Cross-Posted from Calgary is Awesome.
Happy Nutrition Month! Every March, Dietitians of Canada spearheads a month-long campaign to highlight nutrition as an important part of our health, and to help motivate and guide people across the country to better food choices. This year's theme is Celebrate food... from field to table! which is particularly relevant as many of us are becoming more concerned about where our food comes from and how it is produced.
- CHOMP Around Alberta is a virtual one-stop shop for information regarding local eating around the province. The site, developed by Travel Alberta and a handful of other organizations, is divided into several sections:
- Off the Eaten Path suggests different culinary trips you can take, highlighting local producers and restaurants that specialize in local cuisine along the way. Want to plan your own trip instead? Take Your Fork on the Road leads you to the Alberta Farm Fresh Association website. Each year the association publishes a guide/map of all their members, which include vegetable, fruit and protein (meat and egg) producers who sell their goods on-site – a great way to meet the farmers and get to know where your food comes from.
- Don’t want to travel too far from home? The Urban Forager section takes you to the Alberta Farmers’ Markets Association website – we are lucky enough to have two year-round markets right here in Calgary (Calgary Farmers’ Market and Crossroads Market), but there are also a handful of seasonal markets (usually open through the summer and into fall) inside and outside of the city that are definitely worth a look. Find out where they are by visiting this interactive map.
- Not sure what’s in season? A handy Harvest Calendar highlights the vegetables, fruit and meats that you can find during the different seasons, as well as products that are available year-round.
- Not much of a cook? The Redefining Dining & Wining section is a portal for the Dine Alberta program which provides a directory and map of restaurants that source local food.
- CHOMP Around Alberta has been around for almost three years without much fanfare, but last month, the province launched its Explore Local campaign, which will hopefully reignite interest in producers, chefs and consumers alike for local food and sustainable development.
- Ever heard of community-supported agriculture (CSA)? Farms across the country are trying to drum up more business and increase their financial security buy asking people to buy “shares” in the farm. In return, shareholders get to pick up a box of farm-fresh produce every week during the harvest season. There are currently two CSAs that have pickup locations in Calgary – Thompson Small Farm near Carbon, AB and Oxyoke Farms near Linden, AB (403-546-0110, pickups at Knox United Church). The Good Food Box run by the Community Kitchen Program of Calgary is a similar program, but not all of the produce is local.
- For those who like to shop online, spud! is an online grocer that delivers directly to your home. The company sells all-organic produce, and about half of its other grocery products are organic as well. The website lists the producer of every single item available, and often there is a vendor profile as well. However, the quality of the produce can be a little spotty, so sticking with the more processed goods (dairy products, breads, grains, etc.) is probably your best bet.
- Slow Food is a movement that began in the 80s in Italy as a response to the growing fast food industry in Europe, and has since spread around the world. The Calgary branch carries on the Slow Food mandate of protecting regional cuisines and ingredients by hosting workshops and food and wine events in restaurants across the city.
- In an impressive show of marketing, I recently received a Twitter request from Pantry Pup. They are a new company so their product line is currently quite small, but right now they carry Canadian organic wild rice and locally made artisanal pasta which they'll deliver free to your door!
- Educate yourself on the issues! The Calgary Food Policy Council (also at http://calgaryfoodpolicy.blogspot.com) is a non-governmental organization that advocates for a sustainable, local urban food system. Their interests run the gamut from community gardens, food security and organizing the Calgary Food Summit to more fringe practices of beekeeping and backyard chickens.