Ontario Groups See Promise in Local Food Act

March 25, 2013

Ontario Groups See Promise in Local Food Act 

Local food gets support from the Government of Ontario today with the announcement of the new Local Food Act.

The development of a provincial agriculture and food strategy breaks new ground for the Ontario government – intended to create a local food system that supports farmers, increases awareness on the importance of eating local and sets targets for public sector organizations that will be publicly reported and scrutinized.

The Local Food Act was welcomed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Gordon Food Services (GFS).

“Ontario farmers are eager to meet consumer demand and preferences for local, fresh food,” says Mark Wales, OFA President. “This Act will help create more opportunities but to be truly effective Ontario also needs to focus on food literacy in our schools and improving access to nutritious food for all Ontarians.  We look forward to working with the government to better develop these food priorities.”

Ontario agriculture is the most diverse agricultural system in the country. Farmers in Ontario grow more than 200 different agricultural commodities – including a variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, and greenhouse vegetables and ornamental flowers. The opportunities for food production in Ontario are endless, creating more choice for consumers and new prospects for the agri-food and food processing sector.

“This is a step in the right direction,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “We are working with some of the biggest food buyers in the country, including hospitals, where local food is helping to increase patient satisfaction. Every step we take to encourage the sourcing of local food, however small, benefits everyone.”

With nearly 1,500 public institutions in Ontario serving three meals a day, a shift in public sector food purchases to 25% local food will create a $200 million benefit for the local food economy.

“As a leading broadline foodservice distributor, Gordon Food Services Ontario has been working diligently with the support of the Greenbelt Fund to lay the groundwork for the rapid expansion of local foods among the broader public sector,” said Jim Robinson, Director of Marketing and Procurement, GFS Ontario. “With more than 700 local products listed in our portfolio, we are truly ready to make buying local easy.”

About the OFA:
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest accredited general farm organization in Ontario. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

About the Greenbelt:
Fresh air, clean water, healthy local food – all brought to you by Ontario’s Greenbelt. At more than 1.8 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect and grow natural features. Join us! Learn more at: www.greenbelt.ca or find us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Gordon Food Services:
Gordon Food Service is committed to delivering uncompromising quality, outstanding value and exceptional customer service. Gordon Food Service entered the Canadian market in 1994 and has grown into a national presence, distributing to foodservice operators coast to coast in Canada and throughout the Midwest and Eastern half of the United States. If you'd like more information on the products or services we can offer, visit the Become a Customer page.

For more information contact:

Mark Wales
President
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
P 519-773-6706
Sarah Petrevan
Communications Director
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
P 416-960-0001 ext 337
E spetrevan@greenbelt.ca