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

Food Policy and Regional Food Systems

Opportunities for Networking across Jurisdictions

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

1:00 – 2:15 PM EST

REGISTER for the Webinar

Where does your local food policy council fit within the regional food system? Would you like to play a stronger role in both your locality and at a regional level but not sure how? Functioning with limited resources and volunteer members, it can often be easiest for a food policy council to concentrate locally. By understanding the role of local food policy councils within the context of a regional food system, groups can network across geographies to maximize impact and effectiveness of policy changes.

During this webinar, expert panelists will address a number of big picture questions local food policy councils have about regional food systems, including:

  • The role of local food policy councils within a regional network
  • When is it beneficial to connect across a region
  • How to determine your “region” and what to do when definitions vary
  • Best practices and challenges to organizing and building regional networks, including resources and infrastructure needed

These issues will be addressed to show participants how networking across jurisdictions can positively influence food system change. The webinar will also include time for participant Q&A.

Suggested participants: Food policy council coordinators and members, policy-makers, members of the local and regional food system and food system advocates.
This event is sponsored by the Institute for Public Health Innovation and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Register here

Building a Food Strategy for Wellington and Guelph

From Phil Mount and Ashley McInnes, Co-Chairs of the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table:

The Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table (GWFRT) and Ontario Public Interest Research Group-Guelph (OPIRG) invite you to the first in a series of events focusing on a Food Strategy for Wellington County and Guelph. Join us for this free event, to help determine our regional food policy, investment and development priorities with a diverse group of stakeholders—including public officials, community organizations, farmers, restaurateurs and engaged citizens—as we begin the process of developing a community-led Food Strategy for Wellington County and Guelph.

In a rapid-fire format, a handful of presenters will answer the challenge question “Why do we need a regional food strategy?” — including speakers from FarmStartThe Seed Community Food HubWellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public HealthTransition GuelphOntario Farmland Trust and Zócalo Organics.

Free childcare is available with registration. Refreshments will be provided. Pick up your coupon for $2 off the ticket price of the Ignatius Ecology Film Series screening of The Family Farm, January 28 or 29 at the Bookshelf!

Further events in the GWFRT Food Strategy Engagement Series — Erin (February 13) and Centre Wellington (3rd week of March)—  will include a free screening of The Family Farm.

Please visit the link below to register, to read a food strategy description, and for more information about the event. Limited space available.

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/gwfrt-engagement-series-building-a-wellington-guelph-food-strategy-tickets-15201466997

food strategy

Food Strategy Poster [pdf 367 kb]

New report: Municipal Food Policy Entrepreneurs in Canada

Guest blog from Lauren Baker, Coordinator of the Toronto Food Policy Council

Over 64 municipal and regional governments across Canada are using a food systems approach to improve health, generate economic development, address environmental sustainability, and engage communities.

The report “Municipal Food Policy Entrepreneurs: A preliminary analysis of how Canadian cities and regional districts are involved in food systems change,” is the first scan of municipal and regional food policy development in Canada. It reveals that a growing number of communities right across the country have launched food charters, food strategies and action plans, and created food policy councils.

“We were surprised by the number of municipal governments involved in food policy work,” states Lauren Baker, food policy coordinator with the Toronto Food Policy Council at Toronto Public Health. “Municipalities are finding creative ways to improve people’s lives through the way they manage a broad array of food priorities.”

While municipal and regional governments have limited jurisdictional authority over the food system, many are springing into action on the food front. They are bringing together diverse sectors to stimulate the local food economy and generate more jobs, but also to address significant food issues such as agricultural land loss, climate change, food poverty, food affordability, and public health problems associated with inadequate or poor quality diets.

“The activity of food policy councils is clearly visible in almost every major city in Canada”, states Vancouver Food Policy Council member Joanne Bays. “Gardens and urban farms are sprouting in backyards, boulevards, rooftops and parking lots. Farmers markets, food vending carts, and food hubs are bustling businesses. And increasingly foods from nearby farms and oceans are found on the retail shelf and on our plates in restaurants, schools and hospitals.”

The research shows that Canada’s municipal food initiatives have varied governance structures. Some are formally linked to municipal departments; others have less formal structures and funding mechanisms, and some are largely volunteer-driven. The rate of growth of this food policy work has increased exponentially since 2005 and the most significant nodes of food policy activity exist in the provinces of British Columbia, and Ontario.

Given the increasing number and diversity of food policy initiatives, and the potential economic, environmental, social and cultural impact of these initiatives, the report recommends that the time is ripe to take a more systematic approach to documenting and evaluating their role and success. Further, it recommends the establishment of a national network to share best practices across municipalities, and to further efforts to clarify how governments at various jurisdictional levels can best support these efforts.

”With some 80% of Canadians living in urban communities, we need to understand how cities are creating change through food initiatives,” notes David McInnes at the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute. “Clearly municipalities are embracing food as a catalyst – to spur economic activity across supply chains, to improve the health of its residents and to respond to sustainability objectives, among other priorities.”

