Celebrating local food week

ONTARIO – It’s Local Food Week in Ontario.

Celebrated between June 3 to 9, the week is meant to promote Ontario farmers while recognizing the role of food processors, restaurants, retail and others across the food supply chain that contribute to the success of the province’s $48.8-billion agriculture and food industry.

“Ontario’s farmers work hard to produce more than 200 different commodities, and that’s truly something to celebrate,” Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson said in a news release. 

“This week, and every week, we recognize the contributions of the people who put food on our tables, strengthen Ontario’s economy, and build up rural communities.”

This year’s Local Food Report features some of the people behind the products and recognizes the incredible contribution farmers make to the province, the release said.

The report includes various food-related stories, including a couple close to home.

Guelph-based bioenterprise Escarpment Labs gets a mention in the report after having received $96,000 from the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative to develop technologies that will reduce custom yeast development costs.

This project supports smaller craft brewers.

 Historically, custom yeast development has been inaccessible because of the high development costs, according to the report.

The University of Guelph also gets a mention for supporting a research project to develop reasonably priced compostable materials that could be alternatives to current coffee packaging.

Other stories include:

– a business that applies innovative solutions that allow us to enjoy fresh, Ontario-grown strawberries that taste like summer, throughout the year;

– a teacher who designed an urban farming class that teaches students about agriculture and exposes them to careers in the agriculture and food industry; and

– The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association’s Fresh from the Farm program where students fundraise by selling local fruits and vegetables.

This week, and every week, the province is encouraging Ontarians to support local farmers and businesses by purchasing foods with the Foodland Ontario logo, or, where possible, buying directly from farmers either on-farm or at their local farmers’ market.

Foodland Ontario has played an important role in helping consumers identify and purchase locally grown and made food for more than 45 years.