Ontario's Local Food Champions 2012: Cultivating Change in the Broader Public Sector

Mar 15, 2021   •   Local Food & Drink , Food & Farming

The local food movement is growing in the Broader Public Sector (BPS). Ontario's Local Food Champions 2012: Cultivating Changing in the Broader Public Sector profiles successful initiatives focused on getting more local food into the BPS. Each one resulted in many positive impacts: sales and volumes of Ontario food served in institutions have increased, patient satisfaction and kitchen staff morale are on the rise, and students are fast becoming a new generation of local-friendly consumers

Highlights include:

The School Food Action Coalition: Peel District School Board, Chartwells, Peel Public Health, and EcoSource held special local food outreach events at three pilot schools, educated cafeteria staff about local food through training and farm visits, and developed promotional materials to help identify locally sourced menu items at 200 schools.

The Nutrition Group at St. Joseph's Health System: Group Purchasing Organization (SJHS-GPO) and My Sustainable Canada sourced Ontario food for its 28 healthcare facilities by including local food language in their Requests for Proposals, proving that local can be sourced through traditional channels and be cost-neutral, and organizing workshops with suppliers and hospitals. These initiatives led to a 15% increase in local food purchased by health care institutions, representing $670,000.

- Gordon Food Service Ontario (GFS) created a dedicated team to implement their local food strategy, resulting in bringing more local food into Ontario's public institutions with GFS distributing upwards of over 800 local products. The expanded breadth of local products GFS distributed in 2011 boosted sales nearly 10% over 2010, representing $1.6 million

- Don's Produce has succeeded in building and maintaining customer satisfaction with 47 BPS institutions and growing the viability of 35 local producer partners. Don's initiatives include providing seasonal availability charts for local products to help chefs and foodservice managers plan their menus more efficiently as well as arranging visits and tours where BPS chefs can meet producers.

- Hospitality Services at the University of Guelph created a local food strategy with goals to support local farmers directly. This initiative engaged the Elmira Produce Auction Co-operative (EPAC) and educated consumers both on and off campus about the benefits of buying local food. The department's produce purchases have risen to 45% local in season, and EPAC is selling twice the produce to the University over 2009.

Read the full report here: