Toronto – A new bill from the Ontario government will promote and support local farmers and the 200 agricultural commodities they produce.
The province says, if it is passed, the Local Food Act will:
• Support one of the province’s leading industries, one that contributes more than $33 billion to the economy each year and employs more than 700,000 Ontarians.
• Promote and celebrate the local things Ontarians grow, make, serve, sell or eat.
• Provide a framework for developing goals and targets around the production, processing, distribution, sales and marketing of Ontario food.
The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP) welcomed the news. The AOFP says the bill could be the best way to increase consumption of foods that are grown in the province.
“The food and beverage processing industry has not only survived, but thrived, during the economic downturn of the last several years,” says Craig Richardson, chairman of AOFP.
“Ontario has long looked to the automotive industry to fuel the provincial economy, but it is clear that food and beverage processing is the economic engine that drives it.”
The AOFP also released a report recently that showed that Ontario food and beverage manufacturers are the largest customers of Ontario’s farmers, purchasing approximately 65 per cent of what they produce.
Some critics of the bill say it’s a move to appease some in the rural community who are unhappy with the Ontario government, reports the TorontoSun.com.
The Liberals lost several ridings to anti-wind farm sentiment in the 2011 election and have angered the horse racing industry when the province pulled the plug on a revenue-sharing deal.