National Local Food Day Act

An Act to establish a National Local Food Day

Sponsor

Wayne Stetski  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of Nov. 20, 2018

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-281.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment designates the Friday before Thanksgiving Day in each and every year as “National Local Food Day”.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 24, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-281, An Act to establish a National Local Food Day
May 30, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-281, An Act to establish a National Local Food Day

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

moved that Bill C-281, An Act to establish a National Local Food Day, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise today for third reading of my bill, Bill C-281, to create a national local food day the Friday before Thanksgiving every year.

For those at home who are not familiar with private members' bills or how they work, when we become a member of Parliament, our name go into a hat. There were 338 names put into a hat. Names are drawn out and whichever spot our name comes up in becomes the number of our bill. I was about 111 with respect to private members' bills.

The first introduction of my bill was on June 1 of 2016, and then it was almost two years later, May 30, that my bill was debated at second reading. A number of members of Parliament from all parties gave some really inspiring speeches about how important local food was in their ridings. I very much thank them for that.

From there, the bill went to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and it was approved unanimously on June 20. I would like to thank the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford for his support at the agriculture committee.

Why is local food important and why is there support right across Canada for my bill? I will start locally.

In the summer of 2018, I went on a farmers' market tour around my riding. My riding is 64,000 square kilometres and there are a lot of communities to visit. I attended farmers' markets with my tent and table in 10 communities. In the 11th community, I had the privilege of opening the summer market. Over the course of the summer, I was in Fernie, Jaffray, Cranbrook, Creston, Salmo, Nelson, Revelstoke, Golden, Radium, Invermere and Kimberley. Everywhere I went, people were excited about local food and the national local food day bill.

Why is that? It is because local food benefits us in so many different ways. First, it is healthy. We know where it comes from when it is grown locally. It is important to food security. We do not have to import food that we grow locally, and food security is going to become a growing issue internationally, particularly with climate change. It benefits the local economy. I know the farmers' market in Cranbrook, after about three years of being in existence, was generating over $1 million a year in benefit to the economy.

Going around to the various communities this summer and participating in the farmers' markets, I met tourists from all over Canada and the world who had come to farmers' markets in local communities. Therefore, it also benefits tourism, as well as the economy and food security.

One of the fastest growing agriculture products in Canada is organic food, which people can get at farmers' markets, as well as many local grocery stores. According to Canada Organic, organic food, comprised mostly of fresh vegetables and fruit, was valued at $4.4 billion in 2017, with 66% of Canadian shoppers saying they bought organic food, and that is on the increase.

Growing food locally is also a benefit to the environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report on October 10. One of the key messages that came out very strongly from this report was that we were already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels, among other changes. At the current rate of warming, the world is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.

Locally grown or harvested food has a much smaller carbon dioxide footprint than food imported from around the world. It is essential to our food security. Increasingly, locally grown food is one important way to fight climate change.

A few weeks ago during question period, a question was raised about the impact on climate change of greenhouse marijuana grow operations that used a lot of electricity and plastics. The best way to counter that from an environment perspective is for the government to give priority to outdoor marijuana grow operations. I can assure everyone that marijuana farmers in the Kootenays are ready to do their part to help save the planet.

In addition to hearing directly from people, there was a petition that circulated around the riding this summer, which again drew support from across Canada. That petition talked about the need to strengthen the connection between consumers and producers of Canadian food and the need to support our local farmers. The petition underlined that a national local food day to celebrate food is one of the most elemental characteristics of all of the cultures that populate this nation. Therefore, it called upon the Government of Canada to support the NDP's Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day, and designate the Friday before Thanksgiving every year as national local food day.

We also circulated postcards. One of those postcards invited people to draw and send back to us what they thought represented local food. Three-year-old Madeleine from greater Vancouver sent me a postcard with a carrot drawn on it, and Lisa from Saskatoon sent a card back saying “Local Vegetables - Hooray!”, so there is a lot of support from that perspective.

There is also a lot of support from other organizations, including provincial governments. I will start with British Columbia's Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, who sent us a letter. It reads:

I am writing in support of Private Member Bill, C-28: An Act to establish a National Local Food Day.

...The establishment of a National Local Food Day encourages Canadians to choose local food products and supports our farmers, ranchers, fishers, hunters and food processors, while also promoting healthy living.

This is a letter from the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from Alberta, the Hon. Oneil Carlier. It says:

The Government of Alberta recognizes the tremendous contributions that the local food sector makes to a strong and diversified economy and to the quality of life of Albertans and Canadians...

I have written a letter to Chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food expressing my support for your bill. I look forward to further opportunities for provincial and federal governments to work together to support our local food producers and processors, and recognize the contributions that they make to the economy, the environment, and the health and wellbeing of all Canadians.

From Manitoba, the Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler writes:

This letter is to express Manitoba Agriculture's support for your Private Member's Bill, C-28: An Act to Establish a National Local Food Day, which would designate the Friday before Thanksgiving each year as “National Local Food Day”....

Having a national designated day to focus awareness of food produced in Canada, especially at a time of giving thanks, is an excellent way to celebrate food and recognize the hard work that goes into its production.

From across Canada, other supporters include the Canadian Horticultural Council, the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Meat Council, the Egg Farmers of Canada, the Turkey Farmers of Canada, Restaurants Canada, food action coalitions, farmers markets, and the list goes on.

There are a number of food events across Canada. We encourage every riding, every province, to celebrate food locally as well. I will list some that are currently occurring in Canada. The national local food day complements the many local and regional farmers markets and food festivals that already take place across Canada. There are many organizations that promote Canada's culinary wealth, including World Food Day on October 16, National Food Day, Feast of Fields, the Nelson Garden Festival, Taste of the Danforth, the Shediac Lobster Festival and many more. Canadians love locally produced food and we are proud of the world-class excellence of our products. We need more opportunities to celebrate local food.

