Ontario's Government for the People established the final goal of the Local Food Act, 2013. The goal, removing red tape barriers and opening the door for local food in the broader public sector, will make it easier for organizations like colleges, universities, hospitals and municipalities to procure local food.
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman was at Gordon Food Service in Milton to announce a number of tools that can help farmers, food distributors and public sector organizations put more Ontario food on plates.
"For consumers, local food is at the heart of our agri-food industry. Opening the door to the broader public sector for local food procurement is part of our government's plan to strengthen Ontario's local food economy," said Minister Hardeman.
The government is taking several steps to support this goal, including:
- Launching a series of new case study videos, featuring best practice advice from different broader public sector organizations
- Creating a new, interactive, local food hubs map that connects local food businesses to potential new markets
- Providing easy-to-use tracking tools to measure procurement so organizations can set their own goals to increase their use of local food and track their success
- Awarding public sector institutions that achieve their local food targets with certificates of recognition from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Making it easier to use the Foodland Ontario logo to promote local food
Offering government-led how-to webinars for agri-businesses wanting to become a local food vendor
- Continuing to promote local Ontario food through the Foodland Ontario program
- Ensuring the Ontario Food Terminal continues to play a key role in Ontario agriculture by looking at opportunities to make it even better and by making its role in the local food sector stronger.
- Ongoing consultation with farmers, distributors and the broader public sector on red tape barriers in the local food economy.
The government is committed to reducing red tape so local food businesses across the province can flourish. Buying and supporting local food creates jobs and economic growth in communities across the province.
"Our Government for the People knows that Ontario's farmers and food businesses work hard to provide us with the best and safest food in the world all year. We're determined to proudly and loudly promote all the good things we grow in Ontario," said Hardeman.
An important part of the Local Food Act, 2013 is increasing awareness for Ontario food and beverages. This includes celebrating public sector organizations that are increasingly using local food to serve their employees, students and patients. The government will recognize and celebrate public sector organizations that set and achieve their own local food targets.
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