Celebrating Local Ontario Foods in Broader Public Sector Institutions
On December 15th, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund and the first round of grantees (I’d like to tell you who they are now, but we’re saving that for 2011), celebrated bringing more local Ontario and Greenbelt foods into Broader Public Sector Institutions at the International Centre in Toronto. This ‘potluck’ style lunch brought together these industry change-makers to collaborate and share experiences. Excitement was definitely in the air and the aromas of Ontario foods tantalized our taste buds.
The spotlight of this lunch was shared with the food. All local and from Ontario, the smorgasbord featured salads, sausages, chicken, fish and cheese. Preparing the menu was Chef Joe Levesque of the International Centre. As a dedicated advocate of local Ontario foods, Chef Levesque talked about his journey to incorporate more local foods into the menus he creates. He told us that this year he started using local, Ontario goat cheese, incidentally he mentioned that he goes through 3,000 lbs. of goat cheese a year. It is through shifts like this at large volume food preparation facilities that will help instigate the change in the value-chain.
When you think about the number of meals that Broader Public Sector Institutions serve every year and the small shifts that can be made to introduce more local foods into existing menus, moving the meter on local food procurement in BPS institutions doesn’t seem that daunting. In fact, it makes more sense that we DO incorporate more local foods. Hospitals in Ontario serve approximately 155 million meals a year, if all of those meals could incorporate Ontario vegetables and protein, a huge step forward would be made in ensuring our own Ontario food is consumed.
Why shouldn’t our children, parents and hospital patients have the option to eat local? It’s good for the environment, economy and it’s healthy. The Broader Public Sector Investment Fund is working to make this a reality. With the first round of funding complete our team is looking forward to announcing our new grantees and the second round of applications in the New Year.
Visit www.ontariofresh.ca for information about the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund and the process for the second round of funding.
Broader Public Sector Investment Fund