I know that each member of the House is proud of the growers, producers and harvesters in their particular part of the country. In order to help shine a light on their important contributions to food security, a healthy environment and a healthy economy, I ask that members continue their support for Bill C-281 and let it move on to the Senate. Let us join together across Canada and recognize the Friday before Thanksgiving each year as national local food day.

I very much appreciate all the support that we have had to date, and I look forward to that support continuing.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for what he is trying to do and what he is trying to submit.

The question is, how much of a capacity do we have in Canada, and specifically in British Columbia and on the Prairies, to be able to produce enough food for Canadians? If we were to take that calculation, if he has done the math, would he be able to advise us on Canada's capacity in terms of locally produced food?

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have not actually done the calculations. I just know that across Canada, as local food grows in importance, we are going to get better and better at ensuring food security for the future.

I will give an example. When I was mayor of Cranbrook, we started to have a look at what kind of opportunity there was to use our vacant lots in communities. Virtually every city has lots that are currently empty. We could, instead, turn those into gardens to help grow local food.

When I was in Korea, again when I was mayor and we had a friendly city relationship, we stayed at a hotel in downtown Wonju, South Korea. What was once a vacant city block was entirely covered in vegetable gardens.

We can certainly do much better to ensure that we have food locally, and of course if we have extra, we are always happy to export it.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the hon. member's efforts in this regard. This would recognize farmers and producers for what they do, not only for their own local areas but for the economy generally.

I have always found it strange that often we will be producing food in one area of the country and they will be producing it in another. Two trucks will be passing each other on the road, going in different directions, because of the brand that is on the label, so that one of the chain stores can sell that particular product. I know of situations where people could not buy Nova Scotia corn in Nova Scotia, because the chain stores had a contract to bring in Ontario corn. What sense does that make?

This would not only recognize farmers but also, if we could have people buy local more often, actually lessen the trucking and help the environment. It would do any number of other things. It would recognize farmers locally for what they do. It would show people in the local area the quality of products they can get from their local farmers, and that is all to the better.

I really appreciate and want to congratulate the member on his efforts.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member brings up an excellent point.

Again, when I was mayor of Cranbrook, I met with the president of Save-On-Foods, which is a B.C. company that is in many of our communities. I asked him that question. I asked, “If we end up developing a greenhouse operation in Cranbrook and producing vegetables, would you buy them locally?” He said, “Absolutely, that is the preferred way to do it.” They save money doing it that way. It cuts down on environmental costs, but also on actual costs for companies if they get products grown locally.

The more we can grow locally, the better it is. We need to have industries or stores that are leaders in their area to do that.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:40 p.m.
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NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Malpeque almost stole my question, but I will ask it anyway.

I heard a story that might be apocryphal, but in Spain and France there were two trucks that actually had a head-on collision. One was bringing tomatoes from France into Spain, and the other was bringing tomatoes from Spain into France. It shows the absurdity of the situation.

I would like to ask the member for his comments on this very unusual situation.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an unfortunate situation in many aspects, of course.

Again, if we can grow more food locally, most stores would be happy to carry that food and sell it locally. It would save on transportation costs. It would save the stores money, it would help the environment, and we also would not have situations like that happening, which was unfortunate for the people involved as well as in terms of the concept.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House for the opportunity to talk about this important private member's bill.

I want to comment on the last question. I can assure the member that my tomatoes will never collide with anyone else's, because I sell them locally.

On that note, I applaud the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing this excellent private member's bill. I was proud as chair of the standing committee on agriculture that all members of our committee gave the bill unanimous support when it was presented last June.

Our government recognizes the contribution of agriculture and food to local and regional economies. We also recognize the importance of strengthening connections between consumers and producers of food, and the capacity of local food systems to offer distinctive, high-quality food choices to consumers.

This debate has prompted some members to share their experiences with local food.

I have been a local farmer all my life, but things have changed a lot since I started out. Back then, there were plenty of small and medium grocery stores, wholesalers and farmers’ markets where I could take my certified organic tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and flowers. However, the concentration of the food chains has changed the landscape for my business and that of my fellow farmers.

It forced me and others to connect more directly with the consumer. Through my direct market called Mr. Tomato in Rogersville, New Brunswick, we were able to connect directly with consumers. They came to our place to buy our product.

I was a founding member of the Really Local Harvest co-op. This co-op has about 30 members within a 100 kilometre area. It permits us to network and to sell our products. With that co-op, we became the manager of the Dieppe Farmers Market, where over 7,000 people go every Saturday to buy their food and talk to farmers. It made a big difference. That market managed to keep some farmers going when a lot of farms were closing down, and it permitted our farms to stay connected with the consumer.

Food is close to our hearts. Home is where the heart is.

From U-pick strawberries in Ontario to fresh beer made with prairie hops to drink on the balcony, our favourite foods are often those produced closest to home. In fact, according to the 2018 Canadian Food Trends published by the Loblaw Food Council, more and more Canadians want locally produced food. Of course, we are all local somewhere.

That means that we need a solid agricultural system across Canada. All Canadians can share their beloved local foods with the entire planet to help feed the growing world population with sustainable foods.

That is why the objective of the new Canadian agricultural partnership is to build a strong agriculture sector. The Canadian agricultural partnership is Canada’s five-year agriculture policy framework. It outlines a bold new vision that will help the agriculture and agrifood sector innovate, grow and prosper.

On April 1, ministers of agriculture from across Canada launched the partnership as a shared vision for the future of Canadian agriculture. Over the next five years, our governments will invest $3 billion in the partnership. Over $1 billion of that investment will support federal programs and activities to revitalize Canadian agriculture. These programs will focus on the following three key areas: growing trade and expanding markets; innovation and sustainable growth of the sector; and supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector.

Canadians want to make informed choices about what they eat. They want to be able to trust the quality of the food that they and their families are eating. The Canadian agricultural partnership is the first policy framework to explicitly recognize public trust as a priority for our agriculture sector.

The new $74-million AgriInsurance program will help the agriculture sector maintain and strengthen public trust in Canada’s food system.

It will help farmers and food producers tell customers about the great things they are doing to grow safe, high-quality food and to care for animals and safeguard our environment, so that customers, whether they be local or international, will know that the red maple leaf is a symbol they can trust. Our new $20-million agri-competitiveness program will also help organizations raise awareness of our world-class agricultural industry among Canadians. This will reinforce the public's confidence in Canada's food production system and promote public trust. Partnership programs are also breaking new ground with a strong focus on diversity.

The more perspectives we have in agriculture, the more dynamic the sector becomes. Through our new $5-million agri-diversity program, we will reach out to women, indigenous communities and young people. It is important that we remove any barriers that are preventing these groups from taking up a leadership role in the sector. This diversity helps give local food systems the capacity to offer distinctive, high-quality food choices to consumers.

Of course, when it comes to agriculture, we are a trading nation, and the partnership is geared to opening markets. We export over half of all of our agricultural output and the government knows that trade also drives jobs and the economy.

That is why our objective is to expand agricultural exports to $75 billion by 2025.

The partnership programs will help the sector promote Canada as a producer of safe, high-quality foods so that our farmers and food processors can sell more products at home and abroad. This will help strengthen the local food movement and could even draw food tourists from around the world.

The future of Canadian agriculture is bright. We are blessed with an abundance of quality farmland and a variety of local climates. Our ice wines are among the best in the world.

That is why we have set a target of $75 billion in agricultural exports by 2025.

For top-quality grains, look no further than the Prairies. In fact, a public-private group in Saskatchewan was selected as one of five new super clusters under our $950-million investment in budget 2018.

I am sure we can all agree that eating locally is an excellent way to stimulate the economy.

Protein Industries Canada will turn even more of our prairie grains into high-quality plant protein to feed the world. With the new programs available under the Canadian agricultural partnership, we are giving farmers and food processors the tools they need to keep agriculture diverse and vibrant right across our country. A yearly national local food day would be an opportunity for Canadians to take a look near them and see what is growing.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for all of his hard work on this bill.

I look forward to the passing of this bill before the end of this Parliament. I hope it does. We are proud to support it.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 5:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to speak to Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day. I applaud the initiative put forward by my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia, and I would like to take this opportunity to say how important it is for us to honour the women and men who, day after day, put their heart and soul into providing us with healthful food produced close to home.

I am happy to see that Canadians of all generations are interested in knowing where the food they eat comes from. “Field to fork” is a motto we should all make our own. We should make the benefits of local food available to our families. Truly understanding what fuels our bodies begins with knowing what we are eating, where it comes from, and who produces it. Happy are those who cultivate trust-based relationships with farmers, those caring artisans who share their passion and their know-how with us.

By fostering this relationship, we are guaranteeing an abundant harvest and the satisfaction of cooking with quality ingredients. Our local and public markets are a means of taking concrete action to support our local economy and our environment. Maintaining a short route in the food chain will eliminate enormous quantities of greenhouse gases and inspire a new generation of farmers in our local economy.

I am proud to be able to say that, in Lévis—Lotbinière, we promote our local and regional products. I am living proof. By the way, I would like to thank all of the organizations that feature local products from Lévis—Lotbinière on the menu in their activities. Just look at the fruit and vegetable stands on our farms and in the riding. They provide a variety of produce throughout the summer and fall. A real treat! I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the organizations that make it possible.

We need to be aware that, every time we buy local products, we are honouring our craftspeople and investing in our present and future food safety. Here in the House, we can also do more and better by adopting measures to stimulate the local produce initiative, by investing in the innovation of new products and new cultivars of fruits and vegetables that are less vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather and other natural stresses.

We must also remember those who process local foods. I would like to call your attention to the fact that, in my riding, we have been trying to encourage people to eat local for almost 20 years now. I would like to mention an organization that has made an outstanding effort in this respect: Goûtez Lotbinière. The organization has evolved over the years, but it was created in January 2000. The initial objective was to pool knowledge and experience in order to meet the needs of producers and processors in the Lotbinière RCM who wanted to join forces to promote and market local products.

Since then, several other organizations have become involved, including the Lotbinière local development centre, the Lotbinière regional county municipality, the Lotbinière Caisses Desjardins, the Union des producteurs agricoles, the CFDC and Promutuel de Lotbinière.

Year after year, Goûtez Lotbinière has stood out from the rest by coordinating and participating in activities in Lotbinière, including the Fondation Philippe Boucher cocktail reception since 2009, the Balades d’automne and the Saint-Apollinaire festival, among many others.

The Table Goûtez Lotbinière was also in the Quebec City and the Chaudière-Appalaches area. It took part in the New France festival, the old port of Quebec Christmas market, special events on the Quebec-Lévis ferry, and so on.

A growing number of businesses are calling on the organization's services. That is why designating a national local food day just before Thanksgiving is the best time for raising awareness about the importance of agrifood in our lifestyle. This affects our health and our local economy.

These businesses deserve our attention. Let us encourage them by buying their products that are so wonderful. That way, we might discover new burgeoning success stories close to home and be able to proudly say one day that we were there from day one or that we were one of the first to buy these local treasures.

I encourage all farmers and processors to take part in the competition to promote their products.

We are seeing a positive and enthusiastic response from Canadians to all these efforts. I invite all Canadians to draw up a list of their local producers and processors so that they can buy and taste local products and maintain this relationship of trust. They can help keep our regions economically prosperous by buying local.

Before I finish, I also want to talk about a new national and even international trend: rural green tourism. For several years, tourists have been participating in activities and buying products that are directly or indirectly connected to agri-tourism or local tourism.

You can find all kinds of local and foreign visitors using regional agri-tourism maps, visiting agri-tourism museums, or simply stopping at u-pick farms along the way. These rural or agri-tourists are not necessarily trying to promote local foods; they simply enjoy basking in the country life.

