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Health Unit promoting local foods

SIMCOE, ON, FEB. 16, 2010 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is launching a campaign in March to promote locally grown food from Haldimand and Norfolk counties.

“The promotion is connected to Nutrition Month in March with its theme, ‘Celebrate food from field to table,’ ” said Health Unit Dietitian Coraine Wray. “We’ll be setting up displays at local libraries to promote the variety of foods grown right here in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties.”

According to Statistic Canada, the top agricultural crop grown in Haldimand and Norfolk is the soybean. Soybean, also known as the soya bean, can be found locally in a variety of foods such as soy beverages and tofu, which can be used as a substitute for meat.

Norfolk County is the number one grower of sweet potatoes, strawberries, asparagus, sweet corn and apples in Ontario.

Haldimand County is well known for its livestock and dairy production.

“Sweet potatoes are very high in vitamin A, which can be part of a healthy eating plan,” Wray noted.
“Canada’s Food Guide recommends having at least one orange vegetable every day. Dairy products are also a key component in healthy eating. Milk contains 16 essential nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D.”

“By choosing local foods, you are able to experience the freshness of fruit and vegetables that haven’t travelled long distances and can possibly help to save our environment by cutting down on emissions from fossil fuels used to transport foods across continents,” Wray pointed out. “So, with another spring and summer season fast approaching, people should make a point of visiting our local farmers’ markets or farmers’ gates to enjoy locally grown agricultural products.”

Another health advantage of buying locally is that those choosing to do so are more likely to prepare foods from scratch and are less dependent on pre-packaged convenience foods, many of which contain added salt, sugar or fats.

“To keep a ready supply of local foods all year long, freeze, can or preserve your favourite fruit and vegetables,” Wray said. “During Nutrition Month, you will be able to find information at both the Health Unit and public libraries on the proper storage for different fruit and vegetables found in Haldimand and Norfolk.”

In addition to its nutritional benefits, buying food locally can help your wallet, Wray pointed out.

“On a tight budget, buying local foods can save you money. To make the most of your food dollars, purchase fresh fruits and vegetables when in season at your local farmers’ market or straight from the farm.”

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Media contact:
Coraine Wray, Dietitian
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Ext. 3237 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623