Understanding the System to Create Change, Guelph $100,000
St. Joseph’s Health System, Group Purchasing Organization (SJHS-GPO) has made great strides in leveling the playing field for Ontario producers bidding on contracts that make up SJHS-GPO’s $12 million food business. During their project, SJHS-GPO introduced a baseline level for local food requirements for 14 of their contracts and accepted bids from new local suppliers. Going a step further, SJHS-GPO also implemented “local” as evaluation criteria for future contracts, a move that exemplifies their commitment to supporting local producers. SJHS-GPO’s efforts resulted in a 15 percent increase in local food procurement with more than $670,000 spent on local food.
Building Resources for Education, Guelph $25,000
Adaptability and resilience are two leadership traits that Rowe Farm Meats have exhibited in their journey to facilitate change within their company and the Canadian meat industry. Rowe Farm Meats set out to market and distribute their product to the broader public sector through a resource centre, which included a demo kitchen. After realizing this was not the route best suited towards their goal, Rowe Farm Meats went back to the drawing board and reimagined their plan. This time they identified market demand for specialty meat products such as gluten-free. With a newly formulated proposal, Rowe Farm Meats opened a central warehouse that could supply both retail and foodservice operations.
Raising the Food Standards in the Public Sector, Toronto $200,000
Local Food Plus (LFP) initiated relationships with a dozen broader public sector institutions including municipalities, long term care facilities, colleges, and universities to implement a policy mandating required levels of local sustainable food. This led to working relationships with both the University of Western Ontario and Ryerson University. LFP also increased the number of farmers that were certified local and sustainable.
Ontario – A Category of its Own, Milton $360,000
Leading by example, foodservice distributor Gordon Food Service (GFS) is ushered in a new era of industry giants supporting local food production. During this project, GFS created an internal team focused on increasing their local food purchases. Working with vendors, GFS took steps to ensure local food was labeled as such and easy to identify in their system. GFS continued their push towards local food by implementing a marketing initiative that included the new Ontario’s Own logo, grower profiles, advertising in external publications, and adding a Local Ontario page to the GFS national website. GFS’s efforts proved a shining success with an increase in local food purchases of $1.7 million year over year.
Alternative Distribution Creates Model for Local Food Success, Toronto $84,798
Using the results of a survey administered to key players, including farmers, students, educators, and foodservice providers, FoodShare identified 20 actions necessary to increase the use of local food in Toronto schools. FoodShare’s commitment to helping Ontario youth eat local food was exemplified in their business plan to create a local food hub for schools. FoodShare’s efforts proved effective, with their local food purchases up 45 percent in the first year of their project. FoodShare also facilitated the inaugural gathering of the Ontario Farm to School Network.
A First for Local Food in Schools, Mississauga $99, 968
Education begins in the classroom, which is exactly where Ecosource and Peel District School Board (PDSB) along with Peel Public Health and Compass Group Canada focused their efforts to educate youth about Ontario food. The group engaged more than 11,700 students in local food events, encouraging active participation in food choices, education on preparing locally grown foods, and taking part in the Cooking Up Action Culinary Challenge. Cafeteria staff received training on ordering and preparing local foods, which was paramount to the success of the initiative. The successful addition of five Ontario ingredients and eight products featuring Ontario ingredients onto cafeteria menus resulted in the implementation of priority purchasing of Ontario food in high school cafeterias.
If We can Track it We can Change it, Mississauga $100,000
Foodservice operator Compass Group Canada is committed to helping promote Ontario food products. During this project, Compass teamed up with their suppliers to geo-tag over 85 percent of the local products they buy. A managed order guide was developed to assist in giving unit level managers much needed current information on product origin. The Closer To Home campaign provided materials to identify and promote Ontario product to more than 300 broader public sector locations. The campaign also provided exposure for Compass’ growers through farm tours and information distribution at farmers’ markets. In 2011, six new Ontario products were test marketed in different BPS locations. After only four months these products resulted in sales of more than $160,000.
Creating Farm Clusters to Supply the Broader Public Sector, Bradford $350,000
As an innovative leader, Cohn Farms worked on a collaborative approach to supplying the broader public sector with fresh Ontario produce. By working with other producers to create a co-packing line, Cohn Farms has helped nearly a dozen Ontario farmers gain access to innovation that assists them in meeting the unique needs of the broader public sector. They have also been able to expand the diversity of the Ontario food products they supply. Through this process, Cohn Farms has been able to increase the availability of fresh produce that meets sector requirements for health and safety, product volumes, processing and packaging as well as reaping important environmental benefits found by using fewer trucks to transport a higher volume of product and reducing water consumption. During the duration of their project, Cohn Farms saw an increase in sales of Ontario vegetables of almost $1.2 million. This increase continues today.
Half of Local Food Purchases Targeted to Go Local, Toronto $113,890
The City of Toronto developed an action plan to achieve its 50 percent local food target for its long-term care facilities, child care centres, shelters and hostels, and other facilities. This included looking at the real and perceived barriers to buying more local. The City trained staff and developed recipes that used at least 50 percent local ingredients while still meeting the dietary and nutritional needs of their clientele. They also identified the equipment needed to help child care centres improve their use of local food.
Bringing Rural to Public Institutions, Sudbury $76,000
Eat Local Sudbury (ELS) hit the road running with their efforts to shorten the distance between northern farms and local tables. During this project, ELS purchased a cooler van to safely and efficiently deliver produce and meat grown and raised within a 150-mile radius of the city to broader public sector institutions. The van purchase allowed ELS to maintain adequate stock levels and meet customer demand, resulting in increased sales. Institutional sales increased 45 percent in a five-month period, which encouraged ELS to develop and implement steps to track orders and measure their cost effectiveness. The increase in sales also led to ELS taking on additional suppliers.