Ontario’s local food industry is a major contributor to the province’s economy. The demand for local food is on the rise – almost 60 per cent of broader public sector institutions are asking for Ontario food. Ontario food is being used in our BPS sector as an engagement tactic for patients and residents to increase caloric uptake, as an education and advocacy opportunity for students in our schools, and according to new research, local food has the potential to shift the perception of the quality of foods in BPS institutions for the better.
On March 18, 2019, the province announced the third aspirational goal under the Local Food Act: to remove red tape barriers and open the door for local food in the broader public sector.
With almost 65 per cent of broader public sector institutions reporting the ability to track their local food purchases, the province has committed to awarding broader public sector institutions that achieve their local food targets with Certificates of Recognition from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
Launched in June 2019, the Broader Public Sector Champions Program provides the opportunity for institutions to voluntarily submit and then report back to the province on meeting their local food purchasing targets. For 2019-20, the program is operating from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020. To participate, each interested institution must complete a short survey on their purchases and goals by December 31, 2019.
Measuring your baseline and growth of local food purchases may be a new process for your organization. If your institution has never requested a purchasing report (Velocity Report) from your distributors or Group Purchasing Organization before, see Appendix B of the Serving Up Local Manual here for a request letter template to get you started.
The municipally-run long-term care homes in the Regions of Durham and Halton and the City of Hamilton were able to increase their local food purchases collectively by over 23% as a part of the GHFFA’s Serving Up Local project.
For more information on becoming a champion and to complete the survey, please visit http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/bpschampions.htm, or If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.