Farmers’ Markets Ontario proposes market certification program
April 9, 2008 By Farmers' Markets Ontario
April 9, 2008, Brighton, Ont. –
Farmers' Markets Ontario (FMO) has proposed a new certification program
for local farmers and farmers' markets.
April 9, 2008, Brighton, Ont. – Farmers' Markets Ontario (FMO) has proposed a new certification program for local farmers and farmers' markets.
The Certified Local Farmers' Market is being proposed to help create a fair and level playing field for Ontario's farmers who sell at local markets, as well as providing access to more market opportunities. Another objective of the proposal is to better identify local producers so that consumers will recognize them, their products and provide confidence in the source of the goods.
"Visiting a farmers' market used to mean choosing between one local farmer's corn and another's eggs," says Robert Chorney, executive director of Farmers' Markets Ontario. "Today, it often means sifting through imported products to find the Ontario tomatoes and peas. This certification initiative would help distinguish between local farmers and other non-farmer vendors, which is important to those consumers who have a growing interest in buying locally grown food and in supporting the real farmer."
The proposal was presented at FMO's recent Annual General Meeting and networking conference in St. Catharines, Ont. Recommendations include establishing a process to ensure that farmers are actively farming and that products sold are consistent with the farmer's crop plan. The proposal also includes criteria for recognizing value-added products (e.g. apple cider, baked goods, sausages, etc.).
"There's no question that there are tangible benefits for both the consumer and the farmer," says Philip Powell, chair of FMO and manager of the City of Ottawa's Markets. "There's a huge demand for local food today, driven by consumers' need to know where and how the food they feed their families was grown and to conserve energy by sourcing food locally. With this initiative, FMO will be able to expand the positive impact of farmers' markets on the local community."
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