Local Food for Local People

A big thank-you to everyone who came out to the Local Food for Local People event at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church on April 6, 2013. Nearly 40 people attended the event, which aimed to support the development of a sustainable food system for the Algoma Region, and engage the community to make this vision a reality.

Presentations featured existing and emerging initiatives involving local food production, and lead to the establishment of several discussion/working groups. A brief summary of the event discussions are below:

Local Food Festival – Participants in this group collectively brainstormed ideas for organizing a local food festival in the Summer/Autumn of 2013.

Festival goal: encourage target audience to become informed about Algoma’s local food movements; food products and availability; engage in commerce to support our local economy; and participate in social gatherings to connect all components of the local agricultural value chain.

Core activities/entertainment:  Opening gala expo featuring dishes and drinks made from local ingredients, local bands, cook-offs, harvest competitions and educational workshops.

Post-production evaluation: Use feedback from participants/attendees to determine if this event can be sustainable and held annually, economic benefits, and suggestions to improve the events components and overall experience.

For a full summary of the discussion, or to join the working group, contact Janette Wallace, jwallace@ssmic.com.

Algoma Community Garden Network (AGCN) – Participants in this group discussed short-term and long-term goals for the AGCN, whose purpose is to foster community gardens in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District through education, advocacy and networking to increase access to local sustainable food.

Some of the goals (both short- and long-term) discussed included:

  • Set up central hub for contact point for gardens & gardeners; site to funnel donations
  • Link existing community gardens & gardeners via newsletter
  • Offer education talks & workshops to increase gardening skills
  • Work with public & private landowners to increase access to land for gardens
  • Offer workshops (food preservation, seed saving)
  • City Beautification—offer a Community Garden Award
  • Greater awareness re the importance of community garden and the benefits

For a full summary of the discussion, or to join the working group, contact Suzanne Hanna, wildgardener@shaw.ca

Local Food Co-op – This group discussed the possibility of using the cooperative model to meet Algoma’s local food needs. Some of the short- and long-term goals discussed included:

  • Identify a common need (e.g. food storage/distribution) and a goal to address it
  • Establish who co-op members will be – consumers, producers? Who is interested in spear-heading this initiative? Who is interested in participating?
  • Establish what we define “local” as (e.g. 200 mile radius)
  • Establish the co-op structure: membership, fees, benefits, shareholders
  • Begin to explore venue/location options
  • Establish distribution (pick-up, central storage)
  • Feasibility study (consumer and producer interest, funding, financial/market research)

 This working group will meet again May 17, 2013 from 7-9pm at Laird Hall.

 For a full summary of the discussion, or to join the working group, contact Katie Filion, kfilion@ssmic.com.

 Local Food Access – This group explored what the needs are of the region to increase access to local food. Some of the short- and long-term goals discussed included:

  • Create a network of producers and consumers of local food
  • Establish how to share the cost of increasing local food access (e.g. co-op membership)
  • Conduct surveys at farmers markets to gauge consumer needs/knowledge
  • Better advertise events on local food (CTV events calendar, get CTV to do stories)

For a full summary of the discussion, or to join this working group, contact Katie Filion, kfilion@ssmic.com

If you would like to receive a copy of the full Event Summary, contact Katie Filion, kfilion@ssmic.com.


Become a Member of the Algoma Food Network

The Algoma Food Network is pleased to be providing a formal membership opportunity for our local food advocates and those interested in supporting the organization as we work to expand the local food system. As a member you will receive notification of events designed to link food producers and consumers in the District. You will also form an important membership base that will assist in building solid connections between the various groups in our community committed to community-level action related to food security in the Algoma District.

Memberships are $10.00 and can be renewed annually.

Download the membership form and mail to:

c/o D. Trivers

P.O Box 6

Thessalon, ON


Seedy Saturday 2013

seedy saturday

Seed Exchange

Drop off seeds for sorting 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Seed Exchange 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Presentations & Workshops (stay tuned for updates) 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Vendors, Children’s Activities & Refreshments. All day.

Seedy Saturdays bring together gardeners, farmers, seed savers, and citizens passionate about gardening, food security and the environment. Don’t miss the Seed Exchange which is the highlight of the event. Come swap your saved seeds with local gardeners or buy heritage, open-pollinated and/or unusual varieties from seed companies.

Sponsored by: Seeds of Diversity, Sault Ste. Marie Horticulture Society, Sault College, Clean North and USC Canada.

Contacts: Suzanne Hanna (705) 759-2893 and Laura Wyper (705) 253-1951

Join the Facebook event

OPEN HOUSE: Allard St. Community Garden celebrates 10th Anniversary


The Allard Street Community Garden, located at 105 Allard St. is extending a warm invitation to the general public to visit its site on Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 10-4 pm to tour its lush vegetable gardens and fruit orchard and meet some of its members. The garden, created in July 2003 with the aid of a Trillium Foundation grant and the hard work of the Sault Ste. Marie Horticultural Society and six partnering organizations, is celebrating its 10th year of operation.

This organic garden offers interested citizens of all ages, incomes and abilities the opportunity to rent 60 garden plots and 7 raised planter boxes in which they can grow healthy, nutritious and affordable food that would otherwise not be available to them for the low cost of $20/year. It has become a second home to many who live in apartments or who have no access to green space in our city.

