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Campaign sees Guelph-Kitchener eateries promote local beef producers and help local food banks

The Guelph Gryphon Smokehouse Burger, one of many featured during Burger It Forward, a campaign to raise money for food banks. Burger It Forward/website

Some local restaurants are coming together to help fight hunger and promote Canadian beef.

More than 90 restaurants across Canada are taking part in a national campaign called Burger It Forward organized by Canada Beef during the month of February.

According to a news release, the goal is to ‘beef up’ the protein portion of food bank offerings and to support local food producers and businesses as well.

“Canada Beef is working with provincial beef cattle associations,” said Joyce Parslow, executive director of consumer marketing at Canada Beef. “We are also working with local restaurants to help them recover from the pandemic.”

The restaurants that are participating in Burger it Forward across Canada are either locally or regionally owned. Parslow says while there have been fundraisers involving restaurants selling meals, this one is rather unique.

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“I think this the first one that is kind of a ‘kumbaya’ kind of moment where community restauranteurs come together for an effort to raise money for food banks.”

Of the 43 participating restaurants in Ontario, five are from Guelph and two are from each of Kitchener and Elora: the 100 Mile Grille, Borealis Grille and Bar (in both Guelph and Kitchener), Park Eatery, the Badley, the Evelyn, the Lab Street Eats, the Works and the Wooly Pub.

“As restaurants, one of our responsibilities is supporting local producers,” said Jenna Snyder, marketing director for the Neighbourhood Group, the Guelph company that operates the Wooly Pub, Park Eatery and Borealis, as well as Miijidaa. “Local producers, local farmers, our food economy and our food future is vital.”

Co-owner of the Lab, Mike Gatto, says for him, taking part in this initiative was a no-brainer.

“One of the things we are passionate about is community,” said Gatto. “Being able to find ways to give not only local establishments some extra exposure, but anything to give back to the community is incredibly important to us.”

Each restaurant will designate one burger on its menu for the campaign. The Wooly Pub is serving up the Beef Smoky.

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“It is the epitome of a local burger,” said Snyder. “Almost every component comes right from our backyard.”

The Lab is submitting the Just a Badass Cheeseburger.

“It’s one of those big, get-your-hands-messy, warm-your-belly, comfort food kind of burgers,” said Gatto.

To see the full list of the participating restaurants and their featured burgers, go to burgeritforward.ca/ontario.

Canada Beef will donate the equivalent of one meal to Food Banks Canada for every designated burger sold, up to a maximum of 20,000 meals (based on Food Banks Canada’s meal metric: $1 = two meals). Provincial beef cattle farmer and rancher associations in each participating region that have joined in the campaign will be making donations to regional food banks with a donation of either ground beef or cash.

In addition, Canada Beef is giving away a $500 pre-paid Visa gift card to one lucky winner who takes a photo of one the Burger It Forward burgers and posts it to their Instagram account using the hashtag #BurgerItForward and tagging @lovecdnbeef.

“Try one burger, try two burgers, try them all,” said Parslow. “It is an opportunity for people to get and celebrate the burger, and have a good time.”

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The Burger It Forward campaign runs until Feb. 28.

 

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