Connect for Food is giving the Lakeland region the chance to take part in some workshops to learn about growing the local food industry.
The workshops have a goal of finding fresh approaches and new pathways to localizing food production and building communities within and across regions.
“Connect for food is based on the belief that individuals have the vision and solutions to shape the future of their communities and building a more local and sustainable food system is vital to that.” says Perry Phillips one of the co-founders of the initiative. “We really can not wait for the solutions to come to us from elsewhere because then the benefits tend to go elsewhere”
The two co-founders of the Connect for Food initiative say the message behind Connect for Food is “Grow what we eat, eat what we grow.”
The second co-founder of the initiative Keleigh Cormier says Grow what we eat, eat what we grow is exactly what they are striving for.
“Currently we import a lot of food that could be produced here and at the same time we are not using the crops we are growing here, especially for winter time.”
Phillips says the typical local food approach has been to focus on unique or novel products,
which has caused local food to be somewhat exclusive. “We hope to talk more about localizing. Our agriculture industry in Alberta has evolved primarily as a producer and exporter of commodities and ingredients. We have the natural resources and much of the technology needed to produce far more food that could ultimately replace imports.”
The workshops are being hosted by Northeast Alberta Food Marketers Association (NAFMA) and Community Futures but the Connect for Food initiative is behind the idea.
A couple of workshops have already taken place with the following workshops planned ahead:
- Online – Oct. 25
- Ardmore Hall – Nov. 8
- Portage College, Lac La Biche – Nov. 16
Perry Phillips says the workshops have been a success and well attended.
“Our goal for these workshops is to be as representative of all the different sectors of the food system as possible. The conversations at the workshops have yielded very important perspectives around what our current food system looks like and what it could be.”
Keleigh Cormier says Participants can expect to be involved in something that is important to our rural communities and be able to offer their ideas and input in the future of a more localized food system. She encourages everyone to attend and give their voice.
“Anyone from a producer, processor distributor, farmers market, educator to restaurant, chef, retailers and grocery store. We want everyone represented.”
More information on Connect for Food and details and links to sign up for these workshops are available online.