Provincial government putting focus on rural economies, local food

The provincial government is attempting to spur rural economies and local food sales by supporting mar­ket­ing projects across the pro­vince.

To promote the local foods that fuel the people, commu­nities, and economies of rural Ontario, the province is spend­ing money for 10 new projects through the Ontario Market Investment Fund, including:

– Buy Local initiatives for Lanark County, Northum­berland County, Peel Region, Bruce County, and the Sudbury area;

– a local distribution net­work for the Perth-Waterloo-Wellington chapter of organic farmers;

– a promotional campaign for Water Buffalo milk pro­duced in Eastern Ontario;  and

– a culinary tourism cam­paign for Frontenac County, Norfolk County, and Waterloo Region.

With the announcement of the new projects, the four-year Ontario Market Investment Fund program has spent more than $3-million in 62 projects to date. The program helps develop economic oppor­tu­ni­ties through trade events, marketing campaigns, and in­dustry research that promote Ontario foods. It is also part of Ontario’s enhanced investment in buy local initiatives.

"The Ontario Market In­vest­ment Fund is helping to stimulate local economies and increase consumption of local foods by supporting efforts to sell and promote fresh foods that are grown and made close to home in rural Ontario,” said Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Leona Dom­browsky.

The Foodland Ontario pro­gram has expanded to include meat, dairy and eggs in addi­tion to fresh fruit and vege­tables.

The new Pick Ontario Freshness commercials launch­ed in June showcase the variety of fresh Ontario foods that are available in retail and food service settings.

The Ontario government is spending $24-million over three years to develop the log­is­tics to get more Ontario-grown food into the province’s schools, hospitals, food service companies, and other insti­tu­tions.