On top of those visitors are the ones who choose their tourist destinations based on accommodations, restaurants with good local menus, as well as rural-themed cultural activities, sports or educational experiences that are typical of the local way of life.

In short, this will help our overall health, including our physical health and our environment. This is huge. We owe it to all Canadians to make a choice for our regions' futures, and I urge all of my colleagues to support Bill C-231.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 6 p.m.
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NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to support my dear colleague's bill to create a national local food day.

The creation of a national local food day is especially important to me because I represent the agrifood technopole of Quebec, where agriculture is truly the economic driver of our region. In the riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, we know how important local agriculture is to both the farmers and the consumers.

A big public demonstration is planned for November 18 in Montreal to support agriculture in my region. The event is being called “Garde-manger en danger” or “our pantry in peril”. I invite all my colleagues to join us and show their support for our farmers who work hard to feed us and ensure that we have good fresh products every day. Farmers are going through a tough time. Now more than ever it is important for us to rally behind them.

Bill C-281 would bring together farmers and consumers around the issue of local consumption. We should show our recognition and support for our local farmers who work hard for all of us. Having this day on the Friday before Thanksgiving would allow us to celebrate together this day of sharing between local farmers and citizens.

Local food is a great way to support farmers by cutting out the middleman and making direct producer-to-consumer transactions possible. Consumers get fresher, traceable seasonal produce. Our constituents care more about the quality of the food on their plate and supporting local farms, and they are tired of excess packaging. Buying local is very good for the planet.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, eating locally is one of the top 10 things we can do to reduce our global footprint. Nowadays, one farmer can produce enough to feed over 50 families on less land and with less water and fewer resources than before. Local food is the obvious choice.

A Toronto FoodShare study found that a meal made with ingredients from a local farmers' market travels an average of 101 kilometres, whereas an imported meal travels an average of 5,364 kilometres, producing 100 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the meal from the local market. Eating locally also helps reduce the amount of plastic packaging associated with getting products to market. Let us remember that food packaging accounts for 70% of the world's plastic waste.

Producers across Canada and Quebec are subject to standards that protect the taste and quality of all Canadian products. Our quality standards represent a true guarantee for consumers. It is all the more important to fully support our producers now that Canada's borders have been opened to even more imports of American agricultural products. Quebec products meet standards and requirements that are not applied to imported products. Local producers end up at a disadvantage, because imported products can sometimes be cheaper, since they use ingredients that are banned in Quebec. By buying local, consumers can avoid these imported products and support local producers.

Quebec products also offer very clear labelling and traceability. For example, Quebeckers can find out which farm produced the eggs they are buying by going to oeuf.ca and typing in the code printed on the egg's shell.

By instituting a local food day, we can send a strong message to our constituents. This is an excellent way to use legislation to encourage Canadians to support local agriculture. We can also protect family farms and help them move out of the shadow of larger operations. We must all put this day of celebration in our calendars.

A national local food day would raise awareness about how hard it is for too many Canadians to access healthy, affordable food close to home.

I am proud to represent the riding of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot in this House and to speak for our farmers, who work so hard every day. Today I want to thank each and every one of them for their dedication and their huge contribution to the vitality and economic development of our riding.

Local agriculture is part of our identity, and we are so proud of it. We need to pay tribute to all the farmers across the country who work hard to ensure our food sovereignty and to feed all Canadians.

We need to emphasize the importance of buying local now more than ever, considering the tough times our farmers are going through. I would like to commend the Maskoutains RCM, UPA Montérégie and the Agricultrices de la Montérégie-Est, which represent many farmers in my riding. I want to thank them all for the excellent work they do and for tirelessly defending our farmers' interests. They contribute to the vitality and economic development of Montérégie, the pantry of Quebec.

Eating locally helps us guarantee our food sovereignty, maintain local expertise, revitalize our agricultural land and create jobs in all our regions. We are all affected, directly or indirectly.

The people of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale keep telling me how important local agriculture is to them and how we need to protect it and acknowledge the farmers who breathe life into my riding and contribute to jobs and youth training.

Bill C-281 would complement Canada's Agriculture Day, which is celebrated in February, by focusing on local agriculture and all the sectors it encompasses, from producers to restaurants to artisans, as well as the riding's economic health and public health.

Food is a necessity. High-quality products are vital for public health. A population that maximizes the benefits of its food is a population in better health.

Bill C-281 is a good way to pay tribute to our local producers and to show our appreciation to all those people working hard in the background to feed us all. They contribute to Canada's success through their commitment and hard work.

Since 2011, the NDP has been promoting a Canadian food strategy that would combine objectives related to health, the environment, food quality and local and organic choices by consumers across the country.

Access to healthy food choices at affordable prices is a priority for the NDP. Meeting these objectives involves the support of our local farmers' markets. I have the honour to represent a riding where the land is fertile and agriculture is very diversified. Every day, residents of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale are able to meet the farmers that produce their food at the various kiosks at the Saint-Hyacinthe farmers' market on Cascades Street.

I would also like to highlight all of the events organized to support and promote our local food products, such as the Foire agroalimentaire de la région d'Acton and the Matinées gourmandes, which travel to several communities in my riding.

I would also like to thank the restaurants that put local products on their menus, and the grocers who make room on their shelves for local products.

Finally, I would like to thank the head of tourist development at the Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole, who promotes and offers our local products at the tourist information booth in the congress centre. What a great way to showcase the richness and diversity of the greater Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton regions.

There are multiple locations where residents of Saint-Hyacinthe and Acton Vale can find many high-quality local products such as cheese, milk, eggs, and all sorts of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

These locations do our riding proud. Farmers are happy to have such direct connections with consumers, and word of mouth helps them to attract and keep customers.

In closing, I would like to offer my full support to my dear colleague's bill, which seeks to create a national local food day. It is good to celebrate local food both in British Columbia and Quebec.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 6:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing this bill to celebrate national local food day.

I think it is a great day in the House any time we have the chance to talk about agriculture and food. Our farmers and food processors work hard every single day to put food on our tables, and they contribute to Canada's sovereignty by ensuring a safe and healthful food supply.

I consider it a privilege to rise today to acknowledge their contribution to our great country. That is why I welcome Bill C-281, which our government is happy to support because the importance of food and farming to the health of our citizens cannot be overstated. Canada has a global reputation as a producer of healthful food.

From gate to plate, the agriculture and agrifood sector generates over $114 billion of our gross domestic product. Canada's agricultural sector is booming, and people are taking notice. The Advisory Council on Economic Growth, chaired by Dominic Barton, has recognized its huge potential. The advisory council pointed to agriculture as one of the key growth sectors of our economy, one that can help unlock a prosperous future for our economy, our middle class and our nation.

Global demand for food is growing at a record pace. It is estimated that farmers will have to produce as much food over the next 45 years as they did over the past 10,000 years. Not only is demand for food growing, it is growing for the kind of top-quality foods that Canada's industry can deliver. That is why our government has set an ambitious target to grow our agrifood exports to at least $75 million by 2025. We are well on our way to hitting that target.

While Canada can play an important role in helping feed the world, there are also new opportunities for producers and processors closer to home. The fuel that is going to power this economic engine is our local farmers and processors. That is why I am pleased to voice our government's support for this bill.

A national local food day would be an opportunity to recognize the contribution of agriculture and food to local economies. It would be an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about how the food they eat makes it to their dinner tables. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to recognize our hardworking farmers and food processors. There is no doubt that more and more Canadians are putting local food on their tables. According to last year's chef survey by Restaurants Canada, eating local is one of the top five trends on Canadian menus.

Many provinces have already introduced initiatives to buy local. These initiatives help showcase local ingredients and capitalize on the explosive growth of culinary tourism. They can help bring together all the players, from farmers to chefs, in order to promote local food and stimulate the economy. They also help boost sales of local products to tourists and local residents, who are better able to identify locally grown foods. These buy local initiatives also contribute to increasing export sales should a region become known as the supplier of choice for certain foods.

When consumers choose to eat local foods, they create specialized markets and local supply chains for small and medium sized farms and businesses. The local food systems can provide distinct food choices that incorporate local flavours. In the riding of Saint-Jean, we can find local products throughout the region. People take joy in buying fresh farm products at the Place du marché in downtown Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

In Sainte-Brigitte, Jardins d'Odina produces excellent ciders. In Saint-Grégoire, known for its orchards, Denis Charbonneau and Léo Boutin produce ice ciders. There are dairy producers in Saint-Alexandre and Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix. Au gré des champs cheese factory has won prizes several times. Au Saucisson vaudois in Sainte-Brigitte, Dalisa in Saint-Jean and Stefan Frick in Lacolle make deli meats that are sought after by consumers.

Les Vignobles des Pins in Sabrevois, Mas des Patriotes in L'Acadie and Vignoble 1292 in Saint-Blaise are the pride of the region for the quality of their wines. In Saint-Valentin, the town of love, Les Fraises Louis Hébert has a u-pick strawberry operation and sells many strawberry-based products.

The government’s approach to local food is focused on national efforts to increase consumer awareness and knowledge of the Canadian agricultural sector as well as the needs of farmers’ markets across the country. Provincial governments have a role to play in determining what local food means to them, and the Government of Canada continues to work with interested provinces on this issue.

Indeed, many provinces and territories are actively implementing local food strategies. To make them effective, provincial support is needed, combined with a bottom-up structure that understands the local food scene. For a number of years, provinces and territories have been working with the federal government to fund diverse local food programs. Under the previous framework for agriculture, provinces and territories had the flexibility to target investments to meet local needs. That way, they could provide tools to help farmers remain innovative and competitive, and capture new and existing markets, which include, of course, markets for local food.

For instance, in Quebec, $5 million was targeted to developing local markets. The Proximité program encouraged farmers to take advantage of the business opportunities that local markets provide. The Yukon used funding to get a wider variety of farm products into farmers’ markets and restaurants and onto store shelves. New Brunswick’s market development, product enhancement and diversification program supported farmers’ efforts to capture new markets, be they local, national or global.

We are focusing on a new five-year Canadian agricultural partnership. The partnership is a $3-billion federal-provincial-territorial investment, a bold new plan to help keep Canadian agriculture booming. It includes $1 billion in federal funding for six programs and activities that will build an even stronger, more innovative and more sustainable sector, and $2 billion in cost-shared funding between the provinces and territories and the federal government. These funds have built-in flexibility to allow the provinces and territories to target their own programs to local needs. Working in partnership can provide a boost to the local food movement.

Just as farmers have the full support of Canadians, they also have the full support of this government. We are there to encourage and help people from all walks of life to choose farming as their profession. We are there to support them with programs and services under the Canadian agricultural partnership to help them grow their businesses. The government is there to fight for them on the global stage as they help feed a growing world population.

The Government is happy to support Bill C-281 because, when Canadians shop locally, they are keeping dollars in the community, creating jobs and contributing to sustainable development.

When we transport these agricultural products over shorter distances, we reduce the environmental impact. That is the most pleasant way I can think of to boost the economy.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

November 8th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, clearly, local food inspires. I would like to start by thanking my constituents from Kootenay—Columbia for inspiring me to move Bill C-281, and for building our local food economy. I would also like to thank my colleagues in the House for all of their inspiring speeches. We can see how excited they are about local food in their particular ridings, as they should be.

