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Horticulture has solutions to healthcare crisis


March 13, 2012
By Dave Harrison

March 13, 2012, Ottawa – Canada’s horticulture industry has solutions to address the nation’s healthcare spending crisis.

March 13, 2012, Ottawa – Canada’s horticulture industry has solutions to address the nation’s healthcare spending crisis.

But co-ordination across government and industry sectors is needed to effect change.

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That was the message behind a networking reception hosted on Parliament Hill yesterday by members of Hort4Health, a working group of the Horticulture Value Chain Round Table. Members include farmers, retailers, food processors and input suppliers.

“An active lifestyle and a diversified diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important to keep Canadians healthy and manage our healthcare costs. In Canada, we’re very lucky that we can grow a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Alison Robertson of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, chair of Hort4Health.

“However, all Canadians need to have access to the great produce we’re growing and that’s why we’re advocating for industry and government co-ordination and collaboration on this issue.”

Hort4Health is urging provincial and federal ministries to work more collaboratively with each other and with farmers and non-governmental organizations active in the food and nutrition field.

Many individual or localized nutrition efforts currently exist, but there is no national collaborative initiative in place.

Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle may reduce the risk of some types of chronic diseases, promote healthier body weights and help improve the well-being of Canadians.

The networking event drew over 100 MPs, including Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, as well as government staff and agriculture and food industry representatives.

“Healthy eating is an issue that affects all Canadians, whether in rural, urban or remote communities,” says Robertson. “With a collective approach, we can do a better job of encouraging Canadians to pursue healthier lifestyles through active living and boosting their consumption of fruits and vegetables.”


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