June 4, 2015 2:42 pm
Updated: June 4, 2015 3:08 pm

Ontario releases first annual local food report

Dana Bondy picks up some fresh local vegetables from Uxbridge, Ontario farmer Travis Stocking as part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

The province of Ontario is celebrating “Local Food Week” with an inaugural report looking at the growth and health of the local food industry.

The Local Food Report, released Thursday, will be released each year and will measure strides made in getting more local food from farms to tables across Ontario.

The report comes out of the Local Food Act, 2013, which aims to increase awareness around local food and encourage growth in the industry.

WATCH BELOW: Celebrating Local Ontario Food week

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According to the report, Ontario’s agri-food sector is responsible for more than 780,000 jobs and generates $34 billion in GDP. The government wants to grow the sector by expanding the market for local food.

Some of the province’s initiatives include introducing a tax credit to farmers who donate food to local schools and food banks, and funding millions through the Greenbelt Fund, which connects farmers to community schools, daycares and restaurants.

Included in the report’s findings was that more than $1 million of local wine has been bought at Ontario farmers’ markets since the province started allowing those sales last year. To date, 75 wineries and 140 farmers’ markets have participated in the VQA wine sales.

The report comes as a new poll shows that Canadians are increasingly embracing local food – trusting their local farmers, markets, butchers and fishmongers beyond all others with the quality and safety of their food.

READ MORE: Who do Canadians trust with their food? Local growers get top marks, new poll finds

The exclusive Ipsos poll for Global News shows the vast majority of Canadians (83 per cent) said it’s important they know where their food comes from.

When it comes to what food producers Canadians trust the most, local growers and farmers get top marks, with 95 per cent saying local markets and butchers are doing a good job ensuring the quality and safety of their food products, followed by 94 per cent saying the same for produce and wheat farmers.

READ MORE: What’s your favourite local farmers’ market? Add it to our map

Meanwhile, 83 per cent said they make an effort to buy locally-grown and produced food; 71 per cent are willing to pay more for it.

WATCH BELOW: Eating local moving from fad to trend

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

The poll was conducted between May 22 and 27, 2015, using a sample of 1,005 Canadians. It is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had all Canadian adults been polled. 

With files from The Canadian Press

© 2015 Shaw Media

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