Local, Organic, Sustainable, YUMMY

It's official. Folks in Ontario really do care about the environment, the food they put into their bodies, and the way farm workers (both humans and animals) are treated. A new public opinion poll released today by the Friends of the Greenbelt says that most (91%) of the residents around the Greenbelt would buy locally grown food, if it were easily accessible.

Toronto-based non-profit organization Local Food Plus is here to help with that. They've set up a rigorous certification process for farmers in Ontario that identifies their food as "sustainable": financially viable for all stakeholders, primarily local and regional, ecologically responsible in its operations, socially responsible and respectful of humans and other species.

With the end of summer comes the end of most farmer's markets, and this new initiative by Local Food Plus will give Torontonians the opportunity to continue with their local menu. It has other advantages too, like keeping Ontario produce in Ontario, rather than shipping it to where the market demands it (which is, ironically, not here in Ontario, since much of our produce is shipped from south of the border).

"The Norfolk growers ship their apples to the U.K," explains Fiesta Farms owner, Joseph Virgona.
"It's crazy. They're being pushed out of the Ontario market by Washington State apples and Chinese apples. So they look east and push the U.K. apple growers out of their market." Eating locally grown food also supports the family farms that are at risk of going out of business.

Local Food Plus announced today that they're joining forces with Fiesta Farms (Christie and Dupont area), Toronto's largest independent grocery store. They also have contracts with Il Fornello, and the University of Toronto. The City is considering using LFP-certified goods for 50% of the food it buys through city-operated daycares, nursing homes and other venues.

This weekend, as you're perusing the aisles for your Thanksgiving ingredients, look at where that food is from. It's harvest time in Ontario, and local produce like apples, pears, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, pumpkins, grapes, etc. are now at their most affordable, healthiest and tastiest point!

Photo by Velachery Balu.

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