Hey Hamilton! Eat Local!
Local farmers are now on the map
It just got a whole lot easier to eat locally grown food in Hamilton this summer. This morning Hamilton Eat Local, a project by Environment Hamilton, launched the first annual Hamilton Eat Local Map at the Centre Mall Farmers’ Market on Friday July 13th. The map illustrates the exact locations of over 50 farms and farm markets in and around the city of Hamilton that sell their fruits, vegetables, meats and other edibles directly to consumers.
“A lot of people express an interest in eating locally grown food purchased from real farmers, but it’s not always easy to find” explained project manager Sarah Megens. “We’ve solved this problem by developing a local food map that shows exactly where people can go in and around the city to buy direct from farmers.”
“Eating locally grown food makes so much sense. Not only is it fresher, and therefore healthier and tastier, but it is also better for the environment and makes a solid investment in the local rural economy that’s badly needed.”
A recent study conducted by Toronto’s FoodShare estimated that the average piece of produce sold at a supermarket in Toronto travels 5364km from field to fork, whereas the goods from a similar food basket sold at the neighbouring farmers’ market traveled on
average 101km. “You can see that simply by eating locally, we are taking a lot of pressure off the environment through reducing our greenhouse gas emissions associated to food. It’s a very empowering way to make a difference,” says Environment Hamilton’s executive director Lynda Lukasik.
While Winona is known for peaches, Hamilton actually boasts a large variety of local fruits, vegetables and meat products sold straight from the farm during every season. “We’re lucky because we can buy local food year-round in Hamilton and most other regions don’t have the luxury of variety that we do.” Hamilton’s local agricultural sector offers plenty of opportunity for day trips into the countryside. By visiting farms and getting to know our local food producers, people can learn more about farming and food; something the farming community says is required. “I’m often surprised at how little people actually know about farming. Sometimes I think we’re taken for granted,” says Megens, born and raised on a farm herself. “I plan to help change that.”
30,000 copies of the map will be available throughout the city and countryside at the Centre Mall Farmers’ Market, the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, farm stands and markets, Tourism Hamilton kiosks, the Environment Hamilton office, the Winona Peach Fest, the three rural fall fairs, a couple Hamilton Tiger-Cats games and various other special events and celebrations throughout the city this summer.
The map launch event included short presentations by Sarah Megens, project manager of Hamilton Eat Local; Carol Puddicombe of Puddicombe’s Estate and Winery; Cherie Inksetter of Carluke Orchards; and Lynda Lukasik, executive director of Environment Hamilton.
 Stephen Bentley and Ravenna Barker, Fighting Global Warming at the Farmers’ Market: The Role of Local Food Systems in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. A FoodShare Research in Action Report, April, 2005