The report was prepared by researchers at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, Rod MacRae and Kendal Donahue, and involved a diverse array of food policy organizations and advisors from across the country.

The information collected through this research will be available on this webpage shortly. You can find more information at our website: http://tfpc.to/canadian-food-policy-initiatives
Cet rapport et le communiqué de presse sont également disponibles en français.

A permanent city council to promote local food production and consumption?!

Edmonton food council ready to plant roots

The 15-member advisory council, which will be chosen in June, will also have to look at difficult issues like raising chickens and bees in the city, or how to set up a food hub at the local community league, said Hani Quan, principal planner with the city’s new food and urban agriculture strategy. Read more

Study looking at sustainable food system for Huron

The first in a series of meetings to discuss the concept of a local sustainable food system in Huron County was held last week in Varna.

Presented by consultants Mary Ferguson and Ryan Turnbull, the goals of the meeting May 8 were to “create a unified understanding of a sustainable food system in Huron, bring learning from other rural areas engaged in sustainable food system efforts and build momentum and leadership for a sustainable food system in Huron County.”

Read more

Fortnightly Feast Vol. 4

Notice Board

The call for abstracts for the 5th AESOP Conference on Sustainable Food Planning is now open. The conference will focus on innovations in urban food systems, with specific sessions on flows, land and governance.
Abstract submission deadline is June 15, 2013.

Social Innovation Pop-Up Lab, March 21, 2013 – Brantford
Finance, Farms and Food – Exploring new ways to organize and raise money for sustainable food system projects. If you are interested in some new ideas and can travel to Brant County on March 21, we encourage you to participate in this learning event. Come out to hear from a variety of organizations on how they are using new tools and approaches to raise money for sustainable food projects. Details.

Petition to Support local food & good jobs in Ontario
The Premier of Ontario has committed to re-introducing a stronger Local Food Act to support our local farmers and eaters.  We think the government can do more to create jobs in Ontario like they’ve done with sustainable energy, by supporting the fast-growing local sustainable food sector, while making the province a more awesome place.  Please sign if you agree and want more diverse local food!

draft Ontario Local Food Act, from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, with funding from the Metcalf Foundation, and building on work done by Sustain Ontario and it’s members.

Greenbelt Fund Green Papers: Volume 5
Access: Aggregating Ontario Product
Historically, farmers in Ontario have delivered their produce directly to local grocery retailers, restaurants, and institutions. This practice has largely disappeared for two reasons. First, distributors emerged as a one-stop shop for restaurants and institutions to obtain product, eliminating the need for multiple suppliers. Second, as franchises and corporate foodservice companies became more dominant, fixed contracts with select distributors to supply categories of products have become the norm. Read more

New  2nd edition of the Resource Guide for Organic Insect and Disease Management [pdf]
Brian Caldwell, Dr. Eric Sideman, Abby Seaman, Emily Brown Rosen, Dr. Tony Shelton, and Dr. Christine Smart

Upcoming WEBINARS

Partners from the Intervale Center, the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) will discuss farmland matching programs, helping farmers access capital, and the structure and challenges of continued support for graduates.

Title: NIFTI Webinar 6 – Transitioning Farmers Off the Incubator Site
Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT

Food policy councils are becoming an effective way to foster healthy food environments in communities across the country.  Join us for an in-depth examination of the successful Los Angeles Food Policy Council.

Title: Food Policy Councils: Improving Healthy Food Retail in a City
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Limited retail access to healthy foods affects the dietary patterns and health outcomes of many Americans.  Join us to learn how new research and evaluation practices are helping to generate innovative solutions that stimulate change in local communities.

Title: Food Access & Health Impacts: Trends and New Research
Date: Thursday, April 4, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

New to us

Australian Food Hubs Network – understandizng, promoting, experimenting with introduction of Food Hubs to Australia
The AFHN is a collaboration of individuals from diverse backgrounds, who are bound by … the vision of fair, sustainable and resilient food systems for all Australians.
We recognise the severity of the many social, ecological and economic challenges our food systems face, locally, nationally and globally. We are convinced of the urgent need for transformative changes in these systems. Read more

Shocking

Could a simple green calorie label make people see nutrition-poor foods as healthier?

