Hamilton Food Charter

A city advisory committee, the Community Food Security Stakeholder Committee is setting out to write a food charter. This charter will creat a vision that will guide food policies in our city. And we want your imput.
   We invision a food charter that will:
- promote healthy, safe, nutritious, and accessible food system
- support sustinance practices and promote the economic viability of our farmers
- support a just food system
- support a vibrant local food system
But we need to hear from you! Whast would you include in a Food Charter? Be part of creating a food charter for Hamilton. A Food Charter would help shape "A Healthy, Sustainable and Just Food System for the Community of Hamilton".

To contribute to the charter, register by calling 546-CITY (905-546-2489) for one of the six public consultations. Please identify any accessibility needs at the time.

A Halloween Recipe

 Happy Halloween!

 Here is a recipe from Foodland Ontario that is sure to be enjoyed by all.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin Squares

Chock full of cranberries and pumpkin flavour, these moist orange-spiked squares are ideal for dessert or weekend breakfast treats. Tuck one or two into packed lunches for a treat kids will love.
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 to 40 Minutes

Servings: 15 squares or 12 muffins
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) pumpkin pie spice
  • 2-1/2 tsp (12 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped fresh Ontario Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup (120 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) grated orange rind
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) cooked Ontario Pumpkin purée

  • Topping:
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, softened
In bowl, combine sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and butter; set aside.

In large bowl stir together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir in cranberries and walnuts.
In separate bowl, beat egg; mix in brown sugar, orange juice, milk, oil and orange rind. Blend in pumpkin purée. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Spoon into greased 8-inch (2 L) square cake pan. Sprinkle with topping.
Bake in 375ºF (190ºC) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Run knife around edges to loosen. Turn out onto wire rack and let cool. Cut into squares. (Alternatively spoon batter into 12 large greased or paper-lined muffin cups, filling to top. Sprinkle with topping. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until firm to the touch.) Serve warm or at room temperature.

10th Anniversary Celebration

   Here  at EH everything is just starting to quite down after our 10th Anniversary Celebration. It was a very eventful evening filled with bidding on the silent auction, listening to great music from both Sarah Harmer and Dawn & Marra, and of course eating the wonderful food that was prepared for us. Thanks go out to Chef & Wife for all of their delicious hors d'oeuvres that were distributed through out the night. Another thanks go out to our refreshment suppliers Steamwhistle brewery and Puddicombes. There was a great deal of people that volunteered through out the night that are all greatly appriciated.
   The evening started out very smooth, and before we knew it everything was under way. People mingled as the found their seats, or browsed the silent auction. There was lots to see in the silent auction, and all of the items went very nicely. Through out the evening we saw speeches, watched a video, and ate delicious desserts and cake. Sarah Harmer did an amazing job, and over all the evening was a great success.
   Thank you to everyone who supported and came out to celebrate with us!

Mmm Apple Sauce

Monday afternoon we headed over to Fortino's in the Eastgate Mall, and used their wonderful community room to make apple sauce. We didn't get a great turnout, but we still had fun. The apples we used came from Dundurn Castle and they tasted great! We use about ten pounds of apples, that turned into great sauce!

Local meat producer and processor is connecting with Hamilton FoodShare THIS Saturday as part of their grand opening

Local meat producer / processor VG Meats has expanded and has decided to call Stoney Creek its second home. They have been in Simcoe for 40 years and the three brothers are celebrating their Grand Opening of their second location THIS Saturday October 22nd.

As part of their storefront launch, Ontario Heritage Meats will be there and offering various tasting of their products and the first ones to walk into the store on Saturday will get a chance to take home VG Meats homemade sausages.

Saturday October 22nd,
131 Upper Centennial Parkway at Highland Road.

Here an email from one of the owners, Cory Van Groningen

"We're having an opening on Saturday in Stoney Creek. One of the main things going on is that we're asking people to come in and sign our guestbook. For every signature, we will be donating ground beef to the Hamilton Food Share. Our idea is that we would rather give meat to the food bank than wasting paper on printing and distributing flyers.

We're hoping that the day is so successful that we can continue to work with the Hamilton Food Share all year long!
the event is Saturday October 22nd from 9 am to 6 pm. The address is 131 Upper Centennial Parkway at Highland Road, Stoney Creek."

Check out this youtube video: http://bit.ly/qZE58w
For more information, check out

Rural Routes goes to Simpler Thyme Organic Farm for the last tour of the year

Ann plays "Guess that Green?" with participants.

Ann (in the black hat) talks about their 25 acre maple syrup bush and challenges and successes.

The day was chilly and wet but that did not stop Rural Routes participants from enjoying a guided tour of Simpler Thyme Organic Farm (near Freelton).

