The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable and the Kitchener Public Library present monthly public events to encourage discussion of food issues in Waterloo Region. The views expressed by speakers at these events do not necessarily represent the position of the Roundtable or the Library.
UPCOMING EVENTS: (click image for printable poster)
Organic farmer Candace Wormsbecker will discuss how we can use food as a transformation element in healing our relationship to ourselves. Building on an article she wrote for the Food System Roundtable’s blog, Candace will tell her personal story of how she came to see food as the blessing and miracle that it is and to get in touch with her own body and her environment.
PAST EVENTS: (click image for printable poster)
The Economic Potential of the Local Food Sector
Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
What if you could buy local food in your neighbourhood convenience store or farmstand? Can we revitalize the local food processing industry to provide local canned fruit and vegetables year-round? Krista Long will report on her research on the many successful initiatives she’s discovered from elsewhere, and how they could be implemented in Waterloo Region.
The True Cost of Meat
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Get a transparent look at the cost of meat and why it costs what it does, in this comparison of various farming methods and butchering and retailing practices. Presenters Matt Kendrick of the Bauer Butcher and Melissa Baer of Vibrant Farms will help you develop your own grocery strategy and get clear about your own personal food objectives.
Without pollinators, our dining tables would display mainly grasses and grains. Kim Fellows from Pollination Canada will explain the importance of pollination and the threats to pollinators, and tell us more about the Bee-Friendly Farming Initiative, which allows farmers and gardeners to self-certify, and a new citizen science project called the Purplestem Aster Pollination Adventure. Find out how we can help pollinators thrive, so that our world remains beautiful and our food variety bountiful. Kim Fellows has been working part-time for over a year at Seeds of Diversity Canada (SoDC), as the Pollination Outreach Co-ordinator for Pollination Canada, a project within SoDC. Kim's related background includes a Master of Science in Biology from Queen's University, and three years working at Harrow Research Station, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Film Presentation and Discussion: Food Machine
Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
View the 2012 PBS documentary Food Machine (53 minutes), followed by a panel discussion of what we can do to transform our food system into one that works for people and the environment. Food Machine surveys the men and women who keep us fed 365 days a year - everyone from industrial to urban farmers, crop dusting pilots to long distance bee truckers, modern day cowboys to the pizza deliveryman.
Feeding the Hungry in Waterloo Region
Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
The Food Assistance Network in Waterloo Region is made up of over 100 programs that distribute food and provide meals to 35,000 people in our region. Who are the people that depend on this food, and how do the many staff and volunteers who distribute it deal with their challenges? What services are available in our community that can meet immediate needs but also provide supports to help cope with and ultimately prevent hunger? A panel of service providers and program participants will discuss these and other questions. Speakers include: Wendi Campbell, Food Bank of Waterloo Region; Major Rick Sheasby, Salvation Army; Keri Kopey, STEP Home Participant Advisory Group.
Feeding the world: Are GM crops the answer?
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Proponents of genetically modified (GM) crops argue that we need the technology to feed a growing population. But a deeper look at how GM crops were developed, who owns them, and their socio-economic impact on small-scale farmers, especially in developing countries, reveals a different reality. Taarini Chopra will use Indian and Canadian examples to examine the politics of GM foods, and their promise to fight hunger and poverty.
Can Organic Agriculture Feed the World?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
A recent UN report concluded that to feed the world, we need to increase biodiversity and embrace small scale, ecological farming approaches. Yet the report has received little attention, and we continue to hear the mantra that conventional agriculture and new technologies are the way to the future. Speakers: Dr. Ralph Martin, University of Guelph Sustainability Chair, and Jodi Koberinski, Executive Director of The Organic Council of Ontario.
