Ontario’s Local Food Week is here from June 3rd – 9th, 2020! This week we emphasize the importance of Ontario’s hardworking farmers, food processors, organizations and agri-sector workers who are committed to providing Ontarians with access to a steady, reliable supply of fresh local food products. With the vast array of food options available, we can remain confident that our agriculture and agri-food industry continues to be resilient and innovative.
OMAFRA’s Agriculture Economic Development Resource Guide for Communities notes that Ontario’s agri-food sector is one of the province’s largest economic contributors. In 2016, over $37 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) was contributed to Ontario’s economy from the agri-sector with the provision of over 800,000 jobs – roughly 12% of total provincial employment. This means that one in eight Ontarians are agri-sector workers!
A large contributor to our agri-sector generating significant economic activity is the primary production of livestock, crops and horticulture in rural communities. These farm businesses supply local food to processors, purchase crop inputs and agricultural services, and inspire entrepreneurship and innovation. The agri-business sector promotes existing productivity by increasing or diversifying local production, adding value to existing production through processing or preserving, and identifying new connections in the local value chain.
So, why buy local? Foodland has offered the following reasons as to why you should consider purchasing local food products this season and year-round.
- It supports our communities and our economy. Choosing to purchase local food helps to create and retain jobs in the agri-sector and promote economic growth in Ontario. It feels good when you can be confident where and how your food is grown.
- It is environmentally sustainable. Ontario farmers take pride in being good stewards of the land, helping to preserve it for future generations. Buying local also means your food comes from closer to home, and thus is fresh and safe.
- It’s nutritious and delicious. Adding nutritious Ontario foods fruits and vegetables to your diet will directly contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
To access additional resources from FoodLand including an Availability Guide of which Ontario fruits and vegetables are in season, visit their webpage: https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/foodland-ontario
To read more about agriculture as an economic development opportunity, access OMAFRA’s Agriculture Economic Development Resource Guide for Communities: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/landuse/aed.pdf