2016 Assembly: Resetting the Table (Toronto)

Resetting the Table, Food Secure Canada’s (FSC) 9th Assembly, brought 900 participants passionate about healthy, just and sustainable food together October 13th in Toronto.

This was the largest Canadian gathering advocating for healthy food for all. Its success that would not have been achievable without the amazing participation of hundreds of activists, students, community workers, health professionals, politicians, partner organizations and sponsors. The FSC team is so appreciative of everyone’s contribution in the success of the Assembly and applauds your commitment to having a positive impact on the future of our food !


Resetting the Table offered a rich program of plenaries, networking meetings and more than 60 sessions spread out over 10 thematic streams.

2016-fsc-streams Resetting The Table Fsc

Indigenous food sovereignty was at the forefront of the conversations throughout the whole Assembly. The Assembly was launched with a public event, Decolonizing the Table: An Evening on Indigenous Food Sovereignty. This opening plenary was led by individuals playing instrumental roles in the Indigenous food movement. In the closing plenary, remarks were given to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, after a brief summary of the Indigenous Circle working group’s deliberationsover the course of the Assembly.

Here is a day-by-day overview

FOOD SOVEREIGNTY THURSDAY AT RESETTING THE TABLE – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OPENING PLENARYFSC’s 9th Assembly was launched with a public event, Decolonizing the Table: An Evening on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, on October 13. [Read More]

FOOD POLICY FRIDAY AT RESETTING THE TABLE – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAYFood policy wonks, gardeners, farmers, good food activists and foodies were fed a HUGE buffet today of food system banter, discussions and chats on day two of Resetting the Table. [Read More]

INNOVATION SATURDAY AT RESETTING THE TABLE – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAYInnovation, helpfully defined as “significant positive change” by opening speaker John Ikerd (Professor Emeritus, Missouri), was the theme of Saturday at Resetting the Table. [Read More]

HARVESTING SOLUTIONS SUNDAY AT RESETTING THE TABLE – HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAYWhat better way to celebrate World Food Day 2016 than by listening to Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, tell the Canadian food movement that Nutrition North needs to be “completely overhauled” and that developing the new national food policy needs a “holistic…whole of government approach”. [Read More]​
Resetting the Table, FSC’s 9th Assembly

Reactions to the Assembly

The Globe and Mail

“Mr. Meredith, an assistant deputy minister at Agriculture Canada who will chair the committee that works on the [food] policy, approached the mic. “Thank you,” he said, gesturing at Ms. Bronson, “for raising expectations so high that it’s impossible for me to do my job.”

If Mr. Meredith is feeling pressure, it’s no wonder. For years, groups like Ms. Bronson’s have lobbied for such a policy, arguing that it could help address issues such as food insecurity in Canada’s North and the rising cost of food. And, because food touches so many areas – agriculture, the environment, health and international trade – they say it could bring under one umbrella the many piecemeal programs that currently exist under different departments.

The anticipation built up from those lobbying efforts, coupled with an unprecedented level of public interest in all things related to food, means that now that the government has agreed to create the policy, expectations are sky-high.

More than anything, the Food Secure Canada event illustrated the deep divisions and entrenched ideologies that have evolved over food – divisions Mr. Meredith’s group will be left to contend with. That morning alone, presenters called for a national food policy that will address issues including foreign influence over farms, urban food deserts, and racial inequality and injustices in our temporary farm worker programs. More than one speaker demanded “structural and systemic change.”

Sustain Ontario

« With the announcement of the creation of a National Food Policy in the Mandate Letter of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, a top priority of the Assembly was to explore what that might (and should) mean for the diverse people across Canada. This included addressing the most critical problems in our food system, while building meaningful partnerships and dialogue that will hopefully result in action. […]

How does civil society participate in food policy? A diversity of voices and perspectives are needed to build a holistic approach. And it’s not just about the policy – it’s about the people. People must make their voices heard and mobilize on action together..[…]

Resetting the Table provided for many powerful and insightful discussions from a plethora of inspiring speakers who brought their many perspectives. Sustain Ontario is eager to see and engage with what grows from these important discussions. ».

Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research (AICBR)

“Raising the voice of the people as part of policy development is also a key and timely opportunity as Canada is in the midst of putting together the country’s first National Food Policy. What was heard loud and clear from multiple perspectives is the need to have a policy that includes and reflects the diverse needs of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, northern and southern, coastal-living and prairie-living, and rural and urban people in Canada.

Northerners want to have food systems that reflect the local knowledge, skills and diverse ecosystems that are present in the North and they do not want to have solutions imposed from the outside any longer. In all of this, it was recognized that people, governments, organizations, and the private sector have to work together within each of their communities in order to advance a food system that works for all.”

United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW) 

“As the leading voice of food workers, it is integral for UFCW to be at the forefront of discussions regarding food and food policy in Canada,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. “Events like the FSC National Assembly provide our union with an opportunity to share members’ concerns and stories, learn from others working in the food industry, and raise awareness of the essential role that UFCW Canada members play in the Canadian food production and retail sectors,” he adds.”


“For an inclusive food policy, a diversity of voices need to be heard with a holistic and integrated approach. That is why ‘indigenous food sovereignty’ was one of the core discussions during the assembly highlighting that food system challenges are not apart from recognizing urgency of issues related to legacy of colonialism, residential schools and indigenous food sovereignty.

Thanks for Food Secure Canada and team as ‘Resetting the Table’ was a great venue for integrating voices from a variety of thinkers and leaders with different perspectives into many invaluable dialogues. I’m sure lots of great actions and further discussions will grow out of this event.”

Community Food Centres Canada

“We’re back at work after a full and exhilarating weekend at Food Secure Canada’s national assembly, and more inspired and motivated than ever to continue our fight for a more equitable food system.  (…) We’re emerging from the four-day event with new inspiration from our fellow travellers in this movement, and renewed energy for our work supporting Community Food Centres and Good Food Organizations across Canada. We look forward to continuing to explore and mobilize around health, equity, and food security for all at CFCC’s third annual Food Summit in Toronto this April.”

Food Secure Canada is grateful for our many partners and supporters. Without them, this Assembly would not be possible. See the program above for a full list of partners.