Conference serves up ideas on Canadian 'food crisis'

Experts from across the country have gathered in Edmonton this weekend to discuss what they are calling a food crisis in Canada.

"We, the individuals, have lost contact with our food," said Susan Roberts, a member of Growing Food Security Alberta.

The three-day Powering Up: Food for the Future conference explored a variety of topics related to food security - eliminating hunger, making healthy food more available and the environmental impacts of agriculture and food production.

Roberts says part of the problem is that much emphasis has been put on food as a commodity, instead of a vital resource that should remain in the country.

"Our agricultural system over the last 20 years have been focussed on export. And we also need to think about what we can do as a whole of Albertans to feed ourselves fresh, healthy food as close as possible to home."

The conference was put on by Montreal-based Food Secure Canada.

Diana Bronson, executive director of the organization, says the issue of food has wide-reaching implications, from obesity rates and public health to climate change and economics.

Bronson says events like the massive country-wide recall of beef from XL Foods in Brook, Alta. shows how complex and interconnected Canada’s food industry is. The only way to secure good food, she argues, is by making a policy that covers the entire country.

"Our biggest problem in Canada is that we don't have a national food policy," she said.

"The federal government has no central strategy on food that would bring together health and agriculture and trade and all those issues that should be thought about together. "

The conference continues Sunday.

CBC News
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