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Action 10: Access to Local Food

Why is access to local food important?

  • The major food-related issues in rural areas are different from those in urban areas given the low population, density, lengthier distances between retailers and rapid rise of super centres and their effect on other food retailers.

  • Some barriers that exist to purchasing local food include perceptions that it is unavailable, consumer inability to identify it and acceptance of preserved foods in the off-season.

  • Currently, communities across Canada are working together on developing grassroots solutions to food security and local food availability. Community supported agriculture and farmers’ markets have been considered a viable option to provide a source of fresh, affordable and culturally appropriate food to those who would not otherwise have access. 

 

Haliburton County: Case Study

  • Haliburton County has over 20 food security initiatives addressing the three stages of food security: short term relief, individual or community capacity building and system change. Each food security initiative operates within a specific agency’s mandate but values the richness of networking and being a partner of the Halburton County FoodNet, a community food security networking group. FoodNet partners meet on an ongoing basis to share successes and challenges. Partners collaborate around raising awareness, funding opportunities, sharing resources, transportation challenges, research and advocacy. Over the past few years, this group has been working on increasing access of fresh and local food to residents in need.

 

Recommendations for rural municipalities:

  • Support the consumption and production of local food. Municipalities can do this by protecting farmland, supporting farmers’ markets and by supporting activities as on-farm sales.

  • Recognize that local food is an economic opportunity and also provides health benefits. Local food production should be supported as well as opportunities for farmers to connect with customers.

  • Implement by-laws that protect spaces for community supported agriculture, community gardens and agricultural land for food growing and production and provide better opportunities for local food processing and sale.