The Local Food Scene – Who Does What? Part 2

metrotomatoLast week we looked at the various consumer-oriented Toronto- and Ontario-based groups that advocate for local food. Today, in part 2, I’ve got info on regional groups in the GTA, Golden Horseshoe and beyond, as well as information on organic groups and organizations designed to serve the hospitality industry.

Regional Groups

Durham Farm Fresh – A guide to farmer’s markets, producers and growers as well as restaurants using local produce in Durham region.

Grown in Peel – Promotes local farms and produce in Peel region.

Hamilton Eat Local – A directory of local food information for folks in Hamilton. Includes info on community gardens, where to buy local produce and more.


Norfolk Farms – Promotional site for growers in Norfolk county, the top-producing area for produce in Ontario. Offers info on pick-your-own farms, seasonal produce and info for wholesalers looking to carry Ontario produce.

Northern Flavours – Culinary tourism site to promote northern Ontario, with a directory of local products and restaurants searchable by category or region.

Savour Muskoka – Promotes culinary tourism to the Muskoka region with information on chefs and restaurants, farms and locally-made products.

York Region Farm Fresh – Promoting local farms and produce in York region.


Canadian Organic Growers – Toronto Chapter – The COG is as association of organic farmers, gardeners, processors, retailers, educators, policy-makers, and consumers from across Canada. With a mandate to “lead local and national communities towards sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre while respecting nature, upholding social justice and protecting natural resources” the COG works with farmers, processors and government to create and maintain standards, and ensure the sustainability of the food production system. The COG holds an annual conference in February that is open to the public.

Organic Advocates – A coalition of chefs and food professionals, created by chefs Jamie Kennedy and Michael Stadtlander, with a mandate to promote organic agriculture. Main event each year is Feast of Fields.

Organic Council of Ontario – Promotes organics in Ontario, representing producers, processors, certifiers, retailers, etc. Encourages consumer participation, offers a searchable directory of organic businesses.

Farmers and Producers Associations

Ecological Farmer’s Association of Ontario – ecological growing shares many of the same sustainable practices as organic farming. The EFAO focuses on maintaining the health of the soil, water, crops and livestock of the farm through traditional methods such as crop rotation, green manures, soil erosion control and conservation practices. Meetings and events allow farmers to share ideas and techniques.

Grape Growers of Ontario – Association of grape growers with information for members but also for the public, with sections on viticultural areas, grapes for wine and juice, VQA certification and more.

Homegrown Ontario – An alliance of various meat farmers and associations including pork, sheep, veal and turkey. Provides a shopping guide of retailers offering local meats, as well as recipes, cut information and health info.

Ontario Berry Growers Association – Representing all facets of the berry-growing industry to promote the industry within Ontario. Offers info on various types of berries, including growing seasons and nutritional info, as well as recipes and where to find farms.

Ontario Craft Brewers Association – Dedicated to the art of craft brewing and the many brewers in Ontario. Promotes new product and offers info on where to find products, awards, events and more.

Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association – Assists farmers in marketing and promotion via the direct farm sales industry rom farmer’s markets to farm gate sales and pick-your-own operations. offers information to consumers on finding farms and farmers markets.

Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association – Represents the edible horticultural industry as the voice of fruit and vegetable growers in Ontario.

Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association – Represents maple syrup producers in Ontario and assists with everything from finances to marketing and promotion. Website includes recipes, info on maple syrup festivals and where to buy Ontario maple syrup.

Ontario Tender Fruit Producers – All the juicy goodness of peaches, pears, plums, grapes and cherries. Website includes recipes, event info and availability and nutritional info.


Culinary Historians of Ontario – The Culinary Historians of Ontario is an organization that researches, interprets, preserves and celebrates Canada’s and Ontario’s culinary heritage, which has been shaped by the food traditions of the First Nations peoples and generations of immigrants from all parts of the world. They hold various events and demonstrations, some of which are hands-on, based on the historical foodways of the province. Membership is open to the public.

Eau de Vie – Advocacy group designed to bring together and promote Toronto and southern Ontario’s restaurant and hospitality industry. Through annual events such as Terroir, Eau de Vie allows industry professionals from chefs to media to share ideas and techniques, and to shape trends. The public is welcome to attend Terroir.

Escoffier Society of Ontario – A network of culinary professionals from all areas of the industry. Created to give chefs of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to network, socialize and learn.

Savour Ontario Trade – An organization for the hospitality and restaurant industry to help promote culinary tourism in Ontario. Appears to be associated with, but not run by, the provincial Ministry of Tourism who have their own Savour Ontario site.

Women’s Culinary Network – A network of female food professionals that allows for socializing, mentorship and networking. Open to women in all aspect of the culinary world from chefs and producers to writers, food stylists and nutritionists.