Local Food for Local People

A big thank-you to everyone who came out to the Local Food for Local People event at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church on April 6, 2013. Nearly 40 people attended the event, which aimed to support the development of a sustainable food system for the Algoma Region, and engage the community to make this vision a reality.

Presentations featured existing and emerging initiatives involving local food production, and lead to the establishment of several discussion/working groups. A brief summary of the event discussions are below:

Local Food Festival – Participants in this group collectively brainstormed ideas for organizing a local food festival in the Summer/Autumn of 2013.

Festival goal: encourage target audience to become informed about Algoma’s local food movements; food products and availability; engage in commerce to support our local economy; and participate in social gatherings to connect all components of the local agricultural value chain.

Core activities/entertainment:  Opening gala expo featuring dishes and drinks made from local ingredients, local bands, cook-offs, harvest competitions and educational workshops.

Post-production evaluation: Use feedback from participants/attendees to determine if this event can be sustainable and held annually, economic benefits, and suggestions to improve the events components and overall experience.

For a full summary of the discussion, or to join the working group, contact Janette Wallace, jwallace@ssmic.com.

Algoma Community Garden Network (AGCN) – Participants in this group discussed short-term and long-term goals for the AGCN, whose purpose is to foster community gardens in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District through education, advocacy and networking to increase access to local sustainable food.

Some of the goals (both short- and long-term) discussed included:

  • Set up central hub for contact point for gardens & gardeners; site to funnel donations
  • Link existing community gardens & gardeners via newsletter
  • Offer education talks & workshops to increase gardening skills
  • Work with public & private landowners to increase access to land for gardens
  • Offer workshops (food preservation, seed saving)
  • City Beautification—offer a Community Garden Award
  • Greater awareness re the importance of community garden and the benefits

For a full summary of the discussion, or to join the working group, contact Suzanne Hanna, wildgardener@shaw.ca

Local Food Co-op – This group discussed the possibility of using the cooperative model to meet Algoma’s local food needs. Some of the short- and long-term goals discussed included:

  • Identify a common need (e.g. food storage/distribution) and a goal to address it
  • Establish who co-op members will be – consumers, producers? Who is interested in spear-heading this initiative? Who is interested in participating?
  • Establish what we define “local” as (e.g. 200 mile radius)
  • Establish the co-op structure: membership, fees, benefits, shareholders
  • Begin to explore venue/location options
  • Establish distribution (pick-up, central storage)
  • Feasibility study (consumer and producer interest, funding, financial/market research)

 This working group will meet again May 17, 2013 from 7-9pm at Laird Hall.

 For a full summary of the discussion, or to join the working group, contact Katie Filion, kfilion@ssmic.com.

 Local Food Access – This group explored what the needs are of the region to increase access to local food. Some of the short- and long-term goals discussed included:

  • Create a network of producers and consumers of local food
  • Establish how to share the cost of increasing local food access (e.g. co-op membership)
  • Conduct surveys at farmers markets to gauge consumer needs/knowledge
  • Better advertise events on local food (CTV events calendar, get CTV to do stories)

For a full summary of the discussion, or to join this working group, contact Katie Filion, kfilion@ssmic.com

If you would like to receive a copy of the full Event Summary, contact Katie Filion, kfilion@ssmic.com.


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