Inaugural meeting of Alberta's Local Food Council sets path forward

If you’ve heard or seen the term “buy local” get ready to see and hear it a bit more in Wild Rose Country.

Back in May of this year, Bill 7 was passed in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The bill’s purpose is to encourage the development and success of a local food sector throughout the province. It also encompasses regulation of agricultural products that are produced or processed in the province and marketed and sold as organic products within Alberta.

A big part of the bill also included the formation of the Local Food Council (LFC). Its members were chosen through a public recruitment process. Various people are a part of the LFC including small producers and processors and those with specialized and academic knowledge.

Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s minister of agriculture and forestry says, “our new Local Food Council is a tremendous group of engaged, energetic and community-minded people who are invested in the local food process. I very much look forward to the thoughtful advice and recommendations that the council will provide to support the continued growth and sustainability of Alberta’s $1 billion local food sector.”

Minister Carlier (centre) meets with Local Food Council co-chairs Susan Schafers (left) and Jeff Senger (right). (AB government)

In the legislation, members of the LFC must examine:

  • Potential barriers and challenges for local food producers and local food processors, including specific challenges faced by small producers and processors.
  • Local food aggregation and distribution.
    Risk-management tools for local food producers and processors.
  • Increasing access to local food.
  • Consumer awareness of local food.
  • Certification opportunities for local food producers and local food processors.

After one year, the council will deliver a report of their findings to Minister Carlier, at which point the council will dissolve.

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