Local Food Plus/Land Food People Foundation
Our Impact Why We Exist
LFP Certified Local Sustainable farmers and processors reduce or eliminate pesticide use, treat their animals well, conserve soil and water, protect wildlife habitat, provide safe and fair working conditions, reduce energy use, and sell locally wherever possible. You can support local sustainable farmers by asking for LFP Certified Local Sustainable food where you shop and dine.
Our Story What We Do
History of Organization
Local Food Plus was founded by Lori Stahlbrand, a former CBC broadcaster, university professor and food system activist, and incorporated as a non-profit in October 2005. Stahlbrand was concerned that we are losing our ability to feed ourselves by paving over our best farmland while becoming increasingly reliant on imported food, even at the height of our growing season. Studies have indicated that if borders were to close for any reason, Toronto would have only 3 days worth of fresh food. Many Torontonians want to support local farmers, especially those who employ environmentally and socially sustainable practices, but they find it difficult to identify local sustainable food. By working with stakeholders and experts to develop the most comprehensive yet accessible certification system for local sustainable food in North America, and with market partners willing to purchase the food, Stahlbrand created a way for Torontonians to turn their everyday food purchases into a powerful tool for improving the environment and the economy. Among the more than 90 partnerships that LFP has developed, the most prominent are the University of Toronto, which currently has the largest university local sustainable food procurement program in Canada, and Fiesta Farms, the largest independent retailer in Toronto, which carries a wide range of Certified Local Sustainable products.
In 2011, Local Food Plus’ programming was assumed by the charitable organization Land Food People Foundation, which now operates under the business name “Local Food Plus”.
Accolades and Accomplishments
LFP’s work has been recognized through awards such as:
• 2010 Toronto Community Foundation Vital Ideas Award
• 2009 Tides Canada Foundation’s Top 10 Innovative Non-Profits• 2008 Green Toronto Award for Market Transformation
• 2008 Canadian Environment Gold Award for Sustainable Living
• 2007 NOW Magazine Award for Best Green InitiativeSince Local Food Plus launched in late 2005, more than 200 farmers and processors have been certified, and more than 90 institutional, restaurant and retail partnerships have been established, the majority of which are located in Toronto. LFP launched its first partnership with the University of Toronto (U of T) in September 2006, helping U of T become the first university in North America to commit to purchasing local sustainable food for its cafeterias. Over six years, with LFP’s support, the percentage of local sustainable food at the U of T has risen to 20%. Despite a modest budget, LFP has engaged other institutions, retailers, restaurants, caterers and distributors, creating links that have resulted in millions of dollars in new sales of local sustainable food.
Our Programs How We Do It
LFP connects Torontonians with their neighbours who grow and process food in environmentally and socially responsible ways. We help to bridge the rural-urban divide by bringing farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, restaurants and public institutions together with consumers, where they can share in shaping a more environmentally-friendly food future. In a globalized world, Local Food Plus is about creating a local food system that is environmentally and socially responsible, and creates local jobs in the food sector, one of the biggest employers in this city. We accomplish this by a unique combination of local sustainable certification, partnering and outreach and education.
Scaling up local sustainable food systems
Local Sustainable Certification
The bedrock of the LFP approach to food system change is the certification program. LFP certifies local farmers and processors who are producing food in an environmentally and socially sustainable way. LFP has developed a comprehensive standard for sustainable food production for most Canadian food crops. The standards are intended both as a measure of sustainability on individual farms and an educational aid to increase sustainability on farms.
The standard incorporates;
• Biodiversity measures on farm,
• Labour practices,
• Energy use,
• Growing practices including pesticide use, crop rotation, water use etc. that adhere to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles,
• Animal welfare, and
• Is hinged on consumption of the certified food within the province of origin.
The certification program is a tool for farmers to promote their environmentally and socially sustainable practices, and helps them tap into the growing consumer market for local sustainably produced food.
LFP’s partnering program is targeted at buyers of all different sizes - from institutional food service providers, to food distributors, restaurants, retailers and caterers, working to garner support for local sustainable food. In order to join the program, these “partners” commit to sourcing a minimum number of Certified Local Sustainable products or a total percentage of food sales.
LFP’s partnering program allows restaurants, retailers, caterers, and food service providers who are committed to providing local sustainable food to build direct relationships with certified producers. This has the added bonus of helping LFP’s certified farmers and processors maintain a steady market for their products. Partners are then able to promote their commitment to sourcing Certified Local Sustainable products, thus differentiating themselves in the marketplace, and gain increased support from eaters who are looking to spend their food dollars on local sustainable food.
