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Three years to make a calendar

A Penticton man's desire to educate the public about food sources and supply, has culminated in an informative and colourful calendar.

Kevin Proteau spent the last three years hitchhiking, bumming rides and walking all over the South Okanagan to get support for his 2012-2013 event calendar, themed "Real Living with Real Food."

The calendar is now available throughout the South Okanagan at Whole Foods Market, Wild Scallion restaurant and other locations.

"The idea for the calendar is to promote Locals Supporting Locals," he said. "And what better way to do that than with a calendar, something that is in your face every day."

Locals Supporting Locals is a grassroots operation launched by Proteau in 2009. Through the web site and now annual calendar, the goal is to form a network that connects people in local communities, including businesses, citizens and farmers.

Proteau came up with the idea originally because he was so concerned about big corporations determining how government acts and what that means for small mom and pop operations and farms.

The calendar which Proteau, who doesn't drive, pulled together, includes information on Locals Supporting Locals, the benefits of shopping locally and  not doing so, as well as a guide to genetically modified foods.

Farmers who he connected with at the Penticton Farmer's Market are featured. Among them Mariposa Organic Farm in Cawston, Jerseyland Organic Dairy Farm in Grand Forks and Rothe Organic Orchards in Oliver.

"It was  well received from the start, with everyone from advertisers to the farmers happy to be a part of it," he said. "And now that it is out there, I feel like a huge weight has fallen off my shoulders."

The calendar is now available at a cost of $20  and includes $500 worth of money saving coupons on the back.

Paul d'Aoust, manager of Whole Foods,  was quick to recognize Proteau's effort.

"It's a message we need to get out, such as taking control of our food supply and the hidden and unknown dangers of genetically modified foods," he said.

In the future the Penticton man hopes to create calendars for the North and Central Okanagan as well.

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