The Musquodoboit Valley Planning Committee, a subcommittee of the Middle Musquodoboit Agriculture Society is producing a local food map of the area. We are trying to create a strong inventory of local producers (big and small) so we can promote the variety of products available in the Valley.
We have created a draft map that currently lists nine local food producers including honey, beef, vegetables, milk, maple products and berries.
If you are a food producer or gardener (eggs, chickens, pork, beef, vegetables, preservatives or other) and would be interested in being listed on the map, even if your products are only available seasonally, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before July 31st.
The map will be distributed at local events and businesses, through the Visitor Information Center, through a local mail out and at non-local events such as Saltscapes.
What is sustainable farming?
Sustainable farming is the practice of using responsible methods to obtain, grow and maintain agricultural methods. It is a way of minimizing the environmental impacts that is associated with the way many Nova Scotians obtain their food.
Why eat local?
Eating local supports your community. It provides employment to your local people and helps to boost your local economy. Eating local also decreases the industrial food system, which is composed of growing, harvesting, transporting, processing, packaging, wholesaling, retailing, eating and then disposing. A good video to look at for an overview of the industrial system is called “Agriculture: The Basics of Our Industrial Food System in 5 minutes “ you can find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04T23houM4s
Your food footprint can be lowered by limiting the amount of packaging, the use of fossil fuels and the use of pesticides. You will also receive food that is much fresher, than what you can obtain at the big box grocery stores, while at the same time learning about the people who has actually produced your food.
Why eat organic?
An organically derived product is food that was grown without the addition of pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and any other –cides you can think of. Organic gardening involves weeding by hand, boosting the nutrients within your soil by adding compost and using only natural products in growing food. Instead of pesticides and insecticides a symbiotic relationship can be used. For example, plants such as calendulas, marigolds and chrysanthemums have their own way of deterring insects.
LOCAL FOOD UPDATE
Multi-producer CSA: On December 10th, 2012, we held a meeting at the Forestry Education Centre to start discussions on beginning a multi-producer CSA. During this meeting there was a brief powerpoint presentation reviewing what a CSA is and how a multi-farm CSA would work. We also outlined topics that would have to be collectively agreed upon prior to initiating a CSA, such as production costs, number of CSA subscribers, labour needs, potential area where we would try to find subscribers, what we would provide to our CSA members (recipes, preparation tips, nutritional tips etc.) and how payments can be made.
However we still need to determine the following:
- Who would like to become a grower for a multi-farm CSA?
- What types of products will be offered?
- When is the growing season and when will we start?
- Where are our target area and our drop off point?
It was proposed that we try a pilot project CSA for this year of maybe 10-12 members which could possibly include beef, bread and veggies.
School Community Garden Project: This project is to support and expand the school garden at MVEC. The school garden committee has been working hard to establish a functioning garden. They have achieved many things; a plowed space, a fence, garden tools and a process for student planting. Since a garden is started in the spring (when children are still in the school) but does most of its growing and changing during the summer months (when kids and teachers are not in school) it has been difficult for the committee to produce the garden they desire. This project would bring the school and the community together to help with this worthwhile cause. With a few picnic tables, raised garden beds, rain barrels, good soil, some class A gravel and an expanded volunteer base this garden could be the pride of the community.
Beef Producer Meeting: On December 12th, 2012, we attended a meeting with the beef producers in the Musquodoboit Valley and Perennia. This meeting was centered on the idea of taking more control in the beef industry and marketing a “Valley Brand” of cattle. This could include having a local feed lot, growing the grain locally and also the potential for a local slaughter house. The take home idea is that we have the opportunity (and capability) to promote our local beef industry and finish the animals here so that we can eat local food, taste the quality of our local beef and also to experience the economic benefits. To further increase awareness of our local beef industry, potentially, we can design and promote “Producer books” which would include contact information, recipes and prices. In addition to this we can also plan a Beef Producer Day and have a local event centered on eating and enjoying local beef, food and commodities.
Local Food Directory: To date we have fifteen businesses listed in the local food directory. To find a complete directory of businesses in the Musquodoboit Valley please visit: http://www.musquodoboitvalleyguide.ca/community-directory/
Websites to check out:
Select Nova Scotia for some local food recipes (I recommend Nova Scotia Hearty Beef Stew):http://www.selectnovascotia.ca/index.php?cid=7
Atlantic Canada Organic Regional Network (ACORN): http://www.acornorganic.org/