Fortnightly Feast – vol. 14

EVENTS

Conference provides forum for innovative cross-sectoral approaches to food system issues facing Ontario

Sustain Ontario and its presenting partners are proud to announce the launch of registration for the 2013 Bring Food Home Conference. Taking place in Windsor, Ontario on November 17-18-19, Bring Food Home is Ontario’s sustainable food system conference. With dozens of workshops and presentations by producers, educators, chefs, poverty advocates, First Nations’ leaders, and more, the three-day conference offers a forum to share experiences and expertise in assisting and directing the development of a better food system for the province.  Read more

Planning for Food-Friendly Municipalities

The Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable is calling on Foodies in Waterloo Region to join in the work of advocating for more food-friendly municipalities in Waterloo Region. The first organizing meeting will be held Wednesday, October 2nd. It will focus on a new report by Krista Long which outlines ways to create more supportive environments for community gardens and temporary farmers’ markets in Waterloo Region.  Read More

 

IN THE NEWS

Group exploring food hub for Grey County

Grey County farmers may soon have a hub where they can drop off their product to be distributed to markets across Southern Ontario. The Grey County Chefs’ Forum is currently working on creating a food hub in southern Grey County that would link the wares of local farmers with buyers in both the Grey-Bruce region as well as those in the GTA and beyond. Sun Times, Owen Sound.
Read more

The 2013 National Food Hub Survey, conducted by MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems and the Wallace Center at Winrock International, show that hubs throughout the United States continue to develop as financially viable businesses providing locally produced food to restaurants, schools, grocery stores and other wholesale customers. Food hubs may also provide much needed size-appropriate infrastructure and marketing opportunities for local food produced by small and midsized farms and ranches.
Read more

Further Releases from the Holland Marsh

“The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with rollicking song, he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head . . . the autumn wind is a raider, pillaging just for fun.”
A reminder, if you will, that all good things come to an end – as will this video series, which has only one more week after this. We sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this educational series about life in Ontario’s crown jewel – the Holland Marsh.

Video clips – for this week:
Confronting Climate Change       +        Bonus Clip

Projet de loi pour les aliments locaux / Bill to Promote Local Food

On June 17, I introduced Bill C-539 in an effort to promote local foods.  The goal is to come up with a Canada-wide-buy-local strategy and to develop a local procurement policy for all federal institutions. This will help support Canadian farmers, create jobs and reduce transportation-related pollution. Read more

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.