Local food engagement

Gathered input on ways the government can encourage growth in the local food industry.

Consultation status: Closed March 2018
Ministry responsible: Agriculture and Forestry

Overview

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.

Engagement

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

Outcome

Based on feedback, Bill 7: Supporting Alberta's Local Food Sector Act was introduced on April 5, 2018. If passed, it would support:

  • creating a Local Food Council to identify options to help address challenges impacting growth in the local food sector
  • establishing the Alberta Local Food Week during the third week of August to promote and celebrate local foods
  • applying the Canadian Organic Standard for organic foods produced and marketed in Alberta to enhance consumer confidence

Contact us

Email questions or comments to ExploreLocal@gov.ab.ca