“I am amazed at all the changes that have occurred during the past ten years. Our fruit orchard and raspberry bushes are teeming with fruit and our perennial border that recently underwent a facelift is now awash with colour and bustling with life as evidenced by the presence of birds and beneficial insects. It is exhilarating to know that this garden has grown incrementally year after year to meet the needs of a growing and diverse membership and has served as a model for others to create additional community gardens in our city such as the People’s Garden at Algoma University and the newly formed one located at St. Matthews Anglican Church” states Suzanne Hanna, Garden Coordinator.

Passionate gardeners clearly understand what the Allard Street Community Garden stands for. They realize that they just don’t grow vegetables in their plots. They grow hope and cultivate a sense of community when they work together towards a common goal. The garden promotes self-reliance by helping people to help themselves and values team work, cooperation, service and lifelong learning. Most of all, this community garden honours diversity and respect for all living things.

It is especially poignant this year that as the garden membership celebrates its many blessings they are ever mindful of some of their members who are no longer with them. A memorial bed sporting plaques bearing the names of such passionate gardeners and two new benches courtesy of Clean North will be acknowledged during a special ceremony during the Open House.

Someone once said, “Gardens don’t grow just where they’re sown; they spread out runners, teaching the young, inspiring the old and giving neighbourhoods new hope.”

If you are in the neighbourhood, stop by. The garden is open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Sunday, from April to October. Open the gate and have a look at the Allard Street Community Garden, one of our city’s “best kept secrets”.

Better still, take part in this year’s Open House on Saturday, June 23rd from 10 am – 4 pm and visit the various displays and demonstrations. Have a piece of cake under the shade structure and allow the beauty and serenity of the garden to seep into your soul.

For more information, contact Suzanne Hanna at 705-759-2893 or by email at wildgardener@shaw.ca

St. Matt’s Community Garden Opens in the Sault

St. Matthew’s Anglican Church has recently broken ground on the St. Matt’s Community Garden in the Sault’s east end! At the rear of the St. Matthew’s property (1643 Wellington St. E.), garden plots (raised beds) are available for anyone in the community to rent for the season.

Ground was officially broken last Saturday where 16 raised beds were installed at the site. The garden is open for anyone with an interest in gardening, regardless of skill or ability.

The garden will be hosting a learning session with Suzanne Hanna from Allard Street Community Garden on Tuesday June 5th at 6 pm.  The first session will be on seed selection and will cover the basics on planting. A followup session will occur the following week (date TPD) on plant placement and transplanting (e.g. tomatoes and peppers).

You can stay in touch with the project at http://stmattsgarden.wordpress.com

To download a 2012 garden package with more info, click here.

Good Food Stories – Video #2!

With Earth Day right around the corner we thought April would be a perfect month to focus on ways that food and farming are helping to enhance our natural environments and combat climate change. Check out these videos to learn more about Ontarians that are growing a better environment – as well as great food!

Watch our second Good Food Stories video:

Good Food Stories: Farm Algoma

Over the summer, the Algoma Food Network and its partners undertook a project to work with Powerline Films and Sustain Ontario to produce two short documentaries on food and farming in Algoma. The first documentary looks at the potentials of farming in Algoma and the second is due to be released in the coming months.

Farm Algoma from Simon Brothers on Vimeo.

The Algoma Food Network thanks everyone was involved with this project.

OSEA’s Community Power Roadmap to Success Workshop

Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and NORDIK Institute are hosting a hands-on workshop in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday September 23, 2011.

At this workshop OSEA will walk you through an overview for a project that will give you the basic tools required to get a community solar power project started in your own community. The goal is to engage established community-based organizations and institutional groups with assets and to build up their capacity to collaborate on their own community power projects. Community power projects can be ideal for a range of applications including arenas, community halls, churches, museums, hospitals, co-operatives, and non-profit organizations.

Where:                The Delta Hotel – G. Simpson Meeting Room AB 208 St. Mary’s River Dr. Sault Ste. Marie, ON

When:                 Friday September 23, 2011  9:00AM until Noon

Featuring:           Harry French (Guest speaker and workshop leader) Bio: http://www.ontario-sea.org/Page.asp?PageID=924&ContentID=3128

To register for this event get your free ticket at: http://communitypowerroadmapssm.eventbrite.com

Alternatively, you can contact Community Power Coordinator Danny Goedhard to register: d_goedhard@hotmail.com   (705) 949-2301 x4378

Check out the event page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=171687042906313

If you know a community organization or community that could benefit, please forward this on!

OSEA inspires and enables the people of Ontario to improve the environment, the economy and their health by producing clean sustainable energy in their homes, businesses and communities. Full details at http://www.ontario-sea.org and www.nordikinstitute.com

 This event is part of Soo Sustainable, Sault Ste. Marie’s 1st Annual Green Days hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. For more info on Soo Sustainable events, visit www.ssmic.com/greenweek

All the best, Alex!

For the last seven months, Alexandra Jaffit has been working hard with Algoma Food Network partners to strengthen networks and market local agriculture. This past week she launched the 2011 Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. producers directory that is making its way around to farmers’ markets, coffee shops, and points of interest around Algoma District. This directory connects rural farmers with local consumers, tourists, and restaurants who wish to source local products.

The new 2011 Buy Algoma Buy Fresh directory can be downloaded here (PDF): Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. 2011 Directory

You can also get more detailed descriptions of what farmers’ have to offer at the Buy Algoma. Buy Fresh. website (www.BuyAlgoma.ca)

Algoma Food Network thanks Alexandra for all her hard work and wishes her the best in future endeavors. She is now a true locavore as she has just started getting food from a CSA through Desbarats Country Produce.