Simply fresh. Simply fun. Simply local.

Halton Region is home to a thriving agricultural industry. One of the great things about living in a community with a strong and diverse agricultural sector is the ability to travel a short distance to buy fresh, local produce. Halton Region is proud to support this vibrant industry by working with community partners to ensure farming land and practices are sustainable and are here to enjoy for generations to come.

The Simply Local program is a great example of how Halton supports local agri-businesses, many that are family-owned. Simply Local also encourages healthy eating and helps connect Halton residents with local farms.

Plan your agri-venture using our Simply Local map.

Halton’s Simply Local interactive map makes it easy for you to discover Halton’s local farms, farmers’ markets and agri-businesses. This summer, explore Halton’s thriving agricultural industry and visit:

I encourage you to show your support for our agricultural community and local economy by buying, eating and visiting local. Check out halton.ca/simplylocal and start exploring today! Halton’s vibrant and diverse agricultural sector is just one of the many reasons why Halton is a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

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”.

Simply Local – supporting local farms

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 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.”

Growing Good Food Ideas video series (video)

A healthy agricultural sector is vital to the existence of a healthy Halton Region. Our participation in the Growing Good Food Ideas video series allows us to showcase our diverse and innovative farming community and learn about best practices in other communities.

Halton Region collaborated with Sustain Ontario, Powerline Films and 16 other partner organizations in the production of the 2012-2013 Growing Good Food Ideas video series. Halton’s two videos in the series explore sustainability and the benefits of local food in the region.

Explores the importance of protecting farmland.

 

Showcases farms and farmers in Halton Region and discusses the importance of local food.

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 or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

 

Horsepower in Halton: 32nd Annual Halton Farm Tour

On September 20, the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC) successfully hosted its 32nd Annual Halton Farm Tour, “Horsepower in Halton.”

David Whitford, Manager of Sam-Son Farm accepts Farm Tour sign

We have many farms in Halton because we are fortunate enough to have some of the best agriculture lands located in Canada, right here in Halton Region. This is why we need to continue to support our local agricultural industries. 

 Each year, we visit three agricultural or agriculturally related operations, and have an opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing the farming community.

One of the beautiful Sam-Son thoroughbreds

As a region, we need to continue to further support our agricultural neighbours. They provide us, and the communities around us, with produce we eat, valuable services to all people in our community and jobs to ensure our long-term wellbeing.

Our tour highlighted three equine operations in Halton: Sam-Son Farm, Windrush Stable and Mohawk Slots and Racetrack Facility.

Andrew Hill has been taking therapeutic riding lessons at Windrush Stables for the past three years. Windrush is one of only two private therapeutic riding stables in Canada.

This year’s theme, Horsepower in Halton, is particularly relevant now with the uncertainty surrounding the horse racing industry. 

Participants in the tour included representatives from Regional and Local Council, local and regional staff and media. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and hear from agricultural leaders, ask questions, and learn about issues and trends affecting Halton’s equine industry. 

Lesley Gauer accepts Farm Tour sign at Windrush Stable

In addition to the tour of the three operations, attendees heard from six panelists in a discussion focused on the economic importance of the equine industry to Halton and the Province. Moderated by HAAC Member Peter Lambrick and following an introductory presentation by equine expert Dr. Bob Wright, the discussion highlighted the challenges the horse racing industry is facing and the positive benefits the industry provides throughout Halton Region. One of the most pressing issues facing the industry at this time is fate of the provincial Slots at the Racetracks program, which is scheduled to end next March.

Keynote speaker Sandy Hawley

Sandy Hawley, who currently ranks eighth among jockeys in career wins, is a member of the Order of Canada and  Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and has been called the crown prince of the “Sport of Kings,” provided the keynote address at a dinner that featured local food at the Halton Region Museum.  Sandy rode his first race in 1968 at the age of 19. In his remarks, he credited legendary trainer  Donald H. (Duke) Campbell  for teaching him the fundamentals, including basics like what a hay net is, and leading jockey Avelino Gomez, his idol, for teaching him the real meaning of the sport, and fondly recalled meeting Bill Shoemaker, who was not only a great rider but a real prankster. Claiming to be lucky to be in the right place at the right time, so many times, Sandy shared fond memories of his days as a rider, including his races at Woodbine and Mohawk, and his pride in backstretch, the frontstretch and racing facilities here in the province.  Sandy summed it up nicely when he said: “It was a fantastic day today, some great speakers, a very emotional day…hopefully things will work out.”

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 or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”