“Policies from the Field” is a series of six working papers that offer insight and analysis into promising food policies from cities and regions across North America, Europe, and Australia. “Policies from the Field” presents case studies and examples of how Ontario can learn from innovative policies and initiatives from other places in order to transform its food and farming sector.
Watch the webinar presentations of the research.
Ontario: The Case for a Provincial Food Policy Council
Author: Mark Winne
Summary: Ontario faces a range of food system challenges, such as unequal access to affordable, healthy, and locally produced food, soaring health care costs due to unhealthy food environments, and economic problems that make it difficult for farmers to make a living growing food. Food policy councils offer an opportunity to address problems by building solutions collaboratively. Bringing together stakeholders to harness the power of good food ideas, food policy councils can create policies, programs, and regulations that foster healthy communities and a strong and vibrant food and farming sector.
Possibilities for Local Food Procurement in Ontario
Author: Kyra Bell-Pasht
Summary: Ontario is affected by many trade agreements that potentially restrict its ability to enact public procurement measures that discriminate in favour of local food. This paper demonstrates possibilities for local food procurement policies in Ontario. It examines the limitations to and exceptions within key trade agreements that affect Ontario and reviews public procurement measures adopted by jurisdictions subject to similar trade agreement restrictions, such as the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, and Nova Scotia.
Summary: A wide range of policies can influence health, ranging from employment and education strategies to promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles. This paper offers examples from Finland, South Australia, and the World Health Organization to illustrate how innovative thinking around health can be used to increase the health of the population while also reducing health care costs.
Summary: Land use planning can improve access to local food. This paper examines policies that have potential to bring local food into all communities, improving health outcomes and building local economies. Three promising land use policies from other jurisdictions include: (1) comprehensive planning for food; (2) making healthy food available in all neighbourhoods; and (3) supporting urban and peri-urban agriculture.
Summary: The future of farming in Ontario depends on agricultural land remaining in production. To achieve this, both development pressure and the economic viability of farming must be addressed. This paper presents four types of policy tools in place in other jurisdictions that hold promise for agricultural land preservation in Ontario. They include: (1) planning and zoning for agricultural protection; (2) transfer of development rights; (3) tax assistance to promote value-added operations; and (4) incentivizing agricultural investment and redevelopment.
Summary: The financing needs of small farm start ups and restructuring farm businesses are often not met by the current system of debt finance. To foster the development of a local food system, strategies need to be developed to provide capital to the sector. This paper presents an overview of the barriers and opportunities for financing Ontario food and agricultural business, followed by four types of farm financing programs from other jurisdictions which offer models for Ontario. These financing programs include: (1) using community investment to fill the financing gap; (2) supporting social purpose businesses; (3) enabling institutional impact investing; and (4) tax credits to support food and farming.