Large Crowd Shows Gratitude At Farmers Appreciation Breakfast

A crowd of close to 200 people squeezed into the St. Philip Catholic Church Hall for the annual Carleton Farmers’ Appreciation Breakfast hosted by Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari Sat. Feb. 24.

The free breakfast featured pancakes and syrup, sausages, eggs, baked beans, coffee and juice. Many members of the farming community in the Carleton riding were present to enjoy the breakfast. Guests included Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown and Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe. Local members of the 4-H Club were volunteers at the breakfast. Osgoode’s popular and versatile entertainer, Dr. Kaboom, was on hand to make sure that children in attendance received balloon animals or balloon swords.

“We have all seen the signs that we will randomly drive by in the Carleton riding: Farmers Feed Cities,” Ghamari told the crowd. “The signs are a reminder to our suburban and urban neighbours of the importance of farms locally, throughout Ontario, and nationally. But as poignant as the signs are, they only scratch the surface.”

A team of volunteers made sure that the crowd of close to 200 was well fed.

Although when Ottawa is talked about nationally it is usually in reference to Parliament Hill, one of the little known facts about the city is that it has the largest farming and agricultural economy of any city in Canada. The Carleton riding alone is larger than the City of Toronto. Ottawa is so vast geographically that the cities of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary can all fit within the Ottawa boundaries.

Councillor David Brown shares a lighter moment on stage with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and MPP Goldie Ghamari.

Ghamari spoke to the audience about the importance about the local farming industry.

“In Carleton, farming is the backbone of our local economy,” she said. “It is responsible, by far, for more jobs than any other industry in Carleton.

“Last year, Ontario Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Honourable Lisa Thomson, gave us a tremendous presentation at this breakfast about the future of farming in Ontario and the global markets being opened up to the province’s food suppliers. Food from Ontario is being consumed globally.

“Maybe the Farmers Feed Cities signs need to be updated. Maybe they should read Ontario Farmers Feed the World.”

MPP Goldie Ghamari and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe discuss agricultural challenges with one of the farmers in attendance at the breakfast.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe thanked MPP Ghamari and Councillor Brown for the work they do and the representation they provide to the community. The mayor emphasized the strong working relationship he had with both local representatives. He also thanked the farmers in attendance for the work they do in the city.

“Ottawa is such a fascinating city because 80 per cent of Ottawa is rural,” said Sutcliffe. “I know at times you feel that’s overlooked at City Hall and that your voice is not heard at City Hall. I want you to know that we are working on that and that your voice is very much important to me.”

Sutcliffe added that the City of Ottawa will be hosting a rural summit.

“The agricultural economy is very important to our city,” he said. “We want to preserve the character of rural villages and communities, and continue to build on this tremendous strength that we have – the community spirit like we have in this one.

“We will continue to listen and I will continue to spend as much time as I can in your community and throughout the rural and agricultural parts of our very large city.”

Dr. Kaboom was busy making balloon animals, hats and swords for the children in attendance.

Councillor David Brown, a graduate of the 4-H program, acknowledged the 4-H Club members working as volunteers at the breakfast.

“They really are the next generation,” Brown said. “As Richmond grows and we start to become a little more urbanized, it’s really important for me, because I grew up in this village working on farms, that we don’t actually lose that history and our past.

“It’s really important that we remember that we’re still agricultural, we’re still communities based on agriculture, and there is still a future for folks that want to go into that.”

Ghamari will be hosting a breakfast for International Women’s Day at Danby’s Restaurant in Richmond Fri., March 8.