening to the public opinion or sincere social responsibility, these are all good steps.

The big question for me is – do I add them here as a "local supplier"? Even though we don’t have a strict rule on the percentage of local food that must be supplied, at 25% I’m going to wait.

Keep eating local!

Garden activity

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The peas are taking off like crazy this year and our heirloom tomatoes are getting bigger and stronger by the week. Not much sign of the parnsips. The carrots, while they started out strong, have had to contend with our 1 year old gardener. Still holding out hope that they bounce back! Our basil plants were thriving in the heat of last week but aren’t sure what to make of the cooler temperatures this week.

Some sights from around our gardens:

This year we pruned our pear tree to hopefully increase its yield and grow more pears than the squirrels can eat.

This year we pruned our pear tree to hopefully increase its yield and grow more pears than the squirrels can eat.

Here’s Ella checking up on the peas in the garden – can you see any carrots leaves on the bottom of her shoe?

One of our resident carpenter bees making a home in our fence. At least its not our porch again!

An unusual black butterfly. Anyone know what it is?

A snail chilling out on some clematis.

Happy Victoria Day

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Tanny and the seedlings.

This weekend Tanny and I had some time to work on the website and the garden. Tanny added some more soil to her tomato seedlings and pinched off the weaker ones. I worked some compost into the garden and got it primed for planting. Unfortunately the temperature is just barely into the double digits so we’re going to wait until next weekend to plant.

Also – the seasonal food list now has lists for BC and PEI.

Sprouts update

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Sprouts - week 3

Week 3: They are getting bigger.

The dark side to local eating?

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

I recently read the (UK based) article “How the myth of food miles hurts the planet” from The Observer.  The premise of the article is that the environmental impact of food cannot be simply judged by its “food mile”.  

The author has three arguments. Produce from Kenya is grown using manual labour, thus more environmentally friendly, and  has a smaller carbon footprint than some British mega-farm produce even when you consider the airfreight. Buying local greenhouse lettuce is not really better than importing the field grown ones from Spain – the transportation costs are offset by the greenhouse heating costs. The local apples in August that were picked last fall use  energy to be kept cold for nine months. 

It really made me think about my local eating philosophy.  I think that an important part of eating locally is eating seasonally, and with all things in life – moderation is key.  Our main reason to eat locally is to support our local farmers and to eat fresh and tasty food.  

What’s your reasons for eating local? 

Overpackaged organics

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

Since Tanny and I began seeking out more organic food options I’ve noticed an alarming trend for overpackaging of those foods. In particular, eggs and bananas seem horrendously overpackaged. I’d like to know why organic bananas require a plastic bag over them and organic eggs typically come in a three-fold plastic container. Is it because they sell for more so some of the extra profit is put into more expensive packaging? A case of marketing the eggs better?

In the case of bananas I could see that the bag protects the organic bananas against the pesticides that remain on the outside of non-organic bananas during shipping. Or maybe they somehow grow the bananas in the bag and this is how they can avoid pesticide use. Google wasn’t able to justify it for me.

Luckily the locally-grown eggs we buy at Fresh From The Farm come in reused containers. Alas there are no locally-grown bananas so once the winter ends and we tighten up our local-eating I may not need to worry about overpackaged bananas.

Zero Footprint Toronto

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

This isn’t directly related to local eating, but the City of Toronto has teamed up with ZeroFootprint to provide the ZeroFootprint Toronto website. You can calculate your carbon footprint and make pledges to yourself to make small changes in your lifestyle that would have an impact on your carbon emissions. I found it pretty illuminating. I consider myself pretty environmentally responsible and I was happy to see I’m a below the Toronto average, but I’m really going to have to seal up the drafts in this house to keep our heating bill under control! Otherwise Tanny had better get used to sleeping in 10 degC! 😉

Eating both organically and locally reduces your carbon footprint.

We’re doing well now and will be doing even better once our garden is producing. Tanny is already after me for a new greenhouse window for the kitchen.

Also, for those not in Toronto you can use their personal carbon manager to track your carbon usage. Looks like the same thing but without the Toronto specifics (like tips on how large a compost and garbage bin in the city are).