CHESTERVILLE — The second annual Local Food Challenge kicks off in full on Saturday, Aug. 13, with launch events at the farmers’ markets in Chesterville (9 a.m.-2 p.m.), Vankleek Hill (9 a.m.- 1 p.m.) and Cornwall (7 a.m. till noon).
Challenge participants will rediscover the local food sources in their community, choose more local food, and share their local food experiences. Those taking part will have a chance to win prizes. Residents of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, and Cornwall and area are invited to register now for the Aug. 12-28 Challenge at www.localfoodchallenge.ca.
“This event is meant to be a fun yet competitive way for residents to explore their local food community and all that it has to offer,” says Kat Rendek, All Things Food Network Coordinator.
Once registered, participants will have access to a full list of local food products, events, and promotions happening in their community. The website also includes an online tracking tool, easy access to the Local Food Map covering the five eastern counties, as well as tips and tricks for enjoying the season’s harvest.
In 2015, over 200 businesses and residents participated in the inaugural Challenge. “We were blown away by last year’s response, and are happy to see a lot of people registering in advance this time around,” says Rendek.
The Challenge prize will be presented at the Aug. 28 Eastern Ontario Garlic Festival. That grand finale event will include children’s activities by Transition Cornwall +, and a cooking demonstration featuring local food by Seaway Valley Community Health Centre
“The Eastern Ontario Garlic Festival is a showcase of all things local,” explained Brenda Norman, Kozroots Community Empowerment Projects. “It was a natural fit for our festival to host the finale and help celebrate the Local Food Challenge.”
Local food businesses, programs, and event organizers are still welcome to register for free as an event “Partner” at www.localfoodchallenge.ca. Partnership details can be found online.
This year’s regional initiative has been organized by members of the All Things Food Community Food Network, including the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Kozroots Community Empowerment Projects, Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie, Seaway Valley Community Health Centre, and the Social Development Council of Cornwall and Area.
An earlier launch event occurred Aug. 12 at the Maxville Farmers’ Market.