Local food system responses to COVID-19: Toronto and its city region

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  Toronto and its city region – known as the Greater Golden Horseshoe – is the most populous area in Canada, with nine million inhabitants. As in much of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the economy, leading to spiralling unemployment, increased food insecurity, and questions about what changes to the food system are [...]

Crisis Within a Crisis: COVID-19 Leads the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization to Shine a Light on Food in Cities

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UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization Calls Food and Hunger a “Crisis Within a Crisis” of COVID-19     Food often suffers from the problem that it can’t get no respect as a public policy issue. But the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has been quick off the mark to produce a flurry of food-related briefings reminding [...]

Seeding climate action on Canada’s farms

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Low-input sustainable agriculture is helping farmers store carbon underfoot Like everybody else, farmers talk a lot about the weather without doing much of anything about it – likely because there’s not much they can do. But after a decade of wild swings in weather patterns, crop prices and farm debt levels, some Canadian farmers are [...]

Four ways COVID-19 will change food systems and food security

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It’s too early for precise answers to questions about the coronavirus pandemic’s long-term impacts on the ways food is produced, processed, distributed, eaten, recycled and appreciated. But my experience managing food policy issues in Toronto for one of the world’s leading city-based public health departments gives me some searching questions that can help us prepare [...]

5 Ways to Use Twitter to Promote Good Food for All

Winning friends and influencing people on Twitter is about earning. not winning, influence.

Can food tweets go viral amidst COVID-19? #coronavirus has been teaching us what viral means in terms of a scary communicable disease, not just the communicable media scene we’ve grown comfortable with. But a hyper-modern pandemic requires hyper-modern communications. The Twitterverse has come through the #COVID-19, #CoronaVirusUpdates experience with flying colours — providing a communications universe where health experts [...]

Imagining Sustainable Food Systems – Free Chapter

Imagining Sustainable Food Systems

I was fortunate to be asked to contribute to Alison Blay-Palmer’s new book, Imagining Sustainable Food Systems. It’s a terrific read — I encourage you to pick it up. For a sample of what you might expect, you can download my chapter for free. A review of the book appeared in the May 2011 issue [...]

Open Pit Gravel Mine Tells Farmers to “Eat My Dust”

Stop the Mega Quarry

Although the Ontario election is still six months away, the surprise candidate for most polarizing issue likely to turn the political contest into an emotional cliffhanger has already come to the fore. A 6 billion tonne gravel “mega quarry” – second-largest in North America – has been proposed in what is now quiet farm and [...]

Thoroughly Modern Dorothy: Why I Remember Mealtime on Mother’s Day

Mom's Cooking

My Mom and Dad came of age in Toronto dur­ing the “Dirty Thirties,” but even by the stan­dards of that era, they had more than their share of bad breaks. Mom was given up for adop­tion as a baby, lost her adop­tive mom at 14, and was res­cued from the streets by a warm and [...]

A New Political Alignment May Follow Canada’s Federal Election

NDP Biker

As much as Canada’s federal election delivered historic consequences for every political party, the election’s future significance turns more on historic changes within the electorate than on changes of any significance within any particular party. There’s a strong — though barely visible — possibility that the unrest and volatility expressed by voters will drive political [...]

Foods of Locality: Food With a Place in Your Heart

Syrup in the City

Food is a many-splendored thing, so the more we learn about it, the more we discover new ways to look for it, and come to appreciate why the centre of gravity for food thinking keeps lurching in different directions. This year’s Earth Day is time to name and celebrate a signpost on the latest lurch [...]

Japan’s Earthquake-Tsunami Made Worse by High Risk Technologies Everywhere

Have we gone nuclear?

Japan’s ordeal upsets and confronts onlookers because of the way tragedies unfolding from the natural disaster of an earthquake and tsunami touched off the unraveling of a more ominous human mistake – construction of a nuclear power plant in a known earthquake zone. Other disasters of recent years – such as tsunamis in Indonesia and [...]

The Pillars of Cheap Food are Cracking

World Food Crisis

The worldwide price level of food is taking a great leap upward for the second time in less than five years. My bet is that this food price hike will match a rise in oil prices for wrenching impact on geopolitics, especially as the two are intimately connected. Food cannot be fertilized and shipped without [...]

The First and Most Important Thing to Know About Food

The First Thing You Need To Know About Food

Check out my lead-in to a special issue of Alternatives magazine on food; I give away the first and most important thing to know about food. Read More…

Wayne Roberts at Alberta Pathways 2 Sustainability Conference

The Road to Sustainability

Wayne’s spoke in Red Deer, Alberta, at their exciting Pathways2Sustainability conference; a reporter’s preview of the talk is available here: http://permaculturebc.com/Wayne-Roberts-Food-Security-Organic Watch Wayne’s Keynote:

Are We Seeing the End of Supermarkets?

The end of the supermarket and begining of the superstore

I grew up with the habit of Thursday nights as the time when family shopped together at the local supermarket, and I always assumed, for good or ill, that supermarkets were permanent. It’s now clear that old style super-markets are on their way out. Beginning this month, Wal-Mart Canada kicks off its one-year agenda to [...]