On the Side Inc.

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Brief description of the organization/business

On the Side is a manufacturer of chutneys and other condiments using seasonal, locally grown ingredients bought directOntheside photo from farmers in the Greenbelt as much as possible. The company currently makes three chutneys: Smiling Green Tomato Chutney, Oh So Very Cranberry, and Cherry Gem, available to retailers, chefs and caterers. The jars’ labels are based on water colour paintings by Chris Lianga, who owns and operates the company with her husband David Orr. Started in 2007, their mission is to propel the growth of nutritious condiments and to educate the public on the importance of buying local for sustainability. Chris learned about food issues while studying environmental science and while working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. David has a background in farming and ranching. Their products are purchased and sold locally – within a 100 mile distance. They sell their products at Holt Renfrew, Prince of Wales Inn in Niagara, Inn on the Twenty, Summerhill market, All the Best, and the Healthy Butcher.

What do you think are the most pressing food and agriculture issues facing Ontario?

The Federal government needs to address agricultural sustainability and climate change. Farmers markets in Toronto are a great start. Premier McGuinty’s initiatives have helped to increase the availability of local food for purchase in Toronto, which helps On the Side. There is a need to grow the local food movement. Consumers need to question managers of grocery store managers and demand local food. The public needs to question decision makers and educate each other about local initiatives.

What policies could best address these issues?

  • Greenbelt legislation to protect agricultural land and to protect genetic diversity
  • Climate change mitigation by reducing food miles

What role do you see Sustain Ontario playing to address these issues?

Sustain Ontario offers insights into food and farming issues. The newsletters are educational and support the movement.