Jeff Green | Sep 17, 2009
Back to HomeFeature Article - September 17, 2009GSCA celebrates the harvestBy Julie Druker
Photo: Andrea Cumpson (centre) of Sonset Farm in Inverary with GSCA chair Lori Reed and Anne Pritchard of the FCSDC at the GSCA’s harvest celebration
The Greater Sydenham Community Association (GSCA) is a community group striving to raise awareness and business activity along the Rutledge Road corridor, and specifically in the three communities of Perth Road, Sydenham and Harrowsmith. At their meeting on September 9, the GSCA invited food producers from in and around the community to set up displays at the Sydenham Town Hall.
Lori Reed, who is chair of the GSCA and also a member of the National Farmers’ Union, explained her motivation. “It’s harvest time and our concept is always to try to promote local business, so it only makes sense that we invited local farmers and their products to help us celebrate this special time of year.”
GSCA members and guests had a chance to mingle and get to know the faces of a number of local farmers whose products are available in and around the community. The event reflected the current global movement towards locally grown, sustainable food and food systems.
The meeting proved to be both informative and inspiring for those looking for alternative sustainable food choices close to home.
Present at the meeting were many well known local farmers including Kim Perry of Local Family Farms in Verona who, along with her husband Dave, owns and operates Perry-Maine-Anjou Farms where they specialize in pastured pork, beef, maple syrup, vegetables and preserves.
Leona Andrew of Southern Frontenac Community Services represented the Good Food Box Program, (GFB) a community-based volunteer initiative whose aim is to make fresh fruits and vegetables available and affordable to everyone in the community. The program runs out of the Rural VISIONS Centre in Sydenham and offers reasonably priced boxes of fresh food and vegetables in a variety of sizes. The program began in 1995 with 40 orders taken from a single site and has grown to the point where now over 800 orders a month are made available at over 41 host sites. (For more information on the program visit www.ruralvisionscentre.org or call Leona Andrew at 613-376-6477.
Also present was Gary Gorr of Gorr’s Maple Syrup, 1085 Gorr Road in Harrowsmith. Gary brought a wide array of pure maple products that he and his family have been making for close to a quarter of a century, including a new product, maple butter. On his farm 1623 trees are tapped on 45 acres of land. His products are available at local stores and at his door.
Beekeeper Tom Kaemmer of ToBa Apiaries near Sydenham comes from a long line of beekeepers and he currently manages 100 bee colonies from which he produces honey and beeswax. He was happy to share his fascination and admiration of bees and spoke of some new and serious challenges presented to bee keepers, namely mites, viruses and the Colony Collapse Syndrome. Despite these difficulties both his work and the bees continue to inspire him.
Darryl Silver of Silverbrook Garden Centre on Rutledge Road between Sydenham and Harrowsmith was also present with the wide array of fresh farm produce and products that he grows right at his businesses location
Andrea Cumpson, president of the NFU’s local 316, operates Sonset Farm, a family farm in Inverary with her husband and son. They sell a variety of organic meat, milk and produce to local buyers. Ever passionate about farming and aware of the tough and critical issues facing farmers today, Cumpson recommended to me viewing the documentary film “Food Inc. to understand what today's farmers are up against.” Cumpson said, “We have to start supporting these local initiatives like Kim Perry’s and when we go to the stores we have to forget about the price. Growing food is not an easy job and neither is marketing it and we have to start really thinking about our purchases and start supporting these people. We (the public) have a lot of power in how we spend our food dollars and right now things are happening in the corporate world that are undermining the farmers' ability to make a decent living and even their ability to survive.”
Prior to mingling with the local farmers and food producers, Lori Reed had a chance to update guests about the GSCA’s recent accomplishments: namely the publication of their 2009/10 directory, the establishment of key signage in all three communities and the recent creation of a website, all of which are helping to draw attention and business to the area.
Everyone is welcome at the next GSCA meeting, which will be held at the Township Hall in Sydenham on Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00pm