Meet Your Local Maker Speed dating took on a “local flavor” when area farmers, chefs and other food-related businesses met at Canadore College on Tuesday, Nov 24th. The Meet Your Local Maker event was organized by the Parry Sound & Area Food Collaborative, Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, and Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce.
The event promoted the idea of “buying local” to enhance our area’s economy and to learn about the range of healthful and flavourful foods available in our region.
“The Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce believes strongly in strengthening our community through shopping local,” said Chamber of Commerce Manager Heather Murch. We encourage community members to shop local, but we also need to encourage our businesses to do so as well. That is why we wanted to start the conversation between our restaurants and shops and local producers to encourage everyone to shop their neighbourhood”.
Producers in attendance included
Georgian Bay Granola Company, Middle River Farms, Sunrise Heirloom Vegetables, Crofter’s Organic, Mrs Wilson’s Kitchen and West Lake Cosmetics. “It was inspiring to speak with the other business owners,” said Katy Ward of Middle River Farms. “What a great start to a growing trend”.
Sarah Douglas from Gilly’s Restaurant commented “It was great to meet all those who attended and we look forward to future connections with many of the producers.” Gilly’s restaurant features Georgian Bay fish and Sarah grows a variety of salad ingredients and herbs on site however isn’t able to grow the volume required by their busy establishment. Sarah plans on connecting with local producers to access quality, seasonal vegetables.
Shaylea Liscombe from Georgian Bay Whole Foods shared an extensive list of local products that can be found at their store including Georgian Bay Granola, Crofter’s Jam, Wasauksing maple products, J.B Honey, Johnston’s cranberry products, and local produce such as garlic, kale and beans when available. Shaylea added that they are striving to carry as much local produce as they can.
Lou D’Alessandro, a Public Health Inspector, with the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit, was also present to answer questions and facilitate a discussion on concerns from retailers and producers.
In addition to the “speed-dating”, representatives from the Parry Sound & Area Food Collaborative were on hand to discuss and promote the Parry Sound & Area Food Charter. A Food Charter offers decision-makers, community groups and individuals a guide for shaping food-related policy and projects and events like these are able to facilitate networking between the groups involved.
If you are interested in participating in local food events or know of a producer or retailer that would benefit from these types of networking opportunities, please contact the Parry Sound Food Collaborative at firstname.lastname@example.org