Local food is at the heart of a healthy and thriving
sustainable regional food system
Savour Ottawa has a mandate to advance, promote and enable the actors, businesses and social enterprises that are re-building the local food economy.
Community Economic Development
Savour Ottawa supports regional business and social enterprises working in food and farming, no matter what stage of development, whether just starting out, looking to expand, changing course with new technologies and/or products, or responding to the needs of the next generation—including:
- Easy, free online tools to gauge needs and allow food and farm enterprises to quickly get the benefit of Savour Ottawa promotion and training—including;
- Building or updating a free Buy Local Food Guide profile;
- Tastes of Savour Ottawa seasonal campaigns;
- Regular surveys and newsletters;
- Support for new farmers from planning through development, including access to land, capital and training;
- Training on specialized skills to develop and enhance current production (greenhouse, value-added, micro-food processing);
- Support for New Canadians looking to start an agricultural venture in Canada or work on a local farm, via the New Roots program;
- Support for farms looking to increase revenues through agri-tourism;
- Assistance to transition to online sales, marketing, delivery;
- Promotion of local farms in the region who sell food directly to eaters through farmers’ markets and/or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA);
- Peer-to-peer education opportunities;
- Quickly post or find jobs in food and farming in the region;
The Ottawa region is seeing an increased demand for both local food and employment —making each an issue and an opportunity. Local food consumption has been steadily rising in the home, and now increasingly at schools, public facilities, long-term care residences1. In 2022 more “locally grown” produce is the top demand of grocery consumers2. Fresh concerns over the tenuous nature of global supply chains—as well as their ecological and climate impacts—has ensured that the demand for fresh and nutritious local products in this region is greater than supply.
Building Local Multipliers and Sustainable Systems
By connecting local farmers with restaurateurs, craft processors who use their products, local retailers and farmers’ markets where they can sell—and cross-promoting all to local food eaters—Savour Ottawa encourages a more just, vibrant and sustainable regional economy.
How so? Where eaters’ dollars directly support the farms and farmers who feed them—or go to food establishments that purchase products from our local farms—those dollars recirculate in our region, to local businesses and workers. This helps to build stronger community linkages, and a more diverse and resilient local economy that in turn:
- Allows local communities to thrive and maintain mutually supportive local services;
- Increases options within these communities for youth and newcomers to stay, settle and grow;
- Benefits future generations by building and supporting just, stable and transparent food systems—moving away from our current industrial cheap food systems that hide or ignore true costs, problems and negative outcomes
Savour Ottawa began in 2007 as a collaborative project between Just Food, Ottawa Tourism, City of Ottawa’s newly minted Rural Affairs office and the Economic Development office.
In the early years the focus was to develop and promote Ottawa and environs as a premier, year-round culinary tourism destination, with diverse offerings of local foods and experiences for local and visiting patrons.
This built upon Just Food’s Buy Local Guide which started in 2005—a printed map of the region’s local food system that would help local food eaters, farmers, retailers and restaurants connect with each other.
The map has since migrated online. Now with a click or a tap, you can find not just where local food and farming enterprises are, but who they are, what they sell, and how to connect with them.
1 Ontario’s local food report, 2021 edition. https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontarios-local-food-report-2021-edition
2 Canadian Grocer, Oct. 27, 2022, “Five ways grocers can win over produce shoppers amid inflation”. https://canadiangrocer.com/grocery-produce-sales-inflation
In collaboration with: