Spots open on Alberta local food council

Farmers and ranchers looking to help shape Alberta’s local food movement can apply for a spot on the new local food council.

The province announced last week it’s taking applications for the council.

The group, which will be made up of small and large producers, as well as processors and academics, is expected to help guide the government on how to improve the industry.

“There’s a lot of interest, so I think the challenge will be getting them into a group that’s workable,” said Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier.

The council also hopes to help figure out how Albertans can gain better access to local food, as well as provide advice on labelling or certifying such products.

The group is expected to report its recommendations by next summer. It will then be up to the government on whether or not it wants to act on any of the recommendations.

People interested have until July 12 to apply by visiting the Alberta public agency board opportunities website.

Council members will be compensated for their time and reimbursed for reasonable expenses related to travel, meals and hospitality.

Compensation for committee members is $115 per person for up to four hours in a day spent on council business, $191 for more than four hours and up to eight hours, or $306 for more than eight hours. Members will be required to meet once a month either in person or via conference call.

The council was spurred by the province’s recent local food legislation, which passed in the legislature in late May. It brought provincial organic standards in line with federal regulations. Previously, organic farmers who sold their product within Alberta didn’t need certification, irking some certified producers who felt the rules were being skirted.

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