Local Food Fest

Please note: this event is cancelled until further notice. For email updates please sign up to the Taste Real Newsletter. For details on how to support local farms and food businesses in the meantime, please see our updated business list.

15th Annual Taste RealOM Guelph Wellington Local Food Fest

OCTA tourism award event of the year banner

WINNER of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance's 2015 "Event of the Year"!

Enjoy the tastes of Guelph Wellington, watch food skills demos and pick up fresh, delicious and real local food. You can also learn about mushroom growing and foraging, sausage making, fermenting and composting, beekeeping, composting, container gardening, bread making, backyard chickens, cider making and more - all through free workshops offered throughout the day. 

We love seeing families sprawled on the grass with their Local Food Fest bags packed full of great local produce, meat, bread, craft products, and seedlings! We hope you will take home some new skills from our workshops and cooking demos, and make new friends and new connections with our local farmers and producers. Scroll down for workshop times and more information on activities you can enjoy.

Admission: Minimum donation of $5 per person, $10 per family

Please note:

  • Ignatius is a plastic water bottle free zone. Please bring your own reusable bottle to refill on site for free!
  • Guide Dogs Only on site, thank you!

We'd also like to say a big thank you to our volunteers and our sponsors. The Local Food Fest wouldn't happen without strong community support. Thank you!

Please see below for previous years festival details.


 How to get to the Local Food Fest site:

We encourage you to BIKE or take the free shuttle bus, if possible. We will have bike racks on site, for those families and folks who wish to bike up to the site.

A map and driving directions and map can be found on the Ignatius Guelph website.

 Shuttle Schedule and Locations

Catch a free ride to and from the Guelph Wellington Local Food Fest thanks to the Downtown Guelph Business Association and Denny Bus Lines.


St. Paul Catholic School- 182 Clairfields Dr E, Guelph



Pick up


Pick up/ Drop Off

11:15 am

Pick up/ Drop Off

12:15 pm

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Pick up/ Drop Off

2:15 pm

Pick up/ Drop Off

3:15 pm

Drop off

4:40 pm









Downtown Guelph - Quebec at Wyndham westbound bus stop (near BMO Bank)



Pick up to Ignatius


Pick up/ Drop Off to St. Paul


Pick up/ Drop Off to Ignatius


Pick up/ Drop Off to St. Paul


Pick up/ Drop Off to Ignatius


Pick up/ Drop Off to St. Paul


Pick up/ Drop Off to Ignatius


Pick up/ Drop Off to St. Paul


Pick up/ Drop Off to Ignatius


Pick up/ Drop Off to St. Paul


Pick up/ Drop Off to Ignatius


Drop off to St. Paul



Ignatius Jesuit Centre-  5420 ON-6, Guelph, ON N1H 6J2



First Drop off at Ignatius


Pick up/ Drop Off


Pick up/ Drop Off


Pick up/ Drop Off


Pick up/ Drop Off


Pick up/ Drop Off


Final Bus to leave Ignatius




 Vendors and Exhibitors

SHOP AND DROP at the information desk. *NEW* this year we will have refrigeration (Morton's Truck) on site for your shopping convenience. If you want to shop and stay, we can keep your purchases in a basket with your name on it until you are ready to leave the festival!

 Craft Beer, Cider and Spirits

Purchase a reusable Hillside Cup for alcoholic beverages or bring your own (return for full refund).

 Workshops, Tours and Demos

We are excited to partner with Minga by 10C to present hands-on food re-skilling workshops at the Local Food Fest. We are happy to have these amazing local instructors to teach us about preparing food for ourselves. All workshops take place at the Food Skills workshop area close to the entrance to the festival. The workshops and tours will run at 12:30-1:15 pm, 1:30-2:15 pm, 2:30-3:15 pm. This year, we will be presenting the following:

Sausage Making

with Katherine Sowden

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub - 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Join Chef Katherine Sowden owner of  Bella Roma foods as she demonstrates the art of sausage making. You will learn how to break down a bone-in pork shoulder butt, grind the meat, develop your own sausage spice blend, stuff, and link custom dinner sausages from scratch at home without the fillers, preservatives, excessive fats, sodium, and gluten found in many store brands.

