Ontario Releases Local Food Report
Supports for Broader Public Sector include a new benchmarking and goal tracking program
TORONTO - Today, the Ontario government released the 2019 Local Food Report, highlighting the hardworking entrepreneurs of Ontario's local food economy. Ontario farmers, food processors, food hubs, broader public sector institutions, grocery retailers and the government are working together to strengthen and grow Ontario's agri-food industry.
"Local food is the heart of Ontario's agri-food industry. Over this past year, our government - working with stakeholders, local food businesses and the Broader Public Sector across the province - has reached a number of our targets in strengthening our local food economy," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In March 2019, the government established the final goal of the Local Food Act, 2013 - to open the door for local food across the broader public sector. Removing red tape barriers will make it easier for organizations like colleges, universities, hospitals and municipalities to procure more local food. As part of this initiative, the ministry has created tools and resources to help businesses grow local food opportunities across the public sector. The latest development is the Broader Public Sector Champion program, which allows institutions to create a baseline, set local food procurement goals and track progress year-over-year.
"The Broader Public Sector Champions Program strengthens our commitment to building on local food purchases. It provides the opportunity for institutions to voluntarily submit and then report back to the province on meeting their local food purchasing targets," said Minister Hardeman.
When we know where our food comes from and support those who grow, harvest and make it, we strengthen our local communities, support a sustainable environment, create jobs and boost the economy.