Food Policy Friday at Resetting the Table - Highlights of the Day

Food policy wonks, gardeners, farmers, good food activists and foodies were fed a huge buffet of food system banter, discussions and chats at day two of Resetting the Table. We held 30 workshops and presentations covering multiple issues from a national food policy to agroecology. See a full list of sessions here.

The need for structural and public policy changes to heal our food system was a theme that came up again and again during our informative sessions. If you take a look at the highlights from today you’ll understand why.

Canada’s new food policy was the focus of Friday’s morning plenary and a recurring theme throughout the day. Inspired by the Indigenous leaders who launched the 9th Assembly at Thursday evening’s public event Decolonising the Table, the movement got down to work.

The opening plenary brought together politicians, farmers, civil society and academics to outline the opportunities, challenges and dilemmas in framing a new food policy. Wayne Roberts (Toronto food movement organiser), Melana Roberts (Toronto Youth Food Policy Council) and Diana Bronson (Executive Director, FSC) welcomed the delegates packed into the Ryerson Theatre, including a healthy number who were present fifteen years ago as FSC was founded. 

Mustafa Koç (Ryerson University) focused on the challenges noting that our current food system feeds more cows and cars than people. Jan Slomp (National Farmers Union) criticized current agricultural and trade policy, and rallied young people to come back to the land in massive numbers. 

The government representatives were all about the opportunities. Greg Meredith (Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) emphasised how important it was for diverse voices to contribute to Canada’s new food policy and acknowledged FSC’s role in ensuring this. Julie Dabrusin (Member of Parliament, Toronto-Danforth) said that the Assembly was a chance to get all the ingredients to find solutions.

Paul Taylor (Gordon Neighbourhood House) related how his own childhood experience of food insecurity has galvanised his work, insisting that charity is not a solution to poverty. Joanna Kerr (Greenpeace Canada) provided a rousing finale insisting on moving from policy change to system change and on the need for integrated strong movements built on thousands of acts of courage. 

An overview of Friday through Twitter: