Wednesday, 19 July 2017 00:00

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Shape Canada’s Food Policy!

Did you know Canada has never had a food security strategy? That's about to change! And the government wants your help to create it.

The words "have your say!" and USC Canada's logo superimposed over and image of many varieties of vegetable laid out on a wooden surface.

Consultations are online and open to the public until August 31! Click here to have your say.

Not sure what a National Food Policy is or why Canada needs one? Read on.

Why we need a National Food Policy

Whether we're talking about growing food or consuming it, food has a huge impacts on our environment, our health, and social justice.

Did you know Canada currently has no single policy that provides a concerted vision for our country's food system? Thankfully, that is about to change.

Civil society organizations, like USC Canada and Food Secure Canada, have been advocating for years for a comprehensive approach to food that can improve the wellbeing of our communities and our environment, today and for generations to come.

We succeeded: the Government of Canada is currently working to develop our first National Food Policy - and they want to hear from us all! USC Canada applauds the government for taking on this work.

Canada's first National Food Policy must build social justice, support ecological agriculture, and enhance agricultural diversity. We are working hard to make this happen, and we need you to help us.

What you can do

We're sharing with you the main comments that USC Canada just submitted to Canada's online food policy consultation. If you find yourself agreeing with us, you can add your voice to ours by copying and pasting the text boxes below into each of the five comment boxes provided by the online consultation form.

The more people reinforce the same vision, the better chance we have to impact the National Food Policy. Let's demand a policy that builds social justice, supports ecological agriculture, enhances agricultural biodiversity, and supports farmers.

The consultation closes on August 31. So act now!

USC Canada's vision for the National Food Policy

USC Canada believes that our National Food Policy should ensure that all people in Canada have agency in their food choices, and long term access to sustainable, diverse, and just food.

Canada's National Food Policy must:

  • Conserve and enhance agricultural biodiversity, supporting programs that keep that diversity alive and adapting in the field to ensure food security and climate adaptation.
  • Prioritize agroecological production, and help new and existing farmers adopt more sustainable and viable farm practices.
  • Establish strong democratic and participatory governance mechanisms (food policy councils) to facilitate civil society engagement and oversight in food policies. Women, youth, Indigenous peoples and ecological farmers must be well represented.
  • Support Indigenous leadership for Indigenous food sovereignty.
  • Resource the policy, ensuring adequate financial support to deliver strong impacts in Canadian communities.

The government identified four thematic areas in the online consultation. Here is USC Canada's take on each one of them.

If you agree with us, add your weight to our's by copying and pasting the text boxes below into each of the five comment boxes provided by the online consultation form.


Growing More High Quality Food

USC Canada believes growing more "high quality food" means more "sustainable food."

Canada needs to help the food and agriculture sectors innovate and adapt to growing more high quality food based on sustainable and climate resilient practices, invest in both domestic and export markets, and acknowledge the important role of small- and medium-sized farms, processors and retailers.

The National Food Policy must develop a comprehensive strategy to increase agroecological and organic production.
Such a strategy should:

  • Increase investments in on-farm agroecological/organic R&D.
  • Invest in the growth and viability of small- and medium-sized operations.
  • Support knowledge transfer.
  • Buffer risks for farmers transitioning to organic.
  • Support new farmers.
  • Protect agricultural land, and acknowledge ecosystem functions provided by ecological growers.
  • Support social innovations across the value chain, like cooperatives, vertical integration and local market development.

The 50 word recap (you're welcome to copy and paste):

Develop a comprehensive strategy to increase agroecological and organic production. This should include public funding for agroecological/organic R&D, knowledge transfer, transition support, and local market development. This should also include protection of agricultural land, support to new farmers, and support for social innovations across the entire value chain.

Conserving our soil, water, and air

USC Canada believes biodiversity and land are our two most precious resources for food security and climate resilience.

We must keep diversity alive, adapting in the field, and available to the public to sow, save and replant. And we need to conserve agricultural land to ensure a sustainable food future. All strategies related to this theme must acknowledge the critical role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in stewarding and protecting our biodiversity, land, water and air.

The National Food Policy must include strategies to conserve and enhance agricultural biodiversity and protect agricultural land.

These strategies should:

  • Support on-farm, farmer-led seed conservation and participatory plant breeding programs. Very strong strategies have been developed by The Bauta Family Initiative for Canadian Seed Security.
  • Implement the International Treaty for Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in Canada. This can be achieved through partnerships between public institutions like Plant Gene Resources Canada and civil society organizations such as USC Canada.
  • Incentivize provinces and territories to address agricultural land protection/ownership and ensure long term, secure land and water access to Indigenous peoples, new and existing farmers.

The 50 word recap (you're welcome to copy and paste):

Conserve and enhance agricultural biodiversity by working with civil society organizations such as USC Canada to support on-farm seed conservation and participatory plant breeding and implement the International Treaty for Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Incentivize provinces and territories to protect agricultural land and address land ownership.

Improving access to affordable, nutritious and safe food

USC Canada believes food is a human right - one that Canada is currently failing in its obligations to protect and fulfill. This must change.

We must ensure that people have more than access to good food; they need agency in their food choices. We must also acknowledge that cheap food is often unsustainable and unhealthy. If we are serious about achieving food security for all, we need to improve the income of the most vulnerable people - this often includes farmers and food workers who feed us.

The National Food Policy must adopt a right to food strategy. This must include measures to eradicate food insecurity and hunger; support access to local sustainable food, hunting, fishing, gathering, and home production; guarantee a basic income for all- including for farmers and food workers. It must also encourage shifting diets toward whole foods that are locally and sustainably produced. This strategy must acknowledge the global nature of our food system, linking to international assistance and negotiations on food and agriculture.

The 50 word recap (you're welcome to copy and paste):

Develop a comprehensive right to food strategy. This must include strategies to eradicate food insecurity; support access to local sustainable food, hunting, fishing, gathering, and home production; guarantee a basic income for all; and encourage shifting diets toward whole foods that are locally and sustainably produced.

Improving health and food safety

USC Canada believes "healthy and safe" food starts with food that is local, sustainable and nutritious.

Local, sustainable foods don't require synthetic chemical and fertilizers, are rarely linked to preventable foodborne illnesses, and traceability is easy (if concerns arise). Yet, food safety protocols and assurance systems often pose significant barriers to growing and sourcing local sustainable food. This must change.

Canada's National Food Policy must include strategies to:

  • Create scale-appropriate food safety protocols and assurance systems to support local sustainable food systems.
  • Shift diets toward whole foods that are locally and sustainably produced. Good local food (and good seeds) should be easily accessible and short supply chains should be strengthened.
  • Encourage institutional procurement of local and sustainable food, including a cost-shared universal healthy school food program to ensure that all school children learn basic food skills and have access to healthy, nutritious meals every day.

The 50 word recap (you're welcome to copy and paste):

Invest in scale-appropriate food safety protocols and assurance systems to support local sustainable food development. Encourage institutional purchasing of local sustainable food, including the creation of a universal cost-shared healthy school food program.

Additional comments

The online consultation provides you with a longer comment box at the end to add any final thoughts.

We suggest using this box to reinforce some key points. Write your own, or simply copy and paste the following text that reflects the positions we explain above.

I support Canada's efforts to develop its first Food Policy. I appreciate the objectives already identified - especially the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect farmland, and support regional food systems and new farmers. I believe biodiversity conservation should be added as a top priority objective.

This consultation process required me to prioritize between many equally valid priorities that should not be thought of as trade-offs to each other - they are all essential to our sustainable food future.

Our National Food Policy needs to ensure that all people in Canada have agency in their food choices, and long term access to sustainable, diverse, and just food.

More specifically, Canada's National Food Policy must:

  • Conserve and enhance agricultural biodiversity, supporting programs that keep that diversity alive and adapting in the field to ensure food security and climate adaptation.
  • Prioritize agroecological production, and help new and existing farmers adopt more sustainable and viable farm practices.
  • Establish strong democratic and participatory governance mechanisms (food policy councils) to facilitate civil society engagement and oversight in food policies. Women, youth, Indigenous peoples and ecological farmers must be well represented.
  • Support Indigenous leadership for Indigenous food sovereignty.
  • Resource the policy, ensuring adequate financial support to deliver strong impacts in Canadian communities.
Read 5680 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 August 2017 19:26

17 comments

  • Comment Link Jim Boyde Thursday, 31 August 2017 15:13 posted by Jim Boyde

    A viable land base for food culture should be a priority in land use planning and support for those best suited to this vocation a national investment.

  • Comment Link Harley Thursday, 31 August 2017 03:08 posted by Harley

    Develop a comprehensive strategy to increase agroecological and organic production. This should include public funding for agroecological/organic R&D, knowledge transfer, transition support, and local market development. This should also include protection of agricultural land, support to new farmers, and support for social innovations across the entire value chain.Develop a comprehensive right to food strategy. This must include strategies to eradicate food insecurity; support access to local sustainable food, hunting, fishing, gathering, and home production; guarantee a basic income for all; and encourage shifting diets toward whole foods that are locally and sustainably produced.Invest in scale-appropriate food safety protocols and assurance systems to support local sustainable food development. Encourage institutional purchasing of local sustainable food, including the creation of a universal cost-shared healthy school food program.

  • Comment Link Lisa McEachern Thursday, 31 August 2017 01:18 posted by Lisa McEachern

    I support Canada's efforts to develop its first Food Policy. I appreciate the objectives already identified - especially the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect farmland, and support regional food systems and new farmers. I believe biodiversity conservation should be added as a top priority objective.

    This consultation process required me to prioritize between many equally valid priorities that should not be thought of as trade-offs to each other - they are all essential to our sustainable food future.

