Local Food Council to Support Growth in Sector

The Alberta Local Food Council has a diverse cross-section of members who represent Alberta’s billion-dollar local food industry.

Minister Carlier (centre) meets with Local Food Council co-chairs Susan Schafers (left) and Jeff Senger (right).

The province’s first ever Local Food Council meets this week. The council will provide recommendations on provincial policies, programs, pilot projects or initiatives to support the continued growth and sustainability of Alberta’s local food sector.

Appointing a Local Food Council is a key part of implementing the Supporting Alberta’s Local Food Sector Act that was passed on May 30.

“Our new Local Food Council is a tremendous group of engaged, energetic and community-minded people who are invested in the local food process. I very much look forward to the thoughtful advice and recommendations that the council will provide to support the continued growth and sustainability of Alberta’s $1 billion local food sector.”

~Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

The council has broad representation from Alberta’s local food sector across the province, including small producers and processors and those with specialized and academic knowledge.

“Growing up on an egg farm provided me the roots for my love of agriculture. I am an Albertan through and through, and working with other producers helps me to learn more about our collective industry. To be successful, we must take a forward-looking and proactive approach and work collaboratively as a local food sector. Consumers are increasingly interested in how we farm, and I’m excited to share our local food industry with Albertans.”

~Susan Schafers, Egg Farmers of Alberta, and co-chair, Alberta Local Food Council

“In our local food business, I shake the farmer’s hand when he drops off his live cow, and I shake his hand when he comes to pick up his steak. There is a trust and responsibility at our small local level that works for us and our customers. I want to help other local food entrepreneurs establish these types of connections with the land, their product and their customers across Alberta.”

~Jeff Senger, Sangudo Custom Meats, and co-chair, Alberta Local Food Council

Council members were selected from a public recruitment process, and will report to the minister within one year, at which point the council will dissolve.

The legislation requires the council to examine:

  • Potential barriers and challenges for local food producers and local food processors, including specific challenges faced by small producers and processors.
  • Local food aggregation and distribution.
  • Risk-management tools for local food producers and processors.
  • Increasing access to local food.
  • Consumer awareness of local food.
  • Certification opportunities for local food producers and local food processors.