FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 19, 2019
QUEEN’S PARK – The Ontario government is removing red tape barriers and opening the door for local food in the broader public sector, to make it easier for organizations like colleges, universities, hospitals and municipalities to serve local food.
Toby Barrett, MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk, supports Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ernie Hardeman, on a recent announcement to help local food businesses across the province flourish through establishing a new goal under the Local Food Act, 2013.
“I have been an advocate of the Local Food Act for years,” Barrett said. “But red tape has stood in the way of implementing this plan. I look forward to produce from Haldimand-Norfolk being available in public sector institutions.”
“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 Hardeman.
Hardeman announced a number of tools that can help farmers, food distributors and public sector organizations put more Ontario food on our plates. 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
- Looking at options to enhance the farmers market as part of its review of the Ontario Food Terminal
- Ongoing consultation with farmers, distributors and the broader public sector on red tape barriers in the local food economy.
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.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]