Since its inception in November 2011, Ontariofresh.ca has provided a forum for socially, environmentally, and economically responsible Ontario food businesses to connect and support one another.
Many of these businesses are publicly-funded institutions and their foodservice partners dedicated to making sweeping changes in their practices by filling their kitchens, cafeterias, and your plate with Ontario food. (These broader public sector - BPS - institutions include universities and colleges, school boards, hospitals, and municipally-run facilities such as child care centres and long-term care facilities). The efforts of BPS institutions trickle down to all Ontario residents when we need to rely on these institutions at different periods throughout our lives.
In the past few years, grants from the Greenbelt Fund have helped many actors within foodservice in the broader public sector (BPS) to catalyze the goals within their mandate, implementing sustainable local food procurement systems.
Through their use of the site, the past four rounds of grantees have been critical to the growth and development of Ontariofresh.ca by filling the very important ‘demand’ role of the local food equation, and passing their learnings on to others. They have helped us develop our mandate, and we have helped them to meet their goals by connecting them with fantastic Ontario food producers.
We call that synergy.
As the current round of grants comes to a close, we thought we should highlight some of the things that organizations involved in Greenbelt Fund projects of yesteryear have said aboutOntariofresh.ca.
“Searching for products that BPS [Broader Public Sector] clients are looking for and being able to filter on food safety requirements, for example, has made finding appropriate products and producers much easier and far more effective.” – Paul Sawtell, 100km Foods
“By being profiled as a buyer on the website, we have been approached by a variety of suppliers to have a look at their products.” – Dana Hospitality Inc.
“Ontariofresh.ca is an excellent resource to find out what is available, from what suppliers, and at what time of the year. It allows growers and producers to find distribution for their products, to network with others and to find out what is necessary to work with large distributors such as GFS [Gordon Food Service), which remains a mystery to many.” – Gordon Food Service Ontario
The relevance of Ontariofresh.ca as an effective business tool relies on the size, depth, and diversity of our membership. We’ve come a long way in the past year, and we couldn’t have done it without the wealth of strong businesses joining and utilizing Ontariofresh.ca every day.
Thank you everyone, for helping make the landscape of Ontario’s food system stronger, fresher, more resilient, and more flavourful each and every day.
- Madeline Ritchie, Program Assistant