Local Food Resources

Get your local food project started with these resources.

Halton Healthcare - Knowing Your Power to Purchase Local

Halton Healthcare is harnessing their sector’s potential to change the food system. With three community hospitals serving more than half a million patient meals a year, Halton Healthcare is using its purchasing power to bring more healthy, Ontario food to market.

Read Halton Healthcare - Knowing Your Power to Purchase Local


Local Food Procurement Course

Mohawk College has developed an online course in Local Food Procurement designed for professionals working in a foodservice setting at public institutions to grow their local food and sustainable procurement knowledge, and learn strategies for identifying, procuring and promoting local foods. Learn more about the course and register online at: mohawkcollege.ca/local-food-procurement


Breaking Down Local Food Barriers: Food Forward Contracts in Thunder Bay

As far back as 2008, the City of Thunder Bay has been working to strengthen and connect their local food system to their municipally-run facilities. The City has emerged as a leader in food systems planning in the province, having adopted the Thunder Bay Food Charter, the Community Environmental Action Plan, a Community Garden Policy and supported the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy.

Read Breaking Down Local Food Barriers: Food Forwards Contracts in Thunder Bay


Local Food Solutions Vol. 18

People: Food Hubs and Aggregators

It can require too much additional effort for distributors and foodservice companies to work with multiple, smaller suppliers to source local food.

Read Local Food Solutions Vol. 18 - People: Food Hubs and Aggregators


Local Food Solutions Vol. 17

Access: Rebates 101

Rebates can create supplier lock-in by providing deep discounts to customers. 

Read Local Food Solutions Vol. 17 - Access: Rebates 101


Local Food Solutions Vol. 16

People: Organizational Culture

Organizations have internal cultures and routines that often present barriers to making changes to buy and use more local food.

Local food initiatives sometimes struggle to reach their goals because it can be difficult to create the organizational conditions necessary for sustained changes. Too often, a new initiative is at odds with the ingrained practices, attitudes and reward structures of the existing organizational culture.

Read Local Food Solutions Vol. 16 - People: Organizational Culture


Local Food Solutions Vol. 15

Access: The Price of Local Food

Assumptions around price can make institutions and businesses cautious about buying more local food.

Many institutional food buyers assume that local food is generally more expensive. The reality is often the opposite.

Read Local Food Solutions Vol. 15 - Access: The Price of Local Food


Food Entrepreneur's Journey Guide

The Agri-Food Management Institute launched 'The Food Entrepreneur’s Journey’, to help budding food manufacturers with practical step-by-step advice on how to build a thriving business from idea to commercialization.

The guide takes the reader through all the activities that need to be performed in five basic stages: idea, proof of concept, product and business development, pre-commercial trials and sales, and finally commercial sales.

Read The Food Entrepreneur's Journey


Increasing Local Food at Ontario Colleges

Mohawk College has created a scalable, transferable toolkit that includes a step-by-step guide, resources, along with tools to increase local food procurement at Ontario’s 24 colleges. While it's focus is on colleges that use third-party foodservices operators the ideas and initiatives described may be applicable to self-operated foodservices and other institutions throughout the public sector. You can view the toolkit and find out more at: oncollegefood.com

 


Golden Horsehsoe Food and Farming Alliance - Serving Up Local

The Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) project, Serving Up Local, is a partnership with Durham and Halton regions, and the City of Hamilton, to increase the amount of local foods offered in their facilities with a special focus on long-term care homes. To help build the capacity of other regions wanting to take on a similar initiative they have generated case studies, a project manual, and communications pieces which are available on their website.


Whole Grain Hearth video on how they make their Red Fife Bread

Whole Wheat Hearth, a Greenbelt Fund grantee, has made a video on how they make their red fife bread.


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Ontario Federation of Agriculture's Food Literacy Attitude and Awareness Report

An extension of its 6x16 food literacy project, Ontario Federation of Agriculture has published a report on food literacy attitude and awareness.

The report focuses on three specific demographic: 1) parents with kids at home, early millennials (age 18-26), and teenagers.

Some thematic findings include:

  • Cost and convenience key factors impacting food consumption
  • Teens are not involved in family meal planning and preparation
  • Teens have limited cooking skills
  • Social media and the internet are perceived as credible sources of information
  • Limited knowledge of Ontario agriculture and local food production

You can read the report here.


Presentations from Local Food Symposium Opening Plenary Panel

Redefining Local Food Systems

The Greenbelt Fund Local Food Symposium opened with a plenary panel featuring Jim Barham, of the Rural Business-Cooperative Service at the USDA, and John Fisk, of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, moderated by Michael von Massow of the University of Guelph. 

Presenting on local food systems including food hub networks, clusters and value chain coordination, John and Jim provided great insights into how Ontario's local food system can grow over the next decade. 

To learn more, download their presentations below:

Value Chain Coordination in Regional Food Economies - John Fisk PhD

Getting to Scale: Food Hub Networks and Innovation Clusters - Jim Barham PhD


Sustain Ontario Procuring Local Food in Schools Tipsheet

Want to start introducing local food into your school but don't know where to start?

Sustain Ontario has published a tipsheet on where and how your school can take the first step in bring local produce & products to your school's cafeteria. Download here.


Marketing and Social Media Strategies for Local Food Literacy Campaigns

Brianne Meikle, Graduate Researcher student at York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies, examines four Greenbelt Fund's grantees who leveraged social media in their marketing campaigns to promote their commodities: Ontario Apple Growers, Ontario Pork, Veal Farmers of Ontario, and National Farmers Union | Ontario.

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Regional Food Hub Pilot Project - Report

A new report from the Greenbelt Fund details the experience in piloting an integrated regional system in southern Ontario. The project linked producers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe to a large institutional food service buyer through a regional food hub and a broadline distributor.

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Sustain Ontario's New Urban Agriculture Toolkit

Check out Sustain Ontario's New Urban Agriculture Toolkit!

The toolkit covers a wide range of urban agriculture topics, including: raising hens, growing on private property, school garden, community garden, beekeeping, farmers' market, and more!


My Sustainable Canada's Local Food and Ontario's Long Term Care Sector Report

This report documents the current state of local food usage in Ontario’s long-term care sector.

Most of the 600+ homes in Ontario do not track local food usage and many report barriers to adding these items to their menus. With an estimated annual raw food spend in excess of $210 million, Ontario’s long-term care sector represents a significant opportunity for local producers. You can read the report here.


Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs' 2015 Guide to Food and Beverage Manufacturing in Ontario

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs created a comprehensive guide for people looking to enter the food and beverage manufacturing industry.

The guide contains step-by-step guide covering the basics of starting a food manufacturing business, product development, manufacturing, marketing, food safety, price-setting, and other pertinent information.

Click here to see the full guide


Local Food Procurement Model for the City of Thunder Bay

City of Thunder Bay had recently put into action its Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy, which seeks to scale up the purchase of local/Ontario-grown food for four daycares and three long-term care facilities for whom the city procures food for. 

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Connecting University Classroom with Campus Cafeteria through Local Food Procurement

Meal Exchange has developed an applied student research toolkit for colleges and universities interested in designing coursework that can encourage university foodservices to introduce local food into their kitchens. 

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Getting it There: The Role of New England Food Distributors in Providing Local Food to Institutions

“Getting it There: The Role of New England Food Distributors in Providing Local Food to Institutions” presents in-depth findings and makes specific, data-based recommendations for food distributors – including food hubs – as well as government officials, funders and institutions.

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City of Toronto's Local Food Procurement Policy

In 2011, City of Toronto adopted a Local Food Procurement Policy that requires that 51% of all products purchased to be grown in Ontario, and 80% of all processing costs to be returned to Ontario.

The move helps reduce food miles while supporting local farmers and processors. To find out more about the policy's RFP and RFQ process, read the PDF here.


Alternative Avenues for Local Food in Schools - Ingredients for Success

The Alternative Avenues for Local Food Procurement in Ontario Schools project seeks to address the need for assessment, analysis, training, and barrier identification to increase the quantity of local foods procured in Ontario School Boards. 

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Local Sustainable Food Procurement For Municipalities and BPS

Sustain Ontario has developed a toolkit geared towards Ontario municipalities and broader public sector institutions looking to initiate sustainable procurement policies and programs in their regions. Learn more about the Local Sustainable Food Procurement For Municipalities and BPS on Sustain Ontario's Website.