 

Fortnightly Feast vol. 3

2nd Annual UVM Food Systems Summit – June 2013
This June, UVM’s Food Systems Summit will be the venue for intense examination and exchange of ideas, knowledge, and practical skills. A valuable part of the summit is the The Necessary [r]Evolution for Sustainable Food Systems Conference on June 27.
Read the full story…

5th AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference
The next AESOP Sustainable Food Planning Conference will be held October 28 and 29 in Montpellier France. The main theme of the 2013 conference is ‘Innovations in Urban Food Systems’.
Read the full story…

Regional Sustainable Food Systems Coordinator (Oxfam)
Climate change, lack of access to agricultural markets, and financial resources, high food prices, dispute for natural resources, and gender discrimination issues are just some of the factors preventing a fair and sustainable food system for the people of Latin America. And with the aim to find lasting solutions to poverty, Oxfam is working hard to make a difference. Shaping plans and putting them into action, you’ll help us to help people to help themselves. Read the full job posting…

Waterloo Region Food Charter
Vision: A healthy, just, and sustainable food system is one in which all residents have access to, and can afford to buy, safe, nutritious, and culturally acceptable food that has been produced in an environmentally sustainable way, and that supports our rural communities. Such a food system promotes social justice, population health, and profitable farms, reflects and sustains local culture, and supports ecological viability.
Read the full Charter
Endorse the Waterloo Region Food Charter

More Money For Food Hubs in New York State
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The state is making $3.6 million available for the creation of four new food distribution centers that link small farms and growers to large buyers.  New facilities are proposed for the North Country, the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes and Central New York.  So-called “food hubs” were a major topic of discussion at a recent Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference at Saratoga Springs City Center, with more than 400 people on hand from Maine to West Virginia.
Read the full story

Cooperative Community Shops
Community-owned village shops continue to be one of the leading success stories of the UK co-operative and social enterprise movement. In 1992 there were just 33 community-owned shops; 20 years on there are 303, with a further 20 anticipated to open by the end of 2013. Read the full story

Home-grown food part of a new vision of urban development
Cities feeding themselves is an idea that is gaining traction. In Burlington, Vermont, more than 8 per cent the food consumed by residents is grown within the city limits.
Read the full story…

USDA Releases Report on the Growing Importance of Food Hubs in Rural America
…”The dramatic increase in the number of food hubs since President Obama took office has been supported by state and federal efforts including USDA programs like Rural Business Enterprise Grant, Rural Business Opportunity Grant, Value-Added Producer Grant, and the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.”  Read the full story…

Exploring New Possibilities in Land Tenure
Partner wanted for new farm
We’re looking for a farm couple / farmer with experience in any of vegetables, berries, fruit, mushrooms, medicinal herbs and / or livestock to help re-create a farm, preferably using permaculture / biodynamic principles, on this 150-year-old former dairy farm. It ís 200 acres, about 50 acres pasture / meadow, most of the rest forest, in East Meredith, NY (Delaware County, near Delhi / Oneonta).
There ís plenty of water, sun and worms. The barn burned down. The land is organic (unofficially). Would like to develop a relationship beginning with rent or lease, leading to some kind of cooperative arrangement.
This is a unique opportunity for the right people to establish an operation from scratch. To discuss possibilities, please call Carl Arnold at 718 788 5944 or 607 278 5820, or e-mail resume and letter to carlarnold at mac.com

Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Local Food Procurement (YouTube video)

… and finally

Urban Food Strategies Webinar: Foodlinks European Research Project.
In Foodlinks we are analysing and engaging in knowledge brokerage activities and creating effective linkages between scientists, civil society actors and policy makers, to promote research and practice on sustainable food systems. To achieve this, Communities of Practice (CoP) were established in different themes, one of them revolving around Urban Food Strategies, where we are tackling the rise of municipalities and city-regions as food policy makers, pointing to new relations between the government and civil society.
In the framework of this work and jointly with Purefood European Project, we are holding a webinar on Urban Food Strategies to explore recent and ongoing research in this field.

The webinar will take place on 12th of March 2013, 15:00 – 16:00 (GMT)

After a brief introduction by Professor Kevin Morgan, Jessica Jane Spayde and Jess Halliday will present different structures and governance approaches that urban food strategies (UFS) and food policy councils (FPC) use in working toward sustainable urban and peri-urban food systems.
Jessica Jane Spayde will discuss the key roles UFSs and FPCs play in urban food systems. She will also discuss the ways in which UFSs and FPCs are focusing on integrating and facilitating between civil society, government, and the private sector. They also are using their positions to raise awareness of the problems in the food system, which helps create a culture where people are more likely to demand sustainability changes from governments and private food companies.
Jess Halliday will explore how each urban food strategy is enabled and/or constrained by its multi-level governance context. Using examples from her own research on UFSs in England she will set out a framework consisting of factors that can affect the ability of a strategy to meet its own objectives. She will explain how it can be used to draw comparisons between strategies in very different governance settings, and can be used to help cities formulate strategies that are context appropriate.
After the presentations, there will be an interactive Q&A session moderated by Dr. Ana Moragues Faus.  Please join us for this exciting event.
Register here:   http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=E953DA83824931
If you have any queries about the webinar or the Foodlinks project please get in touch: MoraguesFausA1 at cardiff.ac.uk
For more information visit: http://purefoodlinks.eu
https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk/web/foodlinksurbanfoodstrategies