Hungry for Change

The final report of the year-long Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty sets out how a fairer food system can be built that works better for people on low incomes.

Drawing on public hearings, expert testimony and the insights of people with experience of managing poverty, the Commission has uncovered a crisis of food access for many households in the UK. There are multiple cases of parents – usually mothers  – going hungry to feed their children or having to prioritise calories over nutrients to afford their weekly food shop. Many people are feeling a deep sense of anxiety from the struggle to manage serious squeezes in household budgets that arises from the cost of living rising faster than income.

… from the preface by Geoff Tansey, Chair of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

We named this independent inquiry the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty in order to broaden the debate on the connection between these two issues in the UK. People on low incomes in the UK face a new struggle to acquire sufficient quantities and adequate qualities of food. Many people are caught between the pincers of rising food prices, household bills and housing costs on one side and stagnant incomes on the other. Something has to give for these families and the only thing to squeeze is spending on food.

Recent discussion of food and poverty has been too narrow, focusing on the growth of charitable food provision, such as food banks, and the role it plays in feeding hungry people. But charitable food provision is the tip of the iceberg – the links between food and poverty extend far beyond food banks. Critically, we need to recognise that food banks and charitable food providers are not solutions to household food insecurity, they are symptoms of society’s failure to ensure everybody is sustainably well-fed.

Read more

Download the full report [pdf]

Strong #EatThinkVote campaign points to need for Canadian Food Policy Council

… from The Hill Times online, Wed Nov. 4, 2015
By Peter Andrée

Food issues are cross-cutting and complex. Who better to deliberate on them than a council that brings together the best minds from the relevant levels of government, industry, and civil society? A food policy council would consist of stakeholders and representatives from all parts of the food system.
 
In the recent election campaign, we saw a new player exerting its political muscle on the Canadian food and agricultural scene. Food Secure Canada’s #EatThinkVote campaign brought to the fore the issues of poverty-related food insecurity, the obstacles facing new farmers, and the challenges in accessing safe and affordable food faced by northern indigenous communities. The campaign represents a growing alignment of actors who are connecting around issues across the policy silos of health, agriculture, trade, environment, and more.
Read more

Fortnightly Feast

Gujarat becomes 9th Indian state to declare organic farming policy, plans to set up implementation cell

Gujarat, after declaring its organic farming policy last month and has become the ninth state to do so, after Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The state government had launched the organic policy on April 10 and this seminar was held to discuss on how to implement policy in phase-wise manner. …“As Chief Minister of Gujarat demonstrated a political will by introducing organic policy the state is likely to emerge as a roll model for the rest of the country. We will take the concept of organic farming in phase -wise manner in villages and blocks of Gujarat and we believe that Gujarat can fully achieve organic farming methods in next ten years and it can show the way to country like the Gujarat model of development,” agriculture policy analyst Devinder Sharma said. Read more

Making Space for Public Space

The notion that public space is a key point of entry to sustainable development in an urbanizing word is gaining greater recognition as national and local policy makers, professionals and civil society actors advance towards the United Nations Conference devoted to Adequate Housing for All and Sustainable Urban Development, which will also discuss the theme of public space for our cities. FAO’s Food for Cities Initiative emphasized the need to strengthen rural-urban linkages to build greener cities at the International Round Table. Read more

Farm Hack: An open source community for resilient agriculture

“We are a worldwide community of farmers that build and modify our own tools. We share our hacks online and at meet ups because we become better farmers when we work together.” From compost censors and farmer-owned distribution networks to the solar powered ‘lazy weeder’, Farm Hack Tools provides links to innovative prototypes that solve almost any problem. Read more

Hamilton moves ahead with east-end urban farm for residents

The city is moving forward with an east-end neighbourhood’s plan to turn a three-acre field into an urban farm. Councillors have backed a $350,000 construction job to break ground on the McQuesten Urban Farm as early as late summer. … City staff will start working on issuing a request for proposals for the construction project once council has given its final stamp of approval. The hope is to see construction start in late summer or early fall, making the farm ready for the 2016 growing season, said Adam Watson, a city staffer working on the project. Read more