Why should we support local food? First of all, as we know, it is healthy. We know where it comes from and who is producing it. It is important for the economy. It puts millions of dollars into the local economies and brings tourism to communities. I saw that in the farmers' markets I visited this summer. Of course, it is also important for farm-stay tourism and restaurants. When people travel the country, they look for local food in local restaurants. It is environmentally friendly. It reduces carbon dioxide and the use of plastics. It provides community food security and keeps farmers farming, which we absolutely need to do across Canada. It brings together families and communities. Healthy local agriculture also means a healthy local environment. We need healthy soils and pollinators to make farming and local food work. It leads to protection of water and watersheds, and it protects agricultural land from development.

How can we encourage local food? We can buy locally, support local growers and farmers, and ensure there are healthy local fish and wildlife populations and opportunities to harvest them in rural areas. We can ask our local mayors and councils to make vacant city lots available for agriculture right next door, and look for ways to remove any barriers from farm to fork and encourage all levels of government to focus on local food and local food security. Lastly, we can encourage our senators, locally for people around Canada, to support timely passage of this bill. For people in the House who know people in the Senate, they can talk to their colleagues there to support timely passage of Bill C-281 in the Senate so we can celebrate local food all across Canada on Friday, October 11, 2019, as part of national local food day.

I thank all my colleagues in the House.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to promote the introduction of national local food day, as proposed by my colleague from Kootenay—Columbia, directly to the west of my riding.

This is an outstanding opportunity to celebrate our farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, U-pick berry farmers, craft brewers, distillers, and those who operate our farmers' markets. It is our chance to thank those who work so hard with incredible passion, innovation, and creativity to ensure that Canadians can put incredible, wholesome, and delicious food on their tables each and every day.

Celebrating local food is an opportunity I hold close to my heart. I am blessed to have a wide array of premium locally sourced food products in my riding, Foothills. This is an amazing time of year that I am sure many of my colleagues in the House will share with me as we get ready for farmers' market season. Even now, I can almost taste the fresh vegetables of the renowned Millarville market, the pies of the Saskatoon Farm, the blackcurrants of Kayben Farms, the fresh honey from Greidanus or Chinook Honey Company, Taber corn, and, of course, amazing Alberta beef.

It is clear that this is a topic every single one of us in the House can speak to. We can see the amazing colours, and we can smell the aromas of grandma's kitchen. Most important, when it comes to our local food, we can taste it. Locally produced food is something we can share with every single Canadian.

The idea of this private member's bill, to designate the Friday before Thanksgiving of each year as national local food day, would provide plenty of opportunities and positives for Canadians throughout the country as we promote local agribusinesses. It also gives us a chance to highlight and showcase our incredible premium homegrown cuisine.

In our roles as shadow ministers for agriculture and agrifood, my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable and I have had a fantastic opportunity to talk to farmers, producers, and business owners almost every day, not only in our ridings but across the country. These people are restaurant owners who feed Canadians every day and challenge themselves to highlight Canadian products in new and exciting ways; farmers who maintain the finest crops; and the ones who prepare and deliver our food to our door and our local markets.

The proposed idea of creating a national local food day is not necessarily about what we are eating. It is also about the products provided by our local producers, who, for many of us, are our friends and neighbours.

Today, many Canadians, especially those in urban communities, are generations away from the family farm. Many of them do not understand where their food is grown, how it is grown, where their food comes from, or the love and care our farmers put into growing healthy, nutritious, and quality food each and every day.

It is my hope that national local food day would be an opportunity for us to reconnect urban and rural Canadians, to reintroduce ourselves to where our food comes from, and to introduce our children to the farmers, ranchers, and beekeepers in our communities. It is also an opportunity to dispel some of the myths out there about what happens on the Canadian family farm. It is an opportunity for us in the House and as Canadians to introduce the city mouse to the country mouse.

Certainly, food is grown on the farm, but the definition of a family farm has changed from what many of us think of as the traditional family farm. When we talk about the family farm, we have a picture in our mind of grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, a couple of kids, maybe a chicken and a cow, and a dog running around in the field.

However, today the family farm could be a major, 10,000-acre business, a multi-million dollar business. Certainly the family is still involved, but those family members are shareholders. A family farm could be a garden in the backyard or a community garden plot, a community project in downtown Calgary. These could all be defined as products and producers of local food. This is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate all these different innovations and opportunities to showcase local food.

When we talk about local, I want us to focus on food products that are coming from the local farm, but also from within our region, our towns, our neighbouring communities, and across the country.

When we talk about food, I do not want us to forget about some of the incredible opportunities happening across Canada. We can go to a local brewery, many of which are in rural communities, and taste its craft beer. I hope that this would be a significant part of our national local food day. I have had the opportunity to visit and tour many of these local breweries across Canada, and I believe a national local food day would provide a catalyst for Canadians to not only test these locally sourced foods and drinks, but get a better connection with the hard-working producers who live and work near them.

For example, just over the last few years in my riding, Foothills, there have been six craft breweries in various stages of construction. There are two award-winning craft distilleries, Highwood Distillers and Eau Claire Distillery. There are even two honey meaderies, which is something I had never tried before. This is an outstanding opportunity to support our local producers. All these innovations have brought new economic opportunities, especially to our rural communities. They are supporting our local farmers, towns, and villages with economic opportunities and new jobs.

One of the big highlights is that this has become a significant tourism industry. Local food has become an opportunity for these communities to highlight some of the things they are most renowned for.

For example, the community of Turner Valley has literally hundreds of people coming from the city every weekend to visit the Fahr brewery or Eau Claire Distillery and have a Hefeweizen on the deck or a glass of prickly pear vodka. They can then head further down the highway to Longview and enjoy an Alberta beef steak at the Longview Steakhouse, or continue down the Cowboy Trail, along Highway 22, to Crowsnest Pass and enjoy the Huckleberry Festival. The Castle Mountain range has some of the best huckleberries in Canada.

This is an incredible opportunity for us to highlight and showcase not only our local food and producers, but certainly our local communities. Anytime we have a chance to bring new economic opportunities to these communities, this is something we need to embrace, and I am excited that national local food day would bring an opportunity for us to highlight what our local communities are doing.

