New Brunswick households spend $2.6 billion on food purchases each year, and much of that food is produced elsewhere. The total GDP contribution from food, including wholesale, retail and restaurants, is about $1 billion per year. Efforts to promote locally produced food and beverage consumption can contribute to the GDP due to import substitution. That is why the Local Food and Beverages Strategy has been identified as one of the key opportunities to pursue under the Economic Growth Plan.
The Local Food and Beverages Strategy, released in October 2016, includes three objectives and outlines how government intends to get there. The objectives are:
- improved consumer awareness;
- improved availability; and
- improved support for new or expanding enterprises.
In past generations, New Brunswickers subsisted largely on food grown and produced within the province. That changed with globalization, as imported food became more readily available. In recent years, however, demand for locally grown and produced goods has been revitalized by the popularity of farmers’ markets and an interest in niche and regional foods.
New Brunswick’s access to farm land, history in agriculture and ingenuity are all contributing factors in building a successful self-sustaining food model. By investing in the Local Food and Beverages Strategy, not only will New Brunswickers have better access to healthier and more sustainable foods, but the increased exposure to local products for younger generations will help to develop lifelong health benefits while supporting environmental best-practices. Buying local also supports the economy, fosters job creation, and reduces New Brunswick’s carbon footprint.
To further support the strategy, the 2017-18 budget included an investment of $445,000 for local food and beverage initiatives. Specifically, the funding is aimed at helping small and medium-sized New Brunswick producers get their goods into the local market.
- In February, the provincial government announced support for the local food industry with financial assistance for Locavore, a Fredericton-based food company. Locavore will focus on processing locally grown foods and selling the value-added products to commercial markets.
- In April, the government announced it is investing to help put local food on the plates of New Brunswick’s students. A total of $623,000 has been allocated by the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries through the Local Food and Beverages Strategy to support a co-operative established by partner groups to increase the share of New Brunswick foods being served in our province’s schools. Co-operation Agri-food NB is made up of non-profit organizations representing farmers and food service providers in public institutions. Its primary objective is to have more local food served in public institutions, beginning with school cafeterias.
- The Buy New Brunswick team attends community events throughout the year, with particular emphasis in summer and the fall harvest season. The campaign highlights the range of products available in New Brunswick, from traditional crops to specialty produce, as well as fish, seafood, meat and wines. Tour coordinators will be on hand at events, sharing recipes, brochures, guides and maps to promote local products so people can get the most out of their Buy New Brunswick experience.
The New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan is the provincial government’s plan to grow the economy and create job opportunities for New Brunswickers. It outlines how government will mobilize to ensure there is a coordinated, complementary effort to improve New Brunswick’s economy and realize maximum benefits.
Updated: August 2017
MEDIA CONTACT(S): Anne Bull, communications, Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, (506) 453-5949, firstname.lastname@example.org