Dollars & Sense: Opportunities to Strengthen Southern Ontario’s Food System -
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Dollars & Sense: Opportunities to Strengthen Southern Ontario's Food System -
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This report, produced in partnership with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Metcalf Foundation, looks at opportunities to grow Ontario's $63 billion food system. Encompassing the first research of its kind in Canada, it highlights the agri-food sector's significant contributions to the provincial economy. It also assesses how increasing regional food production and distribution affects the larger food system, including businesses that supply farmers, food processors, and distributors, as well as food retailers and food service operators. Key findings include:
- More than half of southern Ontario’s imported food products could be produced within the province.
- If local production expanded to replace 10% of the top 10 fruit and vegetable imports, the Ontario economy would gain close to a quarter of a billion dollars in GDP and 3,400 full-time jobs.
- When Ontarians adopt a healthier diet, there is higher consumer demand for fruits, vegetables, and some grains. For example, if consumers moved to an ideal level of oat consumption in their diets, 241 jobs would be created and the province’s GDP would grow by more than $14.2 million.
The report makes the case for investing in the development of regional food systems and providing the supportive regulatory environment, infrastructure, and distribution networks required for these systems to flourish. We hope that this research will inform and stimulate public discussion, inspire policy change, and increase investment in regional food systems in Ontario and beyond.