Food security becomes a focus in Northwestern Ontario
By Bob Nault MP
KENORA – POLITICS – Week of December 5, 2016 – Over the past few years I’ve noticed an interesting trend taking shape in Northwestern Ontario. Through community partnerships, cooperatives, and events we are becoming more aware of what is being served on our plates as well as where it comes from. Food security has gained international attention and I’m interested to see where it will take us.
This week, Tourism Kenora will hold a Forum for Food, Farms and Tourism on Wednesday, December 7th. The focus of the event will be tying local restaurants to local farmers in the hopes of strengthening the food tourism industry. The whole idea is to create a network where distributors, farmers and restaurant owners all benefit from a boost to the industry. This follows closely in the footsteps of the creation of local food co-ops, which have helped put the spotlight on local growers. Through co-ops, anyone can access fresh local produce.
Food security can also mean different things, but one of the most important is being able to access food locally instead of relying solely on imports. Besides opening up access to local growers, we’ve also seen a huge surge in the number of community and private gardens as well. A garden can be a lot of work, however it’s also fun, rewarding and can save you money.
Although these local initiatives have been mainly individual or community based, our government is also taking steps to help strengthen food security. For example, on northern reserves it is very expensive to import fresh produce and that’s why we revamped the Nutrition North program to include more First Nation communities. Nutrition North provides subsidies to make certain foods cheaper to purchase from stores. It is an important step in improving the quality of life in the north by providing those healthy food options.
I believe that encouraging people to buy local or even grow their own food, not only helps boost the local economy, it can also help the environment.
Bob Nault MP