Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary By Pat Jilesen, OFA Director
Food continues to be a hot topic. And it’s more than just about its nourishment. There’s a constant, and growing, conversation about how food is grown, where it’s sourced, what it’s made from and who is marketing it. Food is dominating our culture, but that’s nothing new for Ontario farmers who work every day to grow and produce fresh, safe and healthy food.
For the third year in a row, the first full week of June is dedicated to celebrating local food in Ontario. Farmers and local food lovers will kick off Ontario’s bounty during Local Food Week from June 6-12. Food events are happening all week so be sure to check out loveontfood.ca for more details. In Ontario we grow and raise 200 different food commodities – that’s a big food basket to celebrate.
When we talk about buying local, it’s not just a popular food trend. Buying local means you are choosing nutritious, fresh food that is grown close to home – and you’re supporting your neighbouring farmers, friends and the local economy.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) takes food seriously too. OFA recently launched Six by Sixteen, a food literacy initiative to teach young people how to plan and prepare six nutritious and locally sourced meals by the time they are 16 years old. OFA, along with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) identified the importance of food literacy in the National Food Strategy, a vision for food and agriculture in Canada that is meant to guide policy development in the food system. Six by Sixteen is intended to strengthen food literacy in our province. OFA strongly believes food literacy contributes to lifelong wellbeing, a sustainable health care system and supports our agri-food sector.
In the spirit of celebrating food and getting teens in the kitchen, OFA recently launched a new Photo My Food social media contest encouraging students to make a meal and enter a photo of it for a chance to win an iPad mini. Visit sixbysixteen.me/photomyfood for contest details and links to for local food inspiration.
On behalf of OFA’s 36,000 farm business members, thanks for supporting local agriculture.