Local Food Solutions Vol. 14

Product: Meat Regulations

To no one’s surprise, food service operations in the Broader Public Sector (BPS) purchase a lot of meat products. In fact, the category of meat products often constitutes the largest food spend within the BPS after dairy and value added entrées, such as shepherd’s pie, lasagna,  and macaroni and cheese. Given the amount of money that is spent on meat products in the BPS, it would seem that Ontario’s livestock farmers and independent meat processors would be keen to become a supplier for this market. However, to date it has been difficult for the province’s smaller processors to tap into it.

 

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Case Study - Farm to Institution: the Power of Public Sector Purchasing

This case study explores how public institutions can use the procurement process to maximize the impact of their collective $750 million annual food spends. The case described spans four years and focuses on how a public sector group purchasing organization leveraged its buying power to enable a local sustainable cattle-processor to break into the institutional food service market. The case demonstrates how public sector purchasing contributes to bringing local and sustainable farming an food businesses to scale.

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Conducting Food Origin Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide

St. Joseph’s Heath System created a guide to help organizations and institutions conduct food origin audits. The guide includes steps involved in food origin audits, details, and examples for each of the steps, as well as useful tools, such as a template for a letter of endorsement.

Read Conducting Food Origin Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide 

 


Farm Tour 101

Here is all the information you need to plan a successful and rewarding farm tour as an engagement and education piece for your local food program. A well-rounded tour includes visiting a produce farm, farm-raised meats shop, a dairy or cheese facility, and providing a meal, showcasing local menu items.

Read Farm Tour 101


The Road to Local Food: Increasing Local Food in Broader Public Sector Organizations

Guelph Community Health Centre’s Local Food Toolkit helps organizations overcome challenges in sourcing and serving more local food. The toolkit features stories from partners who were at various stages of their local programs, as well as a series of tools with more information about local food policies, seasonal purchasing, local wholesale suppliers and distributors, and worksheets to facilitate the transition of a BPS kitchen.

Read The Road to Local Food: increasing Local Food in Broader Public Sector Organizations


Classroom Connects

A curriculum guide developed by Ecosource in partnership with the Durham District School Board and Compass Group Canada, to begin the conversation with secondary school students about the local food system.

Read Classroom Connects


Local Foods to Health Care Facilities Final Report – The Corporation of Norfolk County

This report outlines the Corporation of Norfolk County’s experience with putting a system in place to increase the amount of Ontario food served in the Broader Public Sector. 

Norfolk County highlights four phases of the project: product of origin assessment; increased local foods; equipment; and communications, procedures, and policies.

Read PDF


Ontario’s Broader Public Sector (BPS): New Opportunities for the Province’s Food and Beverage Processors

This discussion paper was developed by Food and Beverage Ontario and outlines common procurement processes in the BPS.

It also provides guidance on specific business opportunities for the province’s food and beverage processors while acknowledging the unique challenges and needs of the BPS.

Read PDF


The Role of Co-operatives in Local Food Systems Development – United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development

The Role of Co-operatives in Local Food Systems Development – United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development

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Ontario Food Preserves Project – George Brown College, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts

Ontario Food Preserves Project – George Brown College, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts

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Local Food, Beyond the Market 6 of 6: Benefits – Guelph Community Health Centre

Local Food, Beyond the Market 6 of 6: Benefits – Guelph Community Health Centre

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Local Food, Beyond the Market 5 of 6: Developing Relationships – Guelph Community Health Centre

Local Food, Beyond the Market 5 of 6: Developing Relationships – Guelph Community Health Centre

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Local Food, Beyond the Market 4 of 6: Identifying Sources – Guelph Community Health Centre

Local Food, Beyond the Market 4 of 6: Identifying Sources – Guelph Community Health Centre

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Local Food, Beyond the Market 2 of 6: Where to Begin – Guelph Community Health Centre

Local Food, Beyond the Market 2 of 6: Where to Begin – Guelph Community Health Centre

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Local Food, Beyond the Market 1 of 6: Expensive – Myth or Fact? – Guelph Community Health Centre

Local Food, Beyond the Market 1 of 6: Expensive – Myth or Fact? – Guelph Community Health Centre

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Ontario Fruits and Vegetables Availability Guide

Foodland Ontario makes it easy for consumers to buy Ontario fruits and vegetables in this availability guide.

