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Ecology Ottawa has an excellent calendar of local eco-events.
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 Living Lightly

  EnviroCentre Edition - Spring 2016

Scroll down for highlights!
Catherine Mageau-Walker (SustainLowertown Coordinator), Annie Mercier (LCRC Community Developper), Mathieu Fleury and Angela Palma Herriot at a Good Food Market in Lowertown Credit: Photo courtesy of SustainLowertown

Catherine Mageau-Walker (SustainLowertown Coordinator), Annie Mercier (LCRC Community Developper), Mathieu Fleury and Angela Palma Herriot at a Good Food Market in Lowertown.
Photo courtesy of SustainLowertown

Pedal to Plate with the Otesha Project


The Otesha Project will be rolling into the National Capital Region from July 9-17 with a brand new Pedal to Plate tour promoting local agriculture and environmental sustainability. The Otesha Project, which began in 2002, uses cycling tours, workshops and performance pieces to emphasize the importance of thinking critically about consumption choices.
The Pedal to Plate tour is a nine-day cycling trek throughout the Ottawa region, with visits to 12 farms.
 Click to watch a special supplementary interview: 
The tour is intended to bolster the understanding of the dynamics of the local food infrastructure, according to Otesha's Director of Operations Darrell Harvey. "The tour is designed to educate on how our choices affect what we consume," says Harvey.
Pedal to Plate is unlike typical Otesha tours, as it runs for a significantly shorter time, features no theatrical element, is open to all ages and will stay exclusively in the Ottawa area. "The Pedal to Plate tour is a pilot project," says Harvey. "There will be no performing aspect, and instead there will be meetings with different Ottawa area organizations and political groups."
Harvey says the tour is a response to frequent complaints from mostly older supporters who would love to get involved with Otesha but are unable to be away for two months (the average length of a typical Otesha cycling tour). "Instead of exclusively youth tours (ages between 18 and 30), the Pedal to Plate tour is an opportunity for older people who want to get involved," according to Harvey. The Pedal to Plate tour is hardly the only excursion Otesha is making to the nation's capital. The Phenomenal Food Tour, which began in May in Kitchener, made its last stop in Ottawa at the end of June. The Phenomenal Food Tour is a more orthodox Otesha tour, lasting nearly two months and traveling across the province with stops at numerous farms on the way.

The Otesha Project has decided to focus these two tours on the concept of food security to tap into the "growing food conscious movement," says Harvey. The trips to various farms are designed to explore the role individuals play in determining their food supply. The Phenomenal Food Tour is a great success, with Harvey touting the tour's "excellent response." The Otesha Project has embarked on numerous cycling tours since the first journey in 2003, when founders Jocelyn Land-Murphy and Jessica Lax took a 164-day trip across the country. The duo formed the group scarcely a year earlier while studying in Kenya, naming the organization Otesha, which means "reason to dream" in Swahili. According to the Otesha website, the group grew out of the shock Land-Murphy and Lax experienced at seeing the disparity in lifestyles between North America and Africa, and seeing their fellow Canadians' ignorance about the effects of their lifestyle choices. Their cross-Canada journey set the tone for the organization.

The Otesha Project continues to use cycling tours as a learning tool to show Canadians how comparatively easy it is to make simple, environmentally conscious adjustments to their lives. "It's really grueling and shows that if someone can go on a two-month cycling tour, then changing some lifestyle choice is relatively easy," adds Harvey. The cycling tours have the added benefit of bringing the efforts of The Otesha Project into the public consciousness by interacting with various communities. "The tours help push the movement forward; they're a bridge to mainstream," says Harvey.

In addition to the cycling journeys, Otesha incorporates performance pieces into their environmental educational program. "The theatre is a great way to connect with people on an emotional and personal level," says Harvey. Both Land-Murphy and Lax have sought to break down complex environmental challenges into their most personal levels. The theatrical and workshop elements of the tours are intended to do just that and serve to educate participants on the potential impact their individual choices can have.  "By focusing on our daily actions," says Harvey, "and thinking critically about the impact our choices have, we can make smarter lifestyle choices."

Marco Vigliotti is interested in environmental issues.


PERC thanks the above organizations for their support.

Thank you to Envirocentre for sponsoring the Spring 2016 edition of the PEN.


In this issue..

Growing Food and Community in Lowertown East

Catherine Mageau-Walker, Program Coordinator, Sustain Lowertown


Want more PEN?

Look for the full print edition at community centres and select retailers throughout the Ottawa area.

The PERC site features highlights from the current edition. PDF versions of the full PEN will be available in the archives after the current edition is off the stands.



The PERC thanks the above organizations for their support.

Thank you to Envirocentre and to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for sponsoring the Spring 2016 edition of the PEN.


Viewpoints expressed should not be taken to represent the opinions of the Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Centre, the Peace and Environment News, or our supporters. The PEN does not recommend, approve or endorse any of the advertisers, products or services printed in the PEN or referred to on the PERC website. Health-related information printed in the PEN or online is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified and licensed health care provider. The PERC and PEN are not responsible for the content on any external website links.