Colleen Ross was the keynote speaker at the West Boundary Fall Food Forum last month in Midway – advocating for stronger ties between consumers and Boundary-area farmers.
A popular song right after the First World War asked the question, “How Ya Gonna Keep ‘em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree?)”.
While it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, today the question often asked is: “How are you going to get shoppers to return to buying local produce after they’ve seen edible pod peas from China?”
Finding the answer to the question is important for local farmers and it was the topic of keynote speaker Colleen Ross at the West Boundary Fall Food Forum Saturday, Oct. 25 at the Midway Seniors’ Centre.
Ross, who now lives on a 7.5-acre farm in the Grand Forks area, talked of a project she was involved with when she lived near Ottawa that worked to develop and market a brand for the farms in the Ottawa region.
“The talk in this room, in this place today, will be about how we can brand the food that is grown in the Boundary region,” she told the Times before the day began.
“First we discover what we can be proud of and what we can celebrate. Then we figure out how we can market it. Because farmers in this area are struggling, we need to make people in the community excited about food that is grown in the Boundary region.”
The day-long event was sponsored by the West Boundary Sustainable Foods and Resources Society (FAR). There were also talks scheduled on seed saving, four-season harvesting, dehydrating and garlic.
Leda Fair is president of the society; the event was organized by Vivien Browne. Browne later told the Times that plans are afoot for a monthly gathering to continue the conversation around local food sustainability.