Co-op stores launch Eat Atlantic Challenge Sept. 4

| Agriculture, Business, Community, Environment |

Co-op stores are inviting Atlantic Canadians to take part in the Eat
Atlantic Challenge on Thursday, Sept. 4, by eating only Atlantic
products for the entire day.

While the challenge is for Atlantic
Canadians to eat Atlantic for a day, the larger goal is to help people
understand the benefits of choosing food produced here whenever
possible.

Locally, Beaubear’s Co-op will host a free barbecue
Thursday featuring Atlantic products at their location in Nelson from
11 a.m to 2 p.m.

"Atlantic Canadians increasingly understand that
there are huge benefits to eating food that’s been produced in our
region," said Bertha Campbell, a member of Co-op Atlantic’s Board of
Directors, from Kensington, P.E.I. "We want to make it as easy as
possible to make the Atlantic choice." Co-op Atlantic is the wholesale
and services business owned by the region’s Co-op stores.

From an
economic point of view, eating food grown in Atlantic Canada means
supporting producers across the region who make a living producing
food. Many of these farms and businesses have been contributing to our
communities and economy for generations.

Eating food from close
to home also reduces the distance items need to travel before reaching
our plates. This is important when you consider that 25 per cent of all
greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide produced in Canada is linked to the
transportation of goods.

New Brunswick Agriculture Minister
Ronald Ouellette applauded the initiative of Co-op Atlantic to
encourage consumers to buy local agri-food products.

"Buying the
high-quality, nutritious products grown by our producers will help to
ensure that our province’s agriculture industry remains profitable and
sustainable for future generations," said Ouellette.

Throughout
the first week of September, Co-ops stores across Atlantic Canada will
actively promote products from our region. All food produced in the
region is identified with special "Atlantic Produced" tags on the
shelves, and on Sept. 4 various in-store events will help consumers
understand the benefits of choosing Atlantic.

For Robert
Bourgeois of the Belliveau Orchard in Pré-d’en-Haut, New Brunswick,
this type of initiative is important. "It’s great to see that more and
more Atlantic Canadians are understanding that food doesn’t simply come
from the grocery store, but that it originates from someone’s field, or
farm operation. I think the more people grasp this notion, the more
they will buy into the benefits of eating locally produced items," he
said.

With more than 75 Co-op food stores, plus substantial
agriculture, real estate and energy businesses, the Co-op system is one
of Atlantic Canada’s most important employers and economic drivers.

"We
want people to think about their food and where it comes from,"
Campbell said. "Co-ops not only support their members but they strive
to ensure the sustainable development of their communities. Buying food
grown by our neighbors is an important part of that."