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Ont. to fund local food marketing projects

The Ontario government will put up over $850,000 for 15 “grassroots” marketing projects promoting locally-grown food.

“We are bringing together local food networks including producers, processors, retailers and individuals dedicated to selling the fresh foods that are grown and made right here in Ontario,” Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky said in a release Wednesday.

The projects will focus on encouraging Ontario residents, as well as Ontario businesses, to buy local.

The province described its $850,000 investment as an “initial” round of funding, which will flow through its Ontario Market Investment Fund, a four-year, $12 million economic development program focused on “buy local” partnerships and collaboration in the food sector.

Among the projects approved in this round are:

  • a media awareness campaign to boost Ontario apples’ profile;
  • the “Nothing Tastes Like Home” mobile educational trailer to promote local food through cooking demos and tasting opportunities at industry, community and school events;
  • a project in Grey and Bruce counties encouraging growers there to participate in the local food market, and demonstrate local food as a “viable option” for institutions and restaurants in the area;
  • promotion, education and/or consumer research for various Ontario products such as processed meats, “omega-3” pork, and mushrooms;
  • the “FarmsOnWheelz” project, an interactive exhibit for young people on Ontario farming and food, developed in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre;
  • development and promotion of a “local menu” for Pickle Barrel restaurants;
  • a “Virtual Artisanal Cheese Research Centre” providing extension and market research in partnership with St. Lawrence College and other schools;
  • expansion of the “Local Flavours” project promoting local foods grown in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve in the province’s southeast;
  • a marketing campaign by “Taste of the County” for Prince Edward County’s food and beverage products, including its cheeses, meats, maple syrup, jams, chocolate, crackers, wines and beer;
  • the Centre Wellington “agri-culinary” project to position the Elora and Fergus area as a major agri-culinary tourist destination;
  • marketing, promotion and programs through the Guelph Wellington Local Food Initiative;
  • a “Holland Marsh Gold” branding and marketing strategy for products grown in the Holland Marsh; and
  • a retail in-store product sampling and demonstration campaign for Mapleton’s Organic Dairy yogurt and ice cream in 65 Ontario grocery stores, including 45 Sobeys locations.

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