Improving Institutional Food
Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
The food served in cafeterias and hospitals is often dismissed or scorned. Yet, we spend more money on institutional food than we do on fast food, and serve it to some of the most vulnerable people in our community - our kids, and the elderly or the sick. How did our food become 'institutionalized' and how can we change it? University of Waterloo PhD candidate Sarah Martin will share her experiences as a cook in a large institutional kitchen and her research on the history of institutional foodservice from the 'industrial feeding" programs of the Second World War to the more recent efforts to support local farmers.
Inspiring Community Gardens from Across North America
Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Karen Landman, professor of landscape architecture, recently visited community gardens and urban agriculture sites across North America. Join Karen for photos and stories from some of the most successful projects, and discuss what can be learned for the Waterloo Region.
Locally grown food is better for your health, better for the environment, and the right choice to support local farmers and producers. Steve Martin of Martin's Family Fruit Farm will help you "Get Local". Learn why it is important to eat local food, where to find it, and how to select to-quality foods in season.
The name "Martin" is part of Waterloo Region's history. It's also part of Waterloo Region's apple-growing history. Martin's Family Fruit Farm , owned and operated by Leighton, Steve, Ken and Kevin Martin, began in 1971 when a Yugoslavian hired farm-hand with orchard experience convinced Leighton Martin to plant 100 apple trees. Steve Martin is part owner of Martin's Family Fruit Farm and is in charge of retail sales. Steve also serves on the board of Foodlink Waterloo Region.
Local Agriculture: Join In!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Farmers...... Families...... Restaurants...... Grocery stores..... Regional and Municipal government... are all working to keep local agriculture in the Waterloo Region strong. But a lot more needs to be done if we want a thriving and sustainable food system. Learn from Candace and Wolfgang how you can get involved in local agriculture and be part of the change.
Candace Wormsbecker has been active with community gardens for 5 years in both Calgary and Waterloo. During this time she has started and coordinated a garden at the University of Waterloo. She has a Master's in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo specializing in local food systems. Specifically she examined the barriers and opportunities to localizing the food system in a Canadian context. She has also spent time working and learning about organic vegetable production at the Ignatius Farm CSA in Guelph. Candace currently owns and operates a 75 member CSA called Transpire Organic Farm & Wellness, incubated within the Pfennings Organic Farm in Baden.
Wolfgang Pfenning was born and raised on his parents' farm in Germany, and moved in 1981 with his family to Canada to continue the tradition of organic farming. Wolfgang graduated from high school in 1983 and continued his studies in farming, composting, soil science, welding, metal fabrication and machining, electric and electronics, automotive, refrigeration, and sales. These skills helped him to build a business that now employs 50 full time workers and 75 summer students, farms 500 acres (250 of which are used for vegetables), and prepares and packages all vegetables for retail purposes.
Heritage Seeds and Bees in your Garden
Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Make your garden produce more delicious, more nutritious, and be more planet-friendly by gardening with diversity! Learn how to find and grow over 3000 varieties of vegetables and fruit, from heritage seeds produced by back-yard gardeners all across Canada. Learn how to recognize and attract non-stinging native bees to pollinate your garden produce. The biodiversity in your back yard is the key to a successful garden. Discover it, and grow!
Bob Wildfong is the head gardener at the Waterloo Region Museum, the Executive Director of Seeds of Diversity Canada, and the founder of Pollination Canada. A seed saver and educator for over 20 years, Bob has taught more than 60 seed-saving and pollinator monitoring courses for gardeners and farmers, and is the author of How to Save Your Own Seeds.
Bob will bring some samples of seeds to give out at the presentation, and will bring copies of the book to sell at our discounted price.
The local agricultural sector is in need of support, and public institutions represent a large, stable market for local foods. However, increasing the procurement of local food is not always a simple task. This presentation will outline some of the challenges and opportunities to procuring local food that have been identified throughout the broader public sector, including Municipalities, Universities/Schools, and Health Care. Presenter: Brendan Wylie-Toal, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care. For printable poster click here.
