The Eastern Ontario Virtual Farmers Market (VFM) is a joint project of the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network (EOAN) in partnership with the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, the United Counties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, and the City of Cornwal. The goal is to make local foods more accessible to residents of the Five Counties region and Cornwall and support local producers of fruit, vegetables, fresh meat, honey, and other types of agricultural items.
“When shopping through the Virtual Farmers Market, you’re buying local food directly from the producer,” stated Michel Villeneuve, EOAN president. “Vendors have full control over their virtual market stall. They set their price, payment methods, establish delivery and pickup dates, and communicate with their customers.”
Villeneuve noted that the VFM allows local producers to develop a closer relationship with their customers through the Internet the same way as if they were dealing with people face-to-face at a live farmers market setup. The VFM set up at www.agro-on.ca will feature more than 50 local producers of seasonal produce, meats, honey, and other products.
There are two phases to the launch of the VFM project. Phase one is setting up the virtual market through the EOAN website, including a process for virtual browsing by customers, item selection and checkout, along with method of payment and delivery. The second phase involves setting up distribution points through local businesses throughout the region.
“These existing local businesses will open their doors to other producers as collaborative pick up points for multiple products,” stated Alain D’Aoust, EOAN coordinator. “This will add to the convenience of both the customer and the producer.”
Residents can start browsing the VFM listings now at EOAN website, and get information on how to prepare for using the virtual farmers market.