Ontario Government and Greenbelt Fund Helping to Bring More Local Food to Students in the North


October 7, 2016

Province Supporting Projects to Help Increase Access to Local Food

The Ontario government, in partnership with the Greenbelt Fund, is making it easier for students in the North to access and enjoy healthy, locally-grown food at school.

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, made the announcement this afternoon at Westgate Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Thunder Bay along with Greenbelt Fund CEO Burkhard Mausberg. The province is supporting a partnership between Roots to Harvest and Westgate to launch the “Get Fresh Café” project, which will overhaul foodservice at the school by replacing pre-processed foods with meals made from scratch with fresh, local ingredients.

This project will also help strengthen connections between foodservice operators, growers and processors in the region and is one of dozens of local food projects across the province that are helping more people buy local Ontario-grown food.

“Roots to Harvest is bringing students the very best food so they can do their very best learning,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. “By partnering with Lakehead School Board and Westgate High School, Roots to Harvest will develop a model we hope to see replicated across Thunder Bay.”

“Our government is helping increase access to fresh, local food in schools and public institutions across the province through the Local Food Investment Fund,” said Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The Get Fresh Café builds on Roots to Harvest’s experience in sharing local food knowledge and skills with Thunder Bay’s youth, providing hands on experience and mentorship for young people so that they can learn how to grow and prepare their own produce.”

“As Ontario celebrates Agriculture Week, I’m thrilled to support this great project that teaches students about food, where it comes from and the hard work it takes to produce it. By connecting our kids with the food they eat, we are supporting the local agricultural economy,” said Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.

“Roots to Harvest creates opportunities for young people to develop skills while making a difference in their communities,” said Erin Beagle, Executive Director at Roots to Harvest. “Thanks to funding from the Ontario government and the Greenbelt Fund, we’re thrilled to be partnering with the Lakehead School Board to launch the Get Fresh Café so that we can improve access to quality food for students at school while giving them an opportunity to learn more about local food.”

Ontario has invested $45,000 to support the Get Fresh Café project, and more than $1.5 million to support other projects across Ontario through the Local Food Investment Fund, bringing more Ontario-grown and raised food to Ontarians. The program is administered by the Greenbelt Fund, which has seen a 13:1 return on investment on its grants made since 2010.


About the Local Food Investment Fund:
In 2015, the Ontario government provided the Greenbelt Fund with $6 million over three years to support initiatives that will help support the province’s local food strategy by enhancing consumer awareness and access to local food, as well as generating demand and supply of Ontario foods and beverages. The investment supports initiatives such as the Local Food Investment Fund, which is a grant program for farmers, businesses and not-for-profits working to increase the amount of Ontario-grown and made food purchased and enjoyed across the province. The Local Food Investment Fund's three grant streams focus on enhancing local food literacy, increasing market access for small and mid-size Ontario farmers and processors and increasing purchases of local food in the broader public sector, such as hospitals and universities.

About the Greenbelt Fund:
The Greenbelt Fund changes the way we eat food in Ontario. The Fund’s innovative investments get more local food onto the plates of Ontarians. We work with businesses, institutions and NGOs to make Ontario’s farmers the first choice for consumers. The Fund’s work has generated a 13-fold return on our investments, permanently changed the food value chain and improved local food awareness and education around the province. As a not-for-profit, the Greenbelt Fund is supported by public and private sources.

About Roots to Harvest:
Roots to Harvest provides transformative education opportunities for youth to engage with local agriculture and cultivate healthy communities. We have a vision for a future where youth are leaders, connecting a diverse community and cultivating food that’s healthy and accessible.

Erica Woods
Communications Manager
Greenbelt Fund
Phone: (416) 960-0001 ext. 306
[email protected]