For the very first time, the 2016 Census of Agriculture asked, “did this operation sell any agricultural products directly to consumers for human consumption?” With this simple question, we now have a glimpse into direct sales of Ontario’s local foods that we’ve never had before!
Ontario leads the country with 7,474 farms reporting direct-to-consumer sales, followed by British Columbia and Quebec with 5,667 and 5,459 farms respectively. Overall, 15.1% of Ontario’s farms are making local foods available for direct purchase by consumers.
At the regional-level, fascinating patterns emerge in the prevalence of direct-to-consumer farm sales. Click to see maps by the number and percentage of farms reporting direct sales. Continue reading Celebrating Direct Marketing this Local Food Week
It’s the season of fall fairs. These annual events provide an opportunity for farmers to showcase their work, interact with the general public, and evaluate their produce and livestock against other farmers.
Fall fairs are a celebration of agriculture everywhere The local fall fair brings farmers and consumers together. A recent study indicated that three-quarters of fair attendees think that agricultural education is an important component of fair attendance. For many people, it is their once a year time to get up close and personal with a farm animal or product.
For farmers the opportunity to exhibit their farm product can be a major marketing opportunity. A great example is of this is showing livestock in competitions. Winning championships can be a major boost for farm promotion. More importantly, showing the rest of the farming community your breeding program can lead to sales, and further marketing opportunities. Commercial farmers may see an animal they like and invest in a bull. Embryos sold from show cattle can go to farms across the country and around the globe, or a leading bull can be identified for semen sales.
Continue reading Fall Fairs: A lasting impression
The week of October 25, 2015 was declared Food Entrepreneurship Week in Simcoe County to celebrate those gastronomic entrepreneurs who make a business out of growing, processing, and selling food-related products across the region. To celebrate the declaration (Oct. 26 and 28) Georgian College and community partners welcomed over 200 food entrepreneurs to the Orillia and Midland Food Entrepreneurship Seminars. The seminars were part of a successful series led by Georgian College that have been sweeping across communities in Central Ontario. Continue reading Food Entrepreneurship Success in Central Ontario Expands to Provincial Conference
The second day of the Eastern Ontario Local Foods Conference on November 5th turned out to be just as exciting as the first. An “Ignite” session featured 10 local food presentations on a range of informative topics that included:
- Bruce Enloe, Two Rivers Food Hub spoke about community collaboration
- Kim Leadbeater, Northumberland Food Policy Committee described how policy has led to the development of a local food Smart Board resource for schools
- Trissia Mellor, Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre revealed what operations look like at the County’s newly-operational micro food processing facility
Continue reading Local Food Conference Ignite Session (2 of 2)
The Cities of Belleville and Quinte West hosted the 5th annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference, November 4th and 5th in the City of Belleville. The theme for the conference set the tone for an exceptional offering of information, inspiration and local food experiences (Creativity + Collaboration = Action). More than 200 delegates, speakers and mentors were offered a program that ignited their passion and moved them to action, with the hope that they each take that inspiration back to their communities to further advance the local food economy in Eastern Ontario. Continue reading A look back at the Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference Part 1 of 2
The recently held 5th annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference ‘Destination Quinte Region’ tour was hit with delegates. There were six delicious stops on the tour, highlighting some of the region’s local food diversity and success stories, and providing a closer view of their operations.
The first stop included a tour and delicious sampling of product from La Cultura Salumi in Quinte West. Jane Aballe provided participants with an overview of the operation, and spoke about the care and attention every piece of meat receives as it’s cured in using old world traditions. Continue reading Local Food ‘Destination Quinte Region’ Tour a Hit
The Ontario government is providing $6 million over three years to increase sales of local food by making it more widely available and building awareness of the variety of food grown and produced in Ontario.
This funding is not restricted to the Greenbelt, and is available to organizations across Ontario. The funds will be administered by the Greenbelt Fund, through the Regional Food Grant Program. Continue reading New $6M Investment in Local Food
In spring of 2015, Regional Economic Development and Business Management Unit of OMAFRA, Harvest Hastings and the Small Business Centre delivered the ‘Starting or Growing your Food Business?‘ two-part series workshop in Stirling. Part one was ‘Exploring Value-Added Opportunities (EVAO)’ and part-two was ‘Market Considerations’. Continue reading Two ways to Explore Value-Added Opportunities
Ontario has launched its first-ever Local Food Report, which measures the province’s progress in bringing local food to more tables across the province
In 2013, Ontario passed the Local Food Act, 2013 which aims to increase awareness of local food, nurture local food markets and foster vibrant food-based economies across the province. The Act also commits to an annual report on the province’s local food activities, goals and accomplishments. The first ever Local Food Report highlights some of the actions taken by the province and the agri-food sector to promote and celebrate local food this year, including:
- Setting food literacy goals to increase the number of Ontarians who know what local foods are available, who know how and where to obtain local foods and who know how to prepare meals made with local food.
- Providing a tax credit to farmers for making food donations to food banks and student nutrition programs.
- Piloting a fundraising initiative that helps the province’s schools to fundraise by selling Ontario-grown fruits and vegetables to families.
- Distributing more than 800,000 copies of Foodland Ontario’s local food recipe calendar in 2014.
The inaugural report will help the
province track future progress in meeting its local food goals.