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Ottawa Valley Food Co-op has new home

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

The Ottawa Valley Food Co-op sold 77 rain barrels as a fundraiser, while also officially marking their first event at the Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre. The facility will serve as the co-op's new delivery and distribution centre. In the photo are, from left, Cheryl Keetch, OVFC co-ordinator, Lynne Epps, OVFC member, and Dan McCarthy, OVFC president.

The Ottawa Valley Food Co-op sold 77 rain barrels as a fundraiser, while also officially marking their first event at the Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre. The facility will serve as the co-op's new delivery and distribution centre. In the photo are, from left, Cheryl Keetch, OVFC co-ordinator, Lynne Epps, OVFC member, and Dan McCarthy, OVFC president.

RANKIN – The Ottawa Valley Food Co-op has a new base of operations.

The non-profit group which provides a marketing network for Ottawa Valley grown or processed foods and other locally made products will be using the Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre as their new delivery space.

Lynne Epps, OVFC volunteer co-ordinator, said Rankin is an ideal location for this, as it is in the very centre of Renfrew County. This will be where, on the third Tuesday of every month, food and produce will be dropped off and sorted by volunteers, who will then prepare it for delivery to their membership.

She said this June, they will be doing the deliveries in their own trailer, complete with logo on the side.

To mark this new beginning, the co-op held an inaugural event on Sunday, selling 77 rain barrels to raise operating funding for the group, as well as holding a pop up market where its members sold their products – popular items were the grass-fed meats of Dwight Mick, and ethical Madawaska Coffee. A cooking workshop was held using local food products, and a full slate of speakers were on hand to educate people on a wide variety of topics.

“We had talks on permaculture, dealing with the challenges of local sustainable farming, and living off the grid,” Epps said.

The barrels, supplied by RainBarrel.ca, a firm which recycles barrels and supplies them as a means for groups to fund raise, have proved useful and sold quickly due to the drought going on on the county, she said. The co-op sold 77 of them.

Epps said the day was successful for the same reason the co-op is; their volunteers.

“Thanks to the volunteers who stood out in the heat to make this day happen,” she said. “The Ottawa Valley Food Co-op has the very best volunteers. This is a real labour of love for them.”

SUhler@postmedia.com