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Local food project launched in Niagara area


March 28, 2008
By Marg Land


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March 24, 2008, Vineland, Ont. – Niagara area growers are joining the local food movement.

March 24, 2008, Vineland, Ont. – Niagara area growers are joining the local food movement.

 vineland_logoThe Vineland Research and Innovation Centre recently announced a “local food” project involving local growers, producers and suppliers has been launched in the region. Various industry organizations and businesses, including the Vineland Growers Cooperative, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Local Food Plus, ZeroFootprint, OnTrace Agri-Food Traceability, Green Rewards™, the Niagara Culinary Trail and the Regional Municipality of Niagara are supporting the project, which starts with a Niagara Local Food Pilot.

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About 15 local growers as well as St. Davids Hydroponics have committed to participate in the program by signing up for certification under the Local Food Plus program. Vineland will facilitate the pilot project and provide funding for a coordinator responsible for the administration of Local Food Plus grower certification.

Vineland’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee has established a sub-committee to initiate and facilitate the project.

“Locally-based food production and distribution systems are important for several reasons,” said Vineland CEO Dr. Jim Brandle. “They provide the public with access to fresher, more nutritious foods, promote local agriculture by keeping food production close to home, support and create local jobs in agriculture and food processing, and build stronger local economies and communities.”

The concept and the benefits of locally produced food are gaining popularity throughout the agriculture industry. Advancements in research, innovation and technology present an increasing number of options to improve the availability of locally produced foods.

“The local food initiative will link producers directly with buyers to accelerate advancement and ensure that Ontario consumers are provided with easier, more frequent access to fresh, safe, nutritious, high quality, locally produced foods,” said Donald Ziraldo, chair of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre board.

Niagara growers, food producers and buyers are encouraged to contact Vineland (www.vinelandontario.ca ) or Local Food Plus (www.localfoodplus.ca ) to participate in the Niagara Local Food Pilot program.