“If you understand the link, you appreciate the importance of agricultural food”
In the wake of food concerns, reconnecting consumers and local farmers is at the heart of a new initiative launched by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Farm & Food Care Ontario.
Source Local is a one-year pilot project that gives people the opportunity to learn more about food grown in Ontario and the farmers and farm workers behind its production.
A press release from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture explains that the project will generate support for food and agriculture, starting with local community activities, followed by larger events in urban centers and suburban. The project is also reaching audiences through traditional and digital media, including online at sourcelocalontario.ca.
As Source Local tries to connect consumers to Ontario’s food chain, Peggy Brekveld, OFA president, said the initiative was not about providing people with a food card. Instead, the initiative focuses on the questions people may have about agriculture and what that means for their community.
âI think it’s important to remember that agriculture, food and farming are all linked, and they are connected whether you live in cities or in rural areas, and decisions and actions that you take can make a difference to local farmers and community agriculture, âsaid Brekveld.
“If you understand the connection, then you appreciate the importance of agricultural food.”
Since the project began at the end of November, Brekveld said it has received positive feedback.
“I think there is some enthusiasm on the part of our counties, our regional organizations, that really want to make these links, and make (them) (links) in invaluable and fruitful ways,” said Brekveld.
Barclay Nap of Corwhin Herbs and Produce and Vice President of the Wellington Federation of Agriculture, hopes this program becomes one of the first steps consumers and food producers take to talk and learn from each other.
âThere is a divide between urban and rural, agricultural and non-agricultural, and it has been happening for a long time,â Nap said. âThose who produce must understand who eats, and those who eat must understand who produces our food and how it is produced. “
The Source Local initiative comes at a time when supply chain issues and inflation are affecting food security across the country and globally.
WFA president and Harrcroft Acres Ltd. co-owner Janet Harrop says COVID-19 has made people think more about where their food comes from, which has raised awareness among local farmers.
âWe are very lucky to live in Canada, but there were times when people came to grocery stores and the shelves were empty,â Harrop said.
“I think we’ve seen over the past couple of years recognition that the farmers in our region are truly producing fresh, healthy food that is affordable, and it’s produced safely and has a low carbon footprint.”
Nap says there is a wide variety of products raised and grown in Guelph, and all farmers work to produce high quality items.
âWe’re actually spoiled, I think,â Nap said. âWe have a premium in the different kinds of food or food, or fuel and fiber available, and because of that there are a lot of jobs involved and it spills over to other parts of the world. ‘economy. “
âIt’s really a food system because you can’t really grow food without the whole support system,â Harrop said, âfor me I have a dairy farm, so in my mind, food understands the genetics society we all get from our crop opinion, our animal opinion, to me that’s food because all of these supply chains, equipment, all of these resources are really serving to support the cultivation of food. ”
When it comes to Guelph and Wellington County, Brekveld says residents are very engaged in conversations about food and farming.
âWe just hope to build on the knowledge people already have and encourage them to see how important farming issues and farming history are to everyone,â Brekveld said.