Greenbelt Fund aims to restructure regional food distribution system with GTA pilot project

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Author: Kathleen Rendek

Posted: October 4, 2013

Categories: Food in the News / Food Strategies / GoodFoodBites / Local Procurement / News from Sustain Members

A pilot project coordinated by the Greenbelt Fund, with funding from the J.W. McConnell Foundation and the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation, hopes to restructure the Ontario food distribution system in an effort to connect regional food hubs with mainstream food distribution and services.

Officially launched at a half day symposium in January, the Regional Food Distribution Pilot Project aims to overcome the distribution barriers between small-scale farmers and large-scale food service companies found in Ontario’s food system.   The goal is to create new opportunities for small farmers while catering to the desires of local-food consumers and food retailers.  Noting the project’s motivation and potential for success, the Greenbelt Fund argues that food suppliers have been showing a growing interest in these types of initiatives as consumers increasingly support “the health, social, economic, and environmental benefits that come with the choice of buying local food”.

As presented in the pilot’s summary, 100km Foods Inc.  (established in 2008) sources local produce from farmers which is then accessed and purchased by Aramark (a mainstream food coordinator for Canadian retail and services), using their existing food distribution contract with Sysco.  As argued by the Greenbelt Fund, “the result will be a network of distribution points that are inter-connected, with businesses working collaboratively to get food from farms to customers”.


This pilot will cater to the Greater Toronto Area, however if successful, the Greenbelt Fund plans to set up similar networks in other areas of the province.

For more information on food hubs and regional distribution systems consider reading  The Popularity and Potential of Regional Food Hubs, previously featured on our website.