FOOD SECURITY IS EVERYONE'S CONCERN

Food security affects us all. The pandemic showed us how quickly grocery store shelves can be emptied, and we are beginning to realize the tremendous waste and inefficiency that marks our food system.  We worry about the threat of climate change, and we understand that we or our neighbours may be affected by economic slowdown.

See our lists of food resources below, compiled to support and strengthen food independence in Perth County. We’ve found these resources by our own research and through suggestions sent in by our members, and we believe them to be useful, but we can’t vouch for individual businesses.

Do you have a good resource for local food? Please let us know!

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Food resources in Perth County

DELIVERY

The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the growth of farm-to-table businesses, but many of these businesses are better at providing food than at publicizing themselves. We’d love to have more resources on this page, so if you hear anything, please let us know.

 

Food Fund is based in London. They have “recovered produce,” that is, food that is thrown away due to imperfect appearance or surplus. They have a wide delivery area, so people in Perth County could arrange something, particularly if they worked together to form a group. Lots of possibilities, if you look at their FAQ page.

Green Hart Farms is a small family operation, a mother-daughter team based just outside New Hamburg. They have a waiting list now (February 2022) for their Veggie Box Programme, delivered to the door in Stratford. During COVID 19 there is also contactless pickup on the farm for online orders.

Monforte is in Stratford. Fine cheeses. Very fine, indeed. Personal orders taken on their Door-to-Door Hotline (519) 301-0198 or ruth@monfortedairy.com

McIntosh Farms is located in Listowel, and will deliver to Stratford. Hyper-local FRESH meat and eggs. Also offer meat, eggs, cheese and preserves from other local farmers and producers.

Nutrafarms are an Ontario-owned company, selling pasture-raised meat from their three farms in Stayner, Orillia, and Sarnia, and they use their own abbatoir. They also sell wild-caught frozen fish, as well as frozen fruits and vegetables. With this company you are buying most of your food for the coming year, so the bill can be a bit of a shock, but monthly payments are available at no interest, and Nutrafarms finances freezers for those who need them.

On the Move Organics is a London-based produce & grocery delivery service, sourcing local and organic fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, pantry items and more! They deliver to Kitchener, Waterloo & Cambridge every Tuesday, and stop in Perth towns like St. Marys, Tavistock, Stratford, New Hamburg to name a few. With over 500 Zero Waste, Organic & Locally-Sourced grocery items, they’re sure you’ll find something you’ll absolutely enjoy

Thames River Melons sells more than melons. It’s a family business based outside of Innerkip, where they have their own farm. Produce ranges from rhubarb and asparagus in the spring to strawberries and melons in the summer, to squash and pumpkins in the fall. They recently began a line of preserves including jams, jellies, pickles, sauces, and spreads all made fresh from their produce. Several of our members in Stratford are getting boxes from them, and we’ve heard reports that they are great.

Springhills Trout Farm delivers to most areas in Perth County. They sell rainbow trout, Lake Erie pickerel, and arctic char by the box. They also do mixed boxes. Monthly delivery, so plan ahead. They are in Hanover.

FARMGATE SALES

Perth County has developed an online farmgate mapthat contains many of the farms and farm stores. It’s very useful and easy to navigate. We particularly love their Animal Encounters trail map, showing animal-centred adventures in Perth County. If you’d like a printable version, go to their Perth County online brochure.

If you live near the Waterloo region, there are some interesting farms in the guide published by Green Hart Farms. Worth the trip!

YOU-PICK

Perth County has a list of farms that allow you to pick your own produce.

Thomas Brothers Farm Market is not in Perth County. It’s about an hour away, on the southeast side of London, but it’s one of the larger you-pick farms in the area. They have huge fields and a wide variety of you-pick fruits and vegetables, so it’s worth your time to go — perhaps ride-share and get a carful of things to freeze and can. Remember to call first, to be sure of times and availability.

 

FOOD BANKS

If you’re looking for discounted but healthy food, try Flashfood.  This 249 KB app helps you reduce food waste while saving money on fresh food items like meat and produce that are nearing their best before date. Not all grocery stores participate, but the list will grow.

Avondale United Church – The Foodshelf  194 Avondale Ave (Enter off Huntington St), Stratford. 519-271-7946 (Church Office)

The Local Community Food Centre has kitchen, garden and advocacy programmes, although only the kitchen programmes will continue during Covid. If you live in Stratford or St. Marys, delivery is available. With Covid, this will change.  At 612 Erie Street, Stratford. (519) 508-3663

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul – Stratford Food Bank. St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 96 Huron Street, Stratford. (519) 271-6722 (Church Office)

Stratford House of Blessing. 423 Erie Street, Stratford  Email: info@shob.org (519) 273-3433.

Salvation Army-Stratford Food Bank, 230 Lightbourne Avenue, Stratford. Email: info@thelocalcfc.org (519) 271-2950

ST MARYS

Salvation Army, St. Marys Foodbank. Salvation Army Community Church, 220 Queen St E, St Marys. (519) 284-2760.

COMMUNITY GARDENS

In our rural county Community Gardens are less common, but interest in them is growing. If your group is starting to think about a community garden, good food market, or educational garden, try this list of resources from Foodshare (Toronto).

The Local Community Food Centre Community Garden in Stratford is located behind the Dufferin Arena and comprises 50 garden plots, each about six feet by 10 feet. New gardeners can put their names on a waiting list; do so by emailing Debra Swan at debra@thelocalcfc.org.

If you’re thinking about signing up for next year, the Local CFC also has garden skills programmes to help you be ready for spring. (Covid may restrict these)   Website     Facebook

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS

Stratford: The Local Community Food Centre is a warm and welcoming space, with many services. There’s a greenhouse gardening programme, children’s gardening classes, and they also have a weekly food delivery service.

With Covid, services like their cafe programme and the weekly market may not be available, and their hours can change.

Waterloo region food guide by Green Hart Farms

The mother-and-daughter team at Green Hart Farms maintains this local guide for the Waterloo area.  Green Hart has a veggie box program and will deliver to  K-W, Cambridge, New Hamburg, Stratford, and Baden. In warmer weather they run an online farmgate stand.


The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) sponsors Source Local, which offers many resources on local foods and other topics.

The OFA also maintains this page, which lets you know what foods are in season,

The OFA food literacy page is designed to help get younger people engaged with healthy food and food preparation.