Consultation status: Closed March 2018
Ministry responsible: Agriculture and Forestry
Demand for locally produced food continues to grow in Alberta as more consumers are interested in knowing where their food comes from and how it's produced.
Alberta's local food industry is a key part of our economy – farmers' market and direct farm purchases exceeded $1 billion in 2016.
According to a 2016 survey, 92% of Alberta households have bought local food from supermarkets and 80% have bought local food from farmers' markets. The number of Albertans spending more than $1,000 per year at farmers' markets has doubled since 2008.
Increased interest in locally produced food is an opportunity for Alberta producers and processors. Growing the local food industry will help create jobs, complement Alberta’s agricultural export opportunities and further diversify the provincial economy.
To support the growth of Alberta's local food industry, we met with Albertans and local food industry stakeholders in early 2018 to gather input about new legislation that would highlight the importance of local food and increase consumer confidence. Similar legislation exists in other provinces.
We sought Albertans input to:
- establish a definition of "local food" as "food grown, made and/or harvested in Alberta and then marketed in Alberta"
- proclaim a Local Food Week to celebrate the local food industry and increase awareness
- enhance food safety training requirements for approved farmers' market managers and vendors
- apply existing federal organic product regulations and certification requirements to organic products produced and then marketed within Alberta
The Supporting Alberta's Local Food Sector Act was passed on May 30. There are several key points in this legislation which directly reflect feedback received from local food stakeholders, including:
- setting standards for local organic food
- designating a local food week
- creating a local food council
Email questions or comments to ExploreLocal@gov.ab.ca