A Hill Times Policy Briefing: Food Production


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Advocates look to new government for national food policy

Published in The Hill Times 11/02/2015

While Canadians may be relying more on agricultural imports, some food policy experts say the tide will turn to local food. A national food policy will be essential to getting Canada to that goal, while also improving food security, and some food policy experts are looking to the new government for that.

In a report released earlier this year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said there was a 4.2-per-cent increase over the previous year spent on importing food. 

“We need some government policies in place to help us to look at these issues in a more holistic fashion. In policy wonk language it’s called the joined-up food policy,” said Diana Bronson, the executive director of Food Secure Canada, a national advocacy organization that promotes food security.

Ms. Bronson is advocating for the new Liberal government to implement a national food policy, something that she said all parties agreed to do before the 2011 federal election but the Conservative government did not follow through on.

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Strong #EatThinkVote campaign points to need for Canadian Food Policy Council

Published in The Hill Times 11/02/2015

Food issues are cross-cutting and complex. Who better to deliberate on them than a council that brings together the best minds from the relevant levels of government, industry, and civil society?

Food Secure Canada’s unlikely allies include the Conference Board of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy institute. There are political differences between them, but they all reach the same conclusion: Canada needs a National Food Strategy. A new government in Ottawa represents an opportunity to develop this strategy. The first step should be to establish a Canadian Food Policy Council.

The #EatThinkVote campaign pointed out that Canada has some major problems when it comes to food. Household food insecurity is at a record high, affecting four million Canadians. This includes a disproportionate number of Inuit, First Nations and Métis. Two-thirds of all Canadian children do not eat enough vegetables and fruits, and rates of obesity and diabetes are climbing. Meanwhile, 80 per cent of farmers plan to retire in the next 10 years, and a new generation of young people interested in pursuing sustainable food production is facing major challenges accessing land and capital. 

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