Halton’s 2013 Farm and Food Tour a success

On September 19, I joined elected officials including the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, Regional and Local Councillors, members of the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee and media in Halton Region’s 33rd Annual Farm Tour, a forum to learn about Halton’s agricultural industry.

Traditionally Halton’s Farm Tour has focused on agricultural operations and the importance of the agricultural sector to Halton’s health and economy. The scope of the tour was broadened this year to highlight other innovative services being offered by Halton’s farms and related tourism operations including on-farm markets that sell food and retail goods, restaurants and greenhouses.

The tour supports two key initiatives in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, including supporting and promoting agriculture and working with partners to bring moreFarm tour3 visitors to Halton.  It also highlights the diversity and innovation of Halton’s farms. The knowledge and understanding gained through events such as this tour help ensure we are able to make informed decisions for sustainable and well planned growth in Halton for the next decade and beyond.

The tour gave us a chance to meet with farmers, chefs and business owners in Halton’s agricultural and food services sectors.  This year’s tour included stops at Red Canoe Bistro, Springridge Farm, Mohawk Inn and Chophouse, Marshall’s Real Farmers Market and Store, and DG’s Greenhouses.

At Springridge Farm, owners John and Laura Hughes talked about how listening to theFarm tour 2 consumer has helped their farm become a destination for local food, entertainment, education and fun.  Premier Wynne, who is also Minister of Agriculture, commented on how Halton is successfully bridging the divide between rural and urban communities. 

The tour ended with a keynote address by celebrity chef, Jamie Kennedy and a locally sourced dinner.  Chef Kennedy spoke about his commitment to environmental issues, local food and support for organic agriculture, local producers and traditional methods, noting that he views the farm as an extension of the kitchen.

Farm tour1The tour was organized by the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC), a group of volunteers involved in Halton’s agricultural industry who provide advice to Regional Council on issues related to the industry and its community.  A number of the featured presenters were also participants in the Region’s much celebrated Simply Local – A Guided Tour of Halton Farms program, and the Growing Good Food Ideas video series.  

To learn more about agriculture in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/simplylocal.  To learn more about upcoming events including the Harvest Halton – The Farm to Chef Experience at Country Heritage Park on October 6 and Halton’s Pumpkin Trail, visit www.halton.ca/tourism.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”