Don’t Replace Agriculture Week: Farmers

QUEEN’S PARK – Today Ernie Hardeman, Oxford MPP and PC Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced that he will be introducing an amendment to save Ontario Agriculture Week after hearing from many farmers about the importance of having a time to celebrate all the contributions of the agriculture industry.

“Our farmers are active members of their communities, stewards of the land and the backbone of our rural economy. We need to celebrate all of these contributions, not just the food they produce,” said Hardeman. “We believe in the importance of promoting local food but it cannot be at the expense of our farmers and the time we set aside to recognize them.”

Hardeman’s amendment would move Local Food Week into the summer to give Ontarians separate weeks to celebrate local food and all the contributions of our farmers. Currently the Local Food Act proposes to replace Ontario Agriculture Week with Local Food Week.

As one farmer said in an email to Premier Wynne: “Every Thanksgiving for the past fifteen years a week has been set aside where the contributions of Ontario farmers has been recognized. We need this one week to acknowledge all the hard working farmers. There are countless hours that are spent working sunrise to sundown and beyond to get our crops planted, to nurse a calf back to health, to check on a sick animal, among other things that are too numerous to mention.”

Hardeman launched a website which farmers can visit to share their thoughts on the importance of Ontario Agriculture Week.

Two weeks ago the PC caucus also announced that they would be putting forward an amendment to require that the curriculum guidelines issued by the Minister of Education include food education as a mandatory component of instruction for pupils in every grade. Lisa MacLeod MPP made the announcement during second reading debate on the Local Food Act.

“Ontario needs a more comprehensive Food Act that will address the challenges our food system is facing from field to fork,” said Hardeman. “The amendments to add food literacy and save Ontario Agriculture Week are the first of a number of amendments that we will be putting forward to strengthen the Local Food Act.”

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For more information, contact:
Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
(416) 325-1239