September 16, 2008: TEA Campaign to Send Bushels of Local Apples to City Hall

Today TEA launches an innovative petition campaign to get City Hall to buy local and sustainable food for its daycares, shelters, and seniors’ homes.  The campaign addresses the City’s year-long delay of a local procurement policy.

“For every Torontonian who signs our petition, we will send a local apple from Newcastle’s Wilmot Orchards to City Hall,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick, campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
 
The effort is aimed at showing Councillors that Torontonians want their City to choose more local and sustainable food. Right now, the City spends about $11 million per year on food for daycares, shelters, and seniors’ homes.  
 
“Local food is fresher, tastes better, and helps to reduce smog and greenhouse gas emissions. It also supports our farming neighbours in the Greenbelt and surrounding areas,” said Kirkpatrick. 
 
The City of Toronto first agreed to create a local food procurement policy as part of the unanimously approved Change is in the Air Smog and Climate Change plan in July 2007.
 
“It’s time the City picks local low hanging fruit if we are going to get serious about addressing climate change,” said Kirkpatrick.
 
A local and sustainable food procurement policy should include:
  • A requirement that City daycares, shelters, and seniors’ homes begin purchasing local food where available and accessible
  • A target of achieving 50% local food purchasing by the end of 2009
  • A special fund for the purchase of locally grown sustainable food, as part of the overall 50% local food target 
 

Sample Postcard: 

Buy Local First! 


Briefing Note
Date:September 16, 2008
To:Toronto City Councillors 
From:Toronto Environmental Alliance 
Re: Local and Sustainable Food Procurement Policy

 
TEA urges Government Management Committee and City Council to adopt a local and sustainable food procurement policy in October.
 
The City of Toronto first agreed to create a local food procurement policy as part of the unanimously approved Change is in the Air Smog and Climate Change plan in July 2007. Over a year later the local food procurement policy is stalled at the Government Management Committee.
 
A local and sustainable food procurement policy should include:
  • A requirement that City daycares, shelters, and seniors’ homes begin purchasing local food where available and accessible
  • A target of achieving 50% local food purchasing by the end of 2009
  • A special fund for the purchase of locally grown sustainable food, as part of the overall 50% local food target
Our best estimate is that City of Toronto agencies are currently purchasing 30% local food. 
 
In June 2008 Markham became the first municipality in Canada to adopt a local and sustainable food procurement policy. More recently Wal-Mart US has begun purchasing state-grown local food for its stores. In Canada, the Loblaw chain of grocery stores has begun promoting that they are purposely selecting local produce for their customers.
 
Local food is cost competitive with imported food. In season, Ontario grown produce is often cheaper than the same imported crop. Importing food when local produce is available not only costs us more, it causes harm to the environment with unneeded GHG emissions. 
 
Every $1 spent on Local and Sustainable food creates roughly $4 worth of local economic activity.