What you will learn:

  • Which cuts of meat to use for sausage making
  • How to break down a bone-in pork shoulder butt for grinding
  • How to grind meat for sausage
  • How to choose between natural and synthetic casing for your project, and where to source it.
  • Perfecting the texture of your sausage for best cooking results.
  • Pairing flavours and ingredients to achieve your custom sausage flavour dreams.
  • Master the professional guided tasting process to develop and test your custom spice blends. 
  • Stuffing and linking your sausage to the perfect size.

Sourcing high quality, local ingredients to continue your flavour adventure at home.

After earning a degree in business, Katherine quickly got fed up with sitting around an office all day so she decided to change gears and pursue a career in the food industry. Butchery runs across several generations of Katherine's family and she counts herself as fortunate to have learned the art of traditional sausage making from a member of well known Italian family in the Guelph community who she worked for on and off for over 5 years. She believes in the importance of connecting communities around food, food issues, and food skills that help us all to become more active members of our food system. That business degree does come in handy though, as she manages Bella Roma Foods in Guelph.

Wild Foraging

with Luke Eckstein

Hands On Workshop and Walking Tour

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub - 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Come enjoy the wonders of nature by foraging for wild edibles in a late spring hike through out the Jesuit Centre. Join avid forager and nerdy biologist Luke Eckstein in celebrating spring ephemerals. Whether you’re keen to learn about nature, want to be more self-reliant or perhaps lack a green thumb, foraging is a fantastic window through which to explore the natural world and increase our awareness and respect for its beauty and complexity. Wild foods are very nutritious and often have much higher amounts of minerals and other nutrients than their domesticated counterparts. They can also be used medicinally – and they’re free. You will get an introduction:

  • To harvest fresh wild edibles to take home
  • A greater awareness and appreciation of nature
  • Knowledge of what’s edible and what’s not in your own backyard

Luke has been eating wild edible plants since I was little.  His love for foraging took him to study biology during University and was entirely amazed by subjects like genetics and cell biology, and chose to specialize in molecular biology and microbiology. Learning from these fields about how the world works on a scale below what we can see with our eyes is like rediscovering all sorts of things that he thought he knew. Luke also took courses in plant biology and zoology and have been quite compelled by questions about the origins of life, the story of life on Earth over time and how the world of today came to be.  Luke loves to share his years of foraging experience and help others discover and rediscover the wonders of the world around us.

The foraging tours leave at the meeting point in the Food Skills workshop area.

Bread Making

with Eric Voss

Hands on Workshop

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub – 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Join us to explore one of the most ancient human activities, baking bread. The appeal of combining flour, water, salt and starter and being able to produce beautiful, delicious loaves of bread continues to amaze while the reward of a finished loaf never grows old. Your instructor, Eric Voss, is thrilled and thankful to be able to share his experience in hope that others will follow suit and develop their own bread making ability.

Eric is an engineering program manager by day, who is obsessively passionate about sourdough bread baking in the off hours. Having always appreciated sourdough bread but never attempting to make his own, it was the Minga Sourdough Bread Baking workshop taught by Richard Preiss in December of 2017 that gave Eric the confidence to really dive into bread making. Through trial and error and much repetition, he has personalized the bread making process and developed it into a truly rewarding and fulfilling pursuit.


with Josh Whitehead of Green Table Foods

Hands On Workshop

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub - 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Learn how to wild ferment local seasonal produce in small or large batches as it becomes available. We'll be chopping, mixing, spicing and filing jar in this hands-on workshop where we'll cover cabbage ferments like sauerkraut and kim-chi.

Josh Whitehead is the founder and CEO of Green Table Foods, a certified organic food processing company which specializes in lacto-fermentation. Over the past decade GTF has established itself as the go-to manufacturer of living vegetables, and currently makes over 20 products under six nationally distributed brands.

