On June 22, 2011, The Ontario Table launched at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. It was a Wednesday and Wednesday is market day. The book was a tool for eating local and our message was the $10 Challenge. It goes like this…
If every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we’d have $2.4 billion in our economy at the end of the year. When those dollars circulate in our communities, they grow to $3.6 billion and create over 10,000 new jobs.*
Pretty compelling eh? That day marked the start of a year long road tour of book signings and local food events. At the end of the year, with your support, we compiled our own numbers and look at what you and I have accomplished together.
We sold over 13,000 books throughout the province and beyond, gifted $14,000 to agricultural organizations that hosted us, created more than $150,000 in profits for farm retailers, and generated over $6 million in economic activity in the province of Ontario.
In addition, the book was produced and printed in Canada meaning the Epulum Books team worked with The Ontario Table team to keep our money in our own economy where it helped to sustain jobs. We’re pretty proud of that as well.
You and I together accomplished all of this simply by buying local.
The Ontario Table is your best tool for buying local, it introduces you to the people who grow your food with simply, easy recipes to create delicious meals complete with Ontario wine pairings. In the back of the book is a chapter called The Ontario Pantry. This helps you find foods in the grocery store that are 100% Ontario grown and end up in a tin, bag, bottle or other kinds of packaging. These little hints and tips will increase our local shopping and help to create a stronger food system in Ontario.
This year is our year, you and I need to work harder to spread the message to others to buy local. Simply by buying The Ontario Table, you are accepting the $10 Challenge and making sure that when you spend your money on local items in small independent stores, it makes a difference to someone, some where.
So where’s the party? It’s on The Ontario Table facebook page. There will be lots of cookbook authors and food bloggers from Canada and the USA chiming in with local food recipes today. Check it out and let’s celebrate local food today.
So have you heard of The Ontario Table-Cloth? As Jon and I toured the province last year signing books and attending local food events, we brought a few white tablecloths with us. As each of you bought a book, we asked you to tell us how you felt about Ontario agriculture by writing it on the tablecloth. You signed in black, chefs signed in red, farmers signed in green and celebrities in blue. Today we have 16 tablecloths full of declarations, pictures, logos and tributes in support of local food. It is the one and only tablecloth in the world of its kind!
This year we are rolling out the tablecloh at farms in fields, orchards and vineyards and are serving up all sorts of local meals from breakfast to lunch and dinner. For a full schedule of these farm meals, keep checking the website. Some of them are already listed, more are coming as details get sorted out. If there is an event in your area, come out and support your local farmer, enjoy some great food and find out how convivial breaking bread with like minded foodies can be.
Happy Birthday The Ontario Table and Happy Birthday to us all! May this be a healthy, happy and prosperous year for you and your family and I hope it will be another significant year for Ontario agriculture.
*Numbers compiled by Dr. Kevin Stolerick of The Martin Prosperity Institute at Toronto University and Doug Vallery of Experience Renewal Systems.