Stetski tables bill to establish national local food day
Kootenay–Columbia MP Wayne Stetski yesterday introduced a Private Member’s Bill to establish National Local Food Day. The bill would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving of each year as National Local Food Day.
“The importance of local food is something that needs to be recognized and something that needs to be celebrated,” said Stetski. “In our region we have an amazing array of high quality locally produced food, from vegetables and fruit, to pasta and chocolate, to meat and organic milk. Our local farmers, manufactures and retailers are integral not only to our food security but to our local economies.”
According to the Conference Board of Canada, 77% of Canadian consumers think locally produced food is important for their purchasing decisions. Farmers Markets contribute over $3 billion dollars annually to the Canadian economy.
The introduction of Stetski’s bill has already found a lot of support in the Kootenays.
“This is exciting news,” said Sophie Larsen, Project Coordinator of the Cranbrook Food Action Committee whose efforts include the successful Cranbrook Public Produce Garden located at Eric McKinnon Park. “We support any initiative, such as the creation of a National Local Food Day, which helps to build awareness about the importance of a healthy and sustainable local food supply in our community.”
“The significance of a healthy local food system cannot be understated. Our markets have a large social impact locally and are an important local economic driver in our area,” said Jesse Woodward, Markets and Events Director for the West Kootenay EcoSociety. “Locally grown and produced food is such an important part of building healthy communities. During the peak of the Nelson outdoor market season from June to September, we have 100+ vendors and thousands of patrons that utilize the markets every week.”
“The Kootenay Co-op supports the development of a National Local Food Day to highlight the importance of locally produced food to our environment and local economies,” added Jon Steinman, the Co-op’s board president. “Through our True Local program, the Co-op supports more than 100 farmers and food producers in our region with payments of approximately $1.8 million annually. We see the local multiplier effect of that investment in our economy and we applaud any effort to help strengthen the connections between food producers and consumers.”
“There is a growing movement across the country that understands how much local food matters to communities, from farm to fork,” said Stetski. “Ensuring that Canadians have access to healthy, affordable food and sustainable food systems need to be national priorities. Supporting and celebrating local farmers, manufactures and retailers in every community across Canada is essential to achieving these goals.”