Constructing the ‘food insecure’: Implications for public policy

When: Monday, June 22, 2015, 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Where: University of Toronto, Nutritional Sciences, 150 College St., Toronto
FitzGerald Bld Room 423

Luke Craven is a PhD student at the University of Sydney. His interests lie in the application of social and political theory to contemporary policy problems, with a focus on food politics, policy, and system reform. His PhD research examines how we should understand and respond to household food insecurity, drawing on empirical research with Afghan migrants in each of Sydney, London and San Francisco.

Czech teacher battles bee-killing disease with hot hive

Scientists battling a bee-killing disease are about to start testing a new weapon — a sun-heated hive designed by a Czech high school teacher. Roman Linhart told Reuters he had secured a patent for his invention after 10 years of research into ways of wiping out varroosis disease, which has been destroying bee colonies across the world. The stakes are high, as the death of bees threatens harvests which rely on the insects for pollination.  The teacher at Chrudim’s Secondary School of Agriculture, 120 km (75 miles) east from Prague, joins a line-up of experts who have been trying to find an efficient way to tackle the condition for decades. Experts from Czech Republic’s Palacky University said they were about to start trialing Linhart’s method — which aims to kill the Varroa destructor parasite responsible for the disease by heating up hives to 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) and higher. Read more

Upcoming Food Events

WORKSHOP

WORLD FOOD DAYS AT NEW COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO

Wed Oct 15, Thurs Oct 16 and Fri Oct 17

At New College, U of T, we’re celebrating World Food Day with 3 days of special events! Join us for great speakers, workshops and FOOD on the theme of “Agroecology: The Next New Thing in Food?” Everyone welcome!

Presented by the New College Initiatives Fund, the Principal’s Innovation Fund, Equity Studies, New One, Caribbean Studies, the New College Office of Residence and Student Life and the Toronto Food Policy Council.
For details, contact Lori Stahlbrand lori.stahlbrand@gmail.com

WEBINAR

Addressing Food Insecurity in Children: Lessons from Brazil

Nutrition Resource Centre Kids in Focus Webinar Series

Tuesday October 21, 2014
10:30 am – 11:30 am EDT

Brazil has been receiving international recognition for its ground-breaking and progressive FOME ZERO (ie. Zero Hunger) strategy for food security. In this webinar, join Dr. Cecilia Rocha, Director of the School of Nutrition at Ryerson University, as she draws important insights from Brazil’s experience for improving children food security and health in Ontario. Read more

WEBINAR

Good Food Organizations

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 12:00 pm EDT
The Good Food Organizations program offers a way for community-based food security organizations across Canada to work towards a healthy and fair food system through a shared set of “Good Food Principles”. Join Community Food Centres Canada for a 45-60 minute interactive orientation on our new initiative, Good Food Organizations. Register

PUBLIC LECTURE

“Who wants to be a farmer? Youth, gender and agricultural futures”

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 at 7pm
Guelph Public Library, 100 Norfolk St.
Dr.Ben White
Professor Emeritus, International Institute of Social Studies,
Erasmus University, The Netherlands

Register

WEBINAR

Shared Opportunities on Institutional Lands: Challenges and opportunities of on-site food production

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT

In Ontario, several institutions are already producing food on their properties as a way to generate revenue; supply nutritious fresh food for consumption (by staff, patients, students, etc.); provide skills training and therapeutic benefits; and build social enterprises. This webinar will share how project partners at health care, social service and educational institutions went about getting gardens off the ground at their institutions, as well as some of the lessons we learned in the first year of working with pilot projects across the province. Read more

 

PUBLIC LECTURE

“Empathetic Innovations for Inclusive Development: Can we learn from Grassroots Innovators?”

