Aug. 24, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Ronald Ouellette, minister of agriculture and aquaculture, will join in the Eat Atlantic Challenge for the second consecutive year on Friday, Sept. 4, when thousands of Atlantic Canadians have pledged to eat only Atlantic Canada-produced food.
"Buying local produce is becoming more common in New Brunswick," said Ouellete. "Consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and the practice of eating food produced close to home is gaining popularity each day. Many people are beginning to understand and embrace the wide range of healthy and delicious food that is available across our region."
Ouellette said that the benefits of eating locally grown food, with positive health, environmental, and economic spinoffs, will have a positive impact on the lives of New Brunswickers.
"Eating Atlantic food is the best choice for many reasons," said Ouellette. "It is good for your health, and it is the right choice for the local economy and the environment. When you choose Atlantic products you ensure that more of your food dollar goes to the men and women who make a living producing the food we eat. That keeps money and jobs in our region."
The Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture supports the promotion of New Brunswick-produced food. In particular, the department provides assistance to producers through the Agri-food Market Development Program to improve the marketing of agricultural products. More than 200 projects have been undertaken during the past three years, focusing on improving the visibility and promotion of products through new packaging, labelling, new product development, improved road signs, website marketing, brochures, posters, and agri-tourism.
There are many different places where Atlantic-produced food can be found, including grocery stores, farmer's markets, restaurants, or directly from the farm.
"The challenge is for one day, but it is surprisingly easy to enjoy an Atlantic diet throughout the year," said John Harvie, CEO of Co-op Atlantic, which is owned by more than 100 co-op stores in the region. "We grow some of the best food in the world here in Atlantic Canada, and we should all be proud of that."
Ouellette is encouraging New Brunswickers to visit the Eat Atlantic Challenge website to join the challenge. The website shows a provincial leader board, which keeps a running tally of pledges from each of the Atlantic provinces.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Connor, communications, Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture, 506-457-3549; Romeo Cormier, public affairs manager, Co-op Atlantic, 506-858-6242.