Marshall will fight for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Farms and Businesses as MPP

Owen Sound, Ontario – Today, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Green Party candidate Don Marshall was joined by Leader Mike Schreiner in Owen Sound. Marshall committed to putting food and farmers first, by fighting for local farms and bringing back local food processors to the region.

“Right here in our community, we have seen local meat processors like Empire Meats in Durham close their doors,” said Marshall “The current regulations hurt farmers, and make it harder for us to get healthy, local food to feed our families.”

The decline of local processing facilities in Bruce Grey has made  it difficult for farmers to access higher value markets and to brand local products. The loss of local processors has also restricted consumer choice and access to healthy local food. The number of small and medium sized abattoirs in Ontario has declined by approximately 70% in the last decade.

“We have to reverse the closure of local food processing facilities. They are essential to building a local sustainable food system and strong local economies,” said Schreiner “This has been a priority for the Green Party of Ontario since I was elected leader in 2009. Only Green MPPs will use their position in a minority parliament to fight for farms and food processors.”

“Local food processors are an essential part of building strong local economies with good local jobs,” said Marshall. “We can create a level playing field for local food processors and family farms by introducing regulations that recognize the differences in the size and scope of operations.”

According to a 2010 survey conducted by Farmers Feed Cities, an overwhelming 99% of Ontarians agree that farming is important to Ontario’s well-being. It’s time to ensure that local farmers are supported so that all Ontarian’s have access to healthy food grown close to home.

As a Green MPP in what is expected to be a minority parliament, Marshall will fight to:

  • Create a comprehensive Ontario Food and Farming Strategy
  • End one-size-fits-all regulations for family farms and local food processors
  • Implement smart regulations that recognize differences in the size of operations
  • Invest $100 million over four years to reward farmers for stewardship practices which provide environmental and societal benefits
  • Introduce a package of tax credits of $435 million over four years to invest in rural infrastructure, research and innovation, bio-based product manufacturing, distribution hubs, farmer co-ops, organic and specialty crops
  • Eliminate tax penalties and reduce zoning restrictions to facilitate local, on-farm food enterprises and innovative sources of farm income
  • Improve income stabilization programs so they are more accessible for family farms, cover a wider range of products and don’t penalize farmers who experience bad years.

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Media Contact:

Rebecca Harrison
Director of Communications
Green Party of Ontario
(905) 999 – 5479
rebeccaharrison@gpo.ca