Local Food Infrastructure

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Ontario has lost critical infrastructure to support the local food economy. Despite growing consumer interest in locally grown food and seasonality, Ontario’s fruit, vegetable and meat processing industries are in decline. A robust food and agriculture sector is essential to Ontario’s economy and culture. The issue of infrastructure is central to rebuilding the middle of the food system.

Photo by Laura Berman – www.greenfusephotos.com

A recent review of provincial food policies concluded that investing in local food infrastructure must become a priority if we are to increase the market share for local food and revitalize agricultural communities.

“While many provinces have established programs to market local food…Few provinces have invested in the infrastructure necessary for local food production and consumption such as storage and distribution…There remains opportunity for provincial governments to promote the development of local agri-food industries, a process that would result in local job creation and rural development”
Manitoba Food Charter 2009, p 53

Sustain Ontario is working to strengthen local food economies at the regional and provincial levels.

Building the Infrastructure for Local Food:
Creating Private/Public Partnerships

On April 30 and May 1, 2009, more than 100 people representing diverse agri-food sectors met to explore the challenges and opportunities for building local food infrastructure in Ontario. These proceedings, based on a recorded transcription, document the conference presentations and the critical questions and ideas raised.

You are invited to a follow up conference on April 16, 2010 at the North York Civic Centre to develop an action plan to build local food infrastructure.

Event Sponsors:

Caledon Countryside Alliance, Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee, Informa Market Research, Local Food Plus, Toronto Economic Development, Toronto Food Policy Council, Sodexo Canada, and Sustain Ontario.

Download the proceedings from the May 30/April 1, 2009 conference here and check out the video from the event below.
Final proceedings