Category: Food Sustainability

Sunworks Farm

Sunworks Farm

Sheila is very passionate when she talks about her farm and the way that the animals are treated humanely and respectfully.  Coming from an indigenous background myself, this is something that has always been important to me. The animals should be treated well, killed humanely and we should use as many parts from snout to tail as we are able.  Sunworks does all those things.

Their farm was started because their daughter had such severe allergies and food sensitivities that they needed to be able to grow their own food.  They started out feeding themselves and through a few requests started raising a little bit more, and a little bit more until it grew into what it is today.  No farming background. Amazing!

Free range, BCSPCA certified humane, grass fed, certified organic and “as close to nature as possible”.

These folks are passionate about their farm and their animals and it shows.  The end products are delicious, good for you AND celiac safe and allergy free.  The Chicken Moroccan sausages are so good.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend “Family Farm Day” at the beginning of September to see where my food comes from.  This is an annual event put on by Sheila and family where you can come out and meet everyone, have lunch and a farm tour.

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I am guessing there were about 800 people in attendance.  The weather was pretty crappy that day, so they cleaned out one of the winter chicken coops for everyone to gather in.  We had some lovely live entertainment while we were waiting.

Lunch was simple elegance.  Smoked chicken wings with organic salad and apples for dessert. It was delicious!

After lunch we got to see some happy animals!  The turkeys and chickens are about as “free range” as it gets.  They are in outdoor shelters, but the buildings are moveable. So they get to run around and just “be”.

All of the meat is processed on site.  Always treated respectfully. They gave their lives so that we could be nourished.  These folks have their family values that they live by and refuse to compromise quality.

If you are like me and have a hard time making it out to the farmer’s markets on the weekend, you can try Blush Lane Organic Market, or Planet Organic on Jasper Avenue to find the chicken, turkey, beef, pork and eggs.

You can taste the difference!

Twitter: @sunworksfarm

Instagram: https://instagram.com/sunworks_farm

 

Camola Sustainable Foods

Camola Sustainable Foods

Two nerds with Italian heritage tried eating a grasshopper one day and fell in love with the idea that everyone should eat insects.

Silvia and Claudio have teamed up to bring you a line of products that are not only delicious and nutritious, but better for the environment and more easily sustainable.

Silvia and Claudio are Entomologists which basically means that they study insects.  Silvia is the baker of the team. With their Italian roots they have created a “Bugscotti” that is delicious and like no other biscotti, has the added protein of the cricket powder.

What do crickets taste like you ask? Personally I don’t find a discernible taste difference in any of the Camola products.  They will apparently taste like celery in the new soup line coming out soon! The cricket flour doesn’t emulsify like regular flour.  This means the cricket flour needs to be mixed with regular flour to get the same results. Your baking will just have more protein.

I wanted to know how crickets were farmed.  Camola will have their own cricket farm soon, but for now they have an outside source.  The crickets are raised in controlled conditions until they are the right size and then they are humanely harvested by freezing.  They are then baked in an oven and ground into flour.

How do crickets contribute to sustainability? From the website:
To produce 1Kg of cricket flour requires about 4 L of water. In comparison, 1Kg of beef can require up to 48000 L of water! The difference is astonishing! Insects also have a high conversion factor (amount of feed that becomes body mass): for example, 1Kg of crickets only 3-4 kg of feed are required, compared to the 10 kg necessary to farm 1 Kg of beef.

And nutritious!  I already knew that they had a lot of vitamins and other goodness but wasn’t aware of how much until Sylvia let me know.  Again from the website so that I have the facts straight:
In terms of nutrients, they are 66% of protein in weight, rich in iron, potassium, calcium and vitamin B12. One tablespoon of cricket flour (about 10g) provides 100% of the B12 you will need in a day. Crickets have a complete aminoacidic profile, including all the 9 essential amino acids, making them a very healthy protein!

As an additional bonus, crickets are low in cholesterol and other unhealthy fatty acids (which means you can eat more protein without the guilt!). Also, farming insects does not require hormones, steroids or antibiotics, making them a healthy choice for people with specific allergies or that want to avoid food contamination.

