Promoting Local Food in Recent Budget Announcement

Environment Hamilton/Hamilton Eat Local Applauds Provincial Push to Promote Ontario Food Products -- Visit Dilly's "Ontario Only" Local Food Stand at the Downtown Hamilton Farmers' Market

April 2, 2009 – Hamilton, ON: More Ontario foods will be available in our public institutions thanks to an increase in funding announced by the provincial government as part of the 2009 budget.

The brief statement, released by Ontario’s Ministry of Finance has allocated $8 million annually starting in 2009-2010 for the promotion of Ontario food products to the broader public sector including hospitals and schools. Environment Hamilton / Hamilton Eat Local views this initiative as part of a broader movement by our government. In 2004, the provincial government unveiled “Ontario Buys” a program that oversees the reduction of public sector costs through local procurement policies and redirects those savings to front line costs. To date, Ontario Buys reports that $45 million dollars have been
redirected to front line services. The recent budget announcement is another step in the right direction.

Karen Burson, Project Manager for Hamilton Eat Local, applauds the government’s decision to promote Ontario food products: “Support for our local farmers and producers leads to the creation of more green jobs in our community”. This budget announcement also comes at a time when the City of Hamilton, like many other urban centres, is experiencing a steady decrease in the number of regional farms. “We need to solidify the link between farmers and public institutions so that farmers have assured markets and so that people in our community have access to safe, local food. By promoting local food procurement policies, we also create the potential to improve the viability of Hamilton area farms, thus creating a more sustainable rural economy.”

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