March 14, 2014 – A huge thanks to the government of Ontario for establishing the Local Food Act last year, along with the Local Food Fund! The Local Food Fund is designed to support innovative local food projects that celebrate local food, and help create jobs and economic growth in Ontario.
The Mustard Seed has been chosen to develop our Local Food Networks Strategy through a two-year pilot project. The $117,603 grant covers 50% of the expenses for the two year development phase, with the other 50% coming from The Mustard Seed Co-op budget.
Key components of the strategy include:
- Two full-time positions : Local Food Manager and Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator
- Proactive relationship development with local farmers and producers with a goal to work with 200 by the end of the pilot phase
- Develop clear and effective communication methods on availability and benefits of local food
- Help producers gauge and understand consumer demand for broad spectrum of local foods
- Create and host education sessions, cooking classes, farm tours, and other food culture events
- Develop, implement, and track strategies for effectively promoting local food with knowledge to be shared with partners and funders
- Empower members and community to align their purchasing priorities for local by finding and stocking a full spectrum of local grocery products
We expect the Strategy to result in 4 new full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions + the two direct jobs in addition to the Co-op’s base operational staffing. This will help grow FTE employment at The Mustard Seed to 18 after five years.
The big announcement of our successful grant proposal happened at the co-op on Friday, March 14th. Our local MPP Ted McMeekin was kind enough to come out to the store to share the good news with a crowd of about 50 members and staff. We are so excited to see how these added resources will help our local food networks flourish!
Media coverage of our announcement:
Hamilton Spectator – Local grocery co-op nabs tasty grant
CBC Hamilton – Mustard Seed Co-op receives $100K in provincial funding
AM900 CHML radio – Interview between Graham Cubitt & Rick Zamperin