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Camola is going to expand into many different kinds of products, they are not just a bakery anymore!  My favourite product so far is the “Bug Bites” which are basically little date balls that have the cricket powder mixed into them.

The Crick Chips and the Bugscotti are also very tasty.  No discernible “off” taste in any of the products that I have tried so far. Try them, you just might like them!

All of the products can be ordered from the website and delivered to your door.  If you visit the farmer’s markets, you will find them Camola selling there as well.

The website has just been re-vamped with all kinds of new information.  The social media accounts have all changed as well.  Find them all here:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

B’s Diner 15th Annual Christmas Dinner for the Less Fortunate

B’s Diner 15th Annual Christmas Dinner for the Less Fortunate

YEGfoodie was proud to stand behind Brenda Der for her 15th annual “Christmas Party for the Less Fortunate”.

Brenda Der used to be the force of nature behind B’s Diner.  If you were down on your luck and needed a hot meal, all you needed to do was walk into B’s Diner and Brenda would make sure that you were taken care of.  Even though the Diner closed the doors almost two years ago, Brenda still continues to help the less fortunate here in Edmonton.

Brenda lost her son Jeremy in a drowning accident while they were out on a family trip about 7 years ago.  The big Christmas Dinner is done in memory of Jeremy.  It is a very important part of Brenda’s year. This is my third year with Brenda, my second working alongside her as her Volunteer Coordinator.

What does it take to put on a dinner that feeds between 400 and 600 people?  A lot of work!

The initial stages of planning are finding sponsors to get the food for the dinner and the hampers that go out to the families.  Oh I forgot to mention – this isn’t “just” a dinner.   Brenda will generally do at least 50 Christmas hampers for families in need around the city.  She also puts meals together for seniors and veterans.  That is a whole lot of food!

This year we were fortunate enough to have the Forester’s Foundation as our corporate sponsor for the dinner portion of the event.  Many thanks to Jeremiah Renner for putting all of that in motion.  They have to submit a proposal to get the funding and then they go through all of the organizing and work to pick up all of the food items that are needed for the dinner.  Thank you Jeremiah and all of your Forester’s!!

We don’t just provide our guests with a hot meal.  We want for them to be able to relax and enjoy a  holiday environment.  Musicians are a must!  We source talent that is willing to donate their time to this worthy cause.  This year we were lucky enough to have Chantel Hilton back for a second year, and now she is part of the family; we are keeping her and never giving her back. If you have not heard of Chantel, she is a celebrity impersonator.  Her favorite character is Marylin Monroe.  We caught her performance on camera here.

What a stone cold doll!  She worked through our technical difficulties (no bluetooth for the sound system – fancy new Iphone!)

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We also try to make sure that we have warm clothing available for our guests to take if they need it.  In previous years we have had photographers to take photos and the photo printers on site to make sure that the guests had prints that they could give for gifts to family and friends.  We would love to bring this back again next year but we will need to find a corporate sponsor for the printers/ink/paper/SD cards.

It takes a lot of people to volunteer as well to make all of this possible. We can’t thank our volunteers enough!  We are thankful for every single one of you that took the time out of their busy holiday season to give back to the community.  It takes close to 100 people to put this kind of event on.

This is not the only event that this lovely lady does during the year either.  The church that provides the space for the big Christmas dinner also does community dinners for the less fortunate on a regular basis.  Brenda participates in those a few times a year as well.

Are you a musician, good in the kitchen, good with people, a photographer,  just want to give back to the community?  Come out to one of the events and lend a helping hand!  Join our Facebook Group.

This year we fed 438 people.  50 Christmas meal trays went out to families (not enough donations were received for hampers this year).  Several veterans meals and seniors meals also went out for Christmas dinner.  We were able to help a lot of people to just pause and relax.

Cheers to Brenda and all of the hard work she puts in throughout the year.  We love you Brenda!

