The Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op in Dryden is looking into expanding. President Jennifer Springett was in Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Fort Frances and Lac Seul all last week. Springett talks more about the expansion.

"We are looking at distributing to all of northwestern Ontario for the next year. We've already established a few pilot hubs. So we have one in Upsala and Igance and we just started one in Sioux Lookout. I know there is a lot of interest in Kenora. We've had a great deal of consumer interest in Kenora," she said.

Springett met with representatives in Kenora including economic development officer Jennifer Findlay. Last month the food co-op spoke at the Seeds for Change conference about sustainable farming.

The Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op is also in the process of building an online food mapping and distribution project. Springett explains the focus behind the system.

"We are looking at developing an interactive map that will help producers and anyone interested in local food to determine how much local food is being produced and where it's being produced. Before we can look at strategies to help to increase capacity in the agricultural sector. We need to understand where we're at right now," she said.

The Co-op recently hired regional manager, Marcus Ledsham, to head the food mapping project. Besides helping define what exactly is being produced, the food mapping system will also give them an idea of the transportation issues.

"The other piece is to look at existing transportation networks and explore the feasibility of having a dedicated transportation network for local food for the region. Transportation is a huge issue across all sectors in northwestern Ontario. We are collaborating with lots of other partners who are looking at transportation networks both in the food industry and outside the food industry," she said.

The Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op was started to help bring food from the farm right onto a consumer's table.

Cloverbelt staff met with representatives in Kenora to discuss a possible expansion into the community.

For more information:
Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op wins Premier's Award
Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op looks to build online farmign network
Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op