Ontario's Food Banks & Food Producers ask neighbours to Buy Local & Share Local

    Innovative campaign presented by Royal Bank of Canada aims to raise
    100,000 pounds of local food for local food banks

    KINGSTON, ON, Aug. 21 /CNW/ - An innovative campaign presented by the
Royal Bank of Canada, was launched today at the Kingston Public Market by the
Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB). The Buy Local, Share Local campaign
is designed to increase the sales and donations of local food in Ontario to
support our neighbours, our environment and our local economy. The goal for
this first-ever campaign is to raise 100,000 pounds of fresh, local food for
food banks across the province this harvest season.
    "Ontario's food banks and food producers share a common and vital
purpose," said Adam Spence, Executive Director of the OAFB. "We are dedicated
to feeding our neighbours in our cities, towns and villages across the
province. The Buy Local, Share Local campaign is a great way for us to combine
our efforts."
    Over 1,000 food banks and hunger relief programs serve 318,540 Ontarians
every month, and 38,000 Ontario farmers produce food that millions of
Ontarians eat every day.
    "The Ontario Association of Food Banks and Kingston's Partners in Mission
Food Bank play a vital role in helping to diminish hunger in this region and
across the province. This is a cause that we embrace at RBC and as the
community knows our local employees have gone above and beyond the call of
duty in terms of donating time, money and manpower to this important issue,"
said Gerry Ethier, RBC Regional Vice President for the Kingston Quinte Region.
"As such, we are absolutely thrilled to partner with the food banks on the Buy
Local, Share Local campaign."
    Buying and sharing local food provides every Ontarian with an opportunity
to support their neighbours, their environment and their local economy. The
average meal travels 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) from field to table. Local
products incur fewer 'Food Miles' when traveling from producer to consumer and
have less packaging, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint. For every
pound of food donated, food banks will be able to put a meal on the table for
someone in their community.
    "Farmers work hard to provide sustainable local food systems and are more
than happy to share in this cause to eliminate hunger. As natural stewards of
the environment Ontario farmers believe in the Buy Local, Share Local goal to
reduce Ontario's environmental footprint," says Geri Kamenz, President of the
Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

    Ontarians can support the campaign by:
    -   donating fresh food during one of the Buy Local, Share Local days at
        a farmers' market in participating communities including Kingston,
        Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Mississauga, London, and Peterborough
        between August and October this year. Visit www.buylocalsharelocal.ca
        for a schedule of events;
    -   starting an online fresh food drive at work, home or with friends to
        help raise money for food banks to buy fresh, local food through
        www.giveontario.ca; and
    -   committing themselves to action by signing our Buy Local, Share Local
        online pledge.

    "I notice that many people today are interested in buying locally," said
Jamie Kennedy, one of Canada's most celebrated chefs and a supporter of the
campaign. "Cooking with fresh local food in season is incomparable. Sharing it
is inspirational."
    During the Buy Local, Share Local event, RBC will present a gift of
$10,000 to Kingston's Partners in Mission Food Bank furthering RBC's
commitment to supporting its communities. In 2007, RBC provided more than
$40,000 to food banks throughout Northern and Eastern Ontario. RBC aims to
exceed this amount in 2008 by giving $60,000 to local food banks in Northern
and Eastern Ontario, and on a provincial level, $50,000 to the Ontario
Association of Food Banks. Locally, Kingston RBC staff are active volunteers
for the Partners in Mission Food Bank and collected more than 300,000 pounds
of food during the 2007 and 2008 May Food Drives. Additionally, RBC's 2007
annual 18 Holes for Hunger Golf Tournament raised over $23,000 for Partners in
Mission Food Bank.
    Buy Local, Share Local is supported by the Ontario Federation of
Agriculture (OFA), the Turkey Farmers of Ontario, Homegrown Ontario, and the
Ontario Tender Fruit Producers.

    The Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB) is a network of over 100
food banks which includes communities across the province from Ottawa to
Windsor, and Niagara Falls to Thunder Bay. Over 330,000 Ontarians are served
by food banks every month. If you would like to find out more about the OAFB
or the campaign, please visit www.oafb.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Adam Spence, Executive Director, OAFB, Work:
(416) 656-4100, Cell: (416) 543-0897; Sandy Singers, Executive Director,
Partners in Mission Food Bank, Work: (613) 544-4534, Cell: (613) 539-4044

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Ontario Association of Food Banks

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