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Helping Producers Promote Local Foods to Drive Consumer Demand

JACK SULLIVAN, Minister’s Office, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

KINGSVILLE: The Ontario government is investing $1 million annually to promote locally grown food and support the economic growth and success of the province’s agri-food sector. Up to $100,000 is available for marketing projects that encourage Ontarians to buy fresh, locally grown and made agri-food products.

“Ontario farmers and food processors grow and make healthy fruits, vegetables, flowers, meat, honey, eggs, dairy, maple syrup, and other processed foods throughout the year. This funding will help boost awareness of all the good things that are grown and made in Ontario,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Making it easier for consumers to recognize and buy local not only helps our farmers, food processors, families and communities, but it also helps to keep Ontario’s food supply chain strong.”

For almost 45 years Foodland Ontario has partnered with agri-food organizations to help Ontario families recognize, prepare and enjoy locally grown foods. This targeted, cost-share funding through the Grassroots Growth Initiative complements and builds on the successful Foodland Ontario program by offering project funding directly to provincial agri-food producer organizations to develop and expand their own local marketing opportunities.

Examples of projects that could be eligible for funding include: •Branded display bins that make it easier for consumers to identify locally grown fruit at grocery stores. •A local print or digital marketing campaign to boost awareness in target markets. •A consumer awareness campaign and launch of a new table grape variety to Ontario consumers.

“Ontario’s fruit and vegetable sector appreciates this new annual investment into local agri-food marketing,” says Bill George, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. “The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of strengthening the production of Ontario grown fruits and vegetables, which will be reinforced with a strong market for locally grown product.”

“The provincial government continues to step up and support the agriculture sector,” said George Gilvesy, Chairman of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers. “The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers would like to thank Minister Thompson for access to funding that will support local greenhouse vegetable products hitting the shelves and homes of more Ontarians. This initiative furthers the Ontario advantage, supporting provincial producers and strengthening nutritious and affordable food for Ontarians.”

Ontario’s local agri-food sector is vital to the sustainability of the province’s food system. The cost-share funding that supports agri-food marketing projects for provincial agri-food producer organizations demonstrates the government’s commitment to support the sector’s growth and to strengthen the food supply chain.

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