Growing Oyster Mushrooms

with David Fields

Hands On Workshop

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub – 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Growing your own mushrooms is an easy way to increase the productivity, health, and interest of your gardens and your plate. This workshop will offer an overview of some of the many ways you can grow delicious edible and medicinal mushrooms in your garden and in your home or apartment, by reusing easy to acquire, usually free natural materials.

You will learn:

  • Mushroom growing demystified- everything you need to know to grow oyster mushrooms successfully in your home and/or in your garden
  • Materials to use for growing oyster mushrooms at home and garden
  • How to propagate your Oyster mushrooms

David Fields is an Organic Master Gardener, his hands have been in the soil since playing and eating in his grandfather’s vegetable garden as a child. David builds bridges between people, ideas and nature through the power of shared experience in event and projects, including community gardens, a housing co-op, and an urban farm. David’s love of nature have lead him through years of garden trials and triumphs, in urban and rural contexts, shaping his approach to gardening and view of life, that we (everything) work better together.

Cider Making

with Heartwood Farm and Cidery

Hands On Workshop

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub - 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Join Wellington County’s cidery for a hands-on cider making workshop. Learn the different steps involved in prepping, mashing, extracting juice and all about the fermentation process.

You will get:

  • The chance to smash up some apples in a bucket with a piece of timber
  • A turn at pressing the cider using a traditional cider press
  • A sample of yeasted juice to take home in a jar
  • Instructions on what to expect during the process of fermentation

Heartwood Farm and Cidery wants to create inspired connections between community, land, food and drink. The farm uses traditional farm practices to raise pastured livestock as well as produce maple syrup, grow an orchard and this year, start a cidery. Passionate about regenerative agriculture, the farm reaches out to the community with workshops, seminars and workbees. Samples of their cider varieties are available in the Craft Brewery section at the Local Food Fest!

Bee Keeping

with Rebel Honey

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub – 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Join beekeeper Colette Mesher, owner of Rebel Honey, as she talks about honey bees, honey and how to protect and help bees in our own backyards. You will have a chance to get up close and personal with live honey bees in an observation hive and ask questions from an experienced beekeeper and sample some comb honey, just as the bees intended. 

What you will learn:

  • How a honey bee colony is structured and functions
  • Why are bees important?
  • How can I help bees in general?
  • What flowers attract bees?
  • Where does honey come from?
  • Backyard beekeeping- can I have my own hive?

Colette refers to herself as a biologist who loves bees and horses and started her business, Rebel Honey, based on that idea. Having travelled the world as a biologist, Colette returned to Canada in 2011 but found a traditional research job to be unfulfilling. So in 2015 she decided to throw caution to the wind and gave up her university position in favour of full time beekeeping. After 4 years of commercial beekeeping with a number of prominent businesses, Colette shifted her focus full time to her own company and continued to expand her teaching portfolio. Having taught a dozens of "newbees" the ropes, Colette’s passion for bees helps people connect with and support these amazing insects.

Container Gardening

with 10C Shared Space and City of Guelph’s Healthy Landscapes programme

Schedule: ReSkilling Hub – 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Are you interested in gardening but need an easy to care for set up? Do you have limited space? Join 10C Shared Space and City of Guelph’s Healthy Landscapes programme to learn how to build and maintain a self-watering container garden.

What you will learn:

  • How to build a container garden

  • Types of container gardens

  • Benefits of container gardens (e.g. water efficiency, health)

  • What plants do best in a container and what conditions they need

  • How to water effectively and efficiently

Joy Sammy, Community Animator. BSc Wildlife Biology, University of Guelph, MA International Development, University of Northern British Columbia, PhD School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph
Joy has lived in Guelph (mostly) since 2004 and attended the University of Guelph twice. She has spent time working and living overseas and considers traveling and dancing to be two of life’s greatest pleasures. She sits on the board of the Guelph Black Heritage Society and the Flying Dance Community and is an active volunteer with the Junction Neighbourhood Group of the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition. Joy has been working at 10C since 2015 and rounds out her work life as a consultant in the field of international development, community based conservation and tourism. Joy loves meeting new people, making ideas into reality and connecting people to the 10C community.

