Report recommends new Taste of Haliburton brand
By Chad Ingram
A report stemming from a food forum hosted by Harvest Haliburton that took place in Minden earlier this year makes a number of recommendations for establishing a sustainable food system in Haliburton County.
A host of stakeholders – from municipal councillors and staff to farmers to restaurant owners to tourism promoters to environmentalists – gathered in the Minden Hills Community Centre to take part in the well-attended forum in March. The day included presentations, as well as interactive discussions and brainstorming activities.
A report based on the day and compiled by consultant Melissa Johnston was recently released and makes six main recommendations. The first is to create a Taste of Haliburton brand that markets local food to both residents and visitors. The second is the establishment of an online information hub that allows people to search for and locate locally produced foods. Another recommendation is to review policies and regulations, including municipal bylaws, that may hinder local food production, and another is to explore the feasibility of a local food distribution model. Creating an agricultural economic development committee for the County of Haliburton is the report’s fifth recommendation, and the sixth to put climate change and food security at the forefront of all food-related initiatives.
“Food is central to our lives, and for Haliburton County, it is equally critical to seize on opportunities with its own local food system,” Johnston said in a release from Harvest Haliburton. “The economic development opportunities are abundant.”
That Haliburton County is already a tourist destination should aid the creation of a sustainable food system.
“Let’s capitalize on this area being a tourist destination and make a Taste of Haliburton central to the experience given to visitors,” Johnston said. “It’s really a no-brainer.”
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit points out there are numerous benefits to consuming locally produced food.
“Eating local benefits all of us, is good for our community and is great for the environment and local economy,” Elsie Azevedo Perry, a public health nutritionist with the health unit, said in the release. “In general, local food tends to be fresher, more flavourful and full of nutrients, and does not need to travel great distances to get here.”
Harvest Haliburton plans to present the report to municipal councils this fall, as well as host a roundtable discussion with stakeholders in order to develop action plans on each of the recommendations.
The full report can be found on the Harvest Haliburton website at www.harvesthaliburton.com.