A New Food Policy for Canada?
We’re in the middle of an election in Canada and a grassroots food policy movement is trying to “reset the table” by putting food on the agenda. Instead of simply tinkering with out-of-date agricultural programs, members of the food movement, including Food Secure Canada, want to transform the Canadian food system from the ground up.
The People’s Food Policy is the first national food policy to come from the food movement itself, with more than 3,500 Canadians participating in the development of ten detailed policy discussion papers developed through 350 Kitchen Table Talks, hundreds of policy submissions, dozens of teleconferences, online discussions and several cross-Canada conferences.
According to the Executive Summary of the People’s Food Policy, the key elements include:
- Ensuring that food is eaten as close as possible to where it is produced (eg: domestic/regional purchasing policies for institutions and large food retailers, community-supported agriculture, local farmers markets, etc.).
- Supporting food providers in a widespread shift to ecological production in both urban and rural settings (eg, organic agriculture, community-managed fisheries, indigenous food systems, etc.), including policies for the entry of new farmers into agriculture.
- Enacting a strong federal poverty elimination and prevention program, with measurable targets and timelines, to ensure Canadians can better afford healthy food.
- Creating a nationally-funded Children and Food strategy (including school meal programs, school gardens and food literacy programs) to ensure that all children at all times have access to the food required for healthy lives.
- Ensuring that the public, especially the most marginalized, are actively involved in decisions that affect the food system.
Within three days of the policy being launched, the Food Policy Project has already been endorsed by two of Canada’s five major political parties, namely the Green Party and the New Democractic Party. Will the other parties sign on too and pledge to create a sustainable food system for Canada?
If you want to help “put food in the election,” the People’s Food Policy Project has some ideas for how you can get involved. You can also follow the People’s Food Policy project on Twitter and Facebook.
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
Image credit: Woodleywonderworks on flickr