The options are incredible. These businesses are supporting our local farms, but also offering a new twist on our locally grown products. Not surprisingly, our producers are a diverse bunch. Like Canada itself, our culinary heritage is as colourful as a summer salad. We should not be surprised, because for generations, when it comes to immigration, agriculture was the gateway to Canada. When many new Canadians broke ground for their new homes, they brought their recipes and produced those ingredients in Canada's fertile soil, and they have passed those recipes on for generations. These items all fall under the umbrella of locally produced foods. Whether those dishes originate here at home, or in Jamaica, Korea, the Philippines, England, or Ukraine, as long as those foods are produced locally, they should be considered homegrown products. For myself, anytime I have an opportunity to have homemade perogies, I am going to take it.

Producers are using incredibly different products as well. For example, a local craft brewery outside Regina, Rebellion Brewing, uses lentils to make its beer, something most of us have probably never taken the opportunity to try, and it is successful in using these new products. I was at a craft distillery in Lumsden that was using dill pickles to make vodka, also something I never thought I would try in my lifetime, but it was definitely an experience. Two weeks ago, when we were at our branding meeting getting ready for the summer season, we all enjoyed Prairie oysters. If my colleagues have not had the opportunity to try that, they should take the chance to do so. There is nothing like a little Prairie oyster after a hard day's work.

We also have to understand the importance of agriculture and local food to our communities and to our economy. This is a multi-billion dollar industry for the Canadian economy. We should take any opportunity, such as national local food day, to highlight what our Canadian producers are doing across the country, but also, perhaps most important, to introduce to Canadians where their food comes from, how it is grown, and the heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears our farmers put into it every day.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today in the debate on Bill C-281, introduced by my colleague, the member for Kootenay—Columbia. I would like to thank him for bringing forward this bill, because it gives all of us in this chamber, no matter what our political affiliation is, an opportunity to talk about the great things that are going on in our ridings.

I am proud to be standing here, not only as the NDP's agriculture critic and as the member of Parliament for an amazingly rich and vibrant region, especially in food production, but also as the owner of a small-scale farming property. I would not go so far as to call myself a farmer; I have a very tiny property. However, it gives me peace of mind to be out there with our sheep and our chickens, as well as putting my hands in the soil and watching things grow from it. Seeing the results of the harvest in the fall is something many of us in this chamber can appreciate. When we talk to the farmers in our regions and get an understanding of the hard work they do on their individual farms to bring that amazing produce to market, it makes a bill like this so much better, because it would give official recognition to something that we all very much enjoy.

I like the fact that Bill C-281 would designate as national local food day the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Friday and Saturday are the days when people are starting to put together the menu for Thanksgiving. If we all recognize the Friday as national local food day, I hope that it would encourage more Canadians to pay attention to local food markets to bring some of that produce, which local farmers have worked on so hard, to their own respective tables and make Thanksgiving that much more special. We already have Canada's Agriculture Day, which we celebrated earlier this year, in February, but I like the appreciation that, in addition to celebrating agriculture as a whole, we would bring it down to the local level.

We all realize that food is not just a commodity. All animals and humans require food to survive, and food is very much a social determinant of health. We know there are a lot of people in Canada who suffer from food insecurity. Food security and food sovereignty have always been key issues to me. Canada is one of the countries that are very blessed, with the amount of arable land we have. Given the relatively small size of our population and the huge variety of growing regions we have in this amazing country, we should be a country that is able to produce food locally for everyone who needs it, not only the bare minimum amount, but also good, quality food. That is really what the conversation needs to focus on.

I am proud to belong to a party that has long had this as part of its mandate. In 2011, we ran on committing to introduce a Canadian food strategy that would combine health goals, environmental goals, and food quality objectives. In 2014, Alex Atamanenko and Malcolm Allen, former members of Parliament, brought together a landmark strategy paper called “Everybody Eats: Our Vision for a pan-Canadian Food Strategy”, focusing on going from the farm to the factory to the fork. The strategy was very comprehensive, and I am glad that maybe in some small part we have brought this conversation to the government, because the government launched consultations on establishing a national food policy. Last year, when I held consultations with the farmers in my region, the farmers were very vocal and involved, and we produced quite a comprehensive report based on all that feedback.

The other reason I like this bill is that it has to do with the concept of food miles. I remember going into a supermarket a few years ago and seeing apples from New Zealand and oranges from South Africa. I know that Canada is not much of an orange-growing region, but we do have a lot of apple orchards. It surprised me that there was actually a market for an apple to travel thousands of kilometres across the Pacific Ocean to Canada and actually be sold, when we have all these amazing local apple growers right here in Canada, and even in neighbouring Washington state. From where I am in British Columbia, Washington state is only a stone's throw away. Given the fact that we have amazing local food farmers who are able to meet this demand, we should try to focus more on making sure that food does not have to travel so far to get to our kitchen table.

I am also proud to come from a province which probably has the most diversified agricultural sector in the country. British Columbia has a variety of different climates given our mountainous province, and we are able to grow a lot of different things in many different regions. Depending on which valley and which part of the province people are in, they will always find a little niche market somewhere.

I want to bring it home and talk about some of the amazing things going on in my riding. Down in the southern end, we have the Goldstream Farmers Market, which is going to be held from May through to October this year, as it is every year. It celebrates all of the amazing agriculture that is going on in the west shore communities.

We have the Cowichan region, which is, believe it or not, Canada's only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone. We have the highest mean average temperature in all of Canada. This allows our farmers to get a head start on growing some amazing food.

We have the amazing rainfall in the winter and amazing sunshine in the summer. It produces an amazing agricultural bounty. This is on display. People can go to the Duncan Farmers' Market and find over 150 vendors. It is one of the largest markets in all of B.C. People can find everything from organic fruits and vegetables; local honey, cheese, and eggs; sustainably harvested seafood; meat from grass-fed and ethically raised animals; homemade jams, jellies, chutneys, and sauces; artisan breads, pies, pastries, and cookies; locally grown and produced wines and spirits; and even gourmet treats for pets.

