Check any of your older dictionaries and it’s unlikely you’ll come across the term ‘locavore’. So its recent emergence is reflective of a growing awareness about the impact of our personal consumption patterns on the world around us, and a sensible yet simple approach to both better nutrition and a greener planet: eat local!
Alert to this trend, in March, 2008, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs set out to explore the public’s newfound appetite for ‘locally produced’.
A combination of focus groups and follow-up surveys confirmed that Ontario residents are now embracing the concept, and seeking a clear-cut definition of what qualifies as ‘locally produced’. The new OMAFRA guidelines spell this out: 90% of any produce termed ‘local’ must be produced within the province, and all of the remainder sourced within Canada.
At Gay Lea Foods, Ontario’s largest dairy co-operative, we welcome this development – as a well-informed consumer stands an excellent chance of becoming one of our best customers. Given that we’re owned by 1200 Ontario dairy farmers, and responsible for six processing plants that annually handle some 374 million litres of milk, Gay Lea practically defines ‘locally produced’.
Because our plants are widely distributed, and never far from Ontario’s lush pasture lands, the milk we process arrives fresh from our farms within hours – minimizing our ‘carbon footprint’, even while offering an extra measure of quality assurance to all our customers.
So whether it’s milk, cream, butter, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese or whipping cream, when you see the name Gay Lea, you can be confident that the product is fresh, that you’re supporting the families and farms that are such an integral part of our way of life in this province, and you’re helping in some small way to do your daily bit for both Mother Nature and Planet Earth.