Toronto City Council adopted a new policy that will have the City dramatically increase its purchase of local food for its daycares, shelters and seniors’ homes over the next few years.
“This is a major victory for the environment, for farmers, for the Greenbelt and for Torontonians,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick, campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). “The City of Toronto, the sixth largest government in Canada, is the first to adopt a policy to progressively increase its purchase of local food to 50% as soon as possible.”
Over the next year, city daycares will increase their purchase of local food by 40%. In the meantime, city staff will develop a plan to figure out how other city departments can buy 50% local food as soon as possible.
“This policy is a clear signal to farmers in the GTA, the Greenbelt - indeed in all of Ontario- that Toronto wants their food,” says Charles Stevens, of Wilmot Orchards who earlier this month donated 2,000 apples to Toronto City Councillors, one for each Torontonian who signed a petition in support of local food.
Earlier this month, TEA submitted over 2,000 signatures from Torontonians calling on City Council to adopt a local food procurement policy. “It’s nice to see that City Councillors agree with Torontonians that buying local food first is better than buying jet-lagged food,” said Kirkpatrick.
Local food helps the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from transporting food from far away. As well as being fresher, local food also helps the local economy, local farmers and helps preserve agricultural land in the Greenbelt and surrounding areas.