Guelph, ON: The National Farmers Union – Ontario (NFU-O) sent a letter last week to Premier Kathleen Wynne welcoming her to the position of Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. In particular, the letter highlighted Premier Wynne’s promise to re-introduce an improved Local Food Act.
According to NFU-O Coordinator and St. Marys area farmer, Ann Slater, “NFU members have been at the forefront of the local food movement for decades – advocating for policies and programs which support local food as a means to strengthen farmers’ power in the marketplace, protect our environment and build relationships between those who grow and harvest food and those who eat it.”
The letter notes that the NFU-O looks forward to sharing its insights and experiences with Premier Wynne on how a local food act can benefit family farmers, rural communities, the environment and the citizens of Ontario.
In addition, the letter mentions the ongoing challenges the NFU-O is facing in regard to its accreditation under the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act. Slater says, “Our members are extremely frustrated with the decisions of the Tribunal in 2012. They feel the Tribunal has taken away their voice and their option to choose the general farm organization which best represents their interests through the Farm Business Registration program. The ongoing delay by the Tribunal in releasing the reasons for the December 19 decision is exacerbating this frustration and leading to further questions about the mandate and oversight of the Tribunal.”
The National Farmers Union-Ontario is a general farm organization which advocates for the development of economic and social policies that will maintain family farms as the primary food-producers in Ontario and in Canada. Its members believe that agriculture should be economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable and that food production should lead to enriched soils, a more beautiful countryside, jobs for non-farmers, thriving rural communities and biodiverse natural ecosystems.