EnviroCentre Edition - Spring 2016
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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
More local affordable food destined for West Carleton in 2016
Val Ward and Judi Varga-Toth, Sustain West Carleton
A grassroots coalition in the rural Ottawa ward of West Carleton is set to launch a series of programs to make it easier for residents to access affordable, healthy food grown close to home.
Made up of farmers, market gardeners, health professionals, business people and residents, the West Carleton Healthy Food Coalition (WCHFC) is partnering with the Ottawa Good Food Box and EnviroCentre’s Sustain West Carlton project to boost the ward’s ability to grow, store and distribute its own food. Helping people learn about food gardening and preparation will also be part of these efforts.
The WCHFC’s plans were given a boost in December 2015 when it won a grant of $125,000 from the Community Foundation of Ottawa (CFO) to improve food security in West Carleton.
“We’re committed to addressing the needs of small farmers and eaters in West Carleton,” says Katie Ward-Chiasson of Our Farm CSA in Woodlawn and a WCHFC member. “The end goal is a more secure local food system and a stronger local economy.”
West Carleton has been classified as a “food desert” by the Ottawa Food Policy Council, says Judi Varga-Toth, coordinator for Sustain West Carleton, an EnviroCentre initiative that supports the WCHFC. “There are no full-service grocery stores in the area and only a handful of convenience stores that sell little or no fresh local produce. Residents must travel an average of 45 km round trip to buy fresh produce compared with an average of 8 km in the rest of Ottawa.”
To tackle the problem, the WCHFC will:
- set up a community root cellar at the site of the Diefenbunker Museum, where area farmers can rent space to store their produce year-round. This type of root cellar may be the first of its kind in Canada;
- distribute more locally grown food through West Carleton retail outlets and the Good Food Box;
- launch a community garden with local partners in Constance Bay where residents can rent a plot for a small fee to grow their own food;
- conduct workshops on topics such as cooking, nutrition, food gardening, canning and preservation, and home root cellaring.
PERC thanks the above organizations for their support.
Thank you to Envirocentre for sponsoring the Spring 2016 edition of the PEN.