Ontario has launched its first-ever Local Food Report, which measures the province’s progress in bringing local food to more tables across the province.
In 2013, Ontario passed the Local Food Act, 2013 which aims to increase awareness of local food, nurture local food markets and foster vibrant food-based economies across the province. The Act also commits to an annual report on the province’s local food activities, goals and accomplishments.
The first ever Local Food Report highlights some of the actions taken by the province and the agri-food sector to promote and celebrate local food this year, including:
- Setting food literacy goals to increase the number of Ontarians who know what local foods are available, who know how and where to obtain local foods and who know how to prepare meals made with local food.
- Providing a tax credit to farmers for making food donations to food banks and student nutrition programs.
- Piloting a fundraising initiative that helps the province’s schools to fundraise by selling Ontario-grown fruits and vegetables to families.
- Distributing more than 800,000 copies of Foodland Ontario’s local food recipe calendar in 2014.
The inaugural report will help the province track future progress in meeting its local food goals.
Supporting local food and strengthening the province’s agri-food sector is part of the government’s economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest public infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- The Local Food Act, 2013, is part of a broader strategy intended to increase demand for Ontario food, creating more jobs and boosting the agri-food industry’s contributions to the economy.
- Ontario’s agri-food sector supports farmers, communities and the economy which employs more than 780,000 Ontarians and contributes over $34 billion to the province’s economy.To raise awareness of local food, the Local Food Act proclaims the first week of June each year as Local Food Week.
- For more than 38 years, Foodland Ontario has connected with families on how to recognize, prepare and love local foods.
“The Local Food Report marks a major milestone for Ontario’s agri-food sector. The launch of this report helps us benchmark where our industry is and track future progress to better guide our efforts as we work to ensure that more Ontarians are able to identify, access and prepare Ontario-grown food.”
— Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
“The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is pleased to have today’s release of the Local Food Report illustrate to the public the results of a strengthening local food industry spurred on by the Local Food Act. This is a positive step forward in showcasing collaborative efforts of the agri-food sector to promote products raised, grown and served right here in Ontario.”
— Don McCabe, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
“The Local Food Act and the release of its Local Food Report today is a welcome guiding light in our outreach to Ontario’s next generation of food providers. With OMAFRA’s important support, Ontario Agri-Food Education continues its 25 year legacy of agri-food literacy to help reach these important goals.”
— Colleen Smith, Executive Director, Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs