AGRICULTURE–Province Makes It Easier to Select Local Products Choosing Nova Scotia products will be easier than ever thanks to increased funding for Select Nova Scotia, the province’s buy-local marketing initiative. A new $250,000 investment by the province doubles program funding to $500,000 for Select Nova Scotia beginning this year. The successful provincial marketing program launched in 2007 to promote local food products by increasing consumer awareness. “Government recognizes the importance of promoting local food to support our farmers and the local economy,” said Jim Morton, MLA Kings North, on behalf of Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. “Buying local is good for Nova Scotia consumers and good for Nova Scotia businesses. It’s a win-win.” The additional funding will allow for a more robust marketing campaign, which began on television and online in late March. It also includes a redesign of Select Nova Scotia’s logo to showcase the provincial flag–making it even easier to identify local products. “As business owners who add value to a primary product and sell directly to the consumer, we know first-hand the importance of producer/customer relationships,” said Jeanita Rand, co-owner of Fox Hill Farm. “Today’s consumers want to know where their food comes from, how it’s made, and they want to have a relationship with you. Select Nova Scotia builds on this by increasing consumer awareness and connecting producers to consumers.” More than 400 businesses across the province are part of the Select Nova Scotia network. The program supports local businesses by sponsoring signature events including the Incredible Picnics in August and the Incredible Community Suppers in February, which together attracted more than 9,500 participants in 2012. Since Select Nova Scotia began, awareness of buying local has increased 33 per cent among Nova Scotians, more farmers markets are popping up across the province, and Nova Scotians are buying more local food. Visit www.selectnovascotia.ca for information on local products, where to buy local, recipes for seasonal foods, events and attractions featuring local products, and the benefits of eating and buying local.
“In the past weeks, we have seen more and more heinous acts,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos in a briefing this afternoon. “Innocent men, women and children killed; maimed; displaced; and subjected to a savagery that no human should have to endure.” Ms. Amos cited the aerial bombing of a market in Darkoush, in rural Idlib, at the end of April in which up to 50 people were killed and over 100 civilians wounded. The same market was hit once again last week with reports of twenty more people killed. At the same time, the violent rampaging of militants aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continues to cause widespread devastation, she added. ISIL’s recent taking of Palmyra had resulted in the indiscriminate killing of civilians and “new depths of depravity” including “maiming, raping and destroying.”Overall, some 12.2 million people, including 5.6 million children, need humanitarian assistance throughout Syria, according to the UN. And by conservative estimates, more than 220,000 Syrians have died in the conflict, but that number is likely much higher. “People are trying to survive by the day, without the basic necessities of life such as water and electricity,” Ms. Amos continued. “And parties to the conflict continue to cut services, collectively punishing entire villages and cities in the process.”However, despite reports of ongoing tragedies and the Security-Council’s previous efforts to end the violence and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, the situation in the country has worsened.“The international community more broadly needs to do more to protect civilians and ensure greater accountability for violations of international humanitarian law,” stated Ms. Amos. She urged the Council “to demonstrate its leadership and uphold its responsibility” through specific measures, including ensuring the protection of civilians; ensuring that the parties to the conflict abide their international legal obligations; bringing an end to the siege of more than 400,000 people; considering all possible avenues to ensure accountability; stepping up financial support for humanitarian efforts; and respecting the non-political nature of humanitarian aid. “I know that there are no easy answers or quick fixes,” she declared. “But I also know that we cannot let the difficult prevent us from upholding our responsibility to act on behalf of the people of Syria. We cannot leave Syrians abandoned to hopelessness and further despair.” Today’s briefing was Ms. Amos’ last official address to the Council in her role as the UN’s humanitarian chief before she steps down from her post at the end of the month.