-Greenbelt Fund Announces Ontario Grants-
GUELPH, Ontario, February 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Providing safe and nutritious meals to those convalescing in hospitals and living in provincial long-term care facilities is an important part of the services these institutions provide. Now, this will become easier as more Ontario food will make its way into the kitchens of hospitals, long-term care facilities and other broader public sector institutions. With funding from the Ontario Government, food service operators and distributors will offer more diversity of products from Ontario. These changes will help create a ripple effect in the procurement of local food to other institutions, both public and private, across the province.
"By putting more of Ontario's fresh, healthy, local food in our hospitals, schools and other public institutions, the McGuinty government is investing in a strong future for our farmers and for agriculture. I want to congratulate these organizations for serving the good things that grow in Ontario."
- Carol Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The funding is being administered by the new Greenbelt Fund via its program, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food.
"In our first round of grants we were pleased to see the diversity of applications from farmers to distributors. Now is the time for change, and through these innovators, more of the great food in Ontario will make its way into the three main public sectors: health care, education and municipalities."
- Burkhard Mausberg, President Greenbelt Fund
One grantee, St. Joseph's Health Centre, is setting an example in the health care sector. With a kitchen initially not intended for meal preparation, St. Joseph's has created space to develop their own salads and hot dishes made with Ontario foods. After introducing these menu changes, satisfaction rate with food service has climbed to 87 per cent among St. Joseph's patients, residents, their families and cafeteria patrons. The commitment to making small changes and understanding their preparation and processing needs, is helping the Centre to change procurement practices and serve more Ontario food to their clients.
"We are working hard to ensure our patients and residents have the freshest local options in the meals we serve. Our grant from the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund will help us to further the amount of Ontario food we serve. We hope the results of our program will help to change food procurement practices throughout the health care system."
- Leslie Carson, Manager of Food and Nutrition Services, St. Joseph's Health Centre
"By offering more great Ontario food on the menus of hospitals and long-term care facilities, we are providing nutritious options to those who are sick and elderly. Growing the supply of Ontario food in public institutions demonstrates our government's commitment to our agri-food industry and well-being of patients and residents. We congratulate those grantees working to grow Ontario food in public institutions."
- MPP Liz Sandals, Guelph
These projects will be the catalyst for changing public institutions and will demonstrate the ease of putting more Ontario food into their menus.
About the Greenbelt Fund:
The Greenbelt Fund is helping to increase the amount of Ontario food served in daycares, schools, universities and colleges, hospitals and long-term care facilities through its program, the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund: Promoting Ontario Food.
With funding from the Ontario Government, this program provides grants to local food industry leaders, producers, distributors, food service providers and public institutions working to serve more Ontario food. Helping to overcome challenges, support economic growth and the sustainability of agriculture in Ontario, the Fund will aim to create systemic change to permanently increase the amount of local food in the province's public institutions. For more information about the program and grants, please visit www.ontariofresh.ca