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Fall 2008: Council says “Yes!” to Local Food and Farmers

On October 30, 2008 City Council agreed to develop a plan to achieve an aggressive 50% local food purchasing target as soon as possible!  It is now the policy of the City to progressively increase the percentage of local food it buys for its daycares, shelters and seniors’ homes.

This is a huge step forward for the environment, for the Greenbelt and for Ontario’s farmers. This victory would not have been possible without the clear message sent by more than 2,000 Torontonians who signed our petition and postcards telling Councillors to Avoid Jet-Lagged Food and Buy Local First!

 

 

The Successful Fall 2008 Component of the Local and Sustainable Food Procurement Campaign

 

The City of Toronto first agreed to create a local food procurement policy when it unanimously approved the city's Smog and Climate Change plan in July 2007.

The City spends $11 million per year on food for its daycares, shelters, and seniors' homes. On October 21st 2008 the City’s Government Management Committee recommended a local food procurement policy to Council. While this plan was a baby step forward, it fell short of the expectations of the more than 2,000 Torontonians who signed our petition in support of local sustainable food policy.

We needed your help to encourage this council to approve the policy and you came through. On October 30th City Council agreed to develop a plan to achieve an
aggressive 50% local food purchasing target as soon as possible! 

Here’s why this policy matters:

1. Local food doesn’t travel nearly as far as imports which dramatically reduce greenhouse gas and smog emissions from transportation.

2. Local food is fresher and tastes better because it’s harvested when it’s ripe rather than when it needs to be shipped.

3. Buying local food supports our farming neighbours; providing a market for their products helps the regional economy by keeping our dollars at home.

4. Strong local farms help preserve precious agricultural land in the Greenbelt and surrounding areas which we will increasingly rely on as the global food crisis deepens.

5. It will fulfill a key commitment made in the City’s unanimously adopted smog and climate change plan.

Such a simple action has so many benefits. In contrast, not buying local harms us by increasing our vulnerabity to: global warming, high energy costs, and heightened food insecurity as farmers in southern Ontario sell their land because they can’t make a living.

 

 

How TEA members and Torontonians Took Action!
Toronto's Youngest Activists say - Buy Local First!Toronto’s youngest activists deliver a message to City Councillors: “Buy Local Food First!”

 

You contacted your Councillors and ask them to support TEA’s
recommendations for an improved Local Food Procurement policy at
October’s Council meeting.

The City's Government Management Committee plan suggested a phased approach for implementation beginning with
the Children’s Services Division without targets and without any
mention of local sustainable food. To make this plan meaningful, you asked
your Councillor to support:

  • A goal to buy 50% local food as soon as possible, with annual measurements gauging progress, and
  • A
    means to purchase an increasing amount of local sustainable food, in
    recognition of the fact that local sustainable food yields the greatest
    greenhouse gas and smog related emissions reduction potential.


Torontonians Called, Wrote or Emailed their City Councillor with a message similar to the sample letter below:

Dear Councillor___________,

At your October City Council meeting, I urge you to vote in support of
local and sustainable food for Toronto. In particular, please adopt the
Toronto Environmental Alliance’s amendments that ask for the plan to
explore a 50% local food purchasing target and initiate the purchase of
local sustainable food.

Local food is fresher, tastier and helps reduce greenhouse gas and smog
emissions because it’s grown by our neighbours in the Greenbelt and
surrounding areas.

The concept of buying local and sustainable food is simple: use the
City’s purchasing power to promote local and sustainable food grown in
the Greenbelt and southern Ontario. Sustainable means growing food that
is good for the environment, for farmers’ incomes and for the workers
who grow it.

In other words, buying local food helps everyone and harms no one. I
know this is the kind of policy you can get behind. Please vote for the
local food procurement policy and implementation plan at your next
Council meeting!

Sincerely,

Your Name

 

 

Media Releases, The Campaign in the News, and E-Bulletins

 

Campaigner Jamie Kirkpatrick Encouraging Torontonians to Take Action!

Media Releases

TEA in the News

E-Bulletin Archives