By Vanessa Ling Yu
As of Friday, May 10th, 2013, Canadians from coast to coast can suddenly choose from more “local” food options since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced an interim policy on its website in an effort to “modernize its food labeling approach.” The shift marks CFIA’s recognition of an “approach that is outdated,” having originated back in 1974, which “does not reflect current food production practices or consumer needs and expectations.” The CFIA’s previous policy had restricted the use of the terms “local” or “locally grown” to food originating within a 50 km radius of the place where it was sold, or food originating from within the same local government unit or adjacent government unit.
The following few weeks will involve a review of food labelling regulations, guidelines and policies including claims such as “local,” with input from consumers, industry and other stakeholders. Meanwhile, claims such as “local” and related qualifiers will remain voluntary and subject to regulations outlined in the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, but may for now go so far as to include:
- “food produced in the province or territory in which it is sold,” or
- “food sold across provincial borders within 50 km of the originating province or territory”
Read more »
The Ontario Farm to School Challenge is back for its second round – is your school getting involved? Don’t miss your chance to support Ontario food, educate your students, and have the chance to win $350 to put toward your school’s kitchen!
Across Ontario, schools are being challenged to connect students of all ages with fresh, locally grown foods bringing the ‘farm’ to their cafeterias, student nutrition programs, hospitality and culinary arts programs and special events.
We’re now half way through the challenge but there’s still time to get involved. For the whole month of May, teachers can let us know how they incorporated Ontario foods into their school food program by simply tweeting at us @ONFarm2School, posting to our Facebook page, or sending us an email. Read more »
Sustain Ontario is thrilled to announce our newest campaign in support of Ontario’s proposed Local Food Act. As we’ve mentioned previously, the Local Food Act is an initiative we strongly support and are following closely. Although we have lent our voice to the plan to enhance Ontario’s food economy and commit to a more sustainable food system, the bill has yet to be officially passed. Bill 36 is currently in its second reading debate in the Ontario Legislature and requires broad, cross-party support before it can come into effect.
Here’s where you come in. We hope that you will take the time to visit our VoteON Food & Farming website and let your local MPP know you support local food by sending them an e-mail. We’ve pre-crafted the letter for you so that it is easy and painless to fill out. You just need to fill in your name and email, and select your riding. The letter is also completely customizable, allowing you to send a personalized message to your provincial representative that emphasizes your individual reasons for supporting the Local Food Act.
Among other great changes to the province’s food system, the Local Food Act will:
- Foster successful and resilient local food economies and systems throughout Ontario;
- Increase awareness of local food in Ontario, including the diversity of local food;
- Encourage the development of new markets for local food.
We hope you will join Sustain Ontario in supporting a greener, healthier, and more prosperous Ontario.
All information below from the NFU:
Action Alert – Public Input on Regulations Amending the Seeds Regulations, Canada Gazette Part 1 VOL. 147, NO. 10 — MARCH 9, 2013
Deadline for submissions — May 23, 2013
The National Farmers Union is calling upon all concerned farmers and allies to submit comments about significant regulatory changes to Seed Variety Registration.
The proposed regulatory change has been posted in the Canada Gazette Part 1 and will be passed into law as is unless large numbers of citizens make their opposition known. Read more »
Our Food, Farms, Fish and Finance forum is just over two weeks away! Join us as we explore the delicious, diverse and delicate potential for social finance and impact investing in our food system. Have you registered yet? If you can’t make it, register to watch a live webcast of Saturday’s panel discussion and The Fishbowl: A focus on farms and fish initiatives.
Michael Shuman will be delivering the keynote lecture, “Local Dollars, Local Sense: 12 Cutting-Edge Tools to Finance the Local Food Revolution”, as part of the forum on Saturday, May 25, at 7 p.m. at Innis Town Hall.
Michael is director of research for Cutting Edge Capital, and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. He is a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and author of The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses are Beating the Global Competition.
The forum, over Saturday, May 25 & Sunday, May 26, will connect social finance leaders with investors and entrepreneurs to build a stronger food economy and sustainable food system. This is an action-oriented forum with opportunities to learn from leaders in the field and participate in strategic conversations to move key issues forward.
For more information and registration please visit our website here, and join the Facebook event. You may also click on the attached poster.
Sustain Ontario, the Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming, is updating its membership model to enable a stronger foundation on which to build on its past activities and strengthen its ability to:
1. Provide a strong voice for policy advice and advocacy to inform government and other actors in the movement to transform the food system, based on its membership’s work, views and interests.
2. Maintain a learning environment where Alliance members can connect and develop skills with one another and from leading-edge work happening in other jurisdictions.
3. Act as a resource and aggregator of thought, information, views and analysis on building a healthy, equitable, ecological and financially viable food system in Ontario.
As part of this strengthening of our Alliance, Sustain Ontario will be launching a Membership and Supporter Renewal Campaign for the balance of 2013.
Sustain Ontario will be looking for Members and Supporters to advance the Alliance’s work by agreeing to its vision and mission, continuing to commit time, energy and enthusiasm and also financial support from Members and Supporters for the first time. This financial support will be a critical component of a financial sustainability plan to keep the Alliance growing both in Members and Supporters and also in influence.
The Steering and Advisory Committee will also be revitalized at the Sustain Ontario Biennial General Meeting and Advisory Committee meeting in November 2013.
Stay tuned for more details shortly.