Toronto’s ‘buy local’ food policy under attack

Flickr photo by Colin Dawson
Flickr photo by Colin Dawson


The Toronto Star recently published an interesting article about the proposal for a buy-local policy in Toronto. There are conflicting opinions regarding this topic; some feel that consumers should get “more bank for their buck”, while others feel it is important to support local farmers and to invest in the local economy. The issues presented in this article are relevant to all Canadians.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Work on a buy-local policy began under former Mayor David Miller, but supporters of Mayor Rob Ford made it clear they don’t like it if it costs more.

“I think we should go out there and get the biggest bang for our buck,” said Councillor Doug Ford. “Yes, everyone wants to support Ontario-based food growers, but sometimes it’s just not realistic.”

The committee split on whether it supports a having a buy-local policy. The 2-2 vote means the issue goes to city council with no recommendation.

The committee’s unwillingness to support local agriculture “sends the wrong signal to our farming neighbours and to food processors here in Toronto who use local food,” said Franz Hartmann, of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

The committee was warned by a new member, Councillor John Filion, that dropping the buy-local policy is against the public’s wishes.

“Public opinion is very much in favour of local food production, supporting local farmers, supporting local food producers,” said Filion, a Miller ally. “This does that. It’s a very modest proposal.”

That may be difficult, Ainslie conceded, noting that last weekend Ontario strawberries were $4 a pint versus $2.50 for California-sourced berries.

Buying local would introduce children to the advantages of locally grown produce, said Betty Jean Crews, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.

The full article can be found here.

For more information on the cost of locally produced foods in Nova Scotia as well as our 2010 Food Costing report click here.

What do you think? Feel free to comment below.