FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has created a new policy that will promote the use of local and healthy food at government-hosted meetings and events as part of its Buy Local initiative.

"As a government, it is important that we lead by example," said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp. "This new policy supports our local economy and offers opportunities to showcase the high quality of New Brunswick's food and beverage sectors."

The new Local, Healthy NB Food Promotion and Purchase Policy provides guidelines for when a government department or agency is planning or hosting a meeting, special event or conference.

The policy also encourages other practices that contribute to a healthy meeting or event such as using tobacco-free facilities, offering physical activities and choosing greener options.

"By making healthier choices we are contributing to building stronger communities," said Healthy and Inclusive Communities Minister Dorothy Shephard. "Meetings and events offer an ideal setting to promote healthy living. This new policy is a great example of how government is making the healthy choice the easy choice."

The policy is part of a government initiative to promote local food as part of its strategy to grow the value-added food sectors and promote the benefits of healthy food choices.

Other activities undertaken by departments as part of the Buy Local initiative include:

  • In 2013, a brightly decorated Buy Local van visited 35 communities and participated in about 100 events across the province to promote the agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries sectors as part of the Buy Local summer tour. The 2014 tour is currently underway.
  • The provincial government contributed $56,000 to the Really Local Harvest co-operative for its pilot Farm to Cafeteria project. The co-operative partnered with the Francophone Sud school district and the Réseau des cafétérias communautaires to place local fruit, vegetables and meat on the menu for more than 8,000 students during the 2013-2014 school year.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries also contributed about $1 million over the past four year in cost-shared support for local market and value-added food development. More than 400 individual, group and organization projects including road signage upgrades, website development, product development, packaging, promotional materials and agri-tourism development benefitted from the funding.
  • The Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities also provides financial support through Community Food Action Program and Community Food Mentors program which promotes healthy and local food choices.