#tbayInSeason Connects Consumers to Local Food
Thunder Bay – LIVING – “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how important our local agri-food sector is to our health, our social well-being, and our economy,” says Karen Kerk, TBAFS Coordinator. “Before Covid, info about local food was available in a piecemeal way, but now it’s all consolidated under one virtual roof. TbayInSeason.ca will help to profile and solidify support for local food by making it easy for consumers to find and continue supporting local food businesses.”
Locavores in the Thunder Bay area have a new way to support local farmers and producers. As part of the Digital Main Street Lab, the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy (TBAFS) has been selected to create and pilot #tbayInSeason, a digital directory that connects consumers to producers, restaurants and merchants that serve locally grown and produced food. Funding support for this project is made possible through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT).
Developed by Beanstalk Consulting and launched this week, the tbayInSeason.ca site features several dynamic components, including an online directory for primary producers and local food processors; links to local food markets and retailers; profiles of local restaurants and how they use local foods; and eventually information on agri-food related events such as festivals or agricultural fairs; and resources and learning opportunities. The site serves as a valuable promotional tool, helping to strengthen Thunder Bay’s local food supply chain and making it more resilient. The project’s goal is to onboard 75 businesses that sell locally grown or produced food.
“Supporting local small businesses today is an investment in Ontario’s tomorrow,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Through tbayInSeason.ca, Ontarians can discover all the good things that are grown and produced right here in Northern Ontario and support their local food businesses. I applaud the Digital Main Street program that is helping to connect small businesses with new customers.”
“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and their recovery is critical to Ontario’s recovery,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “I am pleased that the DMS lab is working with the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy on this creative digital directory that will make it easier for consumers to support local businesses. When small businesses succeed, Ontario succeeds.”
“Shopping local and supporting main street is as important as ever. We’re excited to launch the DMS Lab pilot with the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy to create a digital one stop shop for local food offerings,” said John Kiru, Executive Director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.
The trend to support small business and eat locally produced food has increased in recent years. Existing supply chain challenges have been exacerbated by COVID-19 restrictions, making tbayInSeason.ca a timely and valuable resource. The Digital Main Street Lab seeks to pilot projects that help small businesses explore new ways to connect with customers.