Ontario Government and Greenbelt Fund Helping Ontarians Discover More Local Food

November 23, 2016

ONTARIO GOVERNMENT AND GREENBELT FUND HELPING ONTARIANS DISCOVER MORE LOCAL FOOD
Province Supporting Local Produce Growers

The Ontario government, in partnership with the Greenbelt Fund, is investing in Ontario’s apple farmers and encouraging residents to choose local apples more often.

The funding is helping the Ontario Apple Growers increase food literacy with consumers by highlighting the benefits, versatility and availability of Ontario apples. The project will share apple recipes, host educational farm tours and tell the stories of apple growers in Ontario. It will also help support the growth of Ontario’s produce sector by encouraging the purchase of locally-grown apples across the province.

“Ontario’s apples can’t be beat in taste, and this project with the Ontario Apple Growers will remind folks to get out and enjoy the fresh, local apples we are lucky to have here,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. “Approximately 40 per cent of Canada’s apples are produced here in Ontario, and this project is going to help more Ontarians discover new ways to use this delicious and nutritious local fruit.”

“Our government is making it easier for Ontarians to enjoy locally-grown produce by helping more people across the province learn where their food comes from and about its local availability. I’m delighted that our government supports local food initiatives by organizations like Ontario Apple Growers,” said Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By increasing Ontarians’ awareness of the benefits and availability of locally-grown apples, we have the potential to improve their health while at the same time, growing our apple sector and supporting our province’s thriving agri-food sector.”

“About three in seven apples purchased in Ontario are grown here,” said Charles Stevens, Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers. “If we can increase that number to even five in seven, we will see a huge return on this investment and significant boost to Ontario’s economy. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Greenbelt Fund and the province to make sure every resident in Ontario chooses a locally grown apple.”

Ontario is supporting the Ontario Apple Growers with a $49,000 investment, bringing total funding to almost $3 million this year to support projects across the province. Through the Local Food Investment Fund, the Ontario government is helping to bring more locally-grown and raised food to people across the province. The program is administered by the Greenbelt Fund, which has seen a 13:1 return on investment on its grants made since 2010.

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About the Local Food Investment Fund:
In 2015, the Ontario government provided the Greenbelt Fund with $6 million over three years to support initiatives that will help support the province’s local food strategy by enhancing consumer awareness and access to local food, as well as demand and supply of Ontario foods and beverages. The investment supports initiatives such as the Local Food Investment Fund, which is a grant program for farmers, businesses and not-for-profits working to increase the amount of Ontario-grown and made food purchased and enjoyed across the province. The Local Food Investment Fund's three grant streams focus on enhancing local food literacy, increasing market access for small and mid-size Ontario farmers and processors and increasing purchases of local food in the broader public sector, such as hospitals and universities.

About the Greenbelt Fund:
The Greenbelt Fund changes the way we eat food in Ontario. Our innovative investments get more local food onto the plates of Ontarians. We work with businesses, institutions and NGOs to make Ontario’s farmers the first choice for consumers. The Fund’s work has generated a 13-fold return on our investments, permanently changed the food value chain, and improved local food awareness and education around the province. As a not-for-profit, the Greenbelt Fund is supported by public and private sources.

About Ontario Apple Growers:
Ontario Apple Growers (OAG) is the provincial organization representing 230 apple farmers in Ontario with the goal of fostering a viable and sustainable apple industry through advocacy with government and collaboration with partners. There are approximately 16,000 acres of apples planted across the five growing regions in Ontario with a farm-gate value of approximately $90 million. Visit www.onapples.com for more information and follow Ontario Apple Growers on Twitter and Instagram (@ontarioapples) and Facebook (facebook.com/OntarioAppleGrowers).

Contact:
Erica Woods
Communications Manager
Greenbelt Fund
Phone: (416) 960-0001 ext. 306
ewoods@greenbeltfund.ca