Outreach & Education
While LFP’s certification program may be the bedrock of LFP’s approach to building a local sustainable food system, the Outreach and Education program is what disseminates the concept, building awareness within the community. Through community events and social media engagement, LFP works to educate consumers about the importance of buying Certified Local Sustainable products and about the impact weekly purchases can have on the economy and local environment. LFP does this through their “Take the Pledge” campaign which challenges consumers to pledge to shift $10 a week from conventional imported products to local sustainable food. LFP helps direct consumers to locations where they can find products to make good on their pledges, and communicates regularly through their “Eaters Digest” newsletter with helpful tips and recipes.
Funding and Program Partners
LFP could not deliver this program without the gracious support from several committed donors, and the following foundations:
- The Metcalf Foundation
- The Ontario Trillium Foundation
- The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
- The McLean Foundation
- Tides Canada
- The Toronto Community Foundation
When 100 people shift $10 a week to local sustainable food for a year, they reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) by the equivalent of nearly 10 cars, and create 1 local job.1000 people = nearly 100 cars worth of GHG reductions & 10 new local jobs10,000 people = nearly 1000 cars worth of GHG reductions & 100 new local jobs
When we support local sustainable food, we’re supporting:
• Local farmers & food production
• Reduced pesticide use
• Soil & water conservation
• Humane animal treatment
• Protection of natural species & their habitats
• Safe and fair working conditions for farm workers
• Reduced energy use
Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program
“Unemployment in the city remained high in 2010 (9.94% compared to 9.99% in 2009); in the Region the rates dipped to just over 9% (9.06% compared to 9.44% the year before).”
“In July 2011, the city’s unemployment rate was still 9.0% (compared with 9.8% in July 2010). The July 2011 rate for the Toronto Region was 8.3% (the national rate was lower at 7.3%). Declining rates may indicate that a number of people have dropped out of the workforce.”
“Per capita carbon emissions in the GTA fell by 10% between 2008 and 2009, mostly due to the shift in electrical production from coal to natural gas. The annual rate of decline between 2005 and 2009 was 4.4%. However, much more aggressive action would be required to meet longer-term targets of a reduction from 1990 levels of 6% by 2012 and 30% by 2020 (City of Toronto targets)”
“Air pollution contributes to an estimated 1,700 early deaths and 6,000 hospital visits each year in Toronto. Based on the provincial Air Quality Index, Toronto experienced 8 smog alert days in 2010, twice as many as in 2009”
(Toronto's Vital Signs® 2011)
Mapleton’s Organic Farm, owned and operated by the de Groot family in Moorefield Ontario, was one of the first farm operations to become Certified Local Sustainable with LFP in 2006. Six years with the program, Mapleton’s farm has made several new contacts with restaurants and retailers looking to source local sustainable ice cream and yogurt. The de Groots, like many of LFP’s certified farms, joined the program not just due to the market advantage, but because they fundamentally believe in the principles of sustainable agriculture. “We are proud members of Local Food Plus and applaud all the effort the organization makes to work towards creating a sustainable food system that can be enjoyed by all.” says Arwa de Groot. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with our urban neighbours to reach our common goal of supporting a planet in which all living things can thrive in harmony.”
What You Can Do
Scaling up local sustainable food systems
Activities a donation will support
Investment in this program will allow us to:
• Recruit new Ontario farmers into our program
• Certify more Local Sustainable food
• Increase the number of locations across Toronto that carry Certified Local Sustainable food
• Help more Toronto institutions develop and adopt local sustainable food procurement policies
• Educate more Torontonians about the benefits of buying Certified Local Sustainable food
We’re working to engage 10,000 Toronto families to shift $10 of their weekly food purchases from imported conventional food to Certified Local Sustainable food. This would result in reductions in GHGs equivalent to taking almost 1000 cars off the road, and pump enough new money into our economy to stimulate the creation of at least 100 jobs each year. But why stop at 10,000 families? Think about the impact that 25,000 families could have, or 100,000 families! Engaged citizens-consumers in a city the size of Toronto can really make a difference to our environment, our economy and our community. Join us by taking the pledge and telling us how you spent your $10 this week at localfoodplus.ca/get-involved!