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Producer: Local Food Wholesale Project

Call for Producers to join the Kawartha Region Local Food Wholesale Project 

Do you want to grow your farm by selling to local restaurants, stores and institutions?   

Would you be interested in free training and business coaching from the founder of one of Ontario’s leading farm to table culinary vegetable farms?   

Would you like to be connected to interested buyers? 

You are invited to participate in an exciting new project that seeks to support expanded production, wholesale marketing and purchasing of local food within Kawartha Lakes, the City of Peterborough and Peterborough County. 

Through this project, we believe that individual producers will be able to scale up and add expertise to their operation, freeing up time spent on marketing and distribution to focus on production and increased profitability.

In-field CoachingDuring this two-year project, as a Local Food Producer participant, you will receive, at no cost: 

  1. Group training to better understand effective wholesale production and marketing practices. Training workshops will run from February to April 2024.

  2. One-on-one coaching at your own convenience to adapt training material to your own businesses from April 2024 to December 2025.

  3. Facilitated coordination for aggregation and distribution of locally produced foods to local food buyers in restaurant, retail, food service, and institutional businesses within the region who will be concurrently participating in the Local Food Buyer side of this project (July 2024 to December 2025).

Producer Benefits:

The Kawartha Region Local Food Wholesale Project aims to build the capacity of the local economy in providing local food to consumers. 

Participating local food producers and food buyers will build mutual understanding and lasting relationships and identify wholesale models that work for both sides of the wholesale relationship. By doing this together, with the assistance of a team of expert advisors, the group can expand access, networks of collaboration and support, and create greater availability of locally produced foods through local wholesale channels. 

What benefits will this provide local food producers? 

  • The utilization of an economy of scale will provide more time for farming and other interests by reducing time selling and delivering. 

  • The ability to concentrate on the products each producer most enjoys producing. 

  • Higher farm profits overall, even with the possibility that farm gate prices could be lower. 

  • The chance to learn new skills to improve each farming operation and address common challenges. 

  • The opportunity to learn new business management skills. 

  • Knowledge of the unique needs of buyers who are interested in sourcing quality local food and the tools to work together to build a successful local food wholesale network. 

Producer Training:

We are excited that producer training and coaching will be provided by David Cohlmeyer of Sustainable Good Food Consulting.  David was the founder and former owner of Cookstown Greens and has decades of experience working with both farmers and chefs.

What will training entail? 

  • A number of group workshops using the Guidelines and Toolkit in a modular format. 

  • Training sessions will be recorded for future reference. 

  • Written materials and handouts will be provided to participants. 

  • The opportunity to meet with other producers to build a collaborative network of support in developing local food wholesale capacity 

Guidelines and Toolkit:
  • A booklet and templates along with a video explaining how to utilize the booklet and templates.

  • A thorough review of the many practices that producers could incorporate into the business to succeed in the local food wholesale marketplace. 

  • Content will be primarily based on input collected from participants.

Training Topics:

Producer Training Topics may include, but not limited to:

  • Production planning

    • What products are in demand

    • What product mix can I produce

    • What are my best periods for availability

    • Which varieties/breeds are most suitable

    • Rotations and cover-crops to minimize pests

  • Packaging

    • Quality (size, cleanliness, temperature)

    • Methods for grading, washing, cooling

    • Standard packaging/labeling requirements

    • Educating staff about the need for consistency

    • Aggregating products with other producers

  • Logistics

    • Negotiating contracts with Buyers

    • Agreeing on Prices and Payment terms

    • Farm gate pick-up vs delivered

    • Communicating with Buyers

    • Making orders, delivery, and storage reliable

    • Understanding the challenges buyers have

  • Food Safety requirements

    • Best post-harvest handling practices

    • Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

    • Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)

    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

    • These improve yields, appearances, and shelf-life

    • Worker Safety practices

  • Market development

    • Profiling your Value Proposition

    • Using your Brand to support higher prices

    • Connecting with wholesale Buyers

    • Preparing for buyer farm visits

    • How to suggest new products

    • Compare costs with other channels

  • Business planning

    • Record-keeping to provide useful data

    • Calculating full Costs of Production

    • Knowing full Costs of Marketing

    • Forecasting Cash Flow

    • Scaling capacity for optimal profit

  • Finding sources of funding

One-on-One Producer Coaching
The training and one-on-one coaching phase is meant to be advisory in nature, and any costs for amendments by buyers would be borne by them and not the consultant. The Coaching aspect of this mandate will extend through the final phase of the project on an as-needed basis, even after the initial individual business recommendations are provided.
Facilitated Aggregation and Distribution Pilot Activity
The final portion of the project will see a Pilot Aggregation/Distribution System be undertaken to assist the group of producers and buyers engaged in the education and coaching phases of this project to enter wholesale buying relationships as a collective group with centralized activities. This will address challenges of product delivery costs, potential struggles meeting volume demands from an individual producer on a weekly basis, risk of product availability given potential crop losses by one producer, less variety, and more.

The Local Food Hub demonstration pilot project will facilitate collaboration among participants to test and choose the appropriate aggregation and distribution systems (be it a central place or a network of smaller function-based facilities, or other arrangement)which will ultimately increase the volume of local food transactions and improve efficiency for local food distribution and buyer procurement in the region.
Next Steps for Interested Local Producers:

Step 1: Expression of Interest 

To register for this project, complete this short Expression of Interest Form. Tell us why you are interested in this project and what you hope to achieve by participating. Please note spaces are limited.  The deadline to apply is December 8, 2023. 

Step 2: Follow-up Questions 

Within 7 days of completing this Expression of Interest, the Project Coordinator will contact you to collect additional information to determinean appropriate training and personalized coaching plan.All information collected about your business will be kept confidential. Contact information will only be used for communications within this project by the project team. Other information provided in your responses will be used to guide the development of training and coaching within this project.

Please indicate your interest in participating by completing this short Expression of Interest Form. The deadline to apply is December 22, 2023.

For additional information contact:

Kelly Maloney, Economic Development Officer – Agriculture, City of Kawartha Lakes
(888)822-2225 extension 1208,

Erika Inglis, Project Coordinator, Kawartha Local Food Wholesale Project

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