Greenbelt Credits its Success to Good Friends

TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation today announced a number of recent grants for projects that strive to make the Greenbelt stronger still. All 25 of the grants announced today aim to fulfill the Foundation's goal of preserving and enhancing the Greenbelt's agricultural, rural and ecological integrity.

"The Greenbelt is approaching its 5th anniversary stronger than ever. That's in no small part thanks to the creative and determined efforts of our grantees working hard in communities large and small across the Greenbelt," said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Foundation. "We're announcing these grants just as harvest season begins to wrap up. But for our grantees their work is just beginning. We look forward to watching their projects bear fruit in the months ahead."

Below is a list of projects that have recently received financial support from the Foundation. They include farming and local food initiatives, environmental protection projects and a number of efforts that focus on communicating what is great about the Greenbelt.

    
    They are:

    Alternatives Journal                                             $10,000

    With a focus on contemporary environmental issues, increasing awareness
    of the Greenbelt and encouraging discussion of key protection issues,
    Alternatives will profile the Greenbelt in six issues of the Journal.

    Bike Train 2009: Greenbelt Express                               $36,750

    Bike Train will expand on the success of the first season of the
    Greenbelt Express, a service for travelers and their bikes between
    Toronto and the Niagara area of the Greenbelt, with more trips and
    enhanced information and guides on the recreational and tourism
    opportunities available in the Greenbelt.

    Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment                              $25,000

    The Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment will work to protect the
    Escarpment's natural heritage through research and education efforts and
    by building partnerships with public and private sectors stakeholders,
    conservation authorities, and educators.

    Credit Valley Conservation Foundation                            $25,000

    The Credit Valley Conservation Foundation will determine wetland
    restoration priorities and characterize and quantify key ecosystem
    services provided by wetlands in the Credit River watershed.

    Ecojustice                                                       $20,000

    Ecojustice will lead a collaboration between Ontario Nature, Ducks
    Unlimited Canada and Earthroots to review provincial regulations for
    groundwater and wetlands. The group will assess the effectiveness of the
    Greenbelt Plan with respect to wetlands and groundwater conservation, and
    possible ways to improve protection.

    FoodShare                                                        $55,000

    Using their existing distribution network of fresh produce programs,
    FoodShare will build awareness and connections to Greenbelt producers to
    increase the amount Greenbelt-grown food reaching Toronto community
    organizations, schools, and individuals. FoodShare will also work with
    Greenbelt farmers interested in community outreach to provide
    opportunities for education about the Greenbelt, its produce and the
    people who grow this great food.

    George Morris Centre                                             $67,000

    The George Morris Centre will partner with the municipalities of Hamilton
    and Niagara to perform a feasibility study on establishing a Greenbelt
    food distribution mechanism in these regions.

    Grape Growers of Ontario                                         $20,000

    The Grape Growers of Ontario will continue to host luncheons in 2009 and
    2010 to launch the annual Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, an event
    attended by grape growers, wine makers and wine enthusiasts to recognize
    the contributions of growers and to celebrate the grapes, soil, and
    climate that contribute to Ontario's VQA wines.

    Greenbelt Farmers' Market Network                               $100,000

    This new Network was created for market managers to share knowledge and
    help each other to run stronger and better-promoted markets by sharing
    vendors and other resources, better advocating for market-friendly
    policies at the municipal level, and conducting consumer and policy
    research to empower markets to identify and address common issues.

    Greenbelt Green Energy Program for Agriculture                  $250,000

    Reducing farmers' dependency on fossil fuels is a priority of the Ontario
    Soil and Crop Improvement Association, an organization leading the way
    towards the responsible economic management of soil, water, air and
    crops. This grant provides incentives for Greenbelt farmers to generate
    their own energy for agricultural use from renewable sources.

    Hamilton Conservation Foundation                                  $2,500

    This teaching garden in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area,
    commemorating former Hamilton Conservation Authority Chief Administrative
    Officer Bruce Duncan, will be a place for visitors to observe and feel
    changes over time in the natural landscape and the wildlife species
    native to the valley.

    Environment Hamilton Eat Local                                   $50,000

    Environment Hamilton will work with partners to implement local food
    procurement systems in elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.

    Lincoln Agricultural Society: Niagara Agri-Education Day         $25,000

    The 150-year old Lincoln County Fair has welcomed a popular new addition
    to the festivities with the Niagara Agri-Education Day, an event where
    school children can taste, touch, feel and learn about common farming
    practices in the Greenbelt.

