Ontario Agriculture WeekOctober 7, 2013
Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to recognize Ontario Agriculture Week and the contributions of our farmers. But if the Local Food Act isn’t changed, this will be the last one. Ontario Agriculture Week is a celebration of the many things that we grow in Ontario, but it is more than that. It’s a celebration of agriculture’s contribution to our economy and the many jobs it creates. It’s a time to recognize that our farmers are stewards of the land and work to protect our environment. It’s a time to recognize the farmers who are always willing to help those in need.
They demonstrated that last winter, as some farmers struggled to feed their livestock following a devastating drought. Farmers came together and raised money to help those in need and bring in hay from the west. We have seen it through the contributions of Ontario Pork, the Holland Marsh Growers’ Association and the many others who give generously to our food banks.
Ontario Agriculture Week is a time to recognize what all our farmers mean to Ontario. Today, more than ever, Ontarians are aware of local food and want to choose Ontario. Now is the time for us to ensure that they can. It’s a time to look at what we can do to make local abattoirs sustainable. It’s a time for this government to address the challenges our farmers are facing and to show respect for rural Ontario. It’s a time for us to make the changes necessary to the Local Food Act that will actually have an impact on our food system so that we can continue to celebrate Ontario Agriculture Week.