THUNDER BAY – A local farm has been recognized for its efforts in connecting the community with agriculture.
The province has recognized the hard work of local agri-food visionaries whose passion for agriculture have strengthened their business, grown the agri-food sector, boosted the economy and created jobs.
The 2016 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence has been awarded to Thunder Bay’s My Pride Farm and Dryden’s Cloverbelt Local Food Co-op for their contributions to increasing economic growth in Ontario.
For four and a half years, My Pride Farm has been providing locally raised veal for the Thunder Bay community, which has helped support job creation, add value to products and has supported a sustainable environment.
My Pride Farm owner and operator Mike Visser believes the award recognizes people who take the initiative to branch out in new agriculture ventures and connects the public with agriculture.
“I’ve taken a locally available resource, which is male calves from the dairy farm who are normally shipped out of town, I purchase them and raise them (locally),” Visser said.
“I add value to them and market a high quality product back to the public, so it doesn’t have to leave town and come back again."
Visser added it’s great to be recognized for the efforts he has went through to start his business and to connect the community back to agriculture.
In the last number of years there’s been a lot of disconnect between food production and the public.
“There’s a lot of misunderstanding on the public’s behalf of what happens while their food is being produced,” he said.
“Bringing awareness back on how it’s being produced and the fact that we do take great care and pride in producing a high quality product is important to us.”
Since Visser was a young boy he's had a deep passion for agriculture. He didn’t grow up on a farm or have the opportunity in Southern Ontario, but he still had a strong desire for farming.
Visser said with the rising prices in southern Ontario he sought out different opportunities and ventured to Thunder Bay to fulfill his dream.
“I would like to continue to expand, grow and connect more people with local product…I’ve already expanded outside of the Thunder Bay District, for example, Sudbury, Dryden and Kenora,” he said.