On Earth Day, Amherst Island’s Topsy Farms was awarded "Gold Classification" by Green Tourism Canada. It is the highest possible standard that a tourism business can receive in terms of ecological sustainability.
A branch of Green Tourism International, Green Tourism Canada works to create a sustainable industry that welcomes visitors to locations across the country. They promote ecotourism by encouraging tourist-oriented organizations to examine and improve their carbon footprint. They are also dedicated to helping eco-minded travellers locate and choose travel destinations.
Topsy Farms worked with Green Tourism Canada for several months leading up to being awarded this classification. The farm supplied research data, participated in extensive telephone interviews, and provided documentary and photographic proof of claims.
The exercise was very gratifying to owners Sally Bowen and Ian Murray. Among other things, the farm was required to chart where dollars were spent in 2016. They learned that 72% of goods and services were spent within Ontario, with the bulk of expenses distributed locally. Only 5% was spent outside Canada: an amount that they believe they further reduce.
The final report received from Green Tourism Canada suggested areas of vulnerability, made practical recommendations for improvement, and stimulated new ideas for future growth of the farm operations. In the long term, it is anticipated that this Gold Classification will increase awareness and visits to Topsy Farms.
There are currently 110 businesses certified for Gold Certification or under review in Canada. With the exception of vineyards, Topsy Farms is the country's first agribusiness to receive this designation.
Topsy Farms is located at 14775 Front Road on Amherst Island. For information about family-friendly events and activities that regularly take place on the farm, visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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