Recently, buying local produce has been growing in popularity. It is fresher, more sustainable and requires less distance traveled to get from the farm to you.
However, now more than ever, these farmers need our support. By supporting local farms, you not only support the farmers, but also help build communities, create jobs and support the economy. All while better nourishing your body!
The first week of June marks Local Food Week in Ontario. It feels important, now more than ever, to celebrate and support local food. See below for ways we are supporting our local farmers and how you can take part in Local Food Week.
Right now, small farms are one of the industries being hit the hardest by the effects of COVID-19. In a very short amount of time, sales have dropped dramatically, provinces shut-down farmers markets, retailers closed their doors and restaurants have reduced their orders. However despite this drop in demand, farms still need to run, produce still needs to be harvested and animals still need to be fed whether the products are being used or not. Greatly increasing the amount of waste generated by each farm.
What are we doing?
100% of our locally available produce comes from local farms during Ontario’s growing season. Examples include: apples (Algoma Orchards in Newcastle), cucumbers (Great Lakes in Leamington) and leafy greens, beets and carrots (Pfennings Farms in New Hamburg).
Collaboration with local farmers that have lost their sales channels: We recently ran a campaign with Weth Mushrooms from Goderich, Ontario. Bringing online customers free Maitakes mushrooms, and showing first hand how fresh and tasty their mushrooms are! Over the coming weeks we will continue doing this with local farms. Currently, we are just lining up our local watermelon for our PE Pink Elephant Juice, a summer favourite that makes an excellent mocktail.
Our president, Travis Bell, is a 5th generation fruit farmer from Goderich, Ontario. This drives our passion for produce, and where it comes from. We'd love to share that passion with you!
What can you do to support your local farmers?
- Check out Ontario's Fruit and Vegetable Availability Guide to see what is in season locally. As often as you can buy “Ontario grown” produce, meats and dairy products when you are at the grocery store.
- Take a family drive to your local farmers' markets or family farms near you. Many are offering roadside pick-up!
- Check out the schedule of events for how you can celebrate Local Food Week 2020 along with Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Farm & Food Care Ontario (FFCO) & AgScape Check the schedule here: https://www.farmfoodcareon.org/local-food-week/