To cap it off, we have amazing organizations, like the Cowichan Green Community, which is very much focused on local food security. It has worked on initiatives such as the Cowichan food charter and the Cowichan food security plan; projects like FruitSave, which tries to get people, like those who have a 100-year-old apple tree that they never eat all the apples from, to take that fruit to local markets; and, of course, getting kids involved in the joys of farming, and educating them all about it.

They produce a local food map which identifies all of the farms in the Cowichan region. It identifies 58 unique farms and businesses, all with something distinctive, fresh, and delicious to offer consumers.

We have the Alderlea Farm Café, people who have been involved in a farming venture. We have the Cowichan Valley tea farm; the Cowichan Valley actually grows its own tea. We have Farmer Ben's Eggs, and the Quist family farm.

There are a number of breweries, wineries, and of course I cannot leave out the amazing community of Port Renfrew, which I will say is probably home to the best wild Pacific salmon of anywhere in the country. I love the people of Port Renfrew. They have a real can-do attitude. It is very much driven by the amazing tourist opportunities and the amazing seafood they are able to produce.

With that, I will conclude by saying that I appreciate the member for Kootenay—Columbia bringing this bill forward. It is an important day to celebrate, and I certainly hope all members can get behind this amazing bill to help celebrate national local food day.

National Local Food Day ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Madam Speaker, I too would like to applaud the work of the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing what I think is an amazing bill. It will support our farmers and food processors, and all those Canadians who are part of or impacted by the agriculture and food sector in our strong economy.

Our country is a food superpower, and I do not say that lightly. In fact, we are the fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agrifoods in the world. We are blessed to have the land and resources needed to help the world meet its ever-growing need for food, by producing more than we need to feed our population.

Our exports are known in the global market to be reliable, safe, innovative, and above all sustainable. That is all part of our Canada brand, our narrative.

The vast size and complexity of our food systems are worth consideration. The industry generates one in eight of our manufacturing jobs, over $110 billion of our gross domestic product, and over $64 billion of our exports. From gate to plate, agriculture is one of the key growth sectors of our economy.

Canada's innovative processing industry supplies approximately 70% of all processed food and beverage products available in Canada, and it is the largest customer for our farmers.

All Canadians can share their beloved local foods with the entire planet to help feed the growing world population with sustainable foods. That is why the objective of the new Canadian agricultural partnership is to build a strong agriculture sector. The Canadian agricultural partnership is Canada's five-year agricultural policy framework. It outlines a bold new vision that will help the agricultural and agrifood sector innovate, grow, and prosper.

On April 1, ministers of agriculture from across Canada launched the partnership as a shared vision for the future of Canadian agriculture. Over the next five years, our governments will invest $3 billion in the partnership. Over $1 billion of that investment will support federal programs and activities to revitalize Canadian agriculture. These programs will focus on the following three key areas: growing trade and expanding markets; innovation and sustainable growth of the sector; and supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector.

In supporting this bill, let me begin with the observation that a robust local food industry does not need to compete with farmers who export to world markets. In fact, many farmers do both. All production is local, whether it is consumed locally or on the other side of the world. As the member of Parliament for Steveston—Richmond East, I have berry farmers who produce for the local market, be it in Vancouver, Richmond, or Kelowna, but who also export to Asia, be it in Japan, China, or Korea.

If we think of our vibrant organic sector, it is so much more as well. For example, today the market for certified organic products in Canada is over $5 billion, making us one of the largest markets for organics in the world. Two out of three Canadian consumers buy organic. That is very good news for the many supporters of Bill C-281, both in this House and across this country, who believe in the merits of a national local food day. We are not just talking about small producers; increasingly, we are seeing large-sized, more traditional operations that are gradually converting from conventional to organic production. In Saskatchewan, a 40,000-acre grain farm is converting to organic. In my neck of the woods, in Steveston—Richmond East, a significant organic blueberry farm just converted from traditional blueberries. It is also setting aside a section for traditional farming, once again proving that farms can do both.

I am pleased to say that our government over the past two and a half years has invested nearly $20 million in this innovative, dynamic sector. Bill C-281, an act to establish a national local food day, is an excellent initiative, and a special tribute to the great success of Canadian farmers, our responsible stewards of the land.

The government also recognizes the importance of strengthening connections between consumers and producers of food. Canadians are increasingly building bridges with local farms and the hard-working farmers they often meet in the colourful farmers' markets across this country. I have the same situation in Steveston—Richmond East. We have the Steveston farmers' market, where the local farmers, be they organic or the more traditional farmers, such as the May family, the Savages, produce food internationally. They also provide good, healthy, sustainable food, sometimes organic and sometimes not, for the local farmers' market. When I head over there and say hi to a farmer, or Canadians say hi to a farmer, we start to build trust because we know where our food is coming from. Local food is about increasing agricultural awareness among our consumers.

The future is bright for Canadian agriculture. We are lucky enough to live in a country with abundant high-quality farmland and a variety of local climates. We have some of the best icewines in the world. For superior-quality grain, we need look no further than the Prairies.

We are happy to support Bill C-281, because when Canadians shop locally, they are supporting the local economy and creating jobs locally, nationally, as well as internationally. Local food helps consumers build lasting relationships with local food producers. It also opens up economic opportunities and employment. It fosters community involvement and also creates a culinary tourism industry.

In supporting this bill, we are supporting the future of farming in this country. Heading down to a farmers' market, which I often do on a Saturday morning to the Steveston farmers' market, national local food day will not just be a way of enjoying solid organic vegetables, or wonderful blueberry ice wine, as enjoyable as that is, it will also be a great way to make the choice for a stronger agriculture and food industry in this amazing country that we call home.

That is why today I am supporting this bill.