Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 389–398 | Cite as

Scaling up: Bringing public institutions and food service corporations into the project for a local, sustainable food system in Ontario

  • Harriet FriedmannEmail author


This paper reports on a relationship between the University of Toronto and a non-profit, non-governmental (“third party”) certifying organization called Local Flavour Plus (LFP). The University as of August 2006 requires its corporate caterers to use local and sustainable farm products for a small but increasing portion of meals for most of its 60,000 students. LFP is the certifying body, whose officers and consultants have strong relations of trust with sustainable farmers. It redefines standards and verification to create ladders for farmers, Aramark and Chartwells (the corporations that won the bid), and the University, to continuously raise standards of sustainability. After years of frustrated efforts, other Ontario institutions are expressing interest, opening the possibility that a virtuous circle could lead to rapid growth in local, sustainable supply chains. The paper examines the specificities of the LFP approach and of the Toronto and Canadian context. Individuals in LFP acquired crucial skills, insights, experience, resources, and relationships of trust over 20 years within the Toronto “community of food practice,” located in a supportive municipal, NGO and social movement context.


Certification systems Community of practice Ecolabels Food citizenship Food service corporations FoodShare Institutional purchases Local Flavour Plus Local food systems Short supply chains Social justice Sustainable food systems University of Toronto Values-based markets 





Debbie Field


Integrated Pest Management


International Standards Organization


Local Flavour Plus


Lori Stahlbrand


Michael Schreiner


President’s Choice™ (brand of Loblaw’s Supermarket)


Rod MacRae


Toronto Food Policy Council


University of Toronto


United Kingdom


United States


United States Department of Agriculture


World Wildlife Fund


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Centre for International StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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