Durham local food efforts gets boost from Greenbelt

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is pleased to announce today $35,000 in funding for a new initiative in Durham Region.

TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Starting immediately, the Community Development Council Durham (CDCD) will be taking up the task of putting into action the goals and mandate of the Durham Region Food Charter. The Charter is a document that reflects the communities' values and beliefs for food security in the region. It was endorsed by Durham Regional Council last December.

The CDCD will be working closely with their community partners and with the Region of Durham to develop a community-based Action Plan and a Working Group focused on food security and developing the local food economy.

This project is intended to put structure and plans in place that will see some of the goals of the Charter become a reality. The ultimate goal will be to establish a Food Policy Council for the Region of Durham.

Long-time advocate of the Greenbelt and anti-sprawl planning policies, Bonnie Littley, Regional Councillor, Ward 1, Pickering states, "A cornerstone of long-term sustainability is food. So to promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability there must be planning for the future of food. Currently several departments in Regional government, as well as a multitude of individuals, farmers, not-for-profit and agricultural organizations work on various aspects relating to food and food security. A Region of Durham Food Policy Council would provide opportunities to bring local people and their ideas and knowledge together, not only to build on previous accomplishments in the Region, but would also establish a collaborative approach to finding solutions and creating positive change."

An important aspect of this project is continued involvement and consultation with local farmers and farm groups.

"This is an amazing gift for our community and one that could take us a huge step towards actually implementing the Durham Region Food Charter that many individuals and concerned groups in Durham have spent years trying to secure," says James Blair of the newly founded Durham Culinary Association, teacher and member of the farming community.

"We must look at new ideas of food production and security and how to achieve it, while at the same time not completely turning our backs to the many tried and proven methods that were employed by our present and past farming communities."

23% of the Greenbelt's farms are located in Durham, the most of any region in the Greenbelt. 57% are livestock farms. There is also a huge diversity of fruit and vegetable crops from the region, particularly corn, tomatoes, pumpkins and squash, and the region has more apple, strawberry and raspberry producing acres than anywhere else in the Greenbelt.

The commencement of this project comes the same week that the Foundation celebrates the Greenbelt's Fifth Anniversary at the Oshawa Generals/SaginawSpirits game at the General Motors Centre. The game is this Sunday at 6:00 pm. To order tickets visit www.oshawagenerals.com/greenbelt. Funds will be raised for the Durham Child Nutrition Project.

To read the Durham Food Charter go to: www.durhamlives.com/healthy_eating/foodCharterDurham.pdf

SOURCE Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

For further information: For further information: Jennifer Story, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, (647) 966-6310 (cell) or Ben Earle, Community Development Council Durham at (905) 686-2661 ext 115

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