Opinion Column

Nominations open for Charter Champion Awards

By Brittany Doner

QMI AGENCY

QMI AGENCY

Do you know a friend who only buys locally-grown food?

Perhaps you have a favourite restaurant specializing in homegrown seasonal dishes?

How about recognizing the flourishing community garden in your neighbourhood?

The Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee and the Food Partners Alliance have created the Charter Champion Awards to acknowledge the many individuals, organizations, and businesses working hard to create a strong and vibrant food system in Simcoe County.

The awards, which come on the heels of the recently released Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter, are meant to recognize residents whose work and/or volunteer efforts support the Charter’s vision and six principles.

The six principles in the Charter are meant to inspire actions that will bring about equal access to healthy locally-grown food for all, celebrations of food and culture, agricultural sustainability, a thriving economy, a healthy environment, and increased education and skills development in the areas of food and agriculture.

“It’s important to honour the many members of our community who have been working hard to create a healthier and food-secure future for our region,” said Warden Cal Patterson, Co-chair of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee. “The Charter Champion Awards are a way to highlight the wonderful work that has already been done, inspire more people to get involved, and an opportunity to say thank you.”

The 13 award categories include: Best Community Garden; Community Appreciation Award—for Work Improving Equal Access; Buy Local Champion; Best Event Celebrating Culture and Local Food; Best Local Food Retailer; Best Local Food Restaurant/Caterer; Community Appreciation Award—Thank your Friendly Local Farmer; Best Agricultural Club or Association; Young Farmer’s Award; Best Environmental Champion; Best School Program; and Best Community-Based Food-Skills Development Program.

“It will be interesting to see who gets nominated,” said Simcoe County Councillor Basil Clarke, Co-Chair of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee.

“Anyone can be a Charter Champion; there are plenty of farmers, volunteers, teachers, chefs, businesses and healthcare professionals who have been working hard for years to grow, promote, sell or celebrate both healthy and locally-grown foods.”

To nominate an individual, business, or organization for a Charter Champion Award, visit fpa.simcoe.ca to learn more. Nominations are set to close on May 31, 2013.

Funding for this project was provided by the County of Simcoe, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, and the Government of Ontario.

Show your support for the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter, and endorse the online Charter at fpa.simcoe.ca/ signthecharter.

Brittany Doner is project manager, Simcoe County Food & Agriculture Charter, and Simcoe County Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

Food Matters is a monthly column addressing a variety of relevant topics concerning the food system in Simcoe County, as identified by the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.


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