"What happens when 3,500 people talk food? Over the past 2 years, 3,500 people have participated in conversations about the food system they want." The Food Security Network was one of the many organizations across Canada that participated in the People's Food Policy Project. Through the efforts of a national force of passionate volunteers and participants, The People's Food Policy Project sought to find out what Canadians want in a food system and to develop the foundation for a much-needed national food policy. Kitchen Table Talks were held nation-wide where communities had the opportunity to share their ideas on issues related to food and how our challenges could be addressed by policy-makers. After much anticipation, the policy document is ready to go, just in time to spark discussion in the federal arena as food policy for the first time makes its way into the speak of all the parties.
We recommend you check out Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada and use it as a resource. Find out more about the People's Food Policy Project and how food policy is a part of this federal election on their website.
What follows here is the official press release for the launch of the new People's Food Policy:
Canada's first citizen-driven food policy was unveiled today and calls on the next federal government to address crucial gaps in the nation's food system.
The People's Food Policy (PFP) is a comprehensive plan to address some of the most pressing health, hunger, climate and agricultural-related issues facing the country.
"Our food system is failing us", said Amanda Sheedy, PFP coordinator. "Close to two and a half million Canadians regularly don't have enough to eat, thousands of family farms are disappearing, one in four Canadians is considered obese, and the environment is being pushed to the limit. The status quo is no longer an option".
Sheedy called on candidates in all parties to say what they would do to address the problems and put a food policy in place that reflects the realities of the average Canadian.
"The People's Food Policy embodies a wave of concern, interest and action by citizens who are increasingly questioning how our current food system is organized," said Cathleen Kneen, chair of Food Secure Canada, the national voice of the food movement in Canada, who is co-launching the Policy.
While plans to develop national food policies are being advanced by many sectors, the PFP represents the first time that regular Canadians, farmers, fishers and organizations that deal directly with food security have come together to put forward a national food policy proposal.
"The PFP goes beyond the standard 'agri-food' framework", said Anna Paskal, Policy Lead. "It addresses issues such as health, hunger, fisheries, children's nutrition, farming, and Indigenous food systems".
Key recommendations include:
● Localizing the system so that food is eaten as close as possible to where it is produced.
● Supporting food providers in a widespread shift to ecological production, including programs to support new farmers getting on the land.
● Enacting federal poverty elimination and prevention programs to ensure Canadians can better afford healthy food.
● Creating a nationally-funded children and food strategy.
● Ensuring that the public, is actively involved in decisions that affect the food system.
"We've laid the groundwork for a national food policy that serves people and the environment," Sheedy said. "We are asking citizens to sign our online pledge to call on the next government to take this forward and make it national policy."