Evidence is growing that the local food movement is picking up steam.
According to the province, a recent Environics study shows 80 per cent of Ontarians say ensuring a local food source is very important to them. If you trust polls, that means about 10 million or so Ontarians are on the prowl for local food.
And, in her Agriculture Week address, Hon. Carol Mitchell, the province’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, said more than half of all grocery shoppers in the province are buying more Ontario food than ever. That equates to nearly seven million people.
Then the province last week announced a program to make local food available to people who eat in the cafeterias of hospitals, schools and other public institutions. More evidence emerged when Walmart, the big food retailer in the U.S. announced a plan squarely aimed at capitalizing on local food. It says it plans to “help small and medium sized farmers expand their businesses, get more income for their products and reduce the environmental impact of farming, while strengthening local economies and providing customers around the world with long-term access to affordable, high-quality food.”