Local Food Business Growing in Ontario

May 13, 2014

LOCAL FOOD BUSINESS GROWING IN ONTARIO
More Fresh, Healthy, Local Food For Ontarians Thanks to Five New Projects

The Greenbelt Fund is helping five GTA-based organizations move forward on projects that will increase access to fresh, healthy, local food available to people through public sector institutions across Ontario.

With support from the Greenbelt Fund, these projects represent a diverse range of activities. A total of $569,000 is being awarded to groups to put towards their individual ventures. Projects include: putting more local food on the plates of staff and patients in healthcare facilities; educating students, faculty, and staff about the benefits of increased local food on university campuses; and increased market opportunities for small and medium sized farms.

“Knowing that you’re supporting local farmers and the economy, makes us feel good about our food purchases,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. “These projects work toward the common goal of providing local options to Ontario consumers—whether they’re eating at a university or hospital, or purchasing food at their local grocery store. This means fresher tasting food on our plates and more opportunities for our farmers and businesses—a win-win.”

The five organizations awarded funding and their projects are:

• Bamford Produce Strengthening the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Value Chain ($120,000)
Effectively marketing local fruit and vegetables to large foodservice companies and retailers. This project will increase market access for 10 to 20 small and medium sized growers, and increase sales of Ontario produce by $1.5 million.

• Ryerson University Taking Action: Increasing the Purchase and Sale of Local Food on University Campuses ($75,000)
Creating a market for local foods on campus by engaging the Ryerson community in their new food strategy. The project will also increase Ryerson’s ability to track and report on local food sales and will yield lessons learned, which will be shared with other postsecondary institutions.

• The Toby Brand Corporation From Field to Freezer, Ontario Grows ($105,000)
Developing and marketing a range of individually quick frozen Ontario vegetables including kale. The new frozen products are projected to result in over $300,000 of sales per year.

• University Health Network Choices for Ontario Food at University Health Network ($124,000)
Investigating the day-to-day barriers that prevent UHN from providing local food to their patients, staff, and visitors throughout their seven sites. They will then create a strategy to increase their procurement of local food by 5 per cent by 2015, and 25 per cent by 2018.

• Zast Foods Corporation Local Frozen Food For All Seasons ($145,000)
Creating and marketing a line of individually quick frozen Ontario fruit and vegetables to ensure year-round supply. These products include salsas, peach slices, and asparagus. The estimated impact of these new frozen foods is an increase in local food sales of $1 million by 2015.

For a more detailed description of these projects, visit Ontariofresh.ca.

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About the Greenbelt Fund:
The Greenbelt Fund, a non-profit organization, supports and enhances the viability, integrity, and sustainability of agriculture in the Greenbelt and Ontario.

The Fund delivers support to farmers and local food leaders to ensure more of the good things that grow in Ontario are being served and distributed through our public institutions, retail, and foodservice markets. Helping to overcome challenges and support economic growth, the Fund’s goal is to create systemic change to permanently increase the amount of local food consumed in the province through grants, education, policy, and networking initiatives. For more information about the program and grants visit Ontariofresh.ca.

Contacts:
Jennifer Asselin     
Communications Manager   
Greenbelt Fund    
Phone: (416) 960-0001, ext. 306   
jasselin[a]greenbeltfund.ca