LUNENBURG, Ontario – Brenda Labelle and Kevin Waldroff of Brenda’s Veggies, who many may recognize from the Kinsmen Farmers’ Market or Long Sault Farmers’ Market, were recognized as Local Food Champions on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, congratulated the co-growers alongside local MPP Jim McDonell for their dedication to growing and selling high quality, delicious local foods. Brenda’s Veggies, which produces a plethora of vegetables like tomatoes, Brussel sprouts and even artichoke, does not apply any sprays, pesticides or fertilizers, maintaining natural growing practices. The duo also boast that none of their produce ever goes to waste as they avidly donate to local charities and facilities.
“We really enjoy growing our healthy produce and then, even better, sharing healthy food to those who don’t have access to it (such as care homes),” said Waldroff, who has been gardening since the age of 10, in a press release.
“Awarding Local Food Champions is a celebration of our hardworking farmers, food processors and entrepreneurs who are committed to ensuring more local food is available for everyone in their community,” said Minister Ernie Hardeman. “When we buy local food, we are making a choice for Ontario – for our families, our communities and our economy. There’s nothing better than fresh, delicious Ontario food that’s grown and made across this province.”
The Local Food Champion certificate is the newest development in the Broader Public Sector Champion program, one of the final phases of the Local Food Act which can be found here. The initiative originally recognized Ontario-grown produce retailers and has branched out to acknowledge local farming efforts.
“Local food is the heart of Ontario’s agri-food industry. Over this past year, our government — working with stakeholders, local food businesses and the Broader Public Sector across the province — has reached a number of our targets in strengthening our local food economy,” said Minister Hardeman.
“We have some of the best farmers in the province. Kevin and Brenda of Brenda’s Veggies are just two of our many great entrepreneurs who are taking agriculture to the next level,” said MPP Jim McDonell.