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An Overview of AMO’s Best Practices in Local Food: A Guide for Municipalities
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An Overview of AMO’s Best Practices in Local Food: A Guide for Municipalities


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Speaker: Marc LaBerge …

Speaker: Marc LaBerge
Session: Learning from Best Practices in Municipal Food Policy: From Ontario and Abroad

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. Local Food Best Practices for Municipalities An Overview of AMO’s Best Practices in Local Food: A Guide for Municipalities Bring Food Home November 17, 2013
  • 2. Presentation Objectives • 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. 2
  • 3. 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. 3
  • 4. Ontario’s Local Food Strategy, Cont’d Vision Ontario consumers enjoy local food more often – and in more places. Mission Goals 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. Celebrate Promote Support New Activities 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 Existing Activities Foodland Ontario (Media, Branding, Promotional Support, Retail Services, Client Services/Logo Use, Consumer Research) Support for Direct Farm Marketing and Farmers’ Markets BPS Investment Fund Agri-food Education 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) 4
  • 5. Context • 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. 5
  • 6. 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 initiatives? – 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 further research. 6
  • 7. Key Barriers and Challenges Limited Economies of Scale Provincial and Federal Regulations Weak Local Food Culture Across Departments Limited Coordination Municipal Challenges to Maximizing Support for Local Food Lack of Support from Staff and Council Lack of Expertise Limited Funding 7
  • 8. 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. 8
  • 9. Local Food Tools and Tactics Processing/ Preparing Producing Distributing Retailing Consumption Waste Management Strategy and Macro-Policy Food Charter and/or Strategy to confirm municipal priorities, objectives and goals Policies Planning policies and zoning by-laws to protect agricultural land Planning policies and zoning bylaws to support value-added processing on ag. land Procurement policy to encourage local food purchases Permitting process for farmers’ markets Signage for markets/on-farm sales Disposal rules and guidelines Programs Community Gardens Incubator kitchens Food hubs Mobile vendors Regional branding and agri-tourism Composting Partnerships and Governance 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. 9
  • 10. Choosing the Best Tools • Every municipality faces different local food challenges and opportunities. • 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 five criteria: – 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). 10
  • 11. Measuring Success • 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 outcomes. • 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. 11
  • 12. Thank You! • The Guide is available on the Ontario Municipal Knowledge Network website: • 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: 12