Fire Away: Food for Thought

Thursday, August 18, 2011

  • New grants allow for more public institutions to serve local food

    New grants allow for more public institutions to serve local food

Written by Stephanie Rennie

It is no secret that the food market has quickly become monopolized by fast, processed and generally unhealthy food. There is an increasing difficulty in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet when so many food options are loaded with sugar, salt and anything but local ingredients.

This is an even bigger concern when consuming food outside of your own home and at public or private establishments instead. However, thanks to the generous grants donated by the Greenbelt Fund through the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund, many public institutions will be serving more and more food grown in Guelph.

The latest round of grants distributed on August 15th will help to provide local food to daycares, public schools, universities, colleges, hospitals and long-term care facilities. The Greenbelt Fund is advocating for an increase in local food available for children, students, and patients at these institutions to improve the overall health and well-being of Guelph residents.

Awareness of local food is being spread rapidly as ninety nine institutions with the County of Guelph Wellington are affected by the generous grants. The overarching goal of the project is to ensure that sixty five percent of food purchased by such institutions is home-grown within the Guelph county area.

By ensuring that such organizations are enjoying the benefits of food grown and produced in the Guelph area, both those enjoying and those supplying the food benefit from the partnership.
It is evident that eating local food has immense physical advantages for those ingesting produce grown in Guelph, but there are also economic and environmental benefits.

Economic advantages of supporting local food initiatives are obvious as it stabilizes the local economy by providing business to small business owners which will, in turn, spend their profits in the community and support other local initiatives, further fueling the Guelph economy.

In June of this year, Guelph Wellington Local Food released a new branding tactic entitled “taste real.”

The ambitions behind “taste real” lie within a union of local food initiatives to combine their goals of increasing local food sales into one marketable brand. This brand allows local food distributors to collaborate in order to decrease the strains of promotion and advertising for each individual business. Instead, “taste real” urges for all local food businesses within the area to become a member. Such membership allows for progress, such as the recent success of grants for public institutions, to commence.

This initiative is crucial in a time when the origin of food is often overlooked and people constantly dismissing the benefits of eating local food.

 Residents of Guelph are fortunate to live in an area with a prosperous farmers’ market that makes purchasing local food products more convenient and even fun. The Guelph Farmers’ Market takes place each and every Saturday morning and is located at 2-4 Gordon Street (Corner of Waterloo Ave.). The market starts in the wee hours of 7am and finishes up in time to eat the tasty treats for lunch at 12pm.

Nothing feels or tastes better than biting into a crunchy vegetable or sweet fruit that was grown just miles away from your picnic table.

For more information on "taste real" and Guelph Wellington Local Food, visit http://www.guelphwellingtonlocalfood.ca/

Stephanie Rennie is Editor-in-Chief of thecannon. Fire Away publishes every other Thursday in The Cannon and in The Ontarion Student Newspaper at the University of Guelph.

The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question.


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