THUNDER BAY -- The city is working to get more local food on people's plates.
The Greenbelt Fund announced a $100,000 grant Thursday at city hall to help the city strengthen the relationship between local food producers and public institutions like long-term care facilities and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
City planning manager Leslie McEachern said the grant will allow the city to research the needs of Thunder Bay’s public institutional facilities and the capacity of local food producers.
“It’s really looking at creating a profile of purchasers and producers and trying to analyze where the gaps are and build connections so we can introduce more local foods into the institutional buying practices,” she said, adding the end goal is to get more local food on the menus of those facilities.
“It’s very important to support the local agricultural community and to have fresh foods available for the residents of these facilities and the people living and working in them. We’re very excited to be able to help that happen,” McEachern said.
The city project is one of 17 that received funding from the provincial Greenbelt Fund this week; all the grants are to promote more local food in public institutions like schools and health organizations.
Program manager Franco Naccarato said the project helps the local economy by helping farmers gain access to more markets.
“The strongest part about this project is the partnerships involved,” he said.
“They have the agricultural community to the table and they have the food service providers – the long-term care facilities and the hospital – at the table. Having both at the table is really going to make this project special.”
The Greenbelt Fund has supported 38 projects that have seen an increase of $12 million in Ontario food purchases.
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