The Ontario government is recognizing the important contributions made by individuals, businesses, and organizations who are working to ensure the province’s food supply chain remains strong during the COVID-19 outbreak in its 2020 Local Food Report: Ontario Spirit – A Celebration of Local Food Collaboration.
“Ontario’s agri-food supply chain is one of the strongest in the world and COVID-19 has just reinforced that fact,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in a press release from the province. “The commitment shown by our farmers, food processors, grocery store workers, truck drivers, restaurateurs, and everyone across the agri-food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak is inspiring.”
The report demonstrates the importance of local food for Ontario consumers and communities, while recognizing farmers and those who keep food on our plates. Highlights include:
- Breweries and distilleries that have adapted their production facilities to produce hand sanitizer
- Organizations promoting local food literacy through online resources, virtual experiences, and recipes
- Food banks, industry partners, and local communities working together to create and distribute emergency food boxes
- Local public health units and agencies, along with industry and community food organizations, collaborating to offer weekly meal packages to families in place of school food programs not currently operating
Ontario is home to nearly 49,600 farms and 4,400 food processing facilities that contribute over $47 billion to the provincial GDP, making the agri-food sector a key economic driver of Ontario’s economy.