TORONTO — The giant Learn, Live, Love Local! billboard rising high above the Ontario Food Terminal is hard to miss.
Ashlee Mclean, director of marketing and communications for the Toronto-based Ontario Produce Marketing Association, said it’s seen by more than 7 million consumers a month as drivers whiz along the Gardiner Expressway from downtown to the suburbs.
Each of the five billboards in the “4L” series highlights a different commodity, from apples, pears and tender fruit to greenhouse vegetables and potatoes.
The campaign began last July with a grant from the Ontario Market Investment Fund and resources from local commodity boards.
Cooking videos on the Learn, Live, Love Local website have been a big hit and are still being watched daily, Mclean said, proving that consumers love recipes.
Each video starts with an interview with a local grower.
Surveys conducted last year by the OPMA show that most people buy local when they can, and consider quality and supporting local growers more important than price.
Asparagus and mushrooms will join the campaign this year, Mclean said, and 20 new recipes will appear on the Learn, Live, Love Local! Facebook page, set to launch in the spring.
Small advertisements for the campaign will be featured in weekly store flyers this summer.
“In the past we placed point-of-sale cards in the stores, but now we’re trying to reach a larger audience,” Mclean said.