Local Food Best Practices
An Overview of AMO’s Best Practices in
Local Food: A Guide for Municipalities
Bring Food Home
November 17, 2013
To provide an overview of:
– Government of Ontario’s Local Food Strategy;
– Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s Best Practices in Local
Food – A Guide for Municipalities.
Ontario’s Local Food Strategy
The province is a proud supporter of local food, investing over $116
million in local food initiatives since 2003/04.
Buying and supporting local food creates jobs and economic growth in
communities across the province.
Based on public consultations in 2012, the Ontario government has
developed a multi-pronged local food strategy to help celebrate,
support and promote local food. It includes:
– Local Food Act, 2013 (Bill 36);
– Local Food Fund, as part of an investment of up to $30 million over
three years for innovative local food projects;
– Local Food Procurement Policy for purchases under $25,000;
– enhanced public awareness/education on agriculture and food;
– consultations on new ways to promote local food, considering
factors like region of origin, production method, or unique attribute;
– on-going promotion through the Foodland Ontario program.
Ontario’s Local Food Strategy, Cont’d
Ontario consumers enjoy local food more often – and in more places.
Increasing the consumption of local food in Ontario.
Ontario consumers are aware of, value and choose more local foods.
Local food is identifiable and widely available through a range of distribution channels.
Ontario’s agri-food sector is competitive, productive and responsive to consumer demand.
Local Food Act, 2013
(Local Food Week, Local Food Goals/Targets, Local Food Report, Tax Credit for Donations to Food Programs)
Local Food Funding
OPS Local Food Procurement Policy
Consultations on Provincial Designation System
AMO’s Municipal Local Food Best Practices Guide
(Media, Branding, Promotional Support, Retail Services, Client
Services/Logo Use, Consumer Research)
Support for Direct Farm Marketing
and Farmers’ Markets
BPS Investment Fund
Local Food Research
Local Food Advisory Services
Celebrating Innovation/Success (Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation, Retailer Awards)
Ongoing Inter-Ministerial Collaboration to Link Local Food with Other Initiatives/Priorities
(e.g. MCYS Student Nutrition Program, MEDU Healthy Schools Working Table)
Building resilient local food systems requires local leadership, and
many municipalities are doing exciting things.
– Food charters, local food procurement practices, good food boxes/
community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, agri-tourism…
Municipalities are well positioned to understand the capacity,
challenges and opportunities of their local food economies.
– Not all have the same capacity (e.g. resources, expertise, etc.).
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Ontario
Municipal Knowledge Network (OMKN) approached the Ministry of
Agriculture and Food with a proposal to develop a guide that would
help share best practices and support municipal decision-making on
local food initiatives.
Project managed for AMO/OMKN by Deloitte LLP, with advisory
support from Sustain Ontario, Rural Ontario Municipal Association,
OMAF, and other agri-food sector organizations.
Structure of the Best Practices Guide
The Guide is structured to help answer the following key questions:
– What are key barriers and challenges faced by municipalities
trying to support local food?
– What are the overarching success factors in municipal local food
– What tools and tactics are available to municipalities?
– How to choose the best one(s) for our community?
– What are key performance measures to evaluate progress?
The Guide is based on secondary research, and 24 stakeholder
consultations with 43 representatives from municipalities, regions and
local food groups across Ontario, Canada and the U.S.
– It is not exhaustive, but provides an excellent starting point for
Key Barriers and Challenges
Overarching Success Factors
In looking across jurisdictions, several key success factors were
identified for municipal local food initiatives:
– understanding what activities are available to municipal council;
– understanding the challenges facing the local food industry
(considering the whole supply chain from farm to fork);
– understanding the unique situation of the municipality;
– finding a municipal champion; and
– engaging key stakeholders.
Local Food Tools and Tactics
Food Charter and/or Strategy to confirm municipal priorities, objectives and goals
Regional partnerships between municipalities to achieve economies of scale
Official Plan to guide zoning by-laws
Partnerships with non-governmental organizations to organize and deliver community programming
Food Policy Council
Municipalities have a number of policy and program tools at their disposal to support local food
activities across the agri-food supply chain. This table provides a few examples.
Choosing the Best Tools
Every municipality faces different local food challenges and
It will be important for municipalities to assess their own unique
circumstances to determine which tools make the most sense and
have the highest potential return on investment.
The Guide provides guidance on how to identify the right tools using
– size and type of municipality (small/large, urban/rural);
– municipal resources (funding and staff);
– agricultural base (what can be grown competitively);
– proximity to urban centres;
– active agri-food sector (number and mobilization of agri-food
businesses and local food stakeholders).
Measurement is critical to assess progress and impacts, and to justify
investments of staff time and resources.
Potential measures are assessed against three criteria:
– value – usefulness as a measure of local food sector health;
– complexity – difficulty/cost of collecting the data; and
– municipal control – degree of municipal influence in the
Ideal measures have high value, low complexity and high municipal
control, for example:
– number of farmers markets;
– number of mobile vendors; and
– establishment of food charters and food policy councils.
The Guide is available on the Ontario Municipal Knowledge Network
Marc LaBerge, Senior Policy Advisor
Economic Development Policy Branch
Ministry of Agriculture and Food/ Ministry of Rural Affairs
If you are interested in participating in the consultation on a new provincial
designation for identifying and promoting local food, please review the
consultation paper and complete the survey at: