The idea for an agri-food collective in northeastern New Brunswick was borne out of an initiative by the Town of Beresford to create a website to promote locally made products to local people.
The initiative quickly evolved to include the entire northeast region and a focus on agricultural products.
"They weren't sure what to do with this idea so they brought together a lot of people in April of last year for a meeting, where we discussed how we could make this idea a reality," said Eugenie Boudreau, the spokesperson for the collective.
The goal of the agri-food collective is to set up a website so farmers and people who work in the agri-food business can promote their products and services and where consumers can order them.
Farmers markets play role
Local farmers markets will also be involved in displaying and selling the wares.
"How exactly it will work is undecided," said Bouchard.
"We're collecting input from farmers, consumers, markets, to make sure what we come up with really meets the needs of the people in the region."
A meeting held last week in Beresford was successful in obtaining feedback and ideas from farmers, restaurant owners and other stakeholders.
Large region, small population
Beresford's initial idea could have been doomed, according to Boudreau, because of its small scope.
"We really have to work together as one region that faces similar challenges," she said. "We are in northeast N.B., a large territory with not a large population.
"We have those common challenges and we can collaborate to make sure it works for everyone."
In the next few years, the collective will attempt to support farmers and increase the public's access to them. For consumers, the goal is to increase the diversity of products for sale.
Farmers markets will be integral to the success of the project because they will help with the sale and drop-off of goods.
Project will promote diversity
Markets may also benefit from increased diversity of products.
"If one market doesn't have much meat, and they know that one producer in the co-op produces meat, they could invite that farmer through the website to put up their product to be available at the market," Boudreau said
The website's launch will be during the spring of 2018, but she and a small temporary committee are planning for long-term success.
"We're really looking at ways we can support more agri-food production in the Northeast territory," Boudreau said.
"We're looking at how we can connect farmers in the co-op with food cafeterias, restaurants, how we can work in agri-tourism."