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Mushroom workshop today!

March 3, 2015

Mushroom Growing Workshop 2015Mushrooms are a great addition to any meal, but did you know that you could grow your own? If you want to learn, we’ve got you covered! Dig In! is hosting a workshop series in partnership with Toronto Urban Growers to teach everyone how to grow their own mushrooms. This event is designed for all novice mushroom growers, and will cover topics such as making your own prints, syringes, and substrates as well as how to inoculate and harvest!
Participants MUST attend both workshops for this event. The cost of the workshops is Pay What You Can, with a suggested donation of $15.

Sign up here!

Healthy Study Snacks!

December 4, 2014

By Lauren Churchill

kaleFor students it is now the time of year where final papers, exams, and dreams of the holiday season are becoming in close reach. However, that means that for the time being most students are utterly swamped at the moment, which usually means that paying attention to what we eat goes out the window at this time of year but this doesn’t have to be the case! Next time you go to grab a bag of unhealthy potato chips why not try some healthy chips made from either apples or kale! How delicious does that sound for a study snack?

To make the apple chips all you need is:

– 2 apples

– And if you choose to add a little bit of sweetness, you can add 2tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp of

cinnamon (they taste great either way!).

1. Heat oven to 200 F.

2. Slice your apples into thin slices then place on a baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. If you choose to use sugar or cinnamon sprinkle it on top of the apple slices.

4. Let them bake for 2 hours. (You have the time, you’re reading notes anyway!)

To make the kale chips you will need

– ½ pound of kale

– 2 tsp quality olive oil

– A pinch of salt for flavour

1. Heat oven to 375 F.

2. Tear the leaves from the steams into chip sized pieces

3. Places the leaves on a baking sheet

4. Drizzle on the olive oil and sprinkle the salt

5. Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the leaves are crispy

Now snack and enjoy the energy boost to keep studying!

NOTE: sources

Cain, Lisa. “Kale Chips.” Snack Girl RSS. 27 July 2010. Web. 22 Nov. 2014. <http://www.snack->.

Cain, Lisa. “Got Apples? Try This Awesome Healthy Snack.” Snack Girl RSS. 7 Oct. 2010. Web. 22 Nov.

2014. <;.

Good Food Leadership Retreat 2014

December 1, 2014

By Alex Howard  

10389073_394966153990302_6835210825648079012_nOn Sunday November 23rd, the Dig In! Campus Agriculture Network in cahoots with the Hart House Farm Committee hosted a retreat at the beautiful Hart House Farm in Caledon.  Students loaded on a bus around 11am at Hart House and arrived at the Farm around noon.  Although it was raining when we first arrived the weather cleared up!

The retreat’s focus was to create a space where people interested in food related issues, from all different backgrounds of food advocacy, could get together and share our ideas, goals and experiences with one another. It was amazing to hear about the diverse range of organizations also interested in food advocacy and connect with those who share a similar passion for food equity in the UofT community.

Here at Dig In! we see local, organic, small scale farming and sustainable food production as a solution to empower and educate the community around us. So when we see that community come together and start talking about what we love, we get super excited!

1724707_394967977323453_4435450848739503487_nWhile lunch was being prepared students got to know each other a little better playing some ice-breaker games and learning about each others backgrounds in Food advocacy. The positive attitude that could be felt in the Ignatiff house was amazing and we thank all of you who attended for your good vibes! As the day went on students participated in a number of activities and discussions related to a variety of different food issues… and what better place to discuss food than at the University’s own Hart House Farms, the beautiful scenery and weather facilitated a great mood for idea and knowledge sharing!10689745_394969343989983_5765003119203285967_n

After that everybody got their outdoor gear on for a beautiful hike around the grounds, led by the lovely ladies of the Farm Committee, and students got to explore some really neat caves. Hot butternut squash soup was waiting for everyone when they got back from the hike and while a few stayed back to do some crafts almost everyone hit up the sauna before dinner! We finished off the evening with dinner, good conversations and many laughs!

Thank you again for all your positive vibes and food knowledge…

Hope to see you guys again next year.


