At Fresh City, there are several certifications or standards that we look out for when purchasing produce.  One example is the fair trade labels you may have noticed on your bananas or avocadoes that come from various countries in South America.  Another important standard is Local Food Plus (LFP), which started right here in Ontario. Local Food Plus (LFP) is Canada’s premier solutions provider for local sustainable procurement. They are a charitable non-profit committed to growing local sustainable food systems. LFP certifies farms and processors for environmentally and socially sustainable practices, make connections throughout the supply chain, do public speaking and community outreach to help eaters understand the many pluses of local sustainable food systems, and help buyers of all different sizes find Certified Local Sustainable food. Local : LFP defines local food as food that has been grown or caught, processed, and distributed within one individual province, or among a group of provinces (in the case of the Prairies or the Maritimes). Sustainable : This one is trickier to summarize as it encompasses not only keeping food local, but selecting appropriate growing methods and reducing the use of pesticides, humane treatment of livestock, fair payment and treatment of labourers, energy and water conservation, and preservation of wildlife and wild spaces. Local Food Plus uses third party certification to verify that farmers and processors are adhering to their standards, which include:
  1. Employ sustainable production systems that reduce or eliminate synthetic pesticides and fertilizers
  2. Avoid the use of hormones, antibiotics and genetic engineering
  3. Conserve soil and water
  4. Ensure safe and fair working conditions
  5. Provide healthy and humane care for livestock
  6. Protect and enhance wildlife habitat and biodiversity on working farm landscapes
  7. Reduce on-farm energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Organic : People who prefer organic appreciate that certified organic was not produced with any fossil fuel-based fertilizers, or pesticides, or with any direct or indirect genetically engineered seeds or feeds. So what’s the difference between sustainable and organic? LFP believes that "Organic and sustainable are different labels that offer distinctive sets of values to customers. One is not intrinsically better than the other, and both go extremely well together. Many LFP producers are proudly organic and local sustainable."  One important difference is that LFP also encompasses labour and worker safety standards.  Fresh City’s boxes often include produce that is both certified LFP and organic.   We strongly support their efforts to connect producers with retailers, institutional buyers and customers.  Indeed, we hope to ultimately get certified as both a LFP retailer and producer; the latter standard is currently under development for city farms.  To learn more about Local Food Plus, visit them online .