    Our National Food Policy needs to ensure that all people in Canada have agency in their food choices, and long term access to sustainable, diverse, and just food.

    More specifically, Canada's National Food Policy must:

    Conserve and enhance agricultural biodiversity, supporting programs that keep that diversity alive and adapting in the field to ensure food security and climate adaptation.
    Prioritize agroecological production, and help new and existing farmers adopt more sustainable and viable farm practices.
    Establish strong democratic and participatory governance mechanisms (food policy councils) to facilitate civil society engagement and oversight in food policies. Women, youth, Indigenous peoples and ecological farmers must be well represented.
    Support Indigenous leadership for Indigenous food sovereignty.
    Resource the policy, ensuring adequate financial support to deliver strong impacts in Canadian communities.

  • Comment Link Candace Carnie Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:35 posted by Candace Carnie

    Develop a comprehensive strategy to increase agroecological and organic production. This should include public funding for agroecological/organic R&D, knowledge transfer, transition support, and local market development. This should also include protection of agricultural land, support to new farmers, and support for social innovations across the entire value chain.

    Conserve and enhance agricultural biodiversity by working with civil society organizations such as USC Canada to support on-farm seed conservation and participatory plant breeding and implement the International Treaty for Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Incentivize provinces and territories to protect agricultural land and address land ownership.

    Develop a comprehensive right to food strategy. This must include strategies to eradicate food insecurity; support access to local sustainable food, hunting, fishing, gathering, and home production; guarantee a basic income for all; and encourage shifting diets toward whole foods that are locally and sustainably produced.

    Invest in scale-appropriate food safety protocols and assurance systems to support local sustainable food development. Encourage institutional purchasing of local sustainable food, including the creation of a universal cost-shared healthy school food program.

  • Comment Link EROCA Thursday, 31 August 2017 00:13 posted by EROCA

    I really don't get how that copy and paste idea works.

    I do not SEE any form to paste things into.

  • Comment Link Cindy Cox Wednesday, 30 August 2017 23:30 posted by Cindy Cox

    hi sorry it is the last day. I am concerned about our land that we grow our food on. Far to much of it is sold off we need to protect and save as much of our land as possible for all farming endeavors. Good clean practices along with getting rid of all the pesticides that kill the bees which is one for me no bees no food. hormones in any animal given to them by us has to stop ect ect please make everything safe for all Canadians. We as people need to pay attention to what is going on in the world starvation is a reality in any country let alone diease,flood ect. we need to be proactive in every manner when it comes to our food

  • Comment Link Wilma Vander Kooi Thursday, 17 August 2017 16:02 posted by Wilma Vander Kooi

    I fully agree with the above 50 word recap boxes!
    Change begins with one person/group at a time.
    We need all the training, assistance & encouragement we can get.

  • Comment Link USC Canada Monday, 31 July 2017 17:49 posted by USC Canada

    Responding to comment: http://www.usc-canada.org/resources/news/item/584-don-t-miss-your-chance-to-shape-canada-s-food-policy#comment4863

    Hi Dorothy, thanks for your comment. The food policy isn't written yet, so we don't know what the National Food Policy will end up looking like just yet. We're advocating for a policy that will build social justice, support ecological agriculture, and enhance agricultural diversity. That has to include supporting the rights of all food producers - including Indigenous peoples and community gardeners - and making sure quality food is accessible to all, regardless of income levels.

    Now is the time to raise your concerns. The more people join us in filling out the government's consultation to raise these important points, the more likely government will include measures designed to make good, healthy food accessible to all Canadians.

  • Comment Link USC Canada Monday, 31 July 2017 17:44 posted by USC Canada

    Responding to comment: http://www.usc-canada.org/resources/news/item/584-don-t-miss-your-chance-to-shape-canada-s-food-policy#comment4864

    We hear you Sylvia. USC Canada is asking the federal government to support other ways of meeting farmers' needs for good seeds, like on-farm seed conservation, and participatory plant breeding. Thanks for you comment!

  • Comment Link USC Canada Monday, 31 July 2017 17:43 posted by USC Canada

    Responding to comment: http://www.usc-canada.org/resources/news/item/584-don-t-miss-your-chance-to-shape-canada-s-food-policy#comment4865

    Hi Betsy, that is such a great suggestion. People can find their local MP's contact info here: https://lop.parl.ca/ParlInfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Menu=HOC. And yes, we're with you 100 per cent on the need to support local food movements and systems! Thanks for your support.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.



Anti-spam: complete the task

LottaHitschmanova tbnWhat's in a Name?

We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.

Newsletter

CONTACT US

We would be happy to hear from you.
  • Phone: 1-800-565-6872

USC Canada is a Registered Canadian Charity 11927-6129-RR-0001

Connect with us

We're on Social Networks. Follow us & get in touch.
Share Share Share Share Share Share
You are here: Home Resources News Don’t Miss Your Chance to Shape Canada’s Food Policy!