October 8, 2008
Dear Toronto City Councillors,
On October 21st the City’s Government Management Committee has the opportunity to help Torontonians, the environment, and Ontario’s farmers. How?
By supporting a local and sustainable food procurement policy that ensures City daycares, shelters, and seniors’ homes begin buying local food and work toward a 50% buy local target that we can help you to achieve over the next few years.
We, as a collective of farmers, activists, and fellow citizens, are very encouraged by your commitment to buy more locally grown food as a part of the City’s Smog and Climate Change Plan. However, the full benefits of this commitment will only be realized when Toronto City Council passes a local and sustainable food procurement policy.
Ontario’s farmers are ready and willing to help feed our fellow citizens. We’ve got the supply – and we know that our fellow citizens have the appetite for locally grown, locally produced, locally harvested food products. The time to act is now.
According to the 2006 census there are 57,211 farms in Ontario with 3,700 of those in the Greater Toronto Area! In the Holland Marsh alone, we have the diversity to supply in-season, and with our other crops, nearly year-round food for Toronto. The Marsh has over 150 farmers on nearly 10,000 acres, producing an increasingly diverse range of healthy, fresh food.
Torontonians want assurances that their food is fresh, tasty, nutritious, safe, and grown in an environmentally sustainable manner. Buying local, in some cases just minutes north of Toronto, means a huge reduction in everyone’s environmental footprint – and we are proud to be able to help in that reduction.
Farmers are stewards of the land, proud to feed our fellow citizens, and want to encourage City Council and all Torontonians to buy local food first. Doing so supports farmers, our neighbours, and our environment.
Farmers prefer to sell locally, to a marketplace that appreciates the hard work and effort that goes into ensuring there is a meal for all at the end of the day.
Your help is needed now; action is required; and City Councillors, you have the ability to make a real difference. Adopt a Local and Sustainable Food Procurement Policy for Toronto.
Jamie Reaume, Executive Director
Holland Marsh Growers’ Association
Elbert van Donkersgoed, Executive Director
Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee
416-661-6600 ext 5282
Brian Gilroy, Chair
Ontario Apple Growers
Jamie Kirkpatrick, Campaigner
Toronto Environmental Alliance