Ontariofresh.ca Offers Economic Value For Agriculture Business

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Ontario's freshest website will soon be at your fingertips. This site will focus on growing the business of local food to help meet the demand that many businesses, growers and distributors are facing, as consumers are becoming more aware of the value in sourcing food locally. 

For Immediate Release

May 18, 2011

Toronto, Ontario – From hospitals to major foodservice providers, Ontariofresh.ca has seen steady growth in the number of registrants to this free, new online local food marketplace. On April 4th registration opened for Ontariofresh.ca, a business-to-business (B2B) website where growers/producers, buyers, distributors, processors and everyone who is interested in growing their business can come together to sell and source local products.

“Achieving success on Ontariofresh.ca has been a labour of love to ensure the site meets the needs and demands of all stakeholders,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The collaboration over the past five months has been astounding.  We’ve met with stakeholders in focus groups, analyzed other local food web sites and met all members across the value chain which is reflected in the functionality of Ontariofresh.ca.”

Currently in the registration phase, Ontariofresh.ca is collecting information to populate the site with four profile types: farmers, buyers, distributors and friends/supporters.  A short survey identifies key criteria such as location, availability, traceability and more. With a focus on the business of local food, the site will make connections between buyers and sellers easier, building a community that celebrates Ontario products.

Although the full site won’t be available until September, buyers and sellers are excited, signing up and spreading the word.  Current registration numbers show a diverse representation from all levels of the food value chain: 50 per cent of registrants are farmers/producers, 25 per cent are buyers or distributors and the remaining 25 per cent are friends / supporters (for example, agriculture associations and regional food networks).

“As a grower in Ontario, I love the idea of connecting growers with large purchasers. It’s important to me to keep agriculture in our own backyards and Ontariofresh.ca will provide the means for growers to expand their customer base and target more Ontario purchasers,” commented Eric Bowman, Ontariofresh.ca user and Owner of Gallery on the Farm.

"The interest, support and feedback we have received from all levels of the value chain, validates the need for a B2B site like Ontariofresh.ca,” said Mausberg. “The site is meant as a complement to existing regional food networks and local food websites that connect consumers to growers and producers regionally.  We are interested in connecting businesses and public institutions that will purchase from growers and producers in bulk.”

Throughout the spring and summer, information will be collected and profiles built to prepare for the full Ontariofresh.ca launch in September. Registration is open online at Ontariofresh.ca or by calling 1-888-249-9399 or 647-426-8420 and we’ll do it for you.

 Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation:

Ontario’s Greenbelt is over 1.8 million acres of green space, farmland, vibrant communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds – all permanently protected by world-leading legislation. In return, the Greenbelt gives back much to Ontario, providing $5.4 billion to Ontario’s economy through farming and food production, and $2.6 billion in ecosystem services annually. Through projects like Ontariofresh.ca, the Foundation is expanding its support of Ontario’s agri-food value chain and helping to sustain economic viability. 

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is working to help farmers in the Greenbelt and across Ontario be more successful; to protect and enhance natural features; and to strengthen local economies. To learn more about the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, please visit www.greenbelt.ca.

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For more information or an interview, please contact:

 

Julienne Spence

jspence@greenbeltfund.ca

416-960-0001, ext. 311

 

Allison Decker

adecker@greenbelt.ca

416-960-0001, ext. 307

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