A new ‘Stop at Subway for Ontario Grown’ program will see local tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers featured at the restaurant chain’s 1,300 Ontario locations during the 2016 harvest season.
The announcement comes in the midst of Ontario’s Local Food Week, with funding from the Ontario government’s three-year, $6 million Local Food Investment Fund and the Greenbelt Fund.
At the heart of the program is Burnac Produce, Canada’s largest wholesale produce distributor, which will receive $90,000 to help increase the amount of local produce it supplies to Subway during the harvest season. The project is expected to increase local produce in Subway restaurants by 30% — to 50% — during harvest season. Burnac will also work with Subway to promote local food. A promotional campaign using Foodland Ontario point-of-sale materials will help highlight the availability of local produce at Subway restaurants.
The commitment from the sandwich chain should come as good news to farmers who watched Subway do a flip flop on its sourcing policy last year.
“Supporting our farmers and providing locally grown fresh vegetables in our shops when they are in season is not only good for our farmers, but for our guests and the local community,” said Subway food scientist Jonna Thomas in a release.
Ontario Greenbelt CEO Burkhard Mausberg noted that having Subway, the world’s biggest restaurant chain, on board is a big boost for the local food movement.
Jeff Leal, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, said his government’s Local Food Investment Fund “is helping expose people across this province to the great foods grown, harvested and made right here in Ontario while helping create new opportunities for our local agri-food producers.”
Overall, 10 Greater Golden Horseshoe organizations will receive a total of $730,250 from the Local Food Investment Fund to support projects that will bring more local food to Ontario plates. These include:
- Bondi Produce Co. Ltd – Local Fresh Cut Implementation ($70,000)
- Burnac Produce – ‘Stop at Subway for Ontario Grown’ program ($90,000)
- Dana Hospitality – Creating a Provincial Plate ($130,000)
- Durham Farm Connections, Durham Region Federation of Agriculture – Mobile Education Exhibit to Enhance Local Food Literacy in Durham Region and Beyond ($31,500)
- FoodShare Toronto – 2016 Production Opportunities Program ($45,000)
- Fresh City Farms, Inc. – Local Food Processing and Packaging Facility ($100,000)
- Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority – Increasing Municipal Local Food Procurement in three Golden Horseshoe Municipalities ($100,000)
- Real Food for Real Kids – HACCP Compliance and Training ($50,000)
- Rhizome Institute for the Future of Food – Connecting Farmers & Purchasers: Trade Fare ($13,750)
- Sustain Ontario – Say Yes! To Local Food Literacy in Schools ($100,000)