Southwest Marketplace hoping to highlight local producers
Supporting local producers and products is the focus of the first annual Southwest Marketplace.
The June 25 to 28 event, hosted at the Stockade and running in conjunction with Frontier Days 2009, is aiming to highlight products and producers who are right here in the Southwest.
Event organizer Judi Taylor said Canadian imports of food products are on the rise and local sustainability is a concern as a result of this trend.
“We’re wanting to promote local shopping. Actually going to your grocery store isn’t necessarily local shopping because we’re still buying imported products. So what we’re wanting to do is raise awareness to people of the Southwest what we have here and what we can support here,” Taylor explained.
The Southwest already boasts production of a wide range of unique products, but the region needs to increase their awareness of hidden gems. She points out the Southwest offers products ranging from soap to vineyards and wine making, plus fish farms to orchards.
The new Southwest Enterprise Region is the key player in this initiative supporting the sustainability of the Southwest, and they are getting support from the Swift Current Ag and Ex and Swift Current Tourism.
Taylor said this is a perfect opportunity for the full range of products produced in the Southwest to build some excitement around their products. She noted that crops like lentils, flax, and mustard are grown here, maybe not in a huge supply, but awareness at an event like the Southwest Marketplace will increase it’s exposure and allow people to support their efforts.
She noted that support local initiatives worked during the BSE crisis, when everyone supported Canadian and Saskatchewan beef, with Saskatchewan’s beef market actually increasing during that period.
“Let’s raise the pride of Southwest Saskatchewan. We can be somebody on the map, we can be unique and we can be special. So hopefully we can bring a good showcase out of the woodwork and have the whole Southwest showcased there.”
There is currently an effort to recruit additional displays for the Marketplace event. They are aiming to attract: new/existing small business; artists, including decorative, visual, media, literary, and performing; local foods and producers; craftspeople; restaurants/food services; manufacturers; retailers; research and development; home-based businesses; consultants; exporter/importer; hospitality and tourism; renewable/alternative energy; farming and rural businesses; holistic health; producer groups; and others.
Along with product sales there will be booths for presentations on different products and services.
Registration deadline is June 15, and participants can book booths for as short a period as half a day in order to expand the variety of participants.