Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sunday January 10, 2016 Local Food

It’s a new year, which means a new set of Lakehead University In Conversation lectures here at the Thunder Bay Public Library!  The first 2016 lecture, “Food Innovation in Northwestern Ontario,” will be held on January 23 at 2pm in the Mary J.L. Black Community Program Room. This lecture is presented by Dr. Connie Nelson, a professor of Social Work at Lakehead University. Dr. Nelson will be talking about five local food initiatives that are creating jobs while helping people live healthier lives in connection with their environment. Dr. Nelson’s lecture is very timely; the local food movement is gaining momentum as many people attend the Saturday morning Country Market and more Thunder Bay restaurants serve local fare. Want to find out more before the 23rd?  Then stop by your local library!

If you are totally new to the idea of the local food movement, check out Amy Cotler’s The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food. Cotler covers all the basics; with her help you’ll be buying, cooking, and eating more local foods in no time.

People in Northwestern Ontario aren’t the only ones eating locally; the local food movement is springing up across North America. Tanya Denckla Cobb profiles 50 different projects from across the United States in Reclaiming Our Food:How the Grassroots Food Movement is Changing the Way We Eat. Cobb’s book is a great read if you’re curious about what’s going on elsewhere in the continent. Even though some of the projects detailed in this book are not practical in our climate, their ingenuity is sure to inspire you. Likewise, Robert Bates made a documentary on the American local food movement called Ingredients. Bates speaks with chefs, farmers, and activists to show how the local food movement began; they believe that the North American food system can and should be sustainable, healthy, and tasty.

If you’re interested in growing your own food, rather than just buying locally, we’ve got lots of books to help you as well. An excellent overview of making your home self sufficient is David Toht’s Backyard Homesteading: A Back-to-BasicsGuide to Self Sufficiency. Backyard Homesteading has all sorts of information on growing vegetables, raising livestock, and storing all the food you produce. There’s even a section to help you navigate the local rules and regulations concerning livestock in the city. Toht freely admits that his book doesn’t go into lots of detail on any one topic, so if you want to know more about a certain subject you’ll need to find a more specialized book that is available on the topic. But if you’re wanting a more general overview on self sufficiency, Backyard Homesteading is for you.

In recent years, more and more people have become interested in keeping bees so they can have and sell their own local honey. Local honey tastes good and may help alleviate pollen allergies. If you’re interested in beekeeping but have no experience, definitely check out Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston or The Backyard Beekeeper:an Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden by Kim Flottum. Both books are excellent resources for beginners who want to keep a Langstroth hive (they’re the fastest producers of honey). If you have experience with beekeeping or want to know more about some of the other hive types (like the Kenya top-bar hive or even the Warre hive), check out Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches toModern Apiculture by Ross Conrad instead.

All of this and more can be found at your local library!  And don’t forget to head to Mary J.L. Black on January 23 for Dr. Nelson’s lecture. It starts at 2pm in the Community Program Room.

Shauna Kosoris 

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