Niagara, October 9, 2008 – This Thanksgiving, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is saying ‘thank you’ to Greenbelt farmers. Through the recent Greenbelt Farmers’ Markets program, the Foundation invested $200,000 to increase the agricultural sectors’ financial returns. This weekend will see the roll-out of an additional $500 per market to 30 markets in order to promote the harvest season.
The $500 is enhancement funding towards smaller items that make a big impact: signage, benches, tables, chairs and portable sound systems all add a homey touch to welcome shoppers to the market and encourage them to stay. Along with this, the overall value of the market program is substantial, providing tents, large reusable bags featuring each market’s logo and a dedicated recruitment program to continually draw Greenbelt farmers to the markets.
And the cherry on top for these markets? The successful launch of Greenbeltfresh.ca, a website connecting consumers to Greenbelt farms, markets and information all year round. By typing in their postal code, shoppers can find markets in their area – local Greenbelt food literally at their fingertips.
Even with these advances, public demand for local food is still outrunning the number of markets that exist and the number of farmers at those markets. “We know people want to buy local. The freshness, the taste, the variety—you can’t beat the benefits of local food,” says Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Foundation.
“The Greenbelt provides huge opportunities for the burgeoning local food movement in Ontario. The Foundation is proud to be a part of this effort with our contributions to the success of farms and markets in the Greenbelt.”
And the 30 participating markets appreciate this support, recognizing that not only do the farmers prosper, everyone prospers. “When farmers’ markets do well, the whole community benefits,” said Michelle Seaborn of the Grimsby Farmers’ Market. “Dollars spent at the market stay local, farmers get a fair price for their products and the carbon footprint is reduced.”
About the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market program in particular, Michelle had this to say: “The Greenbelt is an important entity in areas such as Grimsby with rapidly growing populations. The agricultural lands in this very diverse region will remain productive with their support.”
Ontario is home to the world’s largest Greenbelt, and the Niagara area is a particularly abundant region within it, famous for its food and wine. The Foundation has supported Niagara farmers, grape growers and vintners in other ways recently through grants to the Niagara Culinary Trail, the Niagara Wine Festival (featuring a luncheon with none other than ‘Grapes’ himself, Don Cherry), Pear uP Ontario and the recent Tour de Greenbelt, where only Greenbelt grown food was served to over 1,000 participants.
So, support your local farmers, enjoy delicious Greenbelt grown food and wine and shop for your Thanksgiving feast this weekend at a farmers’ market. In the Niagara area, there are markets in Grimsby, Pelham, Welland, Niagara-on- the-Lake, St. Catharines and Smithville to choose from. Or visit Greenbeltfresh.ca for one close to you.
While you’re placing the apples, pears and squash in your basket, enjoy this thought: Everything we need to secure our health and abundance for now and for future generations is right here in our own backyard, in Ontario’s Greenbelt.
Now that’s something to be thankful for.
- 30 -
For a PDF of this press release click here.
Ontario's Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario, and the earth, a better place. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is an independent charitable organization established to support the vitality of the Greenbelt.