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Press Release

Celebrating local food from field to table

Charter Champion Awards highlight great work across the County

Midhurst/July 25, 2017 — Now in its fifth year, the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Champion Awards has celebrated over 150 different individuals, organizations, and businesses working to create a strong and vibrant food system in Simcoe County.

On August 19, 2017, 13 residents from across the County will take the stage at the Farm Fresh Food Fest event, being hosted in Tiny Township, to accept awards honouring their work in the areas of agriculture, food security, food-skills development, environmental responsibility, agri-business, and increasing the profile of farming in Simcoe County. 

"The Charter Champion Awards were created to celebrate local food and agriculture while promoting all the tremendous products, services, activities and programs available across our region," said Warden Gerry Marshall. "Our agri-food sector is booming and beyond feeding much of Canada, we strongly encourage our own residents to shop our local farm gates, local-food retailers, community gardens, and the many programs and events that promote skills-building and civic engagement around local food."

Launched in 2013, the Charter Champion Awards was a means to entrench the newly developed Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter in the community. Since the development of the Charter, the FPA says it has observed an increase in community gardens, local food and culinary events, retailers and restaurants supporting local food, and local volunteer groups dedicated to food security.

"The Charter is a document developed by community members for community members and is a guide for making decisions intended to improve the local food system," said John Hemsted, Chair of the Food Partners Alliance (FPA), which oversees Charter-related work. "The Charter provided some food for thought, in that it created an exchange of ideas around food, and that dialogue has turned into action."

Although there are a select number of award recipients each year, the FPA recognizes anyone supporting the local food system, from field to fork, as a champion of the principles outlined in the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.

About the Farm Fresh Event:
The event will not only showcase and celebrate local producers, food entrepreneurs, artists and craftspeople, but it will immerse consumers in farm culture through interactive experiences and informative programing about the food they eat and how it's grown. This year's Charter Champions will be paired with the 100 Mile Dinner event as part of Farm Fresh Food Fest.

The 100 Mile Dinner will showcase a vast variety of locally grown food and the culinary talent of the Ciboulette et Cie team. Dinner will be served family style along a stretch of harvest style tables to foster a sense of community.  Guests will be treated to the musical talent of the Desotos, while they eat and celebrate alongside our community's local food champions. 

Tickets to the dinner and Awards program are available for purchase online at

The Food Partners Alliance of Simcoe County is a multi-sector organization whose primary purpose is to work together and provide leadership to build a sustainable and equitable food system, from research to field, to table. The FPA works to support the implementation of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter. To learn more visit

County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at

The 2017 Charter Champion Award recipients include:

Best Agricultural Club or Association
Women's Institute

Best Community Garden
Midland Community Garden

Best Community-Based Food-Skills Development Program
Healthy Kids Community Challenge, Town of Collingwood

Best Environmental Champion—Business or Organization
Ripe Juicery Inc.

Best Event Celebrating Culture and Local Food
Farms Feed Families
Simcoe County Federation of Agriculture

Best Local Food Restaurant/Caterer
Valley Farm Market

Best Local Food Retailer
Hewitt's Farm Market and Bakery

Best School Program
Bear Creek Secondary School (SCDSB), Hospitality Program
Sarah Prentice

Buy Local Champion
Nicholyn Farms

Community Appreciation Award for Work Improving Equal Access
Georgian Food Locker
Georgian College Students' Association (GCSA), Barrie Campus

Community Appreciation Award—Thank your Friendly Local Farmer
The Harris Family, Harris Farms

Youth Farmer Award(s)
Kylie Van Casteren
Owen Van Casteren

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Allan Greenwood
Director, Corporate Communications 
705-726-9300 ext. 1230
705-794-9301 (mobile)

Collin Matanowitsch
Communications Co-ordinator
705-726-9300 ext. 1430
705-734-8386 (mobile)