Ontario Agriculture Week celebrates the 52,000 farmers across Ontario who form the backbone of our $36 billion agri-food sector. At the Greenbelt Fund, we support Ontario agriculture year-round and were thrilled to announce $1.3 million in funding for 27 new local food projects throughout the province.
Joined by Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal, the Greenbelt Fund kicked off Agriculture Week at Gordon Food Service Culinary Centre in Milton to highlight the "Ontario Ingredients for Success" project. The Gordon Food Service project is a collaboration with the Egg Farmers of Ontario, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Mushrooms Canada, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers, and the Turkey Farmers of Ontario to make it easier to promote locally grown, raised and processed ingredients for everyday eating in restaurants and foodservice institutions. The Greenbelt Fund, through the Local Food Investment Fund, has invested $60,000 towards the project.
Minister Leal noted at the announcement that "this funding encourages the private sector to invest and help strengthen the value chain so that more Ontario-grown, raised and harvested food is enjoyed across the province."
Another project announced in the second round of grants through the Local Food Investment Fund is a Food Business Innovation Centre at the Mount Community Centre, which will stimulate the local food economy in Peterborough.
Ongoing projects include Real Food for Real Kids plans to get local food into hospitals, Northern Harvest's Good Food Box, and Durham Farm Connections' mobile education centre. Click here for a comprehensive list of past and ongoing projects.
The Local Food Investment Fund, administered by the Greenbelt Fund, has seen a 13:1 return on investment on grants made since 2010. Together, these projects are permanently changing the food value chain and improving local food awareness and education around the province. That is something to celebrate not just during Agriculture Week, but year round.