Exploring Community Stories About “Fish as Food”

August 2018

Written by Kristen Lowitt

In May 2018, members of the FLEdGE Northwestern Ontario Research Node hosted a “fish as food” roundtable session at the Community Conservation and Livelihoods Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The session featured community stories on “fish as food” from the Northwest Territories to Nova Scotia. Collectively, the stories illustrate the importance of not seeing fisheries solely as an assortment of fish harvesters or fish stocks, but as part of larger food systems that provide for community sustenance, cultures, and economies. Co-organized by Kristen Lowitt and Charles Levkoe, the session builds on their ongoing FLEdGE research exploring the links between sustainable fisheries and food systems in the Lake Superior region of Northwestern Ontario. Continue reading “Exploring Community Stories About “Fish as Food””

Hidden Harvest Ottawa has big dreams for a greener Ottawa. What are yours?

August 2018

Imagine if every time you purchased $100 worth of groceries, your grocery store donated $25—or 1/4 of their ‘harvest’—to their local food bank. This is the scale of charitable benefits that Hidden Harvest supports in Ottawa.

Hidden Harvest’s impactful new video describes the benefits of gleaning to the uninitiated, and follows with a series of recommendations challenging municipal political leaders to make their community’s future “the most sustainable future it can be”. The video captures the essence of the Nourishing Communities Hidden Harvest Case Study by Chloé Poitevin DesRivières, released earlier this year. That case study found that, along with benefits to local food access agencies and processors, the services Hidden Harvest offers to the community and the city by creating alternate means to feed people, manage renewable resources, developing green infrastructure, and diverting waste from landfills speak to the aims of different city offices, including community and social services, energy planning, and forestry services.

This new video makes the case that the exceptional value in the public services produced through largely voluntary labour deserves the support of public officials.

Post by Phil Mount.

Cultivating Connections: Alberta Regional Food Systems Forum 2017

Conference Proceedings Now Available!

Find Forum Keynote and presenters’ slides, resources, and summary notes here:

On Feb 3-5 2017 Alberta Food Matters and FLEdGE—Food Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged – hosted a very successful Cultivating Connections 2017 Forum about Alberta Regional Food Systems. The purpose of this Forum was: 1) to bring together individuals and representatives from public, private and non-profit sectors in Alberta to share information about innovative initiatives; 2) to identify opportunities; and 3) to collaborate in building socially just, economically viable and ecologically sound and sustainable local/regional food systems in the province. The Forum provided a venue for those interested in forming partnerships, coalitions and action-oriented working groups toward this end.

Continue reading “Cultivating Connections: Alberta Regional Food Systems Forum 2017”

Governments, grassroots, and the struggle for local food systems: containing, coopting, contesting and collaborating


Local sustainable food systems have captured the popular imagination as a progressive, if not radical, pillar of a sustainable food future. Yet these grassroots innovations are embedded in a dominant food regime that reflects productivist, industrial, and neoliberal policies and institutions. Continue reading “Governments, grassroots, and the struggle for local food systems: containing, coopting, contesting and collaborating”

Buying Local Food Made Easy with Local Freshness Launch during Ontario’s Agriculture Week Oct 3-9th, 2016.

For immediate release

Ottawa-Gatineau-Renfrew, October 3, 2016 – The Table agroalimentaire de l’Outaouais, Just Food and the Ottawa Valley Food Coop are pleased to launch the first regional portal dedicated to helping eaters find local food products.

On this portal, eaters from Outaouais, Ottawa and Ottawa Valley will find important links in one place to identify local producers and locate where they are selling food – at the farm-gate, at restaurants, and/or online. Indeed, this portal unites for the first time.

For more information local_freshness-_press_release

Providing Local, Sustainable Food while Building Relationships- Seven Shores Community Cafe.

By Mbabazi S Shumbusho.

There’s a family friendly atmosphere when you enter this community cafe, the reception is warm and inviting. One can easily mistake it for a neighbourhood community centre. Seven Shores Community Cafe located in Waterloo, ON is striving to provide local food while building and maintaining community relationships. Ten people own this cafe; five couples to be exact who were regular customers and decided to come together to purchase the establishment from Shawn, the previous owner. In addition to the ten owners, the cafe sold shares to the community in 2015 to raise operating capital and also integrate the community into the project. The community shareholders (also known as preferred shareholders) own seventy shares but do not have any voting rights and do not partake in any decision-making. One wonders how ten owners work so well together but as co-owners Steve Tulloch and Sarah Whyte point out, having ten owners who are passionate about local food and community relationships makes it easier. Four owners currently work on the day to day running of the cafe while the remaining six owners work as advisors. To really make this work, Steve and Sarah insist that trusting one another is the key to their successful ownership and operation.

Their slogan ‘Simple, Ethical and Relational’ means good food produced using ethical practices which are local, organic using direct trade or fair trade, good living wages and maintaining a healthy relationship with the community.


Seven Shores Community Cafe

Sourcing produce is an on-going initiative but at present the cafe works with a local grassroots initiative known as sustainable markets https://sustainablemarket.ca, an online market that buys produce directly from farmers. They also have personal relationships with farmers and local suppliers. This is evident through table place cards that summarize each supplier’s story and their produce. The cards build a bridge between customers and suppliers. Steve explains that these place cards are given to customers so they know where their food is coming from. As Steve and Sarah explain, the benefits of working with local suppliers, food initiatives and farmers is that they are able to help out suppliers when they have extra produce, for example ugly produce, that is not purchased by the big institutions as it does not meet their standards. When it comes to coffee, they source their beans from South America (Peru) and Africa (Ethiopia) by working directly with the coffee producers to make sure that the coffee is fairly traded. This relationship was built by the previous owner and was adopted by the new ownership.


Table Place Card

As they say in their slogan, the owners take community relationships seriously. They put a premium on building relationships with the surrounding community members and suppliers. The cafe has a community room that can be rented out at an affordable price, $25 per hour or the occupants can buy $25 equivalent of food. The community room is a space for everyone. Steve mentioned that, for example, mother and baby groups rent the space as a place to gather. The cafe is also home to a small vegetable garden run by two high school students. Once ready for harvest, the vegetables are sold at the entrance of the cafe. Not only is Seven Shores Community Cafe promoting local sustainable food but it is also helping the community learn about the importance of growing and consuming fresh local food. The owners have realized that building community relationships also comes with being socially responsible. They have hired skilled refugees so they are able to integrate into Canadian society while earning a living wage.


Vegetable garden at the entrance of the café

Seven Shores community cafe is a space where everyone can feel like they belong, where one can have a good conversation or just read a book and try out delicious local food. For more information, please visit their website http://www.sevenshores.ca

I would like to thank Seven Shores Community Cafe, Sarah Whyte & Steve Tulloch for taking their time out of their busy schedules for the interview.