Ontario's Local Food Strategy

Ontario is a strong supporter of local food production and sales. Since 2003, the province has invested more than $160 million in initiatives and projects that help promote and celebrate the good things that are grown, harvested and made in Ontario.

The Ontario government has consulted with farmers, processors, consumers, retailers, foodservice providers and not-for-profit organizations to discuss local food opportunities and challenges.

Based on those consultations, the province developed a multipronged local food strategy, with a clear vision, mission and goals focused on increasing the consumption of local food by bringing more local food to the places where Ontarians shop and eat.

Through a number of ongoing activities, including the Local Food Act, 2013, the government is aiming to:

  1. increase consumer awareness and education,
  2. improve access to local food, and
  3. ensure that there is sufficient supply to meet demand.

Vision: To have more Ontario consumers enjoying local food more often - and in more places.

Mission: To increase the consumption of local food in Ontario.

Goals:

  • Ontario consumers are aware of, value and choose more local foods.
  • Local food is identifiable and widely available through a range of distribution channels.
  • Ontario's agri-food sector is competitive, productive and responsive to consumer demand.

Local Food Act, 2013

The Local Food Act, 2013 is the centrepiece of the province's local food strategy.

In November 2013, Ontario passed Bill 36, the Local Food Act, 2013 to help foster successful and resilient local food economies and systems in Ontario, help increase awareness of local food in Ontario, including the diversity of local food, and develop new markets for local food.

This legislation, the first of its kind in Canada - is designed to help build Ontario's economy, create more jobs and expand the agri-food sector - by making more local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants throughout the province.

The Act does this, in part, through the following initiatives:

  • Helping increase access to local food, improves food literacy in respect of local food, and encourages increased use of local food by public sector organizations, by requiring the Minister to establish aspirational local food goals or targets in consultation with organizations that have an interest.
  • Proclaiming the first week of June each year as Local Food Week.
  • Amending the Taxation Act, 2007 to create a non-refundable tax credit of 25 per cent for farmers who donate their agricultural products to eligible community food programs such as food banks.
  • Requiring the Minister to prepare an annual report that summarizes the government's activities in respect of local food.

Tracking Progress

The ministry is committed to measuring progress on goals or targets established under the Local Food Act, 2013.

We recognizes the excellent work being done by organizations and associations to advance local food in the province and want to leverage these activities to continue the momentum of working toward the objectives of the Local Food Act, 2013.

We will continue to work in collaboration with stakeholders to establish baseline performance indicators for any goals or targets.

Many of these collaborative efforts and activities, along with other key local food initiatives are reflected in Ontario's first Local Food Report: 2014-15 (PDF Version - 757 KB), which was launched on June 4, 2015.

Read Bill 36, Local Food Act, 2013

Link to new local food literacy goals

Ontario Releases First Annual Local Food Report

OMAFRA Local Food Supports

The Local Food Act, 2013 is one part of the local food strategy. OMAFRA continues to support local food through additional initiatives and programs, such as:

Additional Ontario Government Local Food Supports

Partnerships and collaboration across the public sector are key to establishing strong local food systems in Ontario. Additional government supports include:

Local Food News and Successes


Premier Wynne promotes local food

Premier Wynne visits the Ontario Food Terminal

 

Premier Wynne attends farm tour and roundtable discussion hosted by Renfrew County.

 

Premier Wynne visits the St. Catherines Farmers' Market

 

Premier Wynne celebrates local food at the City of Toronto's launch of its new Kid-Approved Local Food Recipe Book.


Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 4 November 2013
Last Reviewed: 17 August 2015