10th Anniversary of local food map
10th Anniversary of local food map

10th Anniversary of local food map

2 min read
Written by Marc Xuereb
Originally posted on June 6th, 2011

Foodlink Waterloo Region launched the 10th anniversary edition of the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map at the St Jacob’s Market on Saturday May 28th. Distributed for free at participating farms, markets, local libraries and by advertisers, the guide helps Waterloo Region residents sniff out the bounty of fresh, local food in their backyards.

But its long-term success demonstrates an appetite for local food that has spread beyond the map’s boundaries. In fact, Buy Local! Buy Fresh! has been so successful for regional farmers that the logo and concept have been licensed out to communities across Canada.

Since inception, the map’s size has doubled, its design has been refined, and it’s now funded largely by advertisers involved with local food. The number of featured farmers has climbed from 30 to 74 despite the $150 fee ($125 for an early-bird rate). In its first year, 20,000 copies circulated throughout the region; this year, Foodlink printed 40,000.

“They all get used. It really is a highly sought-after commodity,” says Anna Contini, Project Manager with Foodlink.

Buy Local! Buy Fresh! started in 2002 as part of an effort to promote locally sourced food by Region of Waterloo Public Health, under the rationale that local food is sustainable, economically beneficial and builds a sense of community, all of which contribute to overall well-being. Since then, Foodlink has branched off from the region. It’s now an independent not-for-profit that promotes local food with the map, runs a Taste Local! Taste Fresh! Event every September, and offers a searchable, online database of local-food information, sources and recipes.

“That message of ‘there are amazing sources of local foods right next to you,’ they’ve really done well at getting that out there,” says Marc Xuereb, public health planner with Region of Waterloo Public Health. He adds that the local food trend that blossomed along with the map isn’t going anywhere soon.

Cambridge asparagus farmer Tim Barrie praises Peter Katona, Foodlink’s first executive director, for his efforts to promote local food and support local farmers. Since Katona grew up on a farm and now works as the marketing and sales manager of Martin’s Family Fruit Farm, Barrie says he understood his needs. He calls Katona a “local-food pioneer” and says “he’s done more for local food than anyone else in Ontario.”

-excerpted from The Record: for full article, see