Can you Champion these Champions?

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As the 2012 Ontario Local Food Champions nomination deadline approaches on October 31st, lets review some of last years Champions.<--break-><--break->

Increasingly, Ontarians are discovering the benefits of fresh, local food for our health, economy and environment. Ontario’s once grassroots local food movement is becoming a bigger world reality in settings like hospitals, long term care homes, schools, universities and child care centres.

Insightful innovators are paving the way, many of whom can rightfully be called Ontario’s local food champions. One such champion is Jaco Lokker, Executive Chef at 89 Chestnut Residence, University of Toronto – home to a student population that consumes some 13,000 meals per week, 32 weeks per year. As skilled in business as he is in cooking, Jaco modified the residence’s operations to buy food from local farmers without increasing his costs, showing that more local food coming in doesn’t have to mean more money going out.

Hospitals are another area where local food is being embraced by the community, thanks to people like Leslie Carson, Manager of Food and Nutrition Services at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Guelph. She’s successfully evolved the facility’s menu from mostly outsourced, prepared foods to fresh, locally-sourced meals made from scratch – a big achievement given her $7.33 per day/per resident budget. With an 87% patient and resident food satisfaction rate, Leslie is proving that health care and community-sourced food make for natural partners.

In fact, there are champions cropping up all across the food chain. Read the full 2011 Champions report here.

We are looking forward to reading the nominations for 2012 Ontario Local Food Champions. It's inpiring and motivating to read about all the great things happening here in our very own province.

Anyone interested in nominating themselves, their institution or organization, or a farmer or other supplier, can find the nomination form online at www.greenbelt.ca/nomination.

Just make sure you submit by October 31st!

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