February 18, 2015 - The City of Thunder Bay along with partners of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy and stakeholders from the local food sector will gather on Thursday, Feb. 19, to discuss the results and next steps of the Institutional Local Food Procurement project undertaken in the community over the last few years. The workshop concludes the research portion of the Province of Ontario/ City of Thunder Bay Greenbelt-funded initiative to increase the purchase and use of locally-sourced foods in the City of Thunder Bay long-term care and child care facilities.

"We've learned a lot from this project about the health and economic benefits of using a local food supply, and about the constraints producers are under to meet the demand," said Thora Cartlidge, City Planner. "The most exciting aspect of this upcoming workshop is the opportunity for us to compare notes and strengthen ties with others who have also been trying to build capacity for more local food on institutional plates."

Workshop participants encompass a broad range of stakeholders including local farmers, processors and distributors. City of Thunder Bay staff, along with staff from Lakehead University, St. Joseph's Care Group and the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital will also be in attendance. The diverse group will elicit engaging discussions, have the opportunity to learn about arising prospects to grow their own businesses, and attendees will be encouraged to compare their own local-food procurement experiences to the information presented by the research team and to offer their own insights and recommendations for next steps.  

The results of the Strengthening Connections research and modeling project, designed to increase the purchase of local food for City-run institutions and support the regional agricultural economy, will be presented by consultants Harry Cummings and Associates, with a special address, The Untapped Potential in Thunder Bay's Economy, by Harry Cummings Ph.D, University of Guelph - School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. Kelly Hughes, Greenbelt Fund Education and Outreach Specialist, will offer insights and perspectives drawn from the Greenbelt's experiences with menu-planning, monitoring and documenting in support of the increased use of local food by institutions.

To learn more visit www.tbfoodstrategy.ca

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Contact: Raili Roy, Project Consultant, Beanstalk Consulting, 251-2521, raili@beanstalkconsulting.com