10/11/2012 06:38 EDT | Updated 12/11/2012 05:12 EST

Shift $10 to eating local and support growers, Ontario consumers urged

TORONTO - Consumers across Ontario are being challenged to shift $10 of their existing weekly food spending to buy local food.

The initiative is an effort to promote and support producers and growers in the province.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said at the International Plowing Match last month that if every Ontario family made the weekly shift it could increase Ontario food sales by $2.4 billion and create 10,000 jobs. In addition, the Promoting Local Food Bill has passed first reading in the provincial legislature.

Ontario has a wide variety of meat, fish, eggs, dairy, maple syrup, honey and processed food products available throughout the year. When it comes to in-season fruits and vegetables, the ministry has an availability guide on its website. Many root crops, stored crops and greenhouse vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers) are available nearly year-round.

Local food can be found at farmers markets or in grocery stores bearing the Foodland Ontario logo.

Other ways to support local is by drinking local wines and craft beers and adding fresh flowers and potted plants grown in the province to your decor.

For more information, visit Foodland Ontario,