TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Toronto City Council's Economic Development Committee today endorsed the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan 2021 which calls for a more integrated and coordinated approach to food and farming in the area.
Food and Farming: An Action Plan 2021, developed by the Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (GTAAAC) and its partners, the City of Hamilton and the Region of Niagara, was officially launched on March 2, 2012. It has now been endorsed by all five regional municipalities in the Golden Horseshoe (York, Halton, Durham, Peel and Niagara) as well as the City of Hamilton and many food and farm-related groups.
The plan provides five broad strategies and numerous specific actions to revitalize the area's food and farming cluster which contributes $12.3 billion to the provincial economy, and is the second largest cluster of its kind in North America. This direct economic activity is estimated to contribute $35 billion annually to the Canadian economy.
It addresses the serious challenges impeding its growth, including multiple and conflicting government policies and regulations, rising fuel costs, a lack of integration, urbanization, competition for land, gaps in infrastructure and traffic congestion.
"As one of the pillars of our economy, Golden Horseshoe farms and related food sectors feed millions of people in the Greater Toronto Area, across Ontario and around the world," said Nick Ferri, Chair of the GTAAAC. "It also provides hundreds of thousands of jobs for Ontarians, so it is very heartening to see such wide-spread support for the plan."
"We're very pleased with yesterday's endorsement," said Peter Lambrick, Chair of the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Action Plan Steering Committee. "The fact that our presentation was so well-received signals that governments at all levels are getting behind the plan and are prepared to see it implemented."
The Action Plan is a blueprint for supporting and growing a thriving and integrated economic cluster by focusing on enhancing competitiveness, promoting sustainability and removing barriers to growth. It is the result of extensive consultations, including input from producers, industry and government representatives, the academic community and not-for-profit organizations.
Background reports to the Action Plan include wide-ranging research into best practices around the world and a detailed economic analysis of the area's food and farming cluster. The complete Action Plan and supporting materials are available at www.gtaaac.ca