The Liberals have included several food and farming-related items in their recently released platform. In addition to a few items released in their 2014 Budget (i.e., streamlining biogas digester approvals and implementing the farmer tax credit for donations to food banks) the Liberals have included a number of plans in their election platform that affect the food and farming community.
These plans include:
1) $40 million a year to food processing
- $40 million/year to a food processing stream under the Jobs and Prosperity Fund.
2) Increased Funding for Student Nutrition Programs
- Expand Student Nutrition Program budget from $20 million annually to $32 million a year by 2016-17.
- This will include “340 new breakfast programs for an additional 56,000 children…”
3) Farms Forever program
- Announced last week, the plan proposes to increase support for the protection of prime agricultural land from development through the creation of agricultural easements.
- Mentions support for young farmers
4) Enhance the Greenbelt
- Expand outer boundary over next 6 years.
- Ensure the Greenbelt Act is meeting the goals of protecting ecologically sensitive and agricultural lands.
5) Work with agriculture sector to tackle algae problem in Great Lakes by reducing nutrient runoff.
6) Support Risk Management Programs
- Will continue to work with the federal government on business risk management through the Growing Forward 2 initiative, and will also support farmers through the Provincial Risk Management Program
7) Investing in and Promoting Local Food
- Implemented in 2013, the Local Food Fund will invest $30 million over next 3 years
8) Supporting a Sustainable Horseracing Industry
- Will invest $ 500 million over the next 5 years
9) Help Protect Pollinators and Bees
- Will implement strategies to mitigate impacts of neonicotinoid-treated seeds on bee colonies
- Will introduce an insurance program to help beekeepers recover from acute bee losses.
10) Support Agricultural Expansion in the North
- Will further explore expansion of cash cropping, dairy, and beef industries
- Will assess possibility of Crown land being made available to farmers
Does this platform coincide with your vision for the future of healthy and local food and farming in Ontario? Let us know your thoughts.