Ontario Investing $6 Million to Bring More Local Food to the Table
Support of Greenbelt Fund Will Encourage Consumption of Ontario-grown Food
Ontario is providing $6 million over three years to increase sales of local food by making it more widely available and building awareness of the variety of food grown and produced in Ontario.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced this investment today, during Ontario Agriculture Week, while visiting Fresh City Farms in Toronto's Downsview Park. The government will provide the funding to the Greenbelt Fund, a non-profit organization that helps encourage consumption of local food in the Greenbelt and across Ontario.
The investment announced today will support:
- Projects for institutions in the broader public sector, including schools and hospitals, to buy and use more Ontario foods
- Marketing activities, such as workshops and advertising in print and trade media, to celebrate local food champions for their success, leadership and innovation
- Projects to improve food literacy and access to local food
- New tools on Ontariofresh.ca, the Greenbelt Fund's online platform, to help connect local food buyers and sellers.
The economic and health benefits of a thriving agriculture sector and locally produced food were two of the reasons that led the province to create the Greenbelt in 2005. The Greenbelt permanently protects almost 2 million acres of environmentally sensitive land and farm land in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) from urban development. As the GTHA continues to grow, the government is committed to enhancing and expanding the Greenbelt to protect this resource, helping to ensure that Ontario continues to grow fresh food to be served at tables across the province and around the world.
Supporting local food, the agri-food sector and Ontario's Greenbelt is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- Agri-food is one of Ontario’s key economic sectors, contributing $34.8 billion to the GDP and supporting 780,000 jobs — about one in every nine jobs in the province.
- Since 2003, Ontario has invested about $170 million in local food initiatives.
- Ontario’s Greenbelt, the largest permanently protected Greenbelt in the world, is home to more than 5,500 farms.
- This year, Ontario Agriculture Week runs from October 5 to 11.
“Agri-food is one of Ontario’s great success stories. Our farmers produce an extraordinary variety of fresh, local food that helps make Ontario a great place to live. This investment will help sustain the vibrant farm economy we are so proud of — while helping more people enjoy fresh, local food.”
“When we invest in projects that support Ontario’s agri-food sector, we are helping strengthen our communities, create jobs and boost our economy. The broader public sector spends an estimated $745 million on food per year. Expanding local food purchases by our municipalities, hospitals, long-term care homes, schools, colleges and universities represents a significant opportunity for our farmers and food processors and strengthens Ontario's food systems.”
“In partnership with the Province, the Greenbelt Fund delivers results: for every $1 invested, we’ve seen a return of $13 worth of purchases of Ontario-grown food. We’re pleased to build on this momentum and continue making strategic investments to grow our economy.”