Jasen Brousseau is an Environmental Studies student at Carleton University and founder of Lorgavore Tours (and the term Lorgavore). As a steward of the natural environment, he has long realized the importance of a healthy relationship between humans and nature. He believes the foundation of this relationship is our food.
So Jasen! Tell us: what’s a Locavore? What’s a lorgavore?
A locavore is quite simply someone who tries to eat food that is produced as locally as possible. When I first started Locavore Tours this was the main message being conveyed by the project. I soon realized however that I wasn’t just trying to promote supporting local farms, but organic farms as well. Which is where the answer to your next question comes in.I felt the bar could be raised a bit higher than simply eating locally; as food from an industrial farm is still food from an industrial farm even if you live right beside it. I therefore wanted to create a term that would describe supporting local and organic farms. The term “Lorgavore” is a direct result of that. A lorgavore is someone who tries to eat only locally and organically produced foods and who supports and local and organic food system.
So I changed the name of Locavore Tours to Lorgavore Tours in order to more clearly express the goals behind the project.
How would you describe the local/organic scene in Ottawa?
I would describe the local/organic food scene in Ottawa as very promising. There are very committed individuals and organizations continuously working on improving the health of Ottawa’s food scene. At the moment however it is still somewhat underground and farmers are in a constant battle to not give up any ground to the powers that be.
I believe there is quite a large demand for healthy food from the public and the public is becoming more and more educated about food issues.
One of the biggest challenges people are facing is accessing this healthy food and this is a direct result of the challenge that farmers face in distributing their products. We are at a point in Ottawa where the demand is there but the infrastructure and political support is not.
I would encourage people to continue going out to farmer’s markets and making the drive out to your local/organic farms until we have the infrastructural and political support that we need.
On a personal level, why is this focus so important to you?
For a couple reasons. The first being that I have always had a profound interest in environmental issues, sustainability, and an economy that is both socially and environmentally just. The food movement is a movement that encompasses all of these issues; which not only makes it a worthwhile effort but also an effort that benefits aspects of society far greater than just the food system itself.
Secondly, people often make the mistake of thinking that the food movement is only about health or the environment, but it is really about freedom. It is about keeping alive our ability to access food that not only doesn’t make us sick but also keeps us healthy. It is a fight against the corporate control of our choices and what we have access to. In my opinion this is very fundamental and I guess that is why it is an important focus of mine.
You’re doing a lot of work to try and engage people in the scene. Tell us about this new apprenticeship program.
Yes we have recently launched the Lorgavore Tours Organic Farmer Apprenticeship Program.
It is basically a program to connect new or want-to-be organic farmers with established organic farms in the Ottawa area. Apprentices work with the farmer for a minimum of three months. Some farms are even providing room and board. There is no financial cost at any point; the farmer simply shares his/her knowledge in exchange for help on the farm. The goal of the program is to train our next generation of organic farmers.
Where might people end up apprenticing?
Right now we have two farms registered for the program which specialize in two different disciplines of organic farming. For livestock farming we have Alpenblick Farm which is out near Carleton Place. At Alpenblick Farm Apprentices will get the chance to learn how to farm organic goats, sheep, dairy and beef cattle. Our second farm registered for the program is Castor River Farm out in Metcalfe. Apprentices at Castor River Farm will have the unique opportunity to learn how to farm organic grains and cereals.
How would you spend your perfect day in Ottawa?
Good question! I would say maybe going for a hike during the day out where I live in the country. After that probably a dinner with friends and family; local and organic food of course. Then maybe a bonfire while listening to/playing some music. Pretty simple.
Thanks Jasen! We can’t wait to hear first-hand from one of your apprentices!