The $10 Challenge

"If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we’d have an additional $2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year. Keeping our money circulating grows those dollars to $3.6 billion and creates 10,000 new jobs" according to "numbers... compiled by Dr. Kevin Stolerick of The Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, and Doug Vallery of Experience Renewal Solutions, Toronto" for Lynn Ogryzlo, author of The Ontario Table.

Ogryzlo is a passionate locavore and she has challenged us all to take the $10 Challenge.  In her recipe book, The Ontario Table, she makes it easy to go well beyond $10 worth of local ingredients by providing countless mouth watering recipes made strictly from produce available in Ontario.  She also has an monthly $10 Challenge magazine full of recipes and interviews and information about local food.  Here is July's issue:

Ogryzlo will be attending the Dundas Farmers' Market this Thursday from 3-7 to sell and sign recipe books.  Many of the market vendors will be participating and will explain what the $10 Challenge could mean for their business and our community.  Keep an eye out for givaways provided by the amazing market organizer with help from the market's generous vendors.  The Dundas Farmers' Market is conveniently located in Municipal Parking Lot 7D at Hatt Street and Miller's Lane

Lavender & Music - fundraiser for Mark's Preece's Family House

Weir's Lavender Lane had a busy weekend -on Sat. July 14th, they took part in the second Farm Crawl and on Sun July 15th, they hosted Lavender and Music, a fund raiser for Mark Preece Family House, a space where folks can stay when they have families in Hamilton hospitals.

What a fundraiser! What better way of spending a Sunday then to support a fantastic organization like Mark Preece, listen to top-notch musical acts, munching on locally produced sausages from Dearsley's Meats, sitting under some tree-shade, surrounded by lavender plants?

We caught only a few of the music performers but if Trio Argento, David Lum and R&R were any indication of assortment of music -then guests that came anytime between 1-5pm, all heard amazing music.

We stopped into their farm store, the refreshing and relaxing lavender scent makes you want to stay there all day. It was tempting to buy one of everything - from lavender plants, essential oils, body care line, to culinary lavender - all their products made on-site.

Overall, we had a fantastic time! This fundraiser was relaxing and well-planned. Great job to the organizers who pulled together a very enjoyable outing! Well done!

McMaster Teaching and Community Garden

McMaster recently unveiled their new Teaching and Community Garden!  The project is part of the university's sustainability initiative.  The garden is located on the north side of the General Sciences Building, across from the Refectory. Weekly volunteer gardening sessions will take place throughout the growing season and workshops are anticipated to being in August.  Keep tabs on their website for more information on how you can get involved.

Sit, Enjoy, Listen, Relax at Ancaster Farmers Market

Ancaster Farmers Market is unique in the extent to which they make their market a complete experience for Ancaster's many locavores.  As well as a wide selection of farm vendors Ancaster also hosts many ready to eat prepared items and provides plenty of seating and tables to enjoy it all.  A particularly popular spot is a wrap around bench built from salvaged lumber around one of the market's towering trees.

While chowing down on some delicious delicacies patrons enjoyed some fantastic live music.  The first act was Mike McCurlie playing some fantastic covers including some skillful renditions of Tom Waits tunes that were especially appreciated by an anonymous Environment Hamilton summer intern.  Mike normally performs with his group Banned from Heaven.  The second act, Mark Fletcher switched it up with some Celtic music played on the Scottish smallpipes, the mandola and an Irish flute.  Mark often plays alongside his band Rant Maggie Rant.

At it's heart, Ancaster is an authentic farmers market and now is the time to pick up fresh produce.  Berry Fresh Farms are harvesting some new additions including peaches and corn!

Waterhall Farm is also a regular in Ancaster.  As regulars to the Hamilton Eat Local blog know, Environment Hamilton will host a bus trip to Waterhall on August 18th at 10:30 am.  Visit Homegrown Hamilton to purchase your tickets before they sell out.

Normally, access to the farmers market is off 37 Halson Street between the Church and the Parish Hall every Wednesday from 3-7pm.  However, on July 25th, 2012 the market will be located behind the Ancaster Public Library in the Village Green Park.

We Love Fenwood and Scotscraig Farms!

Despite thundering storms first thing in the morning Rural Routes participants came out in droves on Saturday.  Our first stop was Scotscraig Farm.

Malcolm and Cam along with their two industrious farm workers Kim and Elysia pose in front of our heroic HSR transportation after generously showing our group around the farm.  Some of their organic veggies are grown in a greenhouse while others are grown in their fields.

Scotscraig also raises some farm animals including chicken and sheep.

After Scotscraig we made our way over to Fenwood Farm where Carol showed us how they raise chickens, turkeys, emus and grow soy.

First we saw the emu which is a real strange bird that sounds like the tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park and live in female dominated family structures where the male birds spend most of the time sitting on large emu eggs.

We also got to see the turkey chicks which will be ripe and ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fenwood Farm was nice enough to BBQ some turkey hot dogs which the farm dogs were quite interested in.

Don't miss our next Rural Routes bus trips to Waterhall Farm on August 18th and Alpacas from Eighth and Mud on September 8th (date changed from September 1st!).  As usual, tickets are available at Homegrown Hamilton, 27 King William Street.  The bus departs at 10:30 am sharp outside Homegrown.

Rural Routes is still on today!

We are pressing on and visiting local organic farms: Scotscraig and Fenwood Farm today.

Rain or shine is our motto! Lets hope it starts to shine soon :)

Hamilton’s Eat Locallers Are Inspired!

Thursdays Toronto Eat Local Tour was absolutely inspiring.  A select group of determined and conscious food revolutionaries woke up bright and early to catch the 7:40 Go bus into Ontario’s capital.  

At 10 we arrived at the Stop and were given a tour.  The tour started with a larger tour of the Wynchwood Barns, which used to be a facility in which the TTC used to repair their streetcars.  Now the barns are home to art studios, residents and a variety of other organizations and corporations including the Stop.

The Stop is a phenomenal hub for community activists and volunteers.  The number of programs and services are endless and there are many new projects coming out of the woodworks.  They offer after school programs and a summer camp, community action organization, community cooking, a food bank, family support, sustainable food systems education and a venue for urban agriculture with a greenhouse and a number of internationally inspired community gardens.  

As well, at the stop there is an outdoor oven, a farmers market and they raise funds by serving a fantastic dinner one night a month.  Our guide Elizabeth talked with us non-stop about the programs and services provided by the Stop for an hour and a half and we could tell that she was only scratching the surface.  For inspiration oh how to make your community a healthier, richer, greener, more sustainable place the Stop is a great place to start.

After the stop we took a streetcar and a bus over to Foodshare which is located at and integrated into a local public High School.  There our guide Opal directed us toward the kitchen which whipped up a healthy, affordable, fresh and tasty lunch inspired by Spanish cuisine.  Foodshare also hosts a greenhouse with many interesting things growing.  Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Foodshare is their ability to deliver 4000 good food boxes a month to residents across Toronto.  The facility includes conveyor belts, a refrigeration room and they recently acquired two new refrigerated to add to their fleet.  All of which is operated by a large group of hard working volunteers.

Hamilton has our own Good Food Box program and we are working to grow as large as they have become in Toronto!  Order your own Good Food Box or Eat Local Box to save money, eat healthier and help expand this fabulous program.  Find your local Good Food Box site and order now!

Finally, we finished off our tour at the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market.  We learned about how this farmers’ market is transforming their neighbourhood and how they have managed to grow and survive over their 10 years in the community.

To help support local farmers, eat local food and support ethical food systems consider shopping at one of Hamilton’s many Farmers’Markets!