For Immediate Release
October 20, 2008
Farmers and Torontonians Call on City to Buy Local Food
TORONTO – Today, farmers and Torontonians delivered 2,000 locally grown apples to Toronto City Councillors. Each apple represents one Torontonian who signed a petition calling on the City to “avoid jet-lagged food and buy local food first” when it purchases food for its daycares, shelters and seniors’ homes.
“Each apple sends a clear message to City Hall,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick from the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). “Buy local food first and help the environment, help local farmers and help preserve precious agricultural land in the Greenbelt and surrounding area.”
The apples were delivered by children and their parents to Councillors offices along with a note asking for each Councillor to support a local sustainable food procurement policy to be considered by the City’s Government Management Committee tomorrow.
Currently, the City spends about $11 million a year buying food for its daycares, shelters and seniors’ homes. The Government Management Committee will consider a staff report tomorrow that calls on the City to phase in a buy local first policy.
Kirkpatrick noted that while TEA supports the general direction of the staff report, there is no target for how much local food should be purchased. “We know the City could purchase 50% of its food from local sources in a short number of years. The supply is there. Tomorrow we will call on City Councillors to adopt this target.”
In addition, Kirkpatrick noted that for the policy to maximize the environmental benefits it is meant to achieve, the implementation plan should explore ways to increase the purchase of local sustainable food. “While local food is better than imported food, the best food for the environment and human health is local sustainable food,” said Kirkpatrick.
Locally grown sustainable food has the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gas and smog-related emissions because it reduces the impacts of food production on the environment by keeping chemical pesticide and fertilizer use to a minimum.
The apples were a gift from Charles Stevens from Wilmot Orchards, located east of Toronto.
For more information, contact:
Jamie Kirkpatrick, Campaigner, Toronto Environmental Alliance: Cell: 416-895-3406
Franz Hartmann, Executive Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance; Cell: 416-606-8881
To see all TEA media releases, go to Media Releases.