Larkin Schmiedl's Blog

Journalist at work

Posts Tagged ‘organic

Farmer’s Market video series: 4 Elements Farm

leave a comment »

Sarah Martel farms organically near Kamloops, B.C. along with her partner Michael Weinman.  Here she shares what they grow on the farm, some tricks they have learned, and her priorities when it comes to thinking about food security.

Advertisements

Written by larkinschmiedl

July 22, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Kamloops Farmer’s Market video series: Silver Springs Organic Farm

leave a comment »

Mendel Rubinson farms near Savona, B.C. with his partner Paula Rubinson.  Their farm is called Silver Springs Organic.  In this video Mendel shares a bit of his farming story, and his opinions about local, organic, and what he chooses when the two collide.

An unknown source of local food on campus?

leave a comment »

Local food, sustainability and fair trade have come to mainstream consciousness over the past few years, and as a result some businesses are shifting their policies.  Some others are trying to appear to be doing so.

I’ve been noticing these signs in the Terrace cafeteria at TRU over the past few weeks.

The posters are a part of Aramark’s “Green Thread” campaign, described by the company as part of its sustainable food initiative.

Aramark provides the food on a great number of different university campuses across North America, as well as in colleges, high schools, remote camps, businesses and more.

I wonder what action Aramark, the food company that runs almost all the food on campus at TRU, has taken on its stated commitments toward sustainability and local, organic and fair trade food?

In 2010 Aramark published a press release announcing it had received an award as one of Canada’s greenest employers.

It seems there is lots to learn, and I’d like to know more.

I wonder what percentage of Aramark's food is sourced within Canada? Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

"Whenever possible" depends partly on availability, and partly on the level of a company's priority toward sourcing local food. Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

How much local food is served in this cafeteria, and what is meant by 'sustainable'? Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

The Terrace, one of the main cafeterias on TRU's campus. Photo by Larkin Schmiedl.

Written by larkinschmiedl

March 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Ethical food and the world of business: complications, compromises, priorities and dreams

leave a comment »

Christina Grono created, owns and manages The Art We Are, a local Kamloops café, restaurant and art gallery.

She is also my former boss.

As the owner of a restaurant who faces commercial pressures while striving to serve food that’s as local, organic and ethical as possible and also remaining affordable, I talked with her about the food her restaurant uses, what her personal ethics and goals are for the business, and what kinds of things come into question.

Here’s what she had to say:

Pt. 1

Pt. 2

Organic produce coming to TRU

leave a comment »

A new source of food will be coming to students on campus at Thompson Rivers University this September.

The students’ union (TRUSU) is looking to start providing a “good food box,” coming hopefully from local organic producer Thistle Farm, for students who’d like to buy local and organic right on campus throughout the school year.

Food boxes are a common way local organic food is distributed throughout communities, as a convenient alternative to the farmer’s market and grocery stores. The boxes are usually delivered to a customer’s home or to a central pick-up location.

TRUSU would like campus to become that location.

Nathan Lane, executive director of TRUSU, said TRUSU is looking at installing refrigeration facilities in order to store the food, and perhaps to store fresh food like carrots for the food bank as well.

The food boxes would be sold at cost.

Lane said the students’ union is set on providing food boxes starting in September, and the only contingency is confirmation of a contract with Thistle Farm.

Thistle Farm provides weekly boxes to around 100 customers locally, and an additional 50 bi-weekly.

The boxes come in different sizes with the small providing enough produce and fruit for one person for a week.

Deb Kellogg, co-owner of Thistle Farm, said the boxes contain 100 per cent locally-grown organic vegetables in the summer, alongside some fruit from the Okanagan and some imported tropical fruit. In the winter, the boxes are one-third locally grown.

Customers can choose whether they want a box of produce, fruit, or a mix of the two.

A small box goes for $20.

“Can organic feed the world?”

leave a comment »

Check out this two-minute video.

Micael Pollan is a journalist who studies the food system.

Written by larkinschmiedl

February 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

Food brainstorms

leave a comment »

My investigation begins.  It began years ago, really, when I first became acutely interested in food politics.

I am in process of surveying local food issues, and will be attending the Kamloops Food Policy Council meeting this Wednesday.

I spoke with Anne Grube yesterday, who is a local organic farmer (Golden Ears farm) and mother of city councillor Donovan Cavers.  (Cavers also runs a local catering business that strives to provide local organic ingredients, Conscientious Catering.)

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for stories, thinking about what can be put in concrete terms that really delves to the heart of issues with food and the food movement, and speaks to what a wide audience is concerned about.  The best idea I have so far is to look at the pricing of organic foods vs. conventional foods, to look at the reasons and provide information that people can base their purchasing decisions on, or at least give some food for thought and further research.

I have an obvious bias in support of organics and local and sustainable foods, so I will just put that front and centre right here.  However I do not think this prevents me from delving in and reporting on the issue.  I hope that by being transparent about my beliefs and background I will be able to put forth some of the concrete things I have learned about the food system in my time, alongside new research, and presented in balance with other perspectives.  My aim is for us all to learn, and find our way collectively toward a food system we can believe in, and that is viable to create.

Any ideas, readers?  Anything you’ve always wondered about food or the food system?  Any things you think need to be heard about more in the media?  Write and let me know.  I want to know what folks are wondering and concerned about.

The ideas I’m playing with right now include:

  • Food recommendations and the official national food pyramid–how it came to be, and what factors influenced its development?  What do dietary experts have to say about it?
  • Food irradiation treatment–what exactly is it, and how does it work?
  • The Kamloops public garden is expanding to the North Shore in the spring, and this is of interest locally.
  • Kamloops grocery store waste–what is given away and where to, and what goes into the dumpsters?  (I used to procure a lot of my food from dumpster diving, but not in Kamloops, so I have first-hand experience of the vast amounts of food that are thrown away, and am curious about what is happening here in Kamloops.)  What regulations govern food donation, and what laws apply to dumpster divers?  How does this relate to poverty in town?
  • How much food do we actually have in Kamloops that is locally produced?
  • I had the idea to create an interactive online food miles calculator that would tell you where your food came from if you typed in the type of food, its brand and where you got it.  This does not exist on the internet that I know of, and it would be a complicated, extensive and ever-changing and expanding project.  I think it’s pretty far outside the scope of what I could accomplish in this course.  I am very excited about the idea of a project like this though.  This sort of database could link to a vast amount of information about environmental impact, farm conditions, predicted nutritional value, profiles of stores and what they provide, and more.  Very exciting.  The sorts of food miles calculators that exist online now are approximate and do not provide detailed information.  Here is one good one if you just want to calculate how far a particular item has travelled to get to you.  All you need to know is what country your food item came from.

I’ll continue brainstorming, blogging and reporting as the days and weeks go on, so stay tuned.

%d bloggers like this: