Local Food Toolkit

The Local Food Toolkit was designed to help organizations source and serve more local food. The toolkit features stories from partners who are at various stages of their local programmes.

Request a virtual copy of the Local Food Toolkit

The Local Food Toolkit emerged out of Taste RealOM's Broader Public Sector project. Taste Real received funding through the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund to increase local Ontario food served in daycares, schools, universities and colleges and hospitals across the region. The project has helped give children, patients and residents greater access to the nutritious food grown and produced in Ontario. The partners that we actively worked with on this project have all taken steps forward to increase their local food procurement.

Check out our 6 videos that feature our local champions! All six in the series Local Food - Beyond the Market will help you find some great ways to infuse more local into your menus. Thanks to Merc Media for the partnership in developing the videos.

Expensive - Myth or Fact?

Where to Begin

Menu Planning

Identifying Sources

Developing Relationships


Building a Regional Local Food Economy in Partnership with Public Sector Institutions

Imagine a region in Ontario where local food is celebrated everywhere. A place where local municipalities have passed and implemented their own local food policies before extending a helping hand to hospitals, schools, child care centres and long term care facilities in their jurisdiction to do the same.

This is a place where University students purchase meals prepared with local foods, accompanied by the stories of the farmers and their products. And where High School students enjoy local food on their cafeteria menus, while learning to preserve, prepare and grow local foods at their own school and communities.

Picture a hospital visit with local food options proudly presented on the menu or childcare and Long-term Care facilities where local foods are a core segment of the seasonal menu. Imagine that each location and menu is branded with the Taste Real symbol and with the stories of local farmers, their products and operations.

But that is not all, also envision that every year these partners continuously improve their commitment to serving healthy, local foods developing new and innovative best practices through their local food councils and along the way, gain province-wide recognition through the annual Taste Real awards program hosted by the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington.

  • Hospitality Services, University of Guelph
  • St. Joseph's Health Centre
  • Groves Memorial Hospital
  • Homewood Health Centre & Day Care
  • Campus Child Care Co-operative Guelph
  • University of Guelph Child Care Centre
  • Centre Wellington District High School
  • Grand River Raceway
  • Guelph Community Health Centre
  1. Increase overall awareness, interest, knowledge, skills and adoption of local food strategies the local  public sector organizations.
  2. Overcome the local food distribution problem: available quantity, cost (business case), quality and convenience for public institutions.
  3. Build regional capacity to sustain a supply chain wide, collaborative "local food economy" model.
  4. Encourage and reward long-term local food purchases through branding, promotional and awards programs.
  1. Create regional models for local food use in municipalities, health care facilities, licensed childcare facilities, universities & colleges, and secondary school cafeterias (including the exploration of the business case for satellite "lunch club" programs in neighbouring elementary schools) using a distributed leadership model. The goal will be to increase overall awareness, interest, and sales of local to as much as 25% or $ 3.25 M in year 1.
  2. Examine distribution challenges including barriers and obstacles and methods for creating transparent buyer/seller market signals. Develop and piloting solutions including an on-line buyer/seller interface.
  3. Recognize and reward public sector institutions, distributors and supply chain partners for establishing and increasing local food sales in public institutions through Taste Real branding and a Taste Real awards program.
  4. Transfer knowledge and skills using networking meetings, workshops, toolkits, social media and "how to webinars" with stakeholder testimonials and stories.

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