Some commentary on an article in Ottawa Magazine that has to do with Loblaw’s sponsorship of this years Feast of the Fields event in Ottawa, Ontario:

It is always difficult to see a brand you hold near and dear go mainstream and that seems to be what’s happening with the Feast of Fields.

Participants like the Red Apron and the farms they have paired with have invested FAR MORE than “(a measly) $5,000″ to build up the Feast of Fields brand. Over the past few years the participants HAVE INVESTED HEAVILY in money and in kind by volunteering staff, energy, advertisements and food in order to make the Feast such a popular event.

After investing so heavily in the brand, it is no surprise that many feel COG have misstepped by involving Canada’s largest food distributor (and a leading provider of drugstore and financial products) to be the “Presenting Sponsor” by doing NO work and contributing 0.00076% of their annual profits.

Math: $5,000 divided by $656 Million (Loblaws Corp. net profit in 2009)
Reference: http://www.just-food.com/market-research/loblaw-companies-limited-swot-analysis_id92120.aspx

While the argument is focused a bit around ‘costs’ I think it also has something to do with ‘fairness’.  I mean,  I have to spend $50 to attend the event.   That’s about 0.1 % of an average annual $50k income for a single guy in my neighbourhood.   If Loblaws corp had to pay the same to attend the event, they’d be giving the Canadian Organic Growers $656,000 !

… Ron Eade has some more of COG’s side of the story on his Omnivore’s Ottawa blog.

UPDATE: There is some great commentary on Simply Fresh Ottawa [here] and [here] !