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Quebec brings new outlook on food and farming to Toronto

Sweeping changes are taking place in Quebec agriculture, and those wanting to hear more can listen to Hugh Maynard, a long-time agri-food commentator from Quebec, as he highlights the report and its recommendations for 'grow-local' campaigns and compensating growers for being more environmentally responsible.


March 18, 2008
By Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee

March 14, 2008


Toronto, ON -The Greater Toronto Area Agricultural Action Committee (GTA AAC) has invited Hugh Maynard, a long-time agri-food commentator from Quebec, to speak at their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m.


Maynard will report on Quebec’s new outlook on food & farming that has emerged from the report of the Commission sur l’avenir de l’agriculture et de l’agroalimentaire québécois. The Commission recently completed an exhaustive examination of Quebec agriculture and agri-food policy and issued a 275-page report that re-thinks everything ‘agri-food’. The Commission has proposed some of the most sweeping changes to the province’s agri-food systems in the last 40 years, with 49 principle and hundreds of specific recommendations to be implemented by 2011.


The recommendations include more support for locally grown and organic food production, changing the farm income supports to a ‘whole farm’ model incorporating both a minimum income and a cap on payments to farmers, as well as compensating farmers for the environmental benefits they produce.


While the report confirmed the continued need for many of Quebec’s comprehensive farm programs, such as marketing boards, quotas and farm land protection, it also pointed toward the need for these instruments to be more flexible in responding to consumer, market and social changes.


Hugh Maynard is a consulting specialist in agricultural communications and rural development. He owns Qu’anglo communications & consulting in Ormstown, Quebec and was Executive Director of the Quebec Farmers' Association and Managing Editor of the Quebec Farmers' Advocate.


Maynard is the agricultural commentator on the "Farm Panel" for CBC-Montreal's Radio Noon program, and secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation and a Fellow of LEAD Canada (Leadership in Environment and Development), following completion of a two-year professional development program offered through the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.


The GTA AAC is a unique partnership involving the four regional municipalities of Halton, Peel, York and Durham, the four Greater Toronto Area Federations of Agriculture (Halton, Peel, York and Durham), the City of Toronto, Toronto Food Policy Council, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the food sector.


The second Annual Meeting of the GTA AAC will take place on Wednesday, March 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Downsview.


After the business meeting and the guest speaker there will be food and a cash bar.

Registration is expected but there is no registration fee. There is a registration form on the website of the GTA AAC: www.gtalocalfood.ca/events_news_opinion.html. In the alternative send a message to Fia Amis at famis@trca.on.ca; by fax to (416) 661-6898; by voice message to 416 – 661 – 6600 ext 5341.