Bryan McPherson – Living Architecture Activator
Bryan lives and breathes community. He is an urban agriculture researcher & designer and loves all things food. After a 20-year career as a mapmaker, he changed gears and moved to Guelph to purse a landscape architecture degree. Bryan keeps connected to grassroots efforts, helps to organize neighbourhood events, and is active in the design of urban food installations. At 10C he is involved in activating otherwise empty downtown spaces into food growing opportunities. Bryan’s goal is to activate rooftops, facades & interiors and transform them into productive food spaces. He also likes to share this knowledge with others, and aims to increase food literacy in the Guelph community.

Backyard Chickens

with Kate Belbeck

Join us for an exploration of raising hens in a backyard. Backyard hens are a powerful way to connect with easy, low-cost, delicious, and nutritious local food. You can have fresh eggs every day, just outside your back door! Chickens will be on site for viewing.

Join us for an exploration of raising hens in a backyard. Backyard hens are a powerful way to connect with easy, low-cost, delicious, and nutritious local food. You can have fresh eggs every day, just outside your back door! Chickens will be on site for viewing. Topics covered will be an overview of feeding, housing and care requirements.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore supporting chicken health using herbs and will create a small sample sized custom herb blend for hens.

Kate Belbeck is a self-proclaimed “chicken enthusiast” and local small farm owner.  She is the local provider of the Rent The Chicken and Hatch the Chicken programs and the founder of Cherished Chicken, a subscription box company that aims to spoil backyard chickens and their owners with Canadian made, chicken-approved items.

Sheep Shearing Demonstrations

with Calum McGaffin of Maplecairn Farm


Schedule: 1:30, 2:30

Join us for a demonstration of live sheep shearing! Shearing is generally carried out in the spring, so sheep don't become overheated in the summer.

Maplecairn Farm is a 5th generation, 150 acre, family run farm proudly located in Campbellville, Ontario committed to ethically raising hormone and antibiotic free beef and lamb.

Sheep provided by: Circle-R-Livestock
Romy and Ryan Schil are 4th generation in the family to work on their farm in Wellington County. In 2018 have been farming here for 10 years! They of time caring for the animals and land, and their farm is a great place to grow up and learn. Romy grew up on a dairy farm then completed a degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Guelph. After working in animal nutrition for a number of years Romy now enjoys being home full-time with the kids and farming. Ryan works full-time off farm at a local crop supply company. He grew up on a mixed farm and went to school for an Agricultural Certificate at Vermilion College. This education and variety of knowledge as helped in growing and managing the sheep farm. On going industry events and learning is also key to improving our operation. They also want the general public to know about what they do. With so few people having direct connections to farms and where their food comes from it's important to them to share their story.

Spinning Demonstration

with Norma Gorring

Watch and learn how to turn sheep fleece into yarn from an experienced member of the Guild of Handweavers and Spinners.

Composting for Everyone

with Kelly Vrooman of the County of Wellington


Schedule: ReSkilling Hub – 12:30-1:15, 1:30-2:15, 2:30-3:15

Come and learn about the benefits of composting. Whether you have a large or small yard, a balcony, or no outdoor space at all, we can help you compost.

You will get:

  • A firm understanding of how composting works
  • How to choose a composter that suits your needs and lifestyle
  • Tips and tricks to get the most from your finished compost

Kelly will walk you through the basics and benefits of composting in this quick and comprehensive workshop. Kelly works for Solid Waste Services at the County of Wellington, and is delighted to be able to share her knowledge about composting with you.

Courtyard Garden Tours and Living Food Box Demonstrations

Using Gardening to Enrich Lives with The Julien Project

Courtyard Garden, Orchard Park - Throughout the Day

Living Food Box Demonstrations - 12:00, 1:30

Follow the green arrows to the peaceful courtyard in Orchard Park where you will find a cool, accessible and beautifully diverse garden with creative features such as a small willow house, living food boxes, vertical gardens and lush beds filled with flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Come and taste the delicious organic produce and products students have made throughout the spring and fall season. Pick up some good quality garden tools at the silent auction, or take home some plants students have grown from seed.

