L’ORIGNAL — The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network (EOAN) reached a milestone by launching local food portal for Eastern Ontario consisting of an e-commerce platform that will connect member producers and farmers’ markets with consumers and local food enthusiasts.
This technological tool — prepared in collaboration with Kitchener, Ontario, based Local Line — achieves three EOAN goals: it makes e-commerce accessible to local food producers and farmers’ markets; it facilitates the purchase of local food in the surrounding community; and it engages collective marketing to the benefit of all vendors.
On the one hand, member producers and farmers’ markets will be able to highlight products in a portal (if they already have a website, it can be linked with Local Line), take and fulfill orders, and manage business inventories. On the other hand, consumers will view the available selection among vendors in various markets, then pre-order and even pre-pay as well as finding the pickup point.
“Close on the heels of three-way regional funding earlier this year, today’s program launch is a pivotal moment in the EOAN’s history. Our members produce quality local food and beverages but marketing them to a wide audience has always been a challenge,” says EOAN President Michel Villeneuve. “Now, they will benefit from a greatly enhanced product visibility as they embark in a collective marketing strategy. Moreover, Local Line will offer technicalsupport, all this at an affordable price. As for consumers, they will be able to see at a glance — whether on their computer screen or mobile device — the producers, the farmers markets, and what products and beverages they can buy.”
The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network has also gone one step further to entice its producer members to sign on: it is offering an introductory price to this e-commerce platform of $95 (HST extra) for an inaugural period of six months. In return, partner Local Line will offer its marketing support to ensure that their products and beverages obtain maximum visibility, thus saving EOAN members precious time and money.
“The pandemic has forced people to turn to neighbours, to seek products, services, and activities that they enjoy locally. This also applies to their search for food. More than ever, ‘local food’ is becoming paramount in establishing meaningful relationships and sourcing healthy food. With the advent of Local Line and all the visibility it will offer to producers and farmers’ markets, now is a good time to become an EOAN member,” says EOAN Executive Director Tom Manley.
Local Line’s Cole Jones (Chief Executive Officer) is just as delighted with EOAN’s launch. “Over the years, Local Line has built strong relationships with agri-food stakeholders. We are proud to be deepening our platform and services in Eastern Ontario. Both EOAN members and Eastern Ontario residents alike will benefit from this partnership. We’re excited to play our part in strengthening the Eastern Ontario local food system!”
The Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network was created in 2010 and serves a territory comprising Akwesasne, the City of Cornwall, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. Its bi-weekly newsletter is sent out to over 600 recipients, among them institutions and agri-food experts or consumers. In early 2021, the Network received additional funding from the United Counties of SDG and from the City of Cornwall, adding to that of the United Counties of Prescott Russell.
The portal is now accepting vendor registrations. It opens for public browsing and purchases on May 1st.