Free money is being handed out in a community known as the city with the heart of gold.

Several community groups in Timmins are purchasing and handing out new "Farm to Fork" dollars.

The novelty currency is being given out as a way to encourage people in the Timmins area to shop at local farmers' markets and purchase locally produced food.

Timmins local food

Locally produced lettuce is one of the foods Timmins residents can purchase at farmer's markets in the community. Farm to Fork dollars are being handed out as a way to encourage people to purchase local food. (Nabi-Alexandre Chartier/Radio-Canada)

A representative with the Timmins Anti-Hunger Coalition said a lot of people feel buying local produce is more expensive than purchasing it from a grocery store.

“That’s true sometimes, [but] it’s not true all the time,” Jennifer Vachon said.

“So to actually have a market dollar in your hand and to have to go to the market and spend it, it’s going to give people that opportunity to see what the prices are and to see what’s available to them.”

The Farm to Fork dollars can be used at the Urban Park farmer’s market, held in downtown Timmins each Thursday.

They can also be used at the Mountjoy Independent Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday at the Mountjoy Centennial Hall.

Several community organizations are already on board with the project:

  • The anti-hunger coalition has bought a number of the local food dollars and are using it for their special programs.
  • The Timmins Native Friendship Centre has also given some to their members and will bring some of their students to buy produce and then cook with it back at the centre.
  • The Porcupine health unit will also hand out the "Farm to Fork" dollars.
  • Private companies, such as dB Hearing Clinic bought some to donate to the anti-hunger coalition and to hand out to customers.

"Farm to Fork" dollars can be purchased at the Dowtown Timmins Urban Park or the Mountjoy Independent Farmers Market at the managers tent. For more information about where to get the "Farm to Fork" dollars, contact the Timmins Business Improvement Area.