Living Local Challenge

By: Emma Johnston

When I was seventeen I couldn’t wait to leave Burford. The minute I graduated high school my bags were packed and I was waving good-bye to the village I grew up in. It wasn’t that there was anything particularly wrong with Burford, but to me, there was nothing to do in this tiny town or the surrounding area. Other than the occasional bush party, the Burford Fair and a slice of pizza on Friday nights, the village and everything around it was duller than dishwater. I was bored.
When my husband and I started planning a family we moved back to the village, we wanted to be near parents and siblings, wanted a nice home with a big yard to raise our kids in, we swallowed our pride and found a home only minutes away from the school. We were happy to be back, happy to see our old friends, to be near the ‘grandparents’ and glad for the safety and space the community provided. But a part of me clung to the idea that there was nothing to do in this little village. That for everything from the food we bought, the restaurants we visited to the events we participated in had to be outside of the County. We had to drive back to Kitchener, or over to London or down the Mountain into Hamilton to find the events and activities that kept our lives busy and entertaining.
When we began The Burford Advance we wondered how much there would be to cover. What kinds of events and people, businesses and opportunities there really were in the villages that make up the County of Brant.
We began the Living Local section, convinced there were at least enough new and interesting things happening right here in our area that we could cover each week, we just needed to hunt them down!
Our goal was simply to demonstrate the incredible places to eat, things to see and events to go to within minutes of our front door. We knew the area boasted some incredible festivals, youth events and fundraisers, but what took our entire family by surprise, and no one more than myself, was the sheer number of things to do. Everything from Bike Nights to fish fries, to fairs and festivals, great food, cool events, unique businesses. The County boasts of a never- ending array of things to do, eat and experience. I had no idea!
As I follow these events, hear the stories of locals and immerse myself more and more into our little slice of rural Ontario I’m humbled by how wrong I was about our area. There is tons to do. Tons to experience, tons of interesting people, doing cool things!
And so our family, and we invite all those in the area to jump on board, is embarking on a quest to Live Local for six whole months. From May 1st to November 1st, our family of five is going to embrace every aspect of our County.
Our plan is to buy our food sourced and sold locally. Meaning we will support whole heartedly our local farmers, road side stands, independent grocers, and locally based companies to buy all of our groceries every week. We will not buy food from big box stores in the cities that surround us. We will source out the best places to buy meat, cheese, milk, blueberries, asparagus, chocolate. You name it, we’ll find it, and we’ll buy it local!
Secondly, this means that our gifts, household items, yard supplies, clothing and beauty products will also be bought locally. As much as possible we will buy things made, created or sourced by people within our communities. We will search out the best places to buy homemade products, children’s toys, books and grass seed. We’ll buy our mothers day gifts, fathers day gifts, birthday presents and home decor all right here in the County. If it needs to be bought, we’ll find a way to get it – Locally!
Finally, this also means that we will be embracing all that the County has to offer in regards to things to do and places to eat. If there’s a rodeo – we’ll be there, a festival, vendor sale, car show, tour or event, let us know, we’ll be there! We plan to explore every hike and activity around. We plan to buy tickets to events held near by – we plan to immerse ourselves fully in the experience of living locally. The restaurants we visit will be independently owned with the hopes that everything we do will help support our local businesses.
For six months we will eat the food grown in the area, we will drink the cider pressed only kilometers from our door, we will hang the art painted by our local artists, we will use soaps lovingly made by an entrepreneur in this region and we’ll buy the breads baked in our bakeries.
We believe that this area is an amazing place to live. That it is full of fabulous people doing incredible things. That this is a community where good, wholesome food is grown, made and farmed. A County full of opportunities, entrepreneurs, farmers and businesses that are worth supporting and encouraging.
Join us May 1st, whether you want to join The Living Local Challenge, or simply let us know of great places to check out and try -we want YOU to be part of this too. Let’s embrace local, let’s support our restaurants, businesses and farmers. This is a wonderful place to live and our family aims to prove it – Let us check out your business, visit your store, attend your event or eat at your restaurant. Let us know what’s happening and let us showcase you!
To Join the Living Local Challenge check out our Facebook page, drop in to the office on Monday, Tuesday or Friday, call us at 226-659-0061 and follow our journey in The Burford Advance. We’re embracing LOCAL and we want to bring you along for the ride!

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