The Ontario government is putting your money where your mouth is.

Premier Dalton McGuinty yesterday announced an additional $24 million will be spent over three years promoting Ontario-grown food in the province’s hospitals, schools and other institutions.

“Just as we’ve moved Ontario wines to the front of the line in the LCBO, we want to move Ontario foods to the front of the line wherever we’re buying food in the province of Ontario,” said McGuinty, referring to the promotion of domestically produced VQA wines in liquor stores.

“It’s a significant initiative in the context of a global economic recession to find $24 million to better promote Ontario foods. It’s good for the economy,” he said.

He noted the familiar Foodland Ontario logo, which had been used mostly on produce, will now be seen on meat, dairy, eggs and baked goods to highlight their domestic origins.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government’s “buy Ontario” plan should expand well beyond just edible products.

In Ontario, there are 82,000 farmers working on 57,200 farms, with agriculture and food production employing a total of 700,000 people and contributing about $33 billion a year to the economy.

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