Get The Guide


Fresh and Nutritious, Green Your Life with Local Foods – City of Toronto

In this promotional piece, the City of Toronto provides high-level information on why you should buy local food and where you can buy it. This marketing tool also includes a list of resources for buying local.

Read PDF


Niagara Regional Child Care Centres’ Regional Child Care Local Food Values Charter Marketing Materials

Niagara Regional Child Care Centres created a Charter to increase local food procurement within their facilities and support Ontario farms and producers. This is a promotional piece that creates a visual for the Charter.

See the PDF here.

 

 


Niagara Regional Child Care Centres’ Regional Child Care Local Food Values Charter

Niagara Regional Child Care Centres created a Charter to increase local food procurement within their facilities and support Ontario farms and producers.

The Charter is available here.


Local Food Procurement Policy – Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Seniors Home Inc.

This Local Food Procurement Policy was put in place by IOOF Seniors Home Inc. in Barrie, to ensure residents are provided with fresh seasonal foods purchased from local vendors. IOOF Seniors Home Inc. developed local food menus to help make sure that purchasing practices take into consideration seasonal availability of produce while managing cost impacts of local procurement. 

Read PDF


Local Food Case Study #3: Ross Memorial Hospital decreases ecological footprint with wholesome, nutritious local food

In this case study, Ross Memorial Hospital, in the City of Kawartha Lake, dispels some of the myths associated with local food procurement. This article originally appeared in the Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care.

Read the PDF


Local Food Solutions Vol. 13

Product: Food Safety and Local Food

Food safety often comes up in conversations about local food, and for many, proving that food is safe is a pre-requisite to doing business with the Broader Public Sector (BPS). 

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 12

Policy: Rules and Regulations in the BPS

The Broader Public Sector (BPS) has many rules that affect food procurement. Previous Green Papers have already explored some of these, but there are a number of other rules that have implications for local food procurement.

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 11

Policy: What Exactly Is Local Food? 

Defining local food can be a difficult task, because it often means different things to different people. In general, when people are looking for local food they are looking for products that shorten the distance between where it was produced and where it is eaten. It gets tricky when trying to draw the line for what is in and what is out. Indeed, if you ask consumers how they define local, you are bound to hear everything from product of Canada to food from within 100km.

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Video Series: Introduction to Food Safety & Certification Workshop

The Greenbelt Fund and Ontariofresh.ca, in collaboration with 100km Foods Inc., CanadaGap, GS1 Canada, NSF-GFTC, OSCIA, and OMAFRA brought together farmers with professionals from different sectors and institutions dealing with food safety at the Introduction to Food Safety and Certification Workshop on April 3 and 4 2014.

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Agriculture by the Numbers: Understanding the Greenbelt’s Unique Advantages

September 15, 2014

POSSIBILITY GROWS IN ONTARIO’S GREENBELT
New Report Highlights Unique Advantages of Agriculture in the Greenbelt

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 10

Policy: How Food is Purchased in the Broader Public Sector

The way food is purchased in the Broader Public Sector (BPS) ranges from simple to complex. At its simplest, institutions such as schools and daycares “shop the specials” and buy food at grocery stores. At its most complex, institutions such as hospitals and universities have multiple food outlets, each operating under different purchasing conditions.

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 9

Policy: Trade Agreements

Trade agreements are used to reduce barriers for trade between two or more regions.

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Developing the Value Chain of Ontario Quinoa

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 8

People: Making Connections

As the food system became more industrialized and commercial, we became disconnected from the people who grew and produced our food. 

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 7

People: Effecting Change

Public institutions are large, often complex organizations that face many challenges to implementing and sustaining changes to procurement. In many cases, getting more local food into them is less about finding Ontario food options and more about getting buy-in from the staff that will be impacted by directives to source Ontario food.

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Cook Global, Buy Local!

It's not just cabbage and cauliflower any more: Cook Global - Buy Local!

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Local Food Solutions Special

A Regional Food Distribution Pilot Project

Ontarians are increasingly supporting the health, social, economic, and environmental benefits that come with the choice of buying local food. This shift towards local food is gradually giving new shape to Ontario’s food system.