Food Waste: Exploring Broad-based Solutions
Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
How is it that 40% of edible food gets wasted globally? Using examples from across Canada and around the world, York University PhD candidate Michelle Coyne will discuss the possible individual, community-based, retailer-led, and policy-based responses that can reduce food waste. For printable poster click here.
Local Food, the $2.4 Billion Prospect
Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
From biting into a delicious strawberry to starting a new business, buying local food is a deliciously healthy habit that has the ability to revitalize rural communities and create a new prosperity in Ontario. Join Lynn Ogryzlo, Author of The Ontario Table, in supporting local food by signing The Ontario Tablecloth in support of local food. For printable poster click here.
The recent spike in global food prices – led by price surges for wheat and maize - may be an inconvenience for us, but it is a serious matter for the world's poor who spend more than 50% of their incomes on food. Focusing on the features of the world economy that make the business of food more and more like a global gambling casino, Professor Jennifer Clapp will give an overview of the causes and possible solutions to the problem of rising global food prices. Part of the Roundtable's Healthy Food System series in co-operation with the Kitchener Public Library. For printable poster click here.
Local Food, Imported Workers
Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 7-9pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Over 30,000 temporary foreign workers from countries such as Mexico, Jamaica, Guatemala and Thailand come to work annually in Canadian agriculture, the majority in Ontario. Coming since 1966, they are a vital part of the industry, yet they remain largely invisible to the Canadian public who consume the food they produce. In this lecture Janet McLaughlin discusses the lives and circumstances of migrant farm workers in Canada, as well as the long-term impacts of migration for both migrant workers and Canadian communities.
Dr. Janet McLaughlin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wilfrid Laurier University's International Migration Research Centre, where she is coordinating a project investigating migrant farm workers' access to health care and workers' compensation. For over seven years she has conducted research and community work, including specialized medical clinics, with migrant farm workers in rural Ontario.
Climate Change and Agriculture
Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 7-9pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
While much attention has focused on reducing "food miles" as a way to reduce our carbon footprint, food transportation only accounts for around 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the food system: the majority is emitted in the primary production phase through things such as agricultural machinery and fertilizers. Ted Zettle, founding member of the Organic Meadow farmers' co-operative, will explore how agriculture can become more sustainable and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Planning your own Backyard Garden
Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 7-9pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Join Candace Wormsbecker, owner-operator of Transpire Organic Farm for a discussion of how to grow to start your own vegetable garden. Topics covered include such things as: what you can grow in this region, when to start what, where to source seeds, organic pest control methods, and space requirements of different plants. There will be room for discussion so bring your questions!
Where Does Your Meat Come From?
Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Do you buy your meat direct from a local farmer, small scale retailer or at a local market? In Ontario, regulations are forcing local meat processors out of business. Come find out how and what the government is or isn't doing about it. See link to presentation and discussion from this event in our Discussion Forum.
Deconstructing Dinner for Resilient Food Secure Communities
Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Canadian communities have become considerably dependent on an unreliable and unsustainable food system that appears to extract more from communities than it contributes to them. Join Jon Steinman, producer of the weekly food issues podcast Deconstructing Dinner, as he deconstructs a standard North American meal, only to reveal shocking insights into the state of our food system.
The Perils of Processed Food
Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
We have access to a vast array of fast, convenient processed food choices. But what effect is all of this convenience having on our health? Join nutritionist Ellen Desjardins as she presents the latest findings of the perils of processed foods, and presents alternative "real food" options.
Think Globally, Eat Locally
Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Concerned about the array of problems you hear about our food system? Unsure what to do about it? Cathy Hansen, local organic farmer and Red Seal Chef, will help you create your own personal local sustainable food strategy that allows you to realize your vision for the food system.
The Hidden Dangers of Sewage Sludge
Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch, 251 Fischer-Hallman Road, Kitchener
Have you ever wondered what happens to all the solid waste from waste water (sewage) treatment plants? Approximately 120,000 tonnes of sewage sludge are spread on 15,000 hectares of Ontario farmland each year. Come hear why, and why many people are concerned!
