Broader Public Sector Grant Stream

Ontario’s broader public sector institutions—municipal daycares, long-term care facilities, universities, colleges, school boards, and hospitals—are a sizeable market opportunity for Ontario farmers. With an estimated $745 million in food and beverage sales made by broader public sector institutions and contract caterers, this sector has the potential to substantially invest in, and help sustain, agriculture in Ontario.

Ontario’s public institutions have often led to change, such as implementing recycling programs, developing green building standards, and eliminating trans-fats and reducing sodium in high school cafeterias through the School Food and Beverage Policy (2008). The Broader Public Sector Grant Stream puts the public service at the forefront of change once again, encouraging the establishment of new food service models that respond to Ontarians’ desire for fresh and healthy meals that are prepared with local ingredients.


The Broader Public Sector Grant Stream focuses on increasing the amount of Ontario food purchased by public institutions. Its goals are:

  1. To increase the amount of Ontario food products purchased by Ontario’s broader public sector, specifically municipal, colleges, university, school boards, and hospital foodservices.

  2. To enhance the capacity of the agri-food sector (farms, processors, distributors, and others) to access the broader public sector foodservice industry to highlight the availability and increase the purchases of local products.

Areas of Focus 

There are five areas of focus, as outlined below:

  1. Skills Development - Increase local food handling and preparation skills so that more institutions can create local food menus

  2. Organizational Change - Drive organizational change within institutions, distributors, and foodservice operators to make local food a priority

  3. Value Chain Collaboration - Foster value chain collaboration to enable better communication and stronger relationships between our farmers, processors, distributors and institutions

  4. Policy Change - Support changes to policies and practices that increase local food purchases and tracking by institutions

  5. Innovation and Product Development - Facilitate innovation to find and/or develop local food products that meet the particular needs of our public institutions

Some examples of activities that could form parts of a project include:

  • Providing training and resources to help food service staff increase their knowledge in how to find, use, and promote local food in BPS institutions
  • Upgrading and/or enhancing equipment to enable institutions to serve local products all-year round
  • Developing strategies to increase the amount of local foods used by public institutions and food service operators
  • Identifying and addressing barriers faced by small and medium-sized processors to create more processed Ontario products for institutional use
  • Providing opportunities for farmers and the value chain to work together to develop processed products that meet the needs of BPS customers
  • Revising institutional purchasing policies to increase and track Ontario food purchases
  • Assisting small and medium-sized farmers and processors in selling to broad-line distributors, including information technology investments and other small scale infrastructure/processing equipment needed to access these markets
  • Implementing new purchase order systems/procedures that effectively identify the origins of food purchases to make it easier to promote local to customers, as well as to order and track Ontario foods for customers
  • Making organizational change within institutions and foodservice companies to make local food a priority
  • Making changes to policy that make it easier to access local products and to provide a fair and transparent process for farmers of all sizes
  • Supporting municipalities and their partners (institutions and the food value chain) to build the regional agri-food economy by undertaking priority impactful actions. Such activities can include building municipal capacity to help identify and reduce local regulatory barriers for farmers and agri-food entrepreneurs, supporting Agri-Food Community Improvement Plans, etc.


Sagal Dualeh
Program Manager (A)
Greenbelt Fund

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