Learn how to assemble and plant a "Living Food Box"; a container garden that is ideal for gardening on patios or balconies. See you in the garden!

Ignatius Orchard Tours

with Matt Soltys

Tour start: 2:30pm at Ignatius Farm’s table.

Join Ignatius Farm’s orchardist Matt Soltys for a tour of the orchard, and learn of the its next generation as a diverse community food forest. Community food forests are spreading around the world as more people see the merits of diverse, resilient, perennial food systems. The tour will highlight the current work of rejuvenating the orchard under organic standards, and will stimulate discussion and brainstorming around its future, and how you can be involved.

Hands on Workshops sponsored by Minga by 10C

Local Book Signing and Tasting

Join us for an afternoon at the cookbook signing table and meet some fabulous local authors while tasting some of their delicious creations!

12:00pm - Sampling
Natalina Campagnolo
Bringing Homemade Back is the story of homemade Italian food told through recipes developed with the traditions, techniques and love of generations of nonnas.

Bob Desautels
WineSense cuts through the jargon and complexities wine can present. In this common-sense guide, Bob Desautels offers straightforward information on types of wine, tasting, wine history, grape varieties, approaches to winemaking, and more.

Charmian Christie
The Messy Baker celebrates baking as it happens in the real world—sweet, messy, fun, not always gorgeous, but a way to show love. Charmian Christie's flavor combinations rise far above the ordinary.

Andrew Coppolino
Farm to Table pairs 25 alumnus chefs from the Stratford Chefs School with 25 of their favourite food producers and farmers for a culinary adventure through Perth-Huron County.

Jeff Crump
Earth to Table Every Day is all about seeking out good ingredients for a delicious, seasonal approach to cooking. For chefs Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann, nothing is more satisfying than creating comforting meals that change with the seasons.

2:30pm - Sampling
Emily Richards
Emily loves sharing recipes and working with all aspects of food. From the farmers that grow it to the consumers who cook it and the chefs that inspire menus we want to dive into. I continue to share recipes through photos and   words to help get people in their kitchens cooking.

Resa Lent
The Desert Rose Cookbook is a collection of vegetarian recipes and stories. It is not just recipes, but also photos, memories, and stories of the people who all became part of the Desert Rose Café family and a piece of Elora history.

Presented by The Bookshelf

Live Music Line-up

11:00am - Rosi3

12:00pm - Michelle Munroe

1:00pm - Sember Wood

2:00pm - Alaina Sampson

3:00pm - Julie Tripp (includes children's music)

Sponsored by Hillside Festival

Children's and Family Activities

  • Kids planting workshop
  • Face painting with Making Faces
  • Apple bobbing
  • Paint a pot
  • Guelph Grotto climbing wall
  • Ride the Smoothie Bike
  • Welly boot toss
  • Donut on a string
  • Make your own Salad Dressing workshop
  • Butter Tart Eating Contest
  • Planet Bean Coffee Sack Races
  • Historical Butter Making with the Wellington Museum and Archives
  • Kids Make Guelph and more!

Exhibition Sponsors

the neighbourhood group logo  Borealis Grille and Bar logo  miijidaa cafe and bistro logo  The Wooly Pub logo   Park Grocery Deli and Bar logo

Location Sponsor

Ignatius Jesuit Centre logo Old Growth Forest by Ignatius logo

Harvest Sponsor

Morton Wholesale logo   Minga Skill Building Hub logo

Field Sponsors

Visit Guelph logo  Hillside Festival Logo    Strom's Farm and Bakery logo   Magic 106.1 logo  1460 CJOY logo

Seed and Product Sponsors

Downtown Guelph logo 

Bernardin logo  Butter Tarts and Buggies logo    Royal City Nursery logo

Site Partners:

Planet Bean Coffee logo   

Local Craft Breweries and Cideries:

Ontario Craft Brewers logo  Royal City Brewing Co. logo  Wellington Brewery logo  Heartwood Farm and Cidery logo   Dixon's Distilled Spirits logo

Thanks to our amazing MCs:

Brendan Johnson and Mark Rodford

Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition  The Cornerstone Logo

© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909