What are the benefits and risks of genetic modification? Why do so many reject this technology, while proponents insist it is essential to feed the world? What alarm bells have Canadian consumers missed about this oversold, underperforming technology? Come prepared to share your thoughts. Presenter Dr. Ann Clark is an Associate Professor in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph and coordinates the university's Organic Agriculture program. To view the poster used to promote the event, click on the poster on the left. To view Dr Clark's presentation, click here.
Food waste and packaging represents a large portion of the "waste" in our landfills. This can change if more people compost and more companies reduce food packaging. Join a waste management professional and a local organic farmer in a discussion of this challenge for our community. Click on poster on the right for a printable full-size poster.
Walkable Local Foods: Local food buying clubs
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 ,7-9pm, KPL Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Want to be able to walk to pick up local foods? It is possible! Uptown Waterloo has a food buying club that makes eating local convenient and fun for its 500 members. Your neighbourhood can have one too. Come find out how to set up a local food buying club in your neighbourhood.
Edible Cities – Can Urban Agriculture Feed Us All?
Monday, March 29, 2010 ,7-9pm, KPL Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Join us for an informative session on urban agriculture, including green roofs, community gardens, SPIN (small-plot, intensive) farming, urban homesteading, urban forests and wild harvesting, as we explore how urban agriculture can be a solution for creating sustainable cities and feeding us all. See Discussion Forum for commentary on this event.
The Threat of Gravel Pits to Agriculture and Food
Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 7-9pm, Kitchener Public Library Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Over 7,000 acres of the best potato land in Dufferin County has been bought by a company that seeks to mine the land for the mineral aggregates below the surface. Across the province, many more acres of prime agricultural farmland lie on top of valuable aggregates, and existing provincial and municipal policies do little to prevent their conversion to gravel pits. Come hear from a panel of local farmers and activists talk about the threat to our food production and what can be done about it.
Grown Close to Home - Really!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 7-9pm, Kitchener Public Library Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Tired of food that looks and tastes like it has traveled miles to your plate? Not really sure where the "Grown Close to Home" food in the grocery stores comes from? Concerned about pesticides and chemicals on your food? Want to eat more local, sustainable food? Join us for a panel discussion about where, why, and how to eat local and sustainable foods in Waterloo Region. Get connected to your food and some of the farmers who grow it.
O" Canada - The New Canadian Organic Standards and Products Regulations
Tuesday, December 15, 7-9pm, Kitchener Public Library Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
In June 2009, the new Organic Products Regulations (OPR) came into effect, making the organic standards mandatory. Wondering what this is and what it means for farmers, retailers and consumers? Join us for a talk and panel discussion about the standards and regulations as well the new Canada Organic logo.
Fair Trade in the Waterloo Region and Internationally
Tuesday, November 24, 7-9pm, Kitchener Public Library Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Sean Zister, owner of Seven Shores Urban Market & Café, will speak on the Impact Fair Trade has with Local and International Producers.
What's on the Label? What's on your Plate?
Tuesday, October 27, 7-9pm, Kitchener Public Library Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Join the discussion as we learn about misleading labels and signs on our food products. Local food activist John McVicar reveals label shortcomings and advises vigilance when making your purchases at the grocery store. Heather Harding, project coordinator with Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, explains why you may not be pouring much Ontario pinot noir into your glass even though the wine says "product of Canada."
The 100-Mile Challenge: Waterloo Edition
Tuesday, September 29, 7-9pm, Kitchener Public Library Main Branch, 85 Queen St N, Kitchener
Come hear from people who are nearing completion of their 100-day commitment to eat only foods from within 100 miles of their home! Challenge organizers from the Healing Path Naturopathic Clinic will describe how and why they started the challenge, and several participants will share their experiences. Also, Gusto Catering chef Dominic Ellis will give tips on the many options available to you in cooking with local foods.