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TORONTO -- The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) said yesterday that the Ontario government has allocated a $250,000 grant to develop and implement a strategy for the province's independent retailers to promote a "Buy Local-Shop Local" campaign.
"We know Ontarians want to buy fresh local products, and we want to make it easier for them to do so," said Onatrio premier Dalton McGuinty in a statement. "We know when we support local farmers and local retailers in Ontario's agri-food sector that it strengthens our communities and benefits all Ontarians."
In December, at McGuinty's request, CFIG and a group of Ontario retailers met with him and Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs Leona Dombrowsky to open a dialogue on how to better brand and promote consumption of local food products and to raise consumer awareness on this issue.
"Ontario's food producers grow and make some of the finest products in the world," noted Dombrowsky. "Our government knows that a strong agri-food sector is key to Ontario's prosperity. If we all buy Ontario, everybody wins, because we're supporting our farmers, our retailers, our economy, and ourselves with healthy food from here at home."
The initiative has been in development since 2006, with CFIG reaching out to such associations as the Ontario Independent Meat Alliance and the Ontario Alliance of Food Processors to facilitate greater interaction between these groups and Ontario's grocers.
"Independents have a unique and strong bond with their local communities and with their local suppliers, and we see the Buy Local-Shop Local campaign as a logical extension of the independent's business strategies," observed CFIG president and c.e.o. John F.T. Scott.
To launch the strategy, CFIG will convene a May 17 meeting between Ontario retailers and Ontario processors to develop business links and discuss the challenges each sector faces in promoting local products to Ontarians.
Boasting a national membership of 3,800, CFIG is a not-for-profit association that represents independent and franchised grocers across Canada.