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Cochrane District

August 22nd - 30th, 2017 

Sara and Katherine met with local food stakeholders in the Cochrane District from August 22nd to 30th.  
If you are involved in local food in this region, please contact us as we are taking a comprehensive networked approach to this research and would highly value your input.   

Source: Howes, K. (2018). 

Local Food in Cochrane District

Our final summer tour of  northern Ontario began in Timmins with a delicious lunch at a local eatery and produce retail outlet, Radical gardens. We then ventured back to the Black River Matheson, Val Gagne and Iroquois Falls area to observe the influence that the Anabaptist community has had on the availability of locally produced food in the region as well as to purchase locally grown produce and baked goods from several produce stands that frequent Highway 11. While in the area, we had the privilege of speaking to a local Anabaptist producer who shared his thoughts on farming in Northern Ontario. 
The following day we drove further north and met with Cochrane's economic development officer Isabelle Denault who informed us of the many local food initiatives occurring in and around Cochrane. She also shared the Great Clay Belt Agriculture Workforce Development Study that was conducted in 2016.  We then visited the Cochrane Farmers' Market where we met Jean & Kathy Genier of JK Gardens who provided insight into the challenges they face as organic producers in northern Ontario, but also the many opportunities for local food production in the area. 
Saturday brought a whirlwind tour of the farmers' markets of Cochrane District. We began by visiting the Mountjoy Farmers' Market in Timmins, followed by the Fresh from the Farm Market in Cochrane, which has a beautiful community garden located adjacent to the market building. Our last stop of the day was the Mill Mrkt in Iroquois Falls where a large variety of locally grown produce and value-added products were available for purchase. 
The beginning of our second week began with a tour of Fromagerie Kapuskoise and sampling many of the delicious cheeses that François Nadeau creates. We sat down with Denis & François as they shared the interesting story of the creation of the Fromagerie.  While in Kapuskasing we also drove by Kapuskasing Meats which operates out of the "old experimental farm" and observed their beef herd grazing.  
Our tour then took us further west on Highway 11 to Hearst where we met with Manon Cyr, the manager of La Maison Verte, a social enterprise. In 1994, La Maison Verte diversified it's initial business of growing tree seedlings for the forestry industry, with large scale production of greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers as well as other garden produce for its seasonal vegetable basket program. We had the privilege of touring the expansive greenhouses on site. 
For our final days in the north, we traveled back to Sudbury where we met with Lyn Despatie, the economic development officer for the City of Greater Sudbury who shared information regarding the growth of opportunities in the local food sector in the region. We also ventured back to Verner and spoke with OMAFRA agriculture development advisor, Julie Poirier Mensinga, about local food initiatives in northern Ontario. 
Again, we would like to thank all of the local food stakeholders who took the time to chat with us about their experiences with the expanding local food movement in the north. We highly value your input and will be in touch regarding the next steps of this research project. 
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