Dianne Dowling

National Food Policy Consultations

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Everyone needs to eat and we all should be able to eat enough nutritious, affordable, diverse food for good health.

What could be more important than supporting the development of national policies that make that possible?

In the fall of 2015, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay received a mandate from Prime Minister Trudeau to develop a national food policy for Canada.

Develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high- quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.

Every Canadian has the opportunity to contribute to the development of this food policy. Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Get involved in the federal government’s process
On May 29, 2017, the ministry launched an online survey (canada.ca/food-policy) to support the development of the food policy, encouraging Canadians to give input regarding a food policy that will cover the entire food system, from farm to fork.

Canadians were asked to share their views on four major themes:

  • increasing access to affordable food;
  • improving health and food safety;
  • conserving our soil, water, and air; and
  • growing more high-quality food.

The online consultation closed on August 31, but during September, Canadians can submit their ideas directly to the food policy team, or can attend local and regional sessions aimed at understanding citizens’ priorities related to food. Go to canada.ca/food-policy to learn more about the federal government’s food policy process.

2. Get involved in Food Secure Canada’s process
Food Secure Canada (FSC), a national alliance of organizations and individuals working to improve food security and food sovereignty in Canada, is supporting the hosting of local events to discuss what should be in a national food policy.

FSC has three inter-connected goals: zero hunger, healthy and safe food, and sustainable food systems. It has developed its food policy campaign under the title, Five Big Ideas for a Better Food System. The five big ideas are:

  • realize the right to food
  • champion healthy and sustainable diets
  • support sustainable food systems
  • make food part of reconciliation
  • invite more voices to the table.

Go to foodsecurecanada.org and check out its food policy link for more details about how to get involved, responding as an individual or working to organize a local event to gather opinions and feedback of people in your area.

(By the way, FSC’s website is an excellent source for information about food issues in general and is well worth a visit. Individuals can be members of FSC, and membership is a good way to support FSC’s work.)

3. Contact Your Member of Parliament
Let your MP know that you care about the development of a broadly-based, effective national food policy that helps all Canadians eat healthy, and make sure the food policy is on his/ her agenda.

4. Talk to others about the importance of a national food policy
As I said at the beginning, everyone needs to eat, and we all should be able to eat enough nutritious, affordable, diverse food for good health. What could be more important than supporting national policies that make the food system right for everyone?


Originally Published: November 25, 2017

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Dianne Dowling, Contributor and President, Local 316, National Farmers’ Union (Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington Counties)