L’ORIGNAL — Residents can now easily purchase a large variety of local food items from the comfort of their homes. Spearheaded by the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network (EOAN), the Virtual Farmers Market comes as a result of an unprecedented collaboration between the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry, and the City of Cornwall with the goal of making local food more accessible to their residents.
By visiting www.agro-on.ca, customers can select from over 50 local vendors and counting to purchase local food products such as seasonal produce, meat, honey and much more for pick up and home delivery. Once products have been selected and added to your cart, a single electronic checkout will allow customers to select from the available pick up or delivery methods listed by each vendor.
“When shopping through the Virtual Farmers Market, you’re buying local food directly from the producer” explains Michel Villeneuve, president of the EOAN. “Vendors have full control over their virtual market stall. They set their price, payment methods, establish delivery and pick up dates, and communicate with their customers. They are developing a relationship just like at a live farmers’ market.”
Selling product online is completely new to some vendors who have had to adapt their enterprises this year to meet the growing demand for local food products while also ensuring safe handling and distribution. The Virtual Farmers Market brings producers together to ensure that everyone has access to the online market by providing full support for the platform and backing it with collaborative marketing efforts.
“We’ll launch in two phases” explains Alain D’Aoust, coordinator for the EOAN. “This first phase sees the launch of the market. We will work together to iron out the kinks and continue to ensure that the market is running smoothly. Phase two will incorporate local distribution points across the region over the coming weeks. These existing local businesses will open their doors to other producers as collaborative pick up points for multiple products. This will add to the convenience of both the customer and the producer.”
The Eastern Ontario Virtual Farmers Market is accessible now by visiting www.agro-on.ca and selecting from the growing list of vendors in the area. Sourcing healthy local food has never been easier thanks to the efforts of local government, producers and partners.