Local Food and Beverage Strategy unveiled19 October 2016
BOUCTOUCHE (GNB) – The provincial government officially unveiled its Local Food and Beverage Strategy at Ferme Michaud in Bouctouche today. The strategy provides local producers with new market opportunities.
The strategy was identified last month as a key opportunity for growth in the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan.
“Increasing local food and beverage consumption can contribute significantly to the province’s GDP,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet. “New Brunswick households spend about $2.6 billion on food each year. If even half of that food were produced here at home, imagine what that could do for our provincial economy.”
The strategy addresses the government’s commitment to assist growers and producers in developing their products and getting them to market by promoting them and encouraging New Brunswickers to buy local.
“We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where we can grow nutritious food, relatively affordably,” said Doucet. “It is time to take full advantage of that good fortune, for our economic, social and physical well-being.”
The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries aims to increase the availability of locally grown and produced foods and beverages across the province. The strategy provides improved support for new producers and those who are expanding production, and sets out a public awareness plan to ensure consumers understand the health, environmental and economic benefits of buying local.
“This new strategy will boost awareness and consumption of locally-made food and beverages,” said Doucet. “Our producers make some of the best food in the world, right here in our backyards. We need to make sure New Brunswickers know where to get it.”
To promote the new strategy, the department is launching an online photo contest. Consumers who buy local can post photos of their food and/or beverages online with the hashtag #buyacheteznb to be entered to win one of five weekly prize packs.
The development of the local food and beverage strategy is the result of collaboration between the department and industry stakeholders including the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, the Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the National Farmers Union. The Departments of Education and Early Childhood Education; Social Development; Health; and Tourism, Culture and Heritage are also partners in the project.
Today’s launch is the first step in what department officials anticipate will become a local food movement.
“Your government is committed to working with producers and stakeholders to continue the momentum we have started here today,” said Doucet. “Agriculture is a vital and historic part of New Brunswick’s rural economy, sustaining the equivalent of 13,000 full-time jobs. We must continue to invest in and develop this important industry.”