Tuesday, Oct. 28th, from 5:30-7:00pm in RM 1800 in the Pathobiology Bldg. University of Guelph

Dr. Anil K. Gupta is professor in the Centre for Management in Agriculture, Indian Institute of Management, and coordinator of the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions.  Open to the public. Free admission. Please direct any enquiries to Abeir el Arqusosi at a.arqusosi@exec.uoguelph.ca

CONFERENCE

Building Resilient and Innovative Food Systems

Join the Halton Food Council to hear from a panel of farmers, policymakers, community groups, and grocers as they share their stories about the opportunities and challenges to build a more resilient local food system.

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

A local breakfast and lunch will be served. For more information contact haltonfoodcouncil@gmail.com or call 647-830-0328. Space is limited.

Register at http://haltonfoodsummit.eventbrite.ca 

CONFERENCE

Seed Connections

November 7th, 8th, 9th, 2014
MacDonald Campus of McGill University, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec
Building on the incredible success of their 2012 conference, The Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers’ Network (ECOSGN) is partnering with The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security and Seeds of Diversity Canada this year to host their second major ecological seed conference for Eastern Canada.

ECOSGN’s “Seed Connections” conference is a fully bilingual event bringing together farmers, seed-savers, seed companies, community gardeners, researchers, and experts on organic seed production to share knowledge, skills, and experience over a packed, 3-day agenda! Whether you are a beginner gardener or an expert seed producer, if you are interested in ecological seed in eastern Canada – this is the conference to attend!
Read more

CONFERENCE

Food Secure Canada Assembly

Food Secure Canada has announced the full programme for its bi-annual assembly, Waves of Change: Sustainable Food for All, which will take place at the Halifax Habourfront Hotel from November 13th to 16th.

With more than sixty workshops, plenaries, and working groups, these three days of action-packed learning by Canada’s food movement will provide an unique opportunity to tackle a broad range of food issues and to create effective, collective responses to current challenges of sustainability, hunger and health. Read more

CONFERENCE

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

November 24-25, 2014

Kingston Four Points Sheraton

The 2014 Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference is our region’s annual conference bringing together all aspects of our local food system. This event gives you the opportunity to:
• Get a “bird’s eye view” of what’s happening in local food throughout eastern Ontario;
• Make key connections with businesses and organizations that can support your work;
• Attend sessions that address current challenges in Eastern Ontario’s local food sector;
• Enjoy and celebrate eastern Ontario’s local food offerings with others who are as passionate about local food as you are. Read more

Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada

An Assessment of the State of Knowledge

Food insecurity presents a serious and growing challenge in Canada’s northern and remote Aboriginal communities. In 2011, off-reserve Aboriginal households in Canada were about twice as likely as other Canadian households to be food insecure. Finding lasting solutions will require the involvement not just of policy-makers but of those most affected by food insecurity: people living in the North.

Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada: An Assessment of the State of Knowledge offers policy-makers a holistic starting-point for discussion and problem-solving. It also provides evidence and options to researchers and communities engaging in local responses.

Read the full report.

The Farm To Fork Launch

Guest blog:

It’s finally happening. On October 3rd, after months of brainstorming and The Farm To Fork logolearning; development and design; and community engagement and outreach, Farm To Fork is ready to launch. It’s ready to help make a difference in our community by bringing all of us together to eliminate food insecurity.We’re very proud of what the Farm To Fork team has accomplished. It’s been a labour of love shared by the co-founders, students and staff from the University of Guelph, community partners, and concerned citizens of Guelph. We hope that you’ll join us this Thursday (October 3rd) from 7-10 p.m. at Innovation Guelph and be part of a community effort to support the most vulnerable among us.Farm To Fork is about conversations. It’s about connecting people in our caring community to Emergency Food Providers (EFPs). These connections, we believe, will help change the way we talk about food security by allowing EFPs to directly communicate their needs to donors on a weekly basis. In response, it will allow donors to commit to specific contributions and then update the system in real time.

This launch isn’t the end of our journey. It’s just another milestone in our community’s effort to make life better for all of its citizens. We hope you’ll join us, share some food and drink, hear the Farm To Fork story, and do your part to help.

Thank you.

Danny Williamson & Dan Gillis