February 12, 2014
MORE LOCAL FOOD FOR SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO
Fresh, Healthy, Local Food For Ontarians Thanks to Three Area Businesses
The Greenbelt Fund is helping three organizations launch innovative projects that will increase access to fresh, healthy, local food available to people through public sector institutions in Southwestern Ontario.
With support from the Greenbelt Fund, and funding from the Ontario government, the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers will increase sales of their vegetables to public institutions, while the South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation and Southwest Economic Alliance will both work toward increased market opportunities for small-to-medium sized farmers.
“Southwestern Ontario’s enthusiasm for local food initiatives shines bright. Taking on a variety of projects that provide opportunities for an entire community is exemplary. These three projects prove we are making systemic change in order to put more local food on our plates. The result—more local food for Ontarians and a happier, healthier community,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund.
The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers’ project, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetables in the BPS: Growing Procurement and Maximizing Impact through Application of Win-Win Strategies ($125,000), will increase sales of their vegetables in places such as hospitals, schools, and long-term care homes by 10 per cent per year through relationship building, education, and marketing.
The SCOR Regional Food Hubs ($125,000) project will provide small to mid-sized growers a place to aggregate their products in order to serve the foodservice and retail market throughout five counties. The Counties of Brant, Elgin, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Oxford will also reap the benefits of having more local product available to them in one central place.
Southwest Economic Alliance’s project, Sustainable Food Cluster – Elgin County ($10,000), will establish a diverse team who will create a business plan for a food hub and distribution cluster in Elgin County to sell more local food. The team will include representatives from the entire value chain including farmers, processors, and distributors, to guide in the development plan.
“These projects show what great leadership we have in Southwestern Ontario. By helping people buy more local food, our government is supporting our farmers, strengthening our families, and boosting our region’s economy,” says Teresa Piruzza, MPP for Windsor West.
For a more detailed description of these projects and other grants that are a part of the Greenbelt Fund’s Regional Food Grant Program, please visit Ontariofresh.ca.
Since its launch in 2010, the Greenbelt Fund has supported 78 projects with funding totalling $7.4 million, increasing the amount of local food available across the province. The province’s total investments toward broader sector programming means a targeted return of $38.9 million in additional Ontario food in daycares, schools, universities, and colleges–or a five to one return on investment for every dollar spent.
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.
For more information about the Ontario government’s new Local Food Act and broader local food strategy, visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food website.
Phone: (416) 960-0001, ext. 306