Ontario Government Investing to Boost Access to Local Food Across Province with 24 New Greenbelt Fund Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2017

ONTARIO GOVERNMENT INVESTING TO BOOST ACCESS TO LOCAL FOOD ACROSS PROVINCE WITH 24 NEW GREENBELT FUND PROJECTS
New projects will support Ontario agriculture and agri-food sector

Today, the Greenbelt Fund is announcing 24 local food projects that increase access to local food across Ontario, made possible with funding from the Government of Ontario. These investments support farmers and agri-food businesses as an essential bedrock of Ontario’s economy.

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs made the announcement along with Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund at McLean Farms in Peterborough this morning. This investment includes a $15,000 grant to Farms at Work to partner with Transition Town Peterborough to strengthen the impact and sustainability of Peterborough Local Food Month.

Farms at Work’s project is one of 24 new projects across Ontario, totalling over $800,000 in new investments from the Greenbelt Fund through the province’s Local Food Investment Fund program.

“Farms at Work showcases local food through Peterborough Local Food Month, which celebrates local food leaders and farmers bringing local food to our plates,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. “The Greenbelt Fund invests in projects all along the food value chain from farm to table, increasing the sale of local food and strengthening the local food economy.”

“Through the Local Food Investment Fund, our government is making it easier for Ontarians to enjoy the good things grown, harvested and made in Ontario. When we invest in projects that support Ontario’s powerhouse agri-food sector, we are helping strengthen our communities, both rural and urban, create good jobs and boost our local economies” said Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“Through Peterborough Local Food Month we engage the community about the benefits and value of choosing local, which supports our farmers and ensures that farmland stays in production" said Pat Learmonth, Director of Farms at Work. "The support from the Greenbelt Fund and province means we can solidify Peterborough Local Food Month as a signature agricultural event in the region.”

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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 generating 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 and other businesses along the food value chain, broader public sector institutions, 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. The Fund’s 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.

Contact for Greenbelt Fund:
Erica Woods
Communications Manager
Greenbelt Fund
Phone: (416) 960-0001 ext. 306
Mobile: (647) 834-5657
ewoods@greenbeltfund.ca