Model Local Food Act sets out much needed support for Ontario's local food systems

Feb 27 2013

Toronto: The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) released its Model Local Food Act today. The model legislation is designed as a comprehensive approach to encourage local food development and ecologically sound farming practices in Ontario. CELA urges the government to introduce legislation patterned on this Model Bill.

“The Government’s commitment to enact local food legislation is commendable and an opportunity that CELA believes is critically important to the health of Ontarians, and for Ontario’s economic and environmental health” says Theresa McClenaghan, Counsel and Executive Director at CELA.

Joseph Castrilli, Counsel at CELA, emphasizes the importance of “comprehensive legislation” to support the government’s policy, noting further that the success of a law depends on how it is drafted, and whether it “provides for effective governance, public participation, and ensures government accountability.”

Ravenna Nuaimy-Barker, Director of Sustain Ontario, a province-wide, cross-sectoral alliance that promotes healthy food and farming, described Bill 130 as “a positive step in the right direction" but noted that, “[i]t only substantially addresses local food procurement, while truly supporting local food systems in Ontario will require addressing many more issues and opportunities."

Despite growing consumer demand for local food, farming for local consumption has become less and less economically viable. “With food prices not keeping up with inflation, input costs increasing, and difficulty finding farm labourers, we are having to subsidize our farm projects with our own off farm income,” says Brenda Dolling, member of Whole Village, an eco-village and farm in Caledon, ON dedicated to ecologically sustainable practices.

CELA’s Model Local Food Act is expansive and comprehensive, dealing with such issues as governance, local food education, procurement, distribution, and healthy food and farming programs. The Model Act supports local food systems by establishing binding government targets, providing government accountability, public participation, and government coordination.

For more information, please contact:

Joe Castrilli (416) 960-2284, ext. 218, castrillij@sympatico.ca
Theresa McClenaghan (416) 960-2284 ext. 219, theresa@cela.ca
Burgandy Dunn (647) 855-5147, bdunn@cela.ca
Kyra Bell-Pasht (416)960-2284 ext. 224, kyra@cela.ca

Media Release downloadable in PDF below.

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