The Government of Ontario, under the leadership of Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food Kathleen Wynne, recently introduced Bill 36 – An Act to Enact the Local Food Act (2013). The aim of Bill 36 is to foster resilient local food systems throughout Ontario in addition to increasing awareness of and encouraging the development of new markets for local food.
As previously stated, Sustain Ontario and its members welcome the reintroduction of the Local Food Act and believe that such legislation is vital to ensuring an equitable, ecological, sustainable, and prosperous food system.
A diverse array of organizations, including Sustain Ontario, have come together to highlight certain key areas that should be emphasized in further developing and implementing local food policy. These key areas are outlined in a letter addressed to Premier Wynne and signed by representatives of those organizations (view full letter by clicking image at beginning of post).
Beyond promoting awareness of local food and improving procurement, signatories believe that in order to achieve its full potential in making Ontario a leader in developing sustainable and healthy food systems, the Local Food Act and/or subsequent regulations or programming should include the following strategies and goals:
- Improve the basic food literacy of all Ontarians through nutrition and food preparation programming, including food-related skills training within the Ontario school system.
- Address the issue of food access and the ability of Ontario residents to procure nutritious and culturally acceptable foods at all times.
- Encompass regional economic development opportunities and strengthen Ontario’s diverse farming and agricultural sectors.
- Encourage producers and processors toward environmentally sustainable practices so that the local food sector can be strengthened in both the immediate and long-term future.
Sustain Ontario encourages its members as well as organizations with similar goals to use the letter’s text and send their own messages to the Premier encouraging continued progress on local food policy. The signatories believe that Bill 36 can strengthen Ontario’s food and farming sectors and look forward to working Premier Wynne in bringing its goals to fruition.
For more information on the purpose and significance of a Local Food Act for Ontario, as well as specific reccomendations from Sustain Ontario in developing such policy, please visit our Good Food Policies page.