By moving to meet the demands of their customers, the value chain is finding ways to provide more local food as part of their business model. However, desire alone on the part of customers and suppliers is not enough to effect permanent and systemic change in Ontario’s food system.

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Ontariofresh.ca Plays Matchmaker for Ontario Food Businesses

While surveying our membership base this past winter, we took the time to make personal phone calls and find out what doors Ontariofresh.ca has opened for our members. We were amazed by what people had to say, and are proud to have played a part in helping businesses find a Freshmate.

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10 Reasons to #buylocal

1)  Locally grown food tastes and looks better.  There is no comparing tomatoes that ripened on the vine two days before with tomatoes that ripened in a truck a week earlier.

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 6

People: Attitudes and Beliefs

The majority of broader public sector (BPS) institutions are large organizations and making organizational change in one area can affect the jobs of many people. As such, moving forward on changes without broad support from relevant staff members can lead to a myriad of setbacks. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the attitudes and beliefs of all involved staf

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Getting Students Involved

Looking to get your students more involved in the Ontario Farm to School Challenge? We have some really simple ideas to keep them engaged and having fun!

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Local Food Provision in Ontario’s Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities: Recommendations for Stakeholders

This report is the third deliverable for Food for Health Project 200218 - “Exploring the Feasibility and Benefits of Incorporating Local Foods into Ontario’s Healthcare System”

The project objectives are to:

  1. Establish the current state of food provision in Ontario's healthcare system.
  2. Gain an in-depth understanding of the opportunities and constraints impacting food provision decisions in Ontario's healthcare system.
  3. Provide alternative perspectives on healthcare food provision and the potential for changing these practices.
  4. Understand implementation details for making changes at the individual facility level.

Read Local Food Provision in Ontario’s Hospitals and Long-Term Care Facilities: Recommendations for Stakeholders


Assessing and Identifying Opportunities to Buy More Local Apples in the Broader Public Sector

Public sector institutions are sourcing apple products from across the continent, and whole apples from around the world. But most facilities would love to integrate more Ontario product into the menus, meals, and snacks.

Working closely with the Ontario Apple Growers, My Sustainable Canada identified product opportunities for Ontario's apple growers to more strategically develop, pack, and market products to Ontario health care facilities, public school boards, colleges/universities, and correctional facilities, in order to increase the sales of Ontario apple products.

Read Procurement Steps for Schools

Read Procurement Steps for Universities & Colleges

Read Procurement Steps for Healthcare Facilities

Read Procurement Steps for Correctional & Youth Justice Facilities


Connecting the Links: Foodservice in the Broader Public Sector

Institutions of the broader public sector (BPS) have become motivated to introduce more locally grown and processed foods in their menus to better serve their customers, be they students, hospital patients, or residents of long-term care facilities (LTCs).

This report provides an introduction to the various actors involved in the foodservice supply chain, as well as an overview of how foodservice works in universities and colleges, school boards, hospitals, municipal LTCs and child care centres. It is not intended to capture the deeper complexities of foodservice in the BPS.

Read Connecting the Links: Foodservice in the Broader Public Sector


Local Food Solutions Vol. 5

Access: Aggregating Ontario Product

Historically, farmers in Ontario have delivered their produce directly to local grocery retailers, restaurants, and institutions. This practice has largely disappeared for two reasons. First, distributors emerged as a one-stop shop for restaurants and institutions to obtain product, eliminating the need for multiple suppliers. Second, as franchises and corporate foodservice companies became more dominant, fixed contracts with select distributors to supply categories of products have become the norm.

 

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 4

Access: Identifying Processed Food Origin

Previously, we talked about the challenges associated with identifying and tracking Ontario foods in order databases. There are more challenges, however, when it comes to processed foods. There is currently no industry-wide accepted definition for “Ontario Processed Food”. 

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 3

Access: Identifying Fresh Ontario Food

Knowing where fresh food comes from plays an important role in the ability of an institution or their foodservice operator/distributor to buy Ontario product.

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 2

Access, People, Policy and Product

Motivated by the growing demand for locally grown food, public sector institutions have begun making the switch to local food for their clients.

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Healthy Food in Health Care: A Pledge for Fresh, Local, Sustainable Food

Created in collaboration with Health Care Without Harm as part of their Healthy Food in Health Care Initiative, and The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge is a framework that outlines steps to be taken by the health care industry to improve the health of patients, communities and the environment.

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Local Food Solutions Vol. 1

Local Food Solutions: Addressing Barriers to Ontario Food Procurement

Consumers are increasingly asking for and consuming more locally grown food. The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association has listed local food as the top food trend for the past three years, while the creative food economy has seen an annual growth rate of 15-25%.

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Working with Local Food Suppliers

Although it was once dismissed as a fad, it’s clear that the 100-mile diet is here to stay. Every year, the demand for organic and local foods grows up to 25 per cent, with eight out of 10 Ontario consumers indicating that they prefer to eat locally, whenever possible.

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The 2012 Innovation Report

Introducing the inaugural issue of The Innovation Report - Vineland Research and Innovation Centre's first-ever research magazine.  Since 2007 the organization has made a concerted effort to make linkages with stakeholders along the value chain, bringing innovation and research into the heart of Canada's horticulture infrastructure.

Some features you can look forward to:

  • Drought-resistant petunias, cold-tolerant tomatoes, what’s next?
  • In the market for some locally grown okra?
  • The myths (and some facts) about Canadian consumers
  • For robots, it’s all in a day’s work
  • Tackling national challenges, one research project at a time
  • Biocontrols: on the hunt for bugs that kill other bugs
  • The art and science of green roofs

Read The 2012 Innovation Report


New "Product of Canada" Labeling

Why buy Canadian? Canadian farmers and food processors bring some amazing food products to your table. Whether it's a sizzling steak on your barbeque, pork chops oozing with apple sauce or succulent fresh fish with wild rice for dinner, there is a huge variety of Canadian food to explore!

Now, the Government of Canada has developed a labeling program to help consumers understand claims that labels make about Canadian content in our food products. When consumers see the Canada brand logo on a product label, they can be sure it contains Canadian ingredients or was made in Canada.

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From the Ground Up: A Primer for Community Action on Kingston and Countryside's Food System

Prepared for the National Farmers Union by Aric McBay & Holly Grinvalds

This document is meant to serve as a primer for people working on local food issues in Kingston. In part, it is meant to build common ground and a common language for people coming from diverse backgrounds. It serves as a concise reference where information and perspectives about Kingston and countryside’s local food system have been gathered from a range of academic and community sources. It does not suggest one way of solving our problems, but identifies many different models and opportunities for us to choose from. Gaps have been identified for further research. This is meant to be a living document – one that is added to and improved with time.

Read From the Ground Up: A Primer for Community Action on Kingston and Countryside's Food System

 


Product Profile: Ontario Distilled Vodka and Whiskey

Ontario’s Still Waters Distillery is gaining a lot of attention with their award-winning, artisanal single malt vodka. They are Ontario's first craft distillery, and one of the newest members of Ontariofresh.ca.

Still Waters has adapted single malt distilling methods normally used by whisky makers. While most vodkas are made with a mixture of different grains like corn, wheat and barley, or potatoes, Still Waters Distillery uses only malted barley and no other grains. In their finished product, owners Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein show the care they put into each bottle. While it is their vodka that is gaining the most attention, Stein and Bernstein have released a small line of blended whiskies that feature 10% of their own production, made with Ontario-grown rye and corn. Tasters at the 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York awarded their product a finalist in the Canadian Whisky class, stating it is "Excellent" and "Highly Recommended." Noting its pale amber color, their tasting notes conclude that its "opening nose is charred and toasty upfront, then turns deeply grainy. The flavor menu features lean tastes of corn syrup, poppy seeds, trail mix and dried apricot." As their own barrels mature, Still Waters will be showing what a lot of pride, passion and good taste can do to Ontario-grown and distilled spirits. 


Plan to Grow: Scaling up Local Food in Kingston & Countryside

Plan to Grow is a research-based initiative of the NFU’s New Farm Project, designed to gather information from farmers, processors, retailers, buyers, and food security advocates in the Kingston area, with the goal of assisting the New Farm Project chart a path toward a sustainable local food system for Kingston and its countryside. Perspectives were gathered from over 40 food system participants about the assets, challenges and opportunities within our local food system, in order to develop priorities for action that will stimulate both the supply and demand for local food.

Engagement with participants identified the need for active coordination across many food and farm initiatives in order to better influence policy, generate funding support, and be strategic with the resources available to us. Active coordination can be achieved by working with the existing initiatives identified through our outreach, by taking advantage of existing data and studies currently being carried out, and by partnering with future studies and initiatives.

Read Plan to Grow: Scaling up Local Food in Kingston & Countryside


The Economics of Local Food

Last February a day of programming at the Food Summit was capped with a lively debate, held at Glenn Gould Studio at CBC’s Toronto headquarters. The question foisted upon the panel of experts was, local food: for, or against? 

The Locavore herself Sarah Elton and New York food writer Mark Bittman squared off with their “for” arguments as Brit author of “Panic on a Plate” Mark Lyons stood beside Andrea Mandell-Campbell with their reasons against. As polarizing as the movement is, the discussion remained fairly light, swaying here and there into the territory of the economic impacts of buying (or not buying) locally.

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Asian Crop Research - Chinese Green Onion

Chinese green onion is a popular vegetable due to its nutritional and medicinal value. With $80,685 in approved funding under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), the Canada-China Agriculture and Food Development Exchange Centre will assess the suitability of growing Chinese green onions in Ontario. 

Funding for these projects has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the CAAP. In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC).

Read Asian Crop Research - Chinese Green Onion


Accessing the Broader Public Sector Marketplace: Local Food Hub Business Plan and Implementation Strategy

The Erie Innovation Centre worked collaboratively with the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association to provide a business plan for accessing Broader Public Sector institutions.

The business plan includes: a market assessment; challenges; and how to determine the best option for a regionally based local food distribution system.

Read Accessing the Broader Public Sector Marketplace: Local Food Hub Business Plan and Implementation Strategy


Strategic Directions for Agricultural Development in Northeastern Ontario

Cochrane District in Northeastern Ontario has a long history of agriculture which continues to have an important presence in the area. However, this sector faces several obstacles, such as aging farm operators with limited succession planning. Therefore, action must be taken in order to ensure the sustainability of current farming operations as well as take advantage of the vast agricultural opportunities present in the area. With this in mind, this study undertook to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats inherent for agriculture in this part of Cochrane District as well as present strategic actions which could be undertaken in order to expand agriculture in the area.

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Current and Future Opportunities for Agriculture in Northeast Ontario: A Regional Development Perspective

Cochrane District in Northeastern Ontario has a long history of agriculture which continues to have an important presence in the area. However, this sector faces several obstacles, such as aging farm operators with limited succession planning. Therefore, action must be taken in order to ensure the sustainability of current farming operations as well as take advantage of the vast agricultural opportunities present in the area. With this in mind, this study undertook to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats inherent for agriculture in this part of Cochrane District as well as present strategic actions which could be undertaken in order to expand agriculture in the area.

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Ontario's Local Food Champions 2012: Cultivating Change in the Broader Public Sector

The growth of Ontario food in our public institutions is inspiring. Today we celebrate those who change the food on plates in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and educational institutions. The Ontario’s Local Food Champions report recognizes five organizations from across the food value chains that exemplify leadership and provide solutions to incorporate more Ontario food on their menus.

“In just under a year we have seen outstanding growth in sales and volumes of Ontario food served in public institutions,“ said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “This report recognizes a few of the many champions working to make local food the standard at our hospitals, schools and daycares.”

This year’s Ontario’s Local Food Champions represent the dynamic changes happening across foodservice.

Read Ontario's Local Food Champions 2012: Cultivating Change in the Broader Public Sector


Cultivating Consciousness at the Food School

When you grow up, what will you be? A chef, a farmer, a botanist? Chris Jess, a secondary school teacher with the Centre Wellington District High School, is teaching his students that they don’t have to wait until after high school to become an entrepreneur. Now, this is not your usual Home Economics: Chris has created an entire integrated program based on the culinary arts with a strong agricultural bent. It’s called The Food School, and it’s teaching students from soil to plate to soil again.

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QR Codes: A New Frontier of Product Labeling

It has been said that in food retailing 50 per cent of the time that a product is taken off the shelf, the shopper will buy it. This means that on-product labels are a very important component of success. But how do you make a label pretty enough to attract a shopper, considering how much information must be included, from product details to corporate information?

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The Traceable Fruit Label... What Does it all Mean?

When labels first started appearing on fruit, they were intended to let the consumer know who picked and packed. Like the ubiquitous Dole Banana label, every bunch had one to create brand identification but the aggravation of pulling a label off a perfect apple, the embodiment of nature's bounty, presented a unique problem. Most adhesives are not suitable for human consumption so the labeling industry had to find the perfect adhesive; FDA/EU food contact compliant, to create the perfect apple label. Made from micro-thin bright gloss paper or film to conform around curved and uneven fruit surfaces and printed with EAN, UPC or DataBar code, the new fruit labels are ideal for edible skin fruit.

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Traceability, Provincial Premises Registry, and your Business

Looking for new ways to market your products? It may not seem like the most conventional of marketing techniques, but getting a sturdy food traceability plan in action is one way of drawing attention to your business in many markets and on Ontariofresh.ca.

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Benefits of Buying Local

Watch webinars and videos on success stories and the benefits of buying local.

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Defending Better Food

When I was growing up, food was a central part of our life as a family.  Most of the talking, fighting, loving and growing we did was around the dinner table.  And if you were sick, food was a central part of the cure – chicken noodle soup for colds, tea and toast for an upset stomach, ice cream and popsicles for a sore throat.

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A Guide To Developing A Sustainable Food Purchasing Policy

This document is intended to help universities, colleges, hospitals, and other institutions – as well as those advocating for food system change – create, promote and implement practical sustainable food purchasing policies. 

It draws from the successes and lessons learned by a variety of institutions from within the United States, and from the experience of for-profit and nonprofit partners that have worked with institutions in this arena. This document does not promote any particular policy positions, but rather offers a framework to help you develop policies that will be meaningful and achievable for your institution. This document is a product of the Sustainable Food Policy Project, which was initiated in 2006 to support efforts by educational, healthcare and other institutions to have a positive impact on the food system through purchasing. 

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Best Practice In Sustainable Public Sector Food Procurement

Many regional public procurement strategies are now being developed and are actively seeking to meet wider sustainability aims. 

Creativity in defining the procurement need may be one of the strongest lines of opportunity for realizing sustainable development objectives. If the objective is to provide healthy meals for schoolchildren, for example, there may be several ways in which this can be done. For example, through setting up separate supply and delivery contracts, linked to initiatives that support opportunities for local trading such as ‘meet the buyer’ events and more proactive approaches to inviting interest by local producers. 

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Creating a Food Revolution - Sarnia Lambton

This report presents a community food system plan developed through community consultation to guide action for the creation of a healthy food system for Sarnia-Lambton. 

The "food system" includes all of the activities and relationships related to every aspect of the food cycle, including growing, harvesting, transporting, processing, distributing, marketing, selling, preparing, consuming, and disposing of food. A healthy community food system integrates all of the pieces of the food system to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a community.

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Local Food Procurement Policies: A Literature Review

Our food system has become increasingly globalized over the past few decades. Whereas a century ago most food was consumed in a relatively short distance from where it was produced, our diets today consist of foods from all corners of the globe.

The trend toward increasing distances between producers and consumers has prompted many to question the environmental and social sustainability of our food choices. Local farms are struggling to compete with larger, more industrialized farms in warmer climates. Products from California, for example, are dependent on publicly funded roads and transportation networks, and on vast subsidized irrigation networks that are not factored into the cost of food. This food is sent all over the continent, supplanting local production, because the price of the food is not reflecting the real costs associated with its production. The real costs of food production include environmental costs, such as the effects of climate change due to increased CO2 emissions from increased food transportation, as well as social degradation due to the loss of farms and rural communities, to name a few. 

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Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) - A Local Food Adventure

Metro Toronto Convention Centre's - A Local Food Adventure

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Metro Toronto Convention Centre's (MTCC) Local Food and Beverage Procurement Policy

With a view to providing exceptional quality of service to guests and clients, MTCC drafted a Local Food and Beverage Procurement Policy in 2012.

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