Canada’s Largest Educational Foodservice Provider Launches The Buy Local Program, With Marketing Support From Foodland Ontario
Chartwells Canada’s new Buy Local Program supports community-based local farmers and vendors, connecting students to the people and places where their food is from
MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 6 – Today, Chartwells launched their landmark Buy Local program, a coast-to-coast approach to offering quality-assured, fresh, locally-sourced food from community-based, local vendors. The program is available to approximately 650 Chartwells campuses and schools across Canada. Whether it’s a jar of honey or a basket of fresh blueberries, the Buy Local program will create direct connections between Chartwells’ chefs and local farmers and vendors.
Chartwells’ overarching objective to be a more collaborative thought partner to its schools and campuses. With this in mind, Chartwells is actively seeking opportunities to do much more than serve food. This means partnering with local businesses and investing into the local communities where Chartwells does business. The Buy Local program is part of the Food with Purpose pillar of Chartwells’ new vision, Thinking Ahead Giving Back (TAGB). Through TAGB, Chartwells has pledged over the next 3 years to deliver 1,000,000 meals to tackle food insecurity both domestically and globally, provide 10,000 hours of community support around mental health and social issues facing students and create 1,000 jobs through a more focused commitment to student employment.
“We recognize that the campuses and schools we serve are not only important academic institutions but also key economic and cultural drivers in their communities. Our Buy Local program is our solution to sourcing local food that contributes to the overall vitality of the communities in which we operate. The program also allows us to respond to the growing demand by our students and partner schools for more locally-sourced ingredients and menu concepts,” said Eli Browne, Director of Sustainability and Culinary Innovation at Chartwells Canada.
Through the Buy Local program, Chartwells chefs can invite local farmers and vendors in their local communities to become an approved vendor through an efficient, online onboarding process hosted on a custom-built website. Participating vendors must meet Chartwells’ stringent food safety standards, and once approved, can begin sourcing to their local Chartwells school(s) and/or campus(es).
In Ontario, the opportunity of the Buy Local program to positively impact local food spend by institutions is one of the reasons why both Foodland Ontario, the consumer promotion program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Greenbelt Fund, one of Canada’s leading local food advocacy organizations, support the program. Foodland Ontario is partnering with Chartwells to cross-market the Foodland Ontario logo with the Buy Local Program.
“For consumers, local food is at the heart of Ontario’s agri-food industry. Opening the door and making it easier for the Broader Public Sector to procure locally made food is part of our government’s plan to strengthen Ontario’s local food economy,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “We’re proudly promoting all the good things grown and produced here in Ontario.”
“The foodservice and education sectors represent sizable market opportunities for Ontario farmers, food processors and local food vendors,” said Edward McDonnell CEO of the Greenbelt Fund. This is the first time they have supported a program they have not funded.
“Here in Ontario we are thrilled to have the support of Foodland Ontario and the Greenbelt Fund on the Buy Local program. This adds credibility to the structure and goals of the program,” said Eli Browne.
Chartwells will continue to seek support and endorsements from like-minded local food organizations across Canada who share in its goal of bringing more local food to students’ plates.