Learning from Ann, Bill and Charles is always a treat, and they never give the same tour twice! (We know from experience :)

We learned about their passive greenhouse that grows the coolest things (we are not going to tell, as we strongly encourage folks to go to Simpler Thyme and find out all the impressive things that they do), their maple syrup bush and their veggie garden (complete with trees).

One of the concerns Ann bought up was with their 25 acre maple syrup bush. Tapping time is when the daytime temperature is 6 degrees C and the nighttime temperature is minus 6 degrees C. While 2011 had these temperatures, previous years have not been as successful. Ann suspects that ideal temperatures are going to harder to come by and therefore affect maple syrup production in the near future.

While we learned about some challenges that farmers face, Ann focused our attention on successes and plans for the future - including planting native trees and keeping the forest close to her garden (actually growing trees IN her garden) as she argues that forests bring a lot of benefits to the soil and environment in general.

We were offered homemade bread (with swiss chard as the secret ingredient) and hot soup -perfect fare for a fall day. It was delicious!

This Rural Routes is the last tour of the year (as far as we can tell). Check in for 2012 bus tours.

Thank yous:
Smart Commute Hamilton
Homegrown Hamilton for selling our tickets
Hamilton Street Railway

All the farms that we have visited in 2011:
Black Walnut Lane
Murphy's Country Produce
Shearlea Acres
The Boar and Chick
Simpler Thyme Organic Farm

Thanks to our volunteers who come out and help us out with the logistics of the day.

And of course, last but definitely not least, thank you to everyone who has come out to our tours! Its been a pleasure to share these farm tours with you all.

Rural Routes will be back in 2012.

Rural Routes and Neighbour to Neighbour Centre go to Lindley's Farm Market

What a great Thanksgiving Saturday!

Rural Routes participants from Neighbour to Neighbour Centre spent the morning last Saturday at Lindley's Farm Market in Ancaster. Joe, the farmer treated us to their corn maze (this year, featuring Ontario Foodland Symbol - check out their corn maze photos here).

The group picked pumpkins and spent time at the on-site farm market.

Big thank you to Neighbour to Neighbour organizer, Sara, as well as Darlene (and William). This Rural Routes was supported by the Hamilton Community Foundation - thank you to them!

Our next public Rural Routes is heading to Simpler Thyme Organic Farm, near Dundas. Rain or Shine (fingers crossed we have shine!) with farmers, Ann and Charles, leading us - it is sure to be a great tour!

Fruit Tree Projects

When the time has come to prepare for the winter season, and farmers need a little help rounding up the last of their produce the Hamilton Fruit Tree is at the ready! The Hamilton Fruit Tree is a variety of volunteers that go to farms, or orchards in the Hamilton area that need help to finish up the season. When harvesting at a farm, the pickings go to the Hamilton Food Share, and if not there, always to another food bank. To find out more information, or if you want to get involved please check out the Hamilton Fruit Tree Project Blog. Along the sames lines at the Hamilton Fruit Tree Project is Not Far From The Tree, a group based out of Toronto that also aides in picking whenever there is an abundance of local fruit. The harvest that Not Farm From The Tree picks is splitted up into thirds. One third to the tree owner, one third to to volunteers, and one third is distriuted by bicycle to a foodbank, shelter, or community kitchen. Another fruit tree organization is the Halton Fruit Tree Project a third of the Growing and Sharing Food in Halton project. This project is to increase local harvest availability for the people of Milton.

Bring Food Conference

Bring Food Home brings together those who are sowing these seeds across Ontario to share successes, gain skills, and collaborate. This action-focused event will generate new ideas and connections and will move us towards a brighter food future. This year's Bring Food Home Conference at Trent University, on the 27th-29th of October, is three days of hands on workshops, keynote speakers, action planning sessions, and more, all based around Preparing the Ground for a Sustainable Food System. The workshops will be directed at new and experienced farmers that cover the followning topics: CSA Mini School, Intro to SPIN (Small Plot INtensive ) Farming, Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers, Grazing 101, and Buying and Selling Organic Field Crops. Keynote Speakers include: Raj Patel, Mark Winnie, Jeanette Longfield, Dawn Morrison, and Jon Steinman. For more information and registration you can visit the Bring Food Home Website.

Farmer's Markets Fall Update

As the fall is setting in the Farmer's Markets we have around town will be finishing up for the winter. Here are the closing dates of some of the markets we have around our city.Ancaster Farmers' Market: October 5th, Binbrook Farmers' Market: End of October, Dundas Farmers' Market: October 27th, Locke Street Farmers' Market: October 28th, and Mountain Farmers' Market: November 5th. Hurry out to get some of Hamilton's great local food for the winter!