Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn issued a challenge to all Manitobans, asking them to support local producers by purchasing more locally produced products this summer growing season.
“Summer in Manitoba is the perfect time to meet many of the local producers who grow and sell the quality, fresh, healthy foods now abundantly available in stores and at road-side stands and farmers’ markets,” said Kostyshyn. “A trip to a country farm or local farmers’ market can be a tasty, fun and educational way for families and individuals to spend time together while supporting our farmers.”
The minister noted the province’s new Local Produce Guide contains a map listing the locations of farmers’ markets, U-pick vegetable gardens, pre-picked market stands and community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms across Manitoba. The brochure is available online. It is also available at participating vendors, Travel Manitoba Tourism Information Centres including those at The Forks and border crossings locations, chamber of commerce offices across the province and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives GO Centres. The Prairie Fruit Growers Association also publishes a guide to fruit U-pick operations, which can be found at its website at www.pfga.com.
“Manitoba farmers are proud of their contribution to Manitoba’s economy and are encouraged by the support shown by the public in all the different venues where our products are featured,” said Doug Chorney, president, Keystone Agricultural Producers. “We ask Manitobans and visitors to our province to meet our farm families and enjoy the experience of purchasing our many tasty food products.”
The minister noted, in an effort to encourage families to purchase locally grown foods, the province launched the Buy Manitoba campaign in April. It has seen new signs and shelf markers spring up on store shelves at Canada Safeway with additional signage across the province including city buses. The campaign aims to help Manitobans locate more locally grown food and food products with the hope this will expand to other grocery stores in the future, he said.
“Another great way to meet Manitoba producers is to take the opportunity to visit working farms at the third annual Open Farm Day on Sept. 16,” said Kostyshyn. “Those participating open their farms to the public to tell their story and show how the agriculture industry has progressed.”
The number of farms participating in Open Farm Day continues to grow each year, the minister noted, adding that 54 farms will welcome guests this year compared to 44 in 2011 and 37 in 2010. An estimated 4,200 travellers visited one or more of the host farms during 2011 compared to 4,000 visits in 2010. This year, host farms include several horse, dairy, beef cattle, hog, poultry, fish, bison, sheep, alpaca, grain, vegetables, fruit and woodlot operations as well as agricultural museums and agritourism attractions.
The Open Farm Day 2012 brochure is available at GO offices or online at www.openfarmday.ca.