LeftOversYEG

LeftOversYEG

So not known to many people, but I have a place in my heart for the homeless.  In a country as rich as ours, no one should be going hungry, ever.  Since this is the season where we feel a little more generous and want to give back to the community, I wanted to feature a new charitable venture: LeftOversYEG

A bit of background story first…

At my wedding, it was a huge eye opener.  We had a lot of food left over and we wanted to be able to pack everything up and make sure that someone who needed it could benefit from it.  We discovered that the shelters will not accept any food that has not been prepared in a commercial kitchen.  Period.

I have been doing my best since then to make sure that people that are using the shelter system still have a means of being able to enjoy a good home-cooked meal without having to go through the shelter.  I discovered that there are several groups of people that get together and bring crockpots full of good, hot food directly to the shelters and feed those folks outside that are waiting for a spot to sleep that night.

As a food journalist, I like to keep on top of the latest trends and I am always keeping an ear to the ground for anything food related.

Food insecurity has been a subject that has come up a few times over the past year.

From the Leftovers Calgary website:

“Close to half of food produced worldwide is wasted. Discarded in processing, transport, grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and kitchens. The Leftovers Foundation is an non-profit organization that rescues food that would otherwise be thrown into the landfill, and ensures it gets to service agencies in need. We deliver perishable food to these locations to reduce food waste and deliver the excess to those in need. We are an organization working to find solutions of a global issue.

Food waste is a $31 billion dollar industry in Canada and 25% of Canadians live in food insecure households.”

Needless to say when Chef Daniel Huber took over the reins of LeftOversYEG, I was very intrigued and had to find out what it was all about.

RR What does food insecurity mean to you?

DH The inability for any Canadian, of any walk of life, income and lifestyle, to access healthy and nutritional food. That can take the shape of a lack of healthy retail or commercial choices in your neighbourhood. All the way to a lack of knowledge on how to cook. As well as having the means to end hunger in a community on the basis of what people throw away.

RR What inspired you to step up and take over Leftovers YEG?

DH To put it bluntly, it is a productive way to both help the community and myself. I get to use my knowledge to help others and I saw an opportunity to get Edmonton on board with an amazing idea. It’s a no brainer.

RR Tell me a bit about Leftovers YEG – what is your main goal?

DH To reroute items that are otherwise completely safe and tasty from being thrown out due to misconceptions, blemishes and a lack of access.

RR What do you need from the community to make this venture successful?

DH Volunteers, get involved at www.rescuefood.ca . Come out to events and lend support to change policy locally, provincially and federally. Also, stay tuned for a sweet YouTube channel on how to cook smart and make batches of food that are easy to reheat and use with no waste.

RR Who are the agencies that are currently involved?

DH We have a handful of key partners in the community now, and will be gladly joining up with others as the volume of donations rise. Agencies in the same vein as Bissell are what we target. We will be updated our partnership list Jan 1!

RR How does a restaurant or retailer get involved with this initiative?

DH Drop me a line at daniel@rescuefood.ca and my team will get everything going.

RR What does a volunteer shift look like?

DH It looks like whatever you can do. You drop us a line and we plug you in where it works. If your schedule doesn’t work for our routes we put you on a waiting list and plot it out as soon as we can.

RR What are the requirements to be a volunteer?

DH We have a simple application process to ensure we cover all the basis for health and safety requirements and you must have all your proper vehicle insurance, licensing etc. There is also a super serious waiver. Because saving the world sometimes requires fearless folks!

RR Where do we go to sign up?

DH www.rescuefood.ca and follow the links!

RR How can we help get the word out?

DH Share us on social media and tell everyone you know. A great idea only requires a handful of passionate people to catch fire.

So there you have it folks!  A simple way to make a difference in your own community and help make some full bellies while making our city a better place to live.  Win/win!

Please do help spread the word, tell your friends about this great organization.  Volunteer to take a delivery route, show up and lend a hand, there is lots to be done!

Watch my EVENTS page for any LeftOversYEG events!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leftoversYEG
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LeftoversYEG
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yegleftovers/