In early April 2018, our team co-authored a letter for the Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs to offer our support for the recent proclamation of the final pillar of the Local Food Act (Bill 36), which is to create targets and measures for institutional procurement of local food. Our experience has been that when healthcare facilities start to track their local sustainable food spend it helps them to change their purchasing practices and menus because they can measure progress and impact. See the attached case studies that highlight our team’s respective experiences. The enactment of this pillar will incentivize more thoughtful, values-based procurement from our public institutions, to build the vibrancy of our local food industries and to increase local food access.
Following the June election and change of government, we are now making plans to re-engage with the new government. "We were very proud of the letter and the case studies that we sent to the Liberal government,” says co-lead Marianne Katusin, “and we are ready to engage with the next government.” Out team is committed to knowledge transfer and sharing our unique tracking systems with other public sector organizations, and hope to be part of any consultations ahead related to the creation of specific procurement targets and measures. We would like to see a consultation process include our current vendors and manufacturers, and First Nations groups who are an important part of local food economies.
"One thing we've realized is that policy change is really slow,” says Marianne. “Getting the right people on board, setting up meetings, getting conversations going is difficult unless you really know somebody somewhere who can put you in touch with somebody somewhere. But we are excited and motivated as a team, and are adding another dimension to our work.” In parallel to our project around the Local Food Act, we are moving forward with plans to engage Health Quality Ontario with a proposal to create a new Quality Improvement Indicator related to the role of food in care.
You can stay in touch with our team by contacting: Marianne Katusin (firstname.lastname@example.org).