Week Celebrates The Cornucopia Of Chatham-Kent Agriculture

Week Celebrates The Cornucopia Of Chatham-Kent Agriculture

on June 2 | in Ag News | by | with No Comments

From The Chatham Daily News

All the colours in the rainbow were out in full Monday at the kick-off for Chatham-Kent’s Local Food Week, June 1 to 7.

“It’s great to wake people up to the fact that all this exists right in our backyard,” said Mike Buis of Buis Beef. “The multitude of products that are grown and produced here in Chatham-Kent is basically unending. You can buy virtually anything in this area.”

The front patio of the Civic Centre in downtown Chatham played host to a lunch-hour farmer’s market featuring a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, meats, jams and jellies and plants.

Buis was there to show his support and admitted a lack of access to coolers and electricity creates a challenge for bringing his products downtown.

“It makes it easier for people to get the product if we can bring it to a central location because we’re out in the country,” said Buis. “From a food safety it’s much better for us to do it right from our farm.”

A recent survey indicates 94.6% of people place a significant amount of importance on buying local, and half of those said food needs to be produced within 100 miles of your home.

“Local Food Week is a chance to highlight the wonderful opportunities we have in our community and throughout Ontario,” said Teresa Bendo, Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit director. “I encourage you to be a part of one of our community gardens, learn how to grow your own fruits and vegetables, get out to the local farm markets or food stands.”

Bendo said Chatham-Kent lives with a high rate of chronic disease and are some of the lowest consumers of fruits and vegetables in Ontario despite access to a wide variety of locally grown produce and meats.

“Chatham-Kent grows for the world,” Bendo said. “And while the economic benefits are important, I want to highlight the many health benefits that come along with eating healthy local foods.”

The Kent Federation of Agriculture’s free Buy Local Buy Fresh map is the easiest way to connect to food to the plate for locals across the municipality and has a list for what is in season for easy shopping.

“It’s bringing it (local food) into the forefront,” said Kathy Delanghe, KFA secretary. “People are recognizing the benefit of buying local from the point of economic impact, health and affordability.”

She’s quick to add Chatham would benefit from a permanent and consistent farmer’s market, similar to the one that operates in Ridgetown, where produce could be made available to those who are transportation challenged.

North Kent councillor Leon Leclair said he’d love to see the development of a permanent market space but it needs to have good leadership organizing it and the support of the community to make it viable.

“It’s the big picture, it’s liability, a good spot, consistency,” said Leclair. “Years ago we used to have the slogan ‘Farmers Feed Cities’. I’d like to change it up a little bit, farmers need cities also.”

Local Food Week will include a number of farmers sharing their stories with local media and Delhaven Orchards being recognized as the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce’s feature industry of the month on Friday.

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Chatham-Kent Is The NUMBER ONE Producer Of Cauliflower In All Of Ontario.

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