On October 30th 2008, City Council unanimously adopted a local food procurement policy and implementation plan. Council adopted TEA’s suggested amendment and agreed to develop a plan to achieve an aggressive 50% local food purchasing target as soon as possible! This means 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! Thanks to all of you for help with this important victory!
Here’s why this policy matters:
- Local food doesn’t travel nearly as far as imports. This dramatically reduces greenhouse gas and smog emissions from transportation.
- Local food is fresher and tastes better because it’s harvested when it’s ripe rather than when it needs to be shipped.
- Buying local food supports our farming neighbours. Providing a market for their products helps the regional economy by keeping our dollars at home.
- 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.
- Buying local food 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 vulnerability 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.