New Website Helps Put Local Food on the Table

Access to Peterborough, area products more important than ever: Pat Learmonth

Finding local meat, vegetables and other products is becoming easier with a new website aiming to provide “a gateway” to food in Peterborough city and county.

The website, localfoodptbo.ca, and social media platforms with the same name, @localfoodptbo, has been launched for citizens to learn about a variety of food-related resources in the community.

Pat Learmonth, director of Farms at Work, says the website has a crucial role during these uncertain times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The current crisis is shining a spotlight on why farms producing products for the local market are important to us,” Pat tells Electric City Magazine.

More than ever, people are looking for information about accessing local food.

“If everyone in Peterborough city and county spent $5 more per week on local farm products, it would add $55 million to our local economy every year.”

The beauty of this new initiative is local farmers and growers are able to supply products directly using a short supply chain that can be managed locally, making residents less dependent on factors outside their control, Pat notes.

The website includes a list of all the farmers’ markets in the area and how to get updates on their status this season. Website visitors will learn about what goes on at the farm and how that determines what local food is available at different times in the year, from fruit and vegetables to meats, dairy products, eggs, maple syrup and honey.

There are links to more than 20 videos on local farms, community garden information, emergency food sources and workshops on cooking and canning.

Pat’s hope is that people will understand local food better, discover when it is available and why, learn where to find it and who has what products.

Having more people choosing to support local farms and businesses who carry local products from local farms is another goal. Those habits help keep money in the Peterborough community.

“If everyone in Peterborough city and county spent $5 more per week on local farm products, it would add $55 million to our local economy every year,” Pat notes.

Funding and in-kind support for the continuing development of localfoodptbo.ca was provided by a variety of local sources, which includes the Peterborough Cattlemen, Trent University Food Services, Sunderland Co-op, Farms at Work and the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture.

The site, and the social media campaign to promote local food in Peterborough, are projects of the Future of Food and Farming Working Group of Sustainable Peterborough. The working group is a collaboration of close to 20 individuals and local organizations.

Farms at Work is a project of Tides Canada Initiatives. For the past decade, it has been operating in east central Ontario to build a vibrant farming community and food system through training and business development workshops, supporting access to land and promoting environmental stewardship and protection of farmland.

Visit localfoodptbo.ca to learn more.

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