    Local Food Plus                                                 $200,000

    Local Food Plus will work with community partners in Hamilton and St.
    Catharines to certify farmers, processors, restaurants and other
    organizations as suppliers and consumers of Greenbelt-grown, sustainably-
    produced food.

    Niagara Escarpment Foundation                                    $10,000

    The Niagara Escarpment Foundation lead a process with citizen's groups to
    review water issues and the work that is needed Greenbelt-wide to address
    them.

    Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance                                $10,000

    The 2009 Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit is an event which highlights the
    abundance of opportunities for growers in the Greenbelt and provides an
    opportunity for farmers, chefs, owner-operators and other buyers and
    sellers of food to connect.

    Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention                            $5,000

    "Canada's premier horticultural event," the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable
    Convention features educational sessions, speakers from around the world,
    a trade show, and food and wine events to celebrate all that is great in
    the Greenbelt.

    Ontario Greenbelt Alliance                                      $375,000

    The Ontario Greenbelt Alliance is a coalition of groups who are working
    together to strengthen the Greenbelt by forming partnerships with
    municipalities to expand the Greenbelt, clarifying a vision for further
    Greenbelt expansion, and continuing to serve as a vital centre for
    Greenbelt-related information.

    Ontario Tender Fruit Marketing Board                             $10,000

    The CNE got a whole lot sweeter this year, as the Ontario Tender Fruit
    Marketing Board spread awareness of the Greenbelt by handing out
    Greenbelt-grown peaches to hungry visitors and recipe cards for people to
    make their own delicious treats when they bring home Greenbelt-grown
    peaches from their local store or market.

    Durham Farmers Market Feasibility Study                          $10,000

    Oshawa may soon enjoy a year-round farmers' market, as developers are
    preparing a feasibility study and a review of best management models for
    a new market in downtown Oshawa which will help Greenbelt farmers reach
    new consumers.

    Royal Agricultural Winter Fair                                  $140,620

    At the 2008 Fair, a Greenbelt-themed kids' activity book with puzzles,
    games and coloring was given out to young visitors. In 2009, there will
    be a special Greenbelt Day at the Fair with children's activities,
    Greenbelt-grown meals featured throughout, and a chance for visitors to
    meet the groups doing great work around the Greenbelt, as well as the
    return of the popular wine competition where the best Greenbelt red and
    white wines are awarded.

    Sustain Ontario: the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming       $15,000

    With the help of Sustain Ontario's local food mapping and sector
    analysis, opportunities for food processing infrastructure will be
    researched and identified to help close Ontario's gap in fruit, vegetable
    and meat processing infrastructure to make Greenbelt-grown food a more
    viable option.

    Share the Road Cycling Coalition                                  $3,000

    Cycling is an important recreational activity in the Greenbelt. The Share
    the Road Cycling Coalition rode into this year's Ontario Bike Summit,
    taking part in an event bent on developing public policy frameworks for
    safe biking in Ontario.

    St. Lawrence Market                                              $15,000

    The historic St. Lawrence Farmers' Market has been serving customers
    since 1803, and adding Greenbelt messaging into the markets'
    communication materials remind market customers that Greenbelt farmers
    contribute immensely to the market.

    Toronto Environmental Alliance                                  $185,000

    This grant has three distinct parts, all related to bringing the
    Greenbelt into Toronto. The first phase produced two new Greenbelt grown
    food guides, one for Toronto's Middle Eastern community and another for
    the city's African-Caribbean community, building on the successes of the
    previous Chinese and South Asian guides. These booklets list retailers,
    markets and farms selling foods grown in the Greenbelt which are popular
    in the cuisine of these major ethnic groups. The second phase will result
    in the production of resource materials for municipalities, universities,
    schools and hospitals which encourage the adoption of policies favouring
    the procurement of Greenbelt-grown food. The final phase will grow the
    Greenbelt into Toronto by supporting new Greenbelt-friendly municipal
    policies, including the City of Toronto's Local Food Procurement Policy
    and the expansion of the Greenbelt to Toronto's rivers and valley lands.
    

SOURCE Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

For further information: For further information: Jennifer Story at (416) 461-6310 or by cell at (647) 966-6310 or by email at jstory@ourgreenbelt.ca

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