Local Food Act Ontario 2013.

Photo by smith_cl9 | flickr.com

Photo by smith_cl9 | flickr.com

A Local Food Act has been re-introduced to legislation in Ontario this past March. The new act focuses on local farmers and increasing Ontarians’ understanding of local food. The purpose of the act aims to strengthen local food economies, as well as increasing awareness and developing new markets. Currently, Ontario has a local food system that is not utilized to its full potential. All of the required resources to increase the profitability of the industry are available in Ontario, and the right action plan can be used to strengthen the current food system and the connections between communities and farmers. The vision purposed for achieving a successful food system branches from strong collaboration among stakeholders who share a common understanding of what is required. This understanding among all involved parties to increase the awareness and further develop the economy of local food is a step in the right direction.  

So far, the act has been well received within the agricultural community. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture said the new act is breaking “new ground” for the province. As part of the plan to increase community involvement the week before Thanksgiving every year, this time is now being proclaimed as Local Food Week. Incorporating local food into just public sector organizations will have a significant impact on Ontario’s local food economy. This increased demand for local food will help farmers and everyone in the local supply chain produce more and strengthen their connections. With the increased demand, local farmers will be eager to produce more. 

In Ontario, we are generally very isolated from the origins of our food. Farmers markets are present but not always accessible or widely known. There are many organizations attempting to increase consumption of local foods and reconnect people with where their food comes from. The demand for local food is increasing, and it is beneficial that the provincial government has noticed this.  The 2013 Local Food Act is a great foundation for helping Ontario focus locally; the province is resource rich and has the capacity to produce local food initiatives. This Act will help residents build stronger connections with farmers and be aware of how food gets to their plates.

Andrea Moscoe