OFA Marks Food Freedom Day

    GUELPH, ON, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - Food Freedom Day arrives early this year. On
February 3rd, the average Canadian will have earned enough income to pay their
grocery bill for one full year. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)
reports that it has taken the average family just 34 days from January 1st of
this year to acquire the income needed to cover annual food expenses (on a per
capita basis). However what makes this year's Food Freedom Day special is that
it has been reached three days earlier than in 2007, and five days earlier
than in 2005.
    Geri Kamenz, OFA President, explains what Food Freedom Day means for
Ontario farm families and consumers.
    "As farmers in Ontario and across the country celebrate the vital role
they play in feeding a growing population, they remain as committed as ever to
providing consumers with one of the most affordable food supplies in the
world. Ontario consumers can be confident that from farm gate to the table,
the safety, quality and value of Ontario-produced food is second to none."
    In 2003, Canadian consumers spent on average, just 10.5 percent of their
personal disposable income on food. Compare that to 1998 when the figure was
12.4 percent. While this is good news for consumers, the OFA highlights that
according to research, 30 years ago the farm prices and retail prices were
more closely aligned. However, The Farmer's Share: Compare the Share Update
2006 report reveals that despite rising retail prices, the prices farmers
received for their products has not increased significantly over the past two
    "Farm prices indices show that since 1992, the cost of energy, hired
labour, machinery, chemicals and taxes has increased anywhere from 10 to
73 percent which puts a lot of pressure on farm families, particularly when
the money they receive for their food products is not increasing at the same
level," Kamenz says. "In fact, the average cost of food has increased
13 percent while the increase in the price farmers receive is just two
percent. That means the prices paid by consumers increased six times more than
the prices farmers received."
    Food Freedom Day is designed to raise awareness of the contributions made
by Canadian farmers, and to also serve as a reminder to Ontarians of the
value, safety and quality of Ontario-grown food. Buying properly labeled
Canadian products can preserve this advantage. Visit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn66penoMKU for farm footage.

       The Ontario Federation of Agriculture will work collaboratively
        towards a profitable, sustainable future for Ontario farmers.

                               Fast Fact Sheet

                               Food Freedom Day

    -  Food Freedom Day has moved up a week from previous years due to an
       increase in disposable income yet food prices have not risen to the
       same degree.

    -  By February 3rd, 2008 the average Canadian family has earned enough
       income to cover food costs for the entire year.

    -  By mid-January the average Canadian family has earned enough to pay
       the farmers' share of their food costs for the year.

    -  The average cost of food has increased 13 percent, while the increase
       in price farmers receive is two percent. That means the prices paid
       by consumers increased six times more than the prices farmers

    -  Pay for the farmers' share of wheat going into a loaf of bread
       remained constant at 11 cents from 1981 to 2004.

    -  A 450g box of crackers in 1981 cost consumers $1.26 and six percent
       or $0.08 went to the farmer. In 2005 that same box of crackers cost
       $2.01 but farmers received only four percent or $0.07.

    (*)The farmers' Share: Compare the Share can be accessed at

For further information:

For further information: Geri Kamenz, (613) 720-2434; Bette Jean Crews,
(613) 921-0597; Don McCabe, (519) 331-6175

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