Local food promoted
“We’re removing red tape barriers and making it easier for colleges, universities, hospitals, and municipalities to serve high quality, nutritious local food across Ontario,” says Stormont-DundasSouth Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell. “People have confidence in their local produce and it is environmentally friendly.”
He was congratulating Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman on a recent announcement to help local food businesses across the province flourish through establishing a new goal under Local Food Act, 2013.
“For consumers, local food is at the heart of our agri-food industry. Opening the door to the broader public sector for local food procurement is part of our government’s plan to strengthen Ontario’s local food economy,” said Mr. Hardeman.
The government is taking several steps to support this goal, including:
• Launching a series of new case study videos, featuring best practice advice from different broader public sector organizations;
• Creating a new, interactive, local food hubs map that connects local food businesses to potential new markets;
• Providing easy-to-use tracking tools to measure procurement so organizations can set their own goals to increase their use of local food and track their success;
• Awarding public sector institutions that achieve their local food targets with certificates of recognition from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;
• Making it easier to use the Foodland Ontario logo to promote local food;
• Offering government-led howto webinars for agri-businesses wanting to become a local food vendor;
• Continuing to promote local Ontario food through the Foodland Ontario program;
• Looking at options to enhance the farmers market as part of its review of the Ontario Food Terminal;
• Ongoing consultation with farmers, distributors and the broader public sector on red tape barriers in the local food economy.
An important part of the Local Food Act, 2013 is increasing awareness for Ontario food and beverages. This includes celebrating public sector organizations that are increasingly using local food to serve their employees, students and patients. The government will recognize and celebrate public sector organizations that set and achieve their own local food targets.