Past Projects

For almost 20 years EAC’s Food Team has worked towards creating a more sustainable food system.  Many communities in Nova Scotia struggle with food and income insecurity – while at the same time our farmers find it difficult to make a living. We believe that both small farmers and low-income communities have the right to adequate income and an equitable food system. By supporting local producers, educating eaters and advocating for food policy change, we believe we can help to create a more equitable and sustainable food system.

 

Our Food Project

Our Food Project

Our Food: Reconnecting Food and Communities was a multi-year initiative funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada from 2011-2020. The goal of the Our Food Project was to strengthen communities' relationship to food by helping to build ‘positive food environments’ - the physical and social spaces that help to normalize healthy eating by making it easier to grow, sell and eat good food. The Project included staff and initiatives in Cape Breton, Cumberland County, Halifax and through a sister project in Southeast New Brunswick. 

Our Food Project areas of focus included: 

  1.      Community Food Leadership Development 
  2.      Policy Change and Civic Engagement 
  3.      Network and Policy Development 
  4.      Story-telling, Research and Evaluation. 

Our Food worked successfully at the individual, community and systemic level to increase the availability of nutritious food as well as our access to it. In doing so, the Project actively involved people in the development of more localized food systems. 

 

Community Food Leader Program

Community Food Leader Program

The Community Food Leader Certificate Program provided professional development and training to community‐based organizations and businesses who work at a local level to directly impact the lives of individuals experiencing food insecurity.  The eight month program created a regional network of food leaders, working to build food literacy, leadership skills and food initiatives that improve food security in their community. 

 

Plants to Plates

Plants to Plates

Plants to Plates was an interactive food education program for children and youth. The “Plants to Plates” approach, pairs kitchen skill building with garden activities and making connections between how food is grown and how to prepare nutritious, tasty meals. More broadly, the program aimed to get participants thinking critically about the food they eat, and where their food comes from. The Plants to Plates Activity Guide (made possible by funding from Community Food Centres Canada) remains available as an online resource. 

 

Heliotrust & Conservation Easements

Heliotrust & Conservation Easements

In order to have a thriving farm community producing food, farmers need access to good, affordable land, close to markets.  Since many farmers don’t make very much money farming, it is tempting to sell good farm land to the highest bidder (usually a developer) in order to finance a retirement plan.  This is a painful thing for a farmer to do, given their years of hard work to build up the land’s productivity.  It is also challenging for new farmers, as they often want to start off with low expenses.  A farmland conservation easement is a legal agreement in which permanent restrictions are placed on the land and for which the farmer is compensated, preventing them from selling off good farm land for development. They help both the retiring farmer and the new farmer by removing any speculative value distortions on farm land.  

EAC is the registered Easement Holder for two Farm Conservation Easements in Hants County.  This means that approximately 300 acres of land will be protected for farming in perpetuity.

 

Urban Gardening

Urban Gardening

The Urban Garden Project (2004-2013) worked on the many aspects of urban food production, supporting local garden projects and urban farms by offering gardening workshops, helping gardens access resources, hosting garden tours and events and advocating for stronger support from our local government. 

 

Food Miles

Food Miles

From 2007-2010, the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and the Ecology Action Centre collaborated on a research report and related educational resources on the food system in Nova Scotia. We started with the following questions: 

  • How far is our food traveling to get from farms to food retail outlets?  
  • What percentage of our food is locally grown? 

The result is the 2010 report Is Nova Scotia Eating Local? (aka. The Food Miles report), in which we examined methodologies for calculating the percentage of the food dollar going back to local farmers, and the distance average food items are travelling from farm to plate.  The report also delves into food self reliance in Nova Scotia, the social and economic benefits of a more localized food system and the literature on energy use in the food system and local food procurement policies.