From Aramark Canada and Country Heritage Park to Parkhill Meats Limited, On the Move Organics and Zast Foods Corporation, the Ontario government is poised to invest nearly $500,000 in local food projects through the Local Food Investment Fund, according to recent news reports. The government’s goal is to assist in bringing consumers in the province more locally-sourced foods.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs announced in a press release that the investment will boost access to local food while supporting the growth of the province’s agri-food sector. The investment is designated to 19 Ontario local food projects including those named above along with Bell’s Edge Farm, Fairhaven Farm, Exceldor Foods Limited, Grape Growers of Ontario, FoodShare, Huron Business Development Corporation, Ripple Aquaponics, University of Waterloo, and others.
The investment monies will be used by the recipients for various purposes including the testing of a proactive ordering system that commits buyers to secure a specific volume of produce from area farmers one year in advance (Aramark Canada in partnership with Azoti), packaging equipment, extending marketing season and enhancing storage capacity, expansion and improved energy efficiency, promotion of available VQA wines at various retail locations, expansion of ready-to-eat product lines for online home delivery service, launching of foods manufactured using Ontario ingredients, and more.
FoodShare will receive $60,000 to be used to restart the company’s northern food distribution program, designed to alleviate food insecurity through delivery of fresh, affordable produce to remote northern communities. Exceldor Foods will receive nearly $53,000 to implement a new packaging line for fresh ground turkey products to replace their traditional Styrofoam packaging, while working in conjunction with Metro grocery stores in promoting Butterball ground turkey as a healthy protein food raised in Ontario.
The Greenbelt Fund administers the Local Food Investment Fund, working with institutions, businesses, and non-government organizations in an effort to make local farmers the preferred choice of consumers.
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