Waves of Change: Sustainable Food For All

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An Appetite for Policy Change

Food Secure Canada’s eighth national assembly held November 13-16th in Halifax was not only the biggest ever, but according to many participants our best. The number of people and organizations, the quality of the discussion, and the excitement that accompanied the sharing of ideas across regions, sectors, cultures, experiences and worldviews was evident throughout.  For Nova Scotia, it was by far the biggest food event to have ever taken place and provided a unique opportunity to showcase the innovative work going on throughout the province – in health, in agriculture, in research, and throughout dynamic civil society organizations.

The one theme that surfaces above all others is the food movement’s appetite for significant policy change at the federal level.  This of course is not new: in 2011, Food Secure Canada adopted Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada, which outlines in detail the policy change we need to see.  Since 2011, we have been networking, educating, mobilizing and putting many of these ideas into practice in our communities, often without the financial or policy supports that would be needed to scale them up. But we are stronger as a national movement today, more united, more diverse, and more organized.

Notably absent from our conference was the federal government. Despite repeated invitations, no Conservative MP agreed to join our Saturday plenary: Question Period: A Dialogue with MPs, skillfully chaired by Jane Taber of The Globe and Mail. The NDP was represented by Megan Leslie and the Liberals by Mark Eyking. Both parties will be including a national food policy in their election plans, and while the crowd was disappointed that neither would endorse a strategy to move us towards a Guaranteed Annual Income, warm applause greeted the announcement that both election platforms would contain support for a national school food program.  They urged us to be active during the election campaign on food, to make ourselves heard in candidates debates, writing letters to the editor, and use the immense interest in all things related to food to advance our agenda.

Some of our milestones

  • Over 700 people attending our opening keynote
  • More farmers, policy makers and private sector actors than ever before
  • All food sourced locally and most of it organic
  • Strong participation and programming from the Indigenous Circle and racialized communities under the new food justice initiative
  • Over 450 delegates with more than 100 receiving financial support to attend
  • More participation than ever before from the Atlantic provinces.

 

Comments

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