Business & Policy
New website unites Ontario farmers and businesses
By Ontario’s Greenbelt and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
Aug. 17, 2012, Toronto, ON - The new version of the popular Ontariofresh.ca website was released today bringing more functionality and enhanced features to users. Connecting buyers and sellers of Ontario food, Ontariofresh.ca is a vital tool in finding new business partners to meet the growing demand for local food.
The new Ontariofresh.ca website allows local food buyers and sellers to search for products, announce the availability of seasonal products, and post contract opportunities by using a sophisticated search function. The website is also a source for industry information and stories from local food champions.
“Ontariofresh.ca is a game-changer that enables Ontario to capitalize on the demand for local food,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “Whether it’s Niagara’s tender fruit, the Holland Marsh’s vegetables, or award winning VQA wines, Ontariofresh.ca is helping connect the business of local food.”
Launched as a beta site in November 2011, the website has grown to over 1,200 registered industry professionals. The website serves as a valuable economic tool among food service businesses and food producers to help meet the growing demand for Ontario food. In a survey conducted among members in early 2012, 20% of respondents had made connections and half of those reported sales resulting directly from the website.
Members on the site include hospitals and other public institutions serving millions of meals each year. In addition, some of the largest food service operators and distributors in North America like Dana Hospitality and Gordon Food Services are utilizing the site to make business connections, along with innovative food processors like VG Meats and farms of all sizes and commodities.
“Before this website was in place, it could be very difficult to locate local producers. It allows you to search for specific products and size of operation - it’s like Facebook for food, putting a face to people that are buying and selling local,” said Kelly Hughes, Local Food Procurement Officer, Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Create a new or update an existing profile by October 15th and be entered to win a weekend getaway. For more information visit Ontariofresh.ca.
Ontariofresh.ca is a project of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and is supported by the Greenbelt Fund, with funding from the Ontario government.
About Ontario’s Greenbelt and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
Ontario’s Greenbelt is over 1.8 million acres of green space, farmland, vibrant communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds – all permanently protected by world-leading legislation. In return the Greenbelt gives back $9.1 billion in economic benefits and $2.6 billion in ecosystem services annually.
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is working to help farmers in the Greenbelt be more successful; to protect and enhance natural features; and to strengthen local economies. To learn more about the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, please visit Greenbelt.ca.