I really love good news.
In 2010, the Greenbelt Fund was created as a non-profit organization to help encourage the consumption of local food in and around the Greenbelt. Since its launch, the Fund has supported dozens of projects, increasing the amount of local food purchased across the province. With the Province’s support, the Greenbelt Fund has delivered results: for every $1 invested, we’ve seen a return of $13 worth of purchases of Ontario-grown food! That’s putting more local food on Ontarians’ plates that was previously imported.
Last week, the Province announced they would be providing $6 million over three years to continue the Fund’s work increasing sales of local food, making it more widely available and building awareness of the variety of food grown and produced in Ontario.
This is a big deal, and at the Greenbelt Fund, it’s a celebration.
As we stood at Fresh City Farms, Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Jeff Leal expressed the importance of supporting our farmers, sustaining a growing economy, and continuing to invest in and create jobs. Standing within a farm that provides Ontarians with fresh, organically grown food, the locale was very fitting.
The Fund has a proven track record of success. For every grant by the Fund there has been an average increase of $1,007,908 in local food sales. And more than 200,000 university students are eating more local food.
From left to right: Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne; Fresh City Farms' Chen Goel, Hannah Hunter, Paula Reynolds, Kim Keitner, and Ran Goel; Minister of Agriculture Jeff Leal and Burkhard Mausberg.
Through Ontariofresh.ca we have brought Ontario’s marketplace online, networking more than 2,500 buyers, sellers, and processors, enabling them to connect with others across the province. By rethinking the path to our plates, there is more Ontario-grown food, and Ontarians are listening.
This funding will help encourage consumption of the delicious local food grown by Ontarians. It will support and help bring food into more public sector institutions, including schools and hospitals. It will improve food literacy and access to local food. And overall, it will showcase the health benefits of our thriving agricultural sector, supporting an integral investment for the Greenbelt.
With a celebration like this, it's time to cheer local food.