Kootenay–Columbia MP Wayne Stetski introduced a private member’s bill Wednesday to establish National Local Food Day as the Friday before Thanksgiving of each year.
“The importance of local food is something that needs to be recognized and something that needs to be celebrated,” Stetski said in a news release. “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 per cent of Canadian consumers think locally produced food is important for their purchasing decisions. Farmers markets contribute over $3 billion annually to the Canadian economy.
The bill has already earned plaudits from local organizations.
“The significance of a healthy local food system cannot be understated,” said Jesse Woodward, markets and events director for the West Kootenay EcoSociety. “Our markets have a large social impact locally and are an important local economic driver in our area. Locally grown and produced food is such an important part of building healthy communities.”
“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,” said 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.”