Dig In! Campus Agriculture Network

The Benefits of Perennial Food Plants

November 5, 2014

By Alex Howard


Ever thought about planting some perennial food plants? If you haven’t maybe

I can convince you that it’s a great idea. Not only are perennials better environmentally

they are also much easier to maintain and pretty much worry free, all you have to do is

plant them once and reap the benefits for years to come! While some vegetables like

Tomatoes and peppers are perennials in warmer climates they cannot survive North

American winters… so, you may be wondering what kinds of edibles will survive our

harsh climate. Perennials come back every year and if properly maintained can last a very

long time yielding an abundance of fruits, veggies, edible root plants and leafy greens

year after year. What’s not to like about that?

From fruit trees to berry shrubs to herbs and even vegetables the wide array

of perennial food plants will leave you feeling like there’s something missing in your

garden. I will list a couple of them from Dave Jacke’s Edible Forest Gardens to get you

started thinking about which perennials you might like to have in your garden next year.

Some tasty and hardy small trees such as Asian pears (Pyrus bretschneideris)

and Wild Goose Plums (Prunus munsoniana) as well as shrubs like Saskatoon berries

(Amelanchier alnifolia), Running Juneberries (Amelanchier stolonifera), Black

Rasberries (Rubus occidentalis) and the extremely cold tolerant Siberian Pea Shrub

(Caragana arborescens). These small trees and shrubs can tolerate our colder climates

and begin flowering again every spring without any help!

Another great variety of perennials are herbs such as Lemon Balm (Melissa

officinalis), Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum spp.) and all sorts of perennial onion plants

such as Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum), Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuun) and

Welsh Onion (Allium fistulosum).

These are just a few of the many perennial edibles that will thrive in colder

climates. Look up some more awesome perennials that will survive in your gardens

climate and start planning which ones you want for next season. I promise you won’t be


Don’t Toss that Ugly Potato!

November 1, 2014

by Lauren Churchill


Often when we go to supermarkets to buy produce we spend our time going through piles of

apples, potatoes, and carrots to find that picture perfect fruit or vegetable that fits our idea of

what produce is supposed to look like. However, a supermarket in France, Intermarché, is

breaking the ideals surrounding what food ‘should’ look like in an attempt to eliminate the

aesthetic standards that grocery stores hold for their produce and reduce food waste by asking the

question, “What is so wrong with a crooked cucumber? Or an unsightly potato? [2].”

Intermarché has begun an ‘ugly fruit’ campaign to sell imperfect fruits and vegetables as

an initiative to reduce food waste. The supermarket uses the produce’s deformities to their

advantage by marketing them with endearing names such as the ‘Unfortunate Clementine’

while dedicating entire aisles to the misshapen fruits and vegetables in their stores. This strategy

does not only reduce food waste by combating the 89 million tons of food wasted each year

across Europe but also combats the issue of the affordability of fresh produce [2]. The French

supermarket is marketing the produce at 30% off regular price as an incentive to get customers

to try the ‘ugly fruits’ while providing free juice samples made from them to show that the ‘ugly’

foods are just as delicious and nutritious as the ‘pretty’ ones! The reduced price of these misfit

fruits and vegetables creates a cost effective alternative for people who may not be able to afford

their recommended daily servings with the current rising prices of produce [1].

In regards to Canada, Toronto has some similar campaigns going on to reduce the waste of

produce that supermarkets do not want. Arrangements between the Ontario Food Terminal and

the Daily Bread Food Bank allow food that is deemed as unacceptable by supermarkets because

of its appearance to be donated to the food bank [1]. Ontario farmers have also developed a

relationship with food banks so they may donate their crops that would otherwise be wasted due

to their different sizes, colouring, or any other traits that challenges the ideal produce appearance


These are just a few of the improvements that have been made in Toronto to reduce produce

waste, however, most supermarkets are still reluctant to take the initiative to sell ‘ugly’ fruits

and vegetables. Representatives have stated that they do not think these campaigns are suited for

their markets because their consumers are looking for the ‘freshest’ produce, despite the fact that

the ugly fruit campaign has increased traffic flow at Intermarché by 24% [1]. These unshapely

fruits and vegetables are perfectly fresh, consumers and supermarkets are just becoming wrapped

up in the expectation of buying only produce that look like the airbrushed produce they see in


Hopefully the ‘ugly fruit’ campaign will make its way into Canadian supermarkets but in the

meantime, instead of passing by a fruit that is misshapen or discoloured while shopping for that

perfect apple, think, “Doesn’t a ‘Grotesque Apple’ just have more to love!?”

Image credit: Huffington Post UK [3]

[1] Krashinsky, S. (2014, July 31). Ugly fruit campaign prompts consumers to rethink what they

buy. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from



[2] Minder, R. (2014, May 24). Tempting Europe With Ugly Fruit. The New

York Times. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from




[3] Huffington Post. (2014, July 17). Brilliant Food Waste Reduction Campaign Celebrates

Ugly Fruit And Veg. The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from http://

Local, Farm Fresh Food vs Supermarkets

October 14, 2014

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When I first started thinking about this post, I wanted to look into how accessible farm fresh produce was in Toronto. How prevalent are farmers markets around the city? Well I soon found out that there are a lot more than I thought and they’re in all major hubs of Toronto, from the west end all the way to the east [1].

My initial interest was sparked by the announcement by Whole Foods that their Yorkville location is now open and their 6th Ontario store would be opening up in Ottawa soon. I instantly wondered what made Whole Foods so great? It certainly offers its consumers a healthier alternative for quick easy lunches and dinners, supports local suppliers and markets its food as Organic as much as possible.

As I continued to search through their website there was one major thing I didn’t like. They carry genetically modified foods. Stating that carrying GMO products is almost impossible to avoid in a lot of foods [2]. Genetically modified refers to foods whose genetic make-up has been altered in order to make it resistant to certain types of weather, pesticides, insects and the list goes on.

I wanted to look into the options I (or you) have if I didn’t want to buy foods that have been genetically modified. Maybe the problem is that we don’t necessarily need more large grocery chains moving in and marketing us organic food. Maybe what we need is an increasing interest in actual organic food from farmers markets in the city where the interaction between consumer and producer is much more commonplace. Not only does the interaction mean you can personally ask farmers about their products and inform yourself but you also support your local farm producers upfront instead of through the large grocery chains. Not that I have anything against Whole Foods but it appears to be just as easy in Toronto to find local small-scale farmers markets with foods just as wholesome!

Take a look at these products:

• Canola

• Corn

• Lentils

• Potatoes

• Rice

• Soybeans

• Squash

• Tomatoes

• Wheat [3]

Are any of them a staple in your diet? If you want to avoid GMO products than you can choose to leave them out of your diet altogether or be aware where they are coming from when buying them. It can be as simple as asking farmers at the market how they grow their crops, where and what kinds of seeds they use.

Be particularly aware of processed foods as the David Suzuki Foundation’s website notes “GMO ingredients have made their way into most of the processed foods available on Canadian grocery shelves”[4]. This is what Whole Foods is talking about when they say they can’t avoid GMO products in their stores… So another solution is to avoid processed foods altogether.

Another alternative to this is growing your own food. When buying seeds you can ensure that those seeds are not GMO. Growing your own food requires zero emissions to transport to your table and you know exactly where it’s coming from! Whole foods is a step in the right direction but I think we can take it a step further and support local, organic and GMO free farmers if we continue to inform ourselves. So look up the closest farmers markets to you and go check ‘em out, I promise you won’t regret it!





Root Soup Riot

October 3, 2014

Do you know what veggies are in season this fall?


The growing season is not over yet! There are still tons of vegetables you can grow and buy that harvest in fall. Lettuce, kale, spinach, radish, beets, carrots, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes and rhubarb are all among some of the vegetables still being planted and harvested at the UofT gardens. Look for fall produces such as these at your local Stores to ensure you’re getting the freshest produce of the season. What would you make with these fresh veggies?

Potato-beet-carrot soup!

I know pumpkin spice is all the rage right now but this one is for the beet lovers! As the temperature begins to drop why not try a new soup recipe to warm you up. We like this one that incorporates potatoes, beets, carrots and garlic. It’s fast and easy to make.  Also try roasting the beets in tin foil and then chopping them up to add to any of your favourite salads!

Puréed Beet Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and black pepper

21⁄2 pounds beets, peeled and chopped

1⁄2 pound starchy potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

6 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock

Juice of 1 lemon

Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Chopped fresh dill for garnish (optional)

1. Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion and garlic

and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7

minutes. Add the beets, potatoes, and carrot and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes,

then add the stock.

2. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cook

until the vegetables are fully tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice and purée

with an immersion blender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve hot or cold,

garnished with the sour cream and dill, if desired. (Store leftover soup in an airtight

container in the refrigerator for up to several days.)[1]

[1]Puréed Beet Soup


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