eMERGE Guelph

About Food

img_88_MNWellington County has a strong local farming sector framed by a rich agricultural history and with a large consumer market nearby. Adding strength to the sector is the history of working with the University of Guelph, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Wellington Federation of Agriculture, and commodity partners. Wellington County represents 4.5% of the farms in Ontario and 8% of dairy, hog, and poultry operations. Out of the ten counties in Western Ontario, Wellington County has the 4th largest vegetable growing region and 6th largest fruit growing region.

The food producing and processing industry as well as the market for fresh, quality local food products has been steadily growing in Guelph. As of December 2010, 62 food manufacturers existed in Wellington County and Guelph. Local organizations such as the Workforce Planning Board, FarmStart, and Taste Real have been working to expand the local food system in Wellington County.

Wellington’s agricultural labour force has been experiencing a 16% increase in growth since 2006 where food services and drinking places increased by 2.4% in Wellington and Guelph between June 2009 and June 2010. Taste Real (formerly the Guelph-Wellington Local Food group) provides leadership for local food businesses through networking, promotion, and events in order to help citizens and business procure local food in a sustainable manner. Since 2005, Taste Real has worked with many community partners including farmers, government, non-profit organizations, businesses and other stakeholders to highlight the benefits of local and create a prosperous local food system.

Provincially speaking, Ontario has not been a leading province for food innovation. The past 10 years, Ontario’s food sector has been experiencing growths of 2-3%, with a diverse range of foods consisting of over 200 agricultural commodities. Yet Ontario’s direction towards major multinational food companies operating in Ontario like Campbell Soup Company, Coca-Cola Company (Minute Maid), Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods Inc., Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Cadbury Schweppes plc, The Hershey Company and H.J. Heinz Company among others has impacted Ontario’s food sector through a variety of unsustainable factors for health, environment and corporate rationalization.

Solutions

What does it mean to eat locally? What’s the different between organic and GMO-free? eMERGE Guelph offers three different ways to learn more about the food you and your family eats. Click here to learn more about our Pathways Program and how you can start eating locally today!