Ugly Fruit breakthrough

… a Rabble.ca post from Wayne Roberts on food waste and accountability, blemishes and all…

‘Ugly fruit’ finally breaks through to supermarket shelves

March 18, 2015

There’s a lot to learn from Loblaws decision to sell less attractively shaped fruit and vegetables for 30 per cent less than their more stylish counterparts on the other side of the produce runway.

Loblaws is not only the leading supermarket in Canada. It’s also a retailing pioneer that draws on the marketing knowhow of a multi-billion dollar global empire of trend-setting products in parent company Weston’s stable of brands, retailers and processors  — one of which is French Intermarché, who successfully launched the whole trend of selling disfigured food a year ago.

Some of what’s revealed by the sale of what Loblaws now packages as “naturally imperfect” produce is a lot uglier than the bumpy potatoes, apples and carrots that have heretofore suffered exclusion from the food supply.

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The Brazil Food Guide: Look at food differently in 2015

Analysis from Wayne Roberts in Rabble.ca

… Despite the insipid title, Dietary Guideline for the Brazilian Population, this is unquestionably the most down-to-earth yet visionary rethink of food’s role in health promotion since national food guides were introduced during World War II, one of the rare times in history when the physical stamina of munitions workers and soldiers  captured the attention of national governments.

… The preliminary scientific thinking behind Brazil’s guidelines come from a partnership between Carlos Monteiro and Geoffrey Cannon, who published a lengthy series of articles in the magazine World Nutrition culminating in the 2012 publication of a commentary on “ultra-processing” as “the big issue for nutrition, disease, health, well-being.”

The argument there provides the key thread linking the 150 pages of the Brazilian health ministry guidelines, which is a new classification system based on levels of processing, not food groups.  Read more

World Food Days 2014

By Wayne Roberts, Visiting Scholar, New College, U of T

This year, several United Nations identified agroecology as a strategy of food production that is central to dealing with hunger, human rights and environmental crises. This October, New College added to this discussion by hosting a mini-conference to celebrate World Food Day and ask if agroecology is pushing out agriculture as “the next new thing” in food and equity.

Not to be outdone, I decided to title my October 17 talk in the mini-conference’s final panel session “Cities, The Next New Thing in Agroecology?”.

This title might sound odd, especially in today’s world where half the population lives in cities and the assumption–or perhaps stereotype–is that food is grown in rural areas, so food isn’t very relevant to cities.

This assumption is part of what’s called the “productionist bias” in food policy and analysis, which focuses attention on production and crop yields rather than consumption and the overall social and cultural benefits that come from food.

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Municipal Elections and Food Policy

With municipal elections happening across Ontario on October 27, it is once again time to reflect on the importance of municipal politics and policy to regional food systems transformation.

Results are in from the province-wide Vote ON Food & Farming municipal election campaign, coordinated by Sustain Ontario:

Wellington / Guelph

(Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table)
More than 1/3 of the responses province-wide came from 75 candidates in Guelph and Wellington municipalities! This included surveys from 14 mayoral candidates, 43 councillors and 18 trustees — and, as mentioned in our letters to the Guelph Mercury and Wellington Advertiser, thoughtful responses from many, and near-unanimous support for a Regional Food Strategy.
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Thunder Bay All Candidates Survey

(Thunder Bay Food Strategy)
Municipalities make a range of decisions that influence people’s ability to access food, the viability of food and farming businesses, and the environmental impacts of our food system. The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy sent 3 questions to candidates in the upcoming municipal elections, seeking their commitment to improving access to healthy food for all, protecting food producing areas, and supporting food and farm businesses.
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Good Food for All

(Ottawa Food Policy Council)
There is a growing shift towards Good Food For All in our schools, in our hospitals, in our food banks, in our grocery stores, in our neighbourhoods and in our rural and urban communities. Food is a central part of the health and well-being of our communities.
What is Good Food?
Fresh; culturally relevant; accessible; minimally-processed; affordable; as local as possible.
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More from Vote on Food and Farming

Rationales and Best Practices

We believe that resilient food systems can meet many important policy objectives beyond simple food production — economic (e.g. good jobs and economic growth), environmental (e.g. soil health and clean water) and social (e.g. food access and food literacy). The process of building these systems can also lead to greater community development and engagement, as it requires enhanced collaboration by many different actors — government, industry, academia, civil society groups and citizens.
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Collaborating On Food: An Interview With Wayne Roberts

…People understood about the connection between food and collaboration from the earliest days of cities. Think of words such as companion, company and companero. They come from the Latin combination of with (com) and pane (bread). Even the word “trivia”, my favourite, comes from the fact that early farmers markets were set up at the intersection of three (tri) roads (via). And when people got together, they were so excited and chatty, they talked about what authorities considered trivia, but was probably just a put-down of popular collaboration.

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The No Nonsense Guide to World Food – Wayne Roberts

No-nonsense GuideIt’s not a worm’s eye view of the food world, but then it’s not a bird’s eye view either. The brand new and totally rewritten edition of the No Nonsense Guide to World Food is written by Wayne Roberts, longtime manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council, who sees the world from between the blades of a grassroots movement, mainly in Ontario, where he’s lived most of his life. Friendly and down-to-earth.

The book is designed as an intro, which means it’s easy to read rather than technical,  and fairly short rather than fairly long. Each of the six chapters asks and answers a different question, so a moment’s glance shows that you’ll get up-to-date info on the meaning of food system, industrial agriculture, junk food, hunger, food security, food sovereignty, industrial agriculture, and sustainable food strategy.  It has the earmarks of having been designed with a university intro course on food in mind.
For copies or more info on The No Nonsense Guide to World Food, go to the website of Between the Lines.