September 17, 2013
BRINGING MORE LOCAL FOOD TO UNIVERSITIES AND HOSPITALS
Greenbelt Fund’s Latest Projects Put More Local Food on Ontarians’ Plates
The Greenbelt Fund continues to support projects that increase Ontarians’ access to more fresh, local food through institutions such as universities, colleges, and hospitals. New Farm, an organic farm in Creemore, and Meal Exchange, a national youth-driven charity educating university students about local food, are the newest grant recipients.
With funding support from the Ontario government, these two innovative projects aim to increase local food choices in public institutions. Meal Exchange’s Ontario Campus Food Systems Project ($80,000) engages three universities and their student bodies to increase Ontario food on campuses. New Farm’s project, Developing the Middle: Creating Economies of Scale for Small Farms in Ontario ($59,000), will lead to operational changes that will allow them to meet the demands of public sector institutions including hospitals and colleges and provide better practices that will lead the way for other small to medium scale farms to expand their capacity.
“These projects are great examples of the diversity and breadth of the local food activities we support,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. “From student engagement on university campuses to on-farm improvements, these projects increase economic activity, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase access to local food for all Ontarians.”
“I want to see more Ontario food on people's dinner plates, especially in our universities and hospitals. These projects make an important contribution to our farmers, our health, and our local economies,” says Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food.
Since its launch in 2010, the Greenbelt Fund has supported 58 projects with funding totalling $5.7 million geared towards innovative local food projects across the province.
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. The Fund is supported by public and private sources. For more information about the program and grants visit Ontariofresh.ca. For more information on local food visit foodlandontario.ca.
Phone: (416) 960-0001, ext. 306
Meal Exchange Ontario Campus Food Systems Project ($80,000)
Meal Exchange will engage students from Carleton University, Ryerson University, and the University of Waterloo in order to increase on-campus demand for local food. Regional student campus representatives will lead student engagement activities to increase the interest in and demand for local food. An industry advisory panel of food service providers and distributors will assist in developing these activities and provide their expertise to student-based research projects that will identify how to best increase the amount of local food in universities. Best practices will be shared through studentfood.ca.
New Farm Developing the Middle: Creating Economies of Scale for Small Farms in Ontario ($59,000)
New Farm, a well-established organic farm in Creemore, is making operational changes to meet the needs of public sector institutions. From packaging and marketing materials to developing cost-effective irrigation systems, New Farm will find the right tools and technology in order to increase the amount, variety, and seasonal availability of local produce being offered to institutions such as hospitals and colleges. New Farm will expand their capacity and improve their farm safety protocols, and increase their sales by $235,000, almost doubling their current levels. By developing best practices, this project paves the way for other small and medium scale organic farms to make the necessary changes to increase their business.