One of the great things about living in a community with a vibrant agricultural sector is the ability to travel a short distance to buy fresh, local produce. Summer is here and local farms and farmers’ markets are attracting visitors from close and far. Did you know that Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville all have farmers’ markets that operate once or twice weekly from now until October?
Supporting our local farmers by buying produce locally creates a number of benefits for our community. When you buy locally, you support our local economy by helping to ensure that our farmers are in business for future generations. You help the environment by reducing the amount of processing, packaging, refrigeration and transportation involved in getting food from the farm to our plates. You also make healthy choices by eating fresh produce that is better for you and tastes great because it is freshly picked! Fresh fruits, vegetables, maple syrup and other items are now available at many local farms and farmers’ markets.
Simply Local – Your Guide to Halton Farms promotes Halton’s diverse farming industry, encourages healthy eating and helps connect Halton residents with local farms. I encourage you to use this valuable Halton resource to discover which farms are growing your favourite produce, where you can pick your own items and learn what is in season. You can also use the interactive online map for Simply Local to plan and get driving directions for your personal tour of Halton farms and explore opportunities to experience various fun outdoor activities for all family members.
A healthy agricultural sector is vital to a healthy and sustainable Halton and Regional Council is committed to supporting and preserving our agricultural community. Halton is currently implementing an Agri-Tourism Action Plan prepared by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance which was approved by Council in November 2013. This plan has a dual purpose of supporting our vibrant agricultural sector and attracting more visitors to Halton through agricultural and food tourism development. Putting more locally sourced foods on restaurant tables is essential to growing the culinary tourism industry in Halton, as well as contributing to a sustainable local economy.
From strawberry picking in the summer to pumpkin patches and apple picking in the fall, there are many opportunities to enjoy all that our local agricultural sector has to offer year round. Take a moment to view the Growing Good Food Ideas videos to learn more about the importance of the Simply Local initiative in Halton.
As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.”