More Ontario Food Reaches Plates of Daycare and Schools

Greenbelt Fund Announces First Round of Grants

TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - Exciting changes are taking place in Ontario's daycare kitchens and school cafeterias. More Ontario food will be served to children and students in these broader public sector institutions, thanks to funding from the Ontario Government. This will help farmers, food service providers and local food leaders increase the use of local food and change food procurement practices. The outcomes will encourage systemic changes that can be replicated across municipalities and institutions in the province.

"By putting more of Ontario's fresh, healthy, local food in daycares, schools and other public institutions, the McGuinty government is investing in a strong future for our farmers and for agriculture. I want to congratulate these organizations for serving the good things that grow in Ontario."

- Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The funding is being administered by the new Greenbelt Fund via its program, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food.

"In our first round of grants, over half of the recipients will be working with daycares, school boards, universities and colleges to increase the amount of Ontario food available. As a parent, I am excited to see more great food from Ontario farmers making its way into daycares."

- Burkhard Mausberg, Greenbelt Fund President

Today's grants help support organizations like the City of Toronto, which, over the last two years, has increased its use of Ontario grown food in City-run child care centres from 20 per cent to over 40 per cent. The City plans to use this grant to replicate this success across its network of long-term care homes, shelters and other food service operations.

"By championing change in our child care centres, we have demonstrated our commitment to reaching the City's goal of 50 per cent local food procurement. There are many benefits to purchasing locally grown food. Local food tastes fresh and travels less, which lessens the impact on our environment and the air we breathe."

- Toronto City Councillor Paul Ainslie, Chair, Government Management Committee.

"Fresh Ontario food is reaching the plates of children in schools and daycares across the province. Projects like this go hand-in-hand with our government's commitment to giving kids every opportunity to learn, grow and reach their full potential."

- Laurel Broten, Minister Children and Youth Services

About the Greenbelt Fund:

The Greenbelt Fund is helping to strengthen and grow the amount of Ontario food served in daycares, schools, universities and colleges, hospitals and long-term care facilities through its program, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food.

With funding from the Ontario Government, this program provides grants to local food industry leaders, producers, distributors, food service providers and public institutions working to serve more Ontario food. Helping to overcome challenges, support economic growth and the sustainability of agriculture in Ontario, the Fund will create systemic change that will permanently increase the amount of local food in the province's public institutions. Letters of intent for the next round of grants are being accepted until February 15th, for more information about the program and grants, please visit www.ontariofresh.ca.

SOURCE Greenbelt Fund

For further information: or to book a media interview, please contact: Julienne Spence, Communications Manager, Greenbelt Fund, Office: 416-960-0001, ext. 311, Mobile: 416-795-8892, jspence@greenbeltfund.ca; Burkhard Mausberg, President, Greenbelt Fund, Office: 416-960-0001, ext. 300, bmausberg@greenbeltfund.ca; Sarah Petrevan, Senior Advisor, Communications, Office of the Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Office: 416-326-3861, sarah.petrevan@ontario.ca


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