In the fall of 2013, Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op (CLFC) hosted its first Annual General Meeting after incorporating August of that same year. With only a WordPress site, our First Directors –and 85 members!– had yet to see our online farmers market live, but we forged ahead with excitement for a brighter future for local foods.
Just three years later, we reflect on many accomplishments. Some highlights:
- Being the recipient of a Premier’s Agri-Innovation Award as an innovator in Ontario agriculture (2014)
- Being awarded two Dryden Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in the category of Environmental Stewardship (2014 & 2015)
- Completing a marketing project in 2014/15, which allowed us to brand the Co-op, develop professional marketing materials, hire a marketing coordinator, and offer several fun opportunities to highlight local foods such as For the Love of Food & Farming, Honey Love, Breadmaking workshop, and foraging workshops (Local Food Fund & The Co-operators Development Program).
- Successfully crowdfunding for a Community Greenhouse, which opened its doors in Spring of 2015
- Hiring an NOHFC intern as an Education Coordinator, who supported local food and agricultural initiatives in area classrooms, and offered workshops to our community to help engage in utilizing local foods and supporting a sustainable lifestyle (composting workshops, cold storage, canning, etc.)
- Expanded distribution to Ignace, Upsala, Sioux Lookout and Kenora
- Hired a Regional Project Manager to create an online interactive map of NWO farmers, and restaurants that feature local foods (FedNor/NOHFC)
- Hiring an NOHFC intern as an Agricultural Coordinator to help local farmers build capacity, and open additional markets in area restaurants and institutions (LocaWars, providing to school breakfast programs with the Northwestern Health Unit).
- Building strong regional and provincial partnerships to enhance and strengthen the NWO agricultural sector (Municipalities & First Nations, Regional Economic Development Organization, the Food Security Research Network, Northwest Training & Adjustment Board, Patricia & Area Community Endeavors, Northwest Business Centre, and many more)
- Growing to over 1,000 members
CLFC could not be a strong and thriving regional food system, without the support of its members! So keep spreading the word to your friends, it’s our biggest source of new memberships! Strive to place a few more orders in 2017, to keep supporting our farmer members, and ensure our continued success. If you can, pitch in on a Tuesday afternoon and help sort some food orders, or consider joining our Board of Directors and help guide us forward.
Thank you for all you do to help keep our Co-op strong, we wouldn’t be here without your support!