2002/2020 Process

Fresh produce is on display at the 120 Industry.

2002 - 2002/2020 Process

“Food 2002″ was a consultative process to discuss food and hunger issues in Canada. One of the results was the creation of 28 grassroots actions and 28 policy recommendations to help build greater food security in our communities. Now it remains to work toward achieving the social and political consensus necessary to make the changes recommended. In recognition that this isn’t going to happen overnight, we’re now calling our policy development project “Food 2020” (we’re forseeing some good 20/20 vision references).

At the municipal level, FoodShare and many other community agencies and individuals, have been deeply involved in promoting and supporting the Food and Hunger Action Committee –– from encouraging the formation of the committee, to organizing tours and deputations. A community reference group was formed, with representation from all the key sectors dealing with food, nutrition and hunger in the city. Though the reference group did not write the report, it was consulted throughout its development, and while not in agreement on every detail of the plan, the group supports it in principle.

The results of this work have been two-fold: the Growing Season report is progressive- it lays the basis for cooperation between the many disparate areas and departments within the city that are implicated in food security, identifies what needs to be done in these areas, proposes innovative collaborations and initiatives, lays out ways that community agencies doing work in the field can be supported and states several ways that city can be involved in advocating with senior levels of government for policies that will lead to increased food security. And secondly- the successful collaboration throughout the FAHAC process showed the need for, and provided the basis for a permanent grassroots food security coalition: the Food Justice Coalition.

28 Policy Recommendations

  1. The federal government should establish basic minimum income standards, so that Canadians have enough money to purchase nutritious foods. It should further explore establishing a guaranteed annual income (GAI) for all Canadians, so they can meet their basic needs.
  2. The federal government should implement a national health and nutrition credit that would allow all Canadians to consistently access nutritious healthy foods regardless of their income level.
  3. In order to address unemployment and underemployment, which leads to the lack of substantial income levels, governments should explore policy measures that redistribute work in an equitable manner.
  4. Because all levels of government spend billions on illnesses that could be prevented or reduced by dietary changes, governments should promote greater vegetable and fruit consumption through educational campaigns at schools, workplaces and stores, highlighting the connection between disease prevention and healthy eating.
  5. Governments should work to make food a right by legislating the wholesale distribution of basic foods.
  6. Governments should explore cost measures such as differential pricing for healthy food to encourage increased consumption of vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.
  7. Given the yet unknown health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) foods, governments should mandate the labeling and careful research of this new technology.
  8. Governments should lead a process to re-think the charitable distribution of surplus food, and explore the potential of non-charity food projects, such as wholesale food distribution outlets, community gardens and kitchens, alternative-buying clubs to meet food access needs.
  9. Municipal governments should support citywide composting programs that allow food retailers, processors, and the restaurant sector to dispose of their organic wastes in an effective, low-cost and environmentally-sound manner.
  10. Governments should explore the licensing of community-run food discount stores (similar to Goodwill clothing stores), which would assure that excess or dented foods would be managed to meet the industry’s need for quality control, while creating a non-stigmatizing alternative to food banks.
  11. Governments should explore marketing boards as a way of guaranteeing stable conditions for farmers and rural communities.
  12. Organic farming and other sustainable agricultural methods and practices should be encouraged through policy initiatives.
  13. Unchecked development of farmlands should be legislated against and careful monitored.
  14. Governments should develop policies, similar to what is currently being done in the U.S. and in Europe, that support farmers and rural life.
  15. The federal government should implement comprehensive labeling policies, that include attention to nutritional information, country of origin, fair trade, organic standards and GM content.
  16. Governments and industries should develop policy measures that apply the precautionary principle to new food products and technologies, such as GM foods.
  17. The food industry should integrate the costs of labeling into their overall operation costs.
  18. The federal government should retain strong control over national food regulation and inspection processes, and seriously reconsider the devolved shift in such responsibilities to the CFIA.
  19. Foundations and governments should fund training, networking and coalition building among non-profit food agencies, as a means to enhance the capacity of grassroots food groups to provide the best service to their clients and participants.
  20. Municipalities should establish food policy councils or working groups within city government that can work in partnership with third sector organizations.
  21. Municipal governments should establish a commission to identify policy and program changes required to improve the coordination and delivery of food and hunger related services, and to determine the appropriate role for each level of government.
  22. Governments at all levels should fund community-based food security projects through special grants programs.
  23. Governments and foundations should finance community-based food programs (such as community gardens and kitchens, cooking groups and classes).
  24. Policies should be implemented that allow for basic foods to be offered to the entire population at wholesale prices; this might encourage further cooking and experimentation with fresh foods.
  25. Governments should mandate home economics and cooking education for the entire student population through provincial educational guidelines.
  26. The Canadian government should create and fund a nation-wide student nutrition program.
  27. The federal government should create an expanded social safety net, which should include both adequate income along with student nutrition programs to help all children and their parents meet their basic food needs.
  28. The federal government should invest in more comprehensive research to evaluate the success of current school-based nutrition programs in meeting the goal of reducing immediate hunger, and in improving the long term health and success of students.

Food 2002 Grassroots Actions to Help Build Greater Food Security 

  1. Because Canadians remain deeply committed to universal health care, we should strive to work within this framework to build consensus for policies that provide every Canadian with enough money to buy the basic food they need
  2. Canadians should explore community-based strategies (such as wholesale bulk buying clubs, cooperatives and Good Food Box programs) to extend people’s food buying power.
  3. Because gardening allowsfor partial income-substitution through the growing of some of one’s own food, Canadians should engage in more community and backyard gardening.
  4. Given the health implications of an inadequate diet, Canadians should pressure governments to make access to food a human right, and to create mechanisms by which people of all income levels can access nutritious basic foods at wholesale prices.
  5. Community groups should develop and support local food security initiatives– such as farm stands in low-income neighborhoods, community gardens and kitchens, wholesale food outlets, buying clubs, urban farmers’ markets, cooking groups, and healthy-food cafes for street youth– to increase access to healthy food.
  6. Educational campaigns, stressing the importance of healthy eating in relationship to overall health, should be launched in schools, community centres, and workplaces.
  7. Physicians should promote healthy eating by ‘prescribing’ increased vegetable, fruit, grain and bean consumption to their patients. Doctors’ offices could model this by offering fresh foods (such as carrot sticks or apples) in waiting rooms.
  8. Given that charity mechanisms promote dependence rather than solving food security problems in the long term, food security and anti-hunger activists should base our actions on the old adage: “Give a woman a fish and she’ll eat for a day, teach her how to fish and she’ll eat throughout her life and teach others to feed themselves.”
  9. Community-run food discount stores (similar to Goodwill used clothing stores) could provide better assurance that excess or dented foods will be managed to meet the industry’s need for quality control, while also providing a non-stigmatizing alternative to food banks.
  10. Communities should pressure the food industry to rethink it’s response to hunger and its participation in charitable food programs.
  11. Communities should develop and support farmers’ markets, community shared agriculture, direct farm-gate marketing, and local buying clubs in order to create a viable local food system.
  12. Coalitions of farmers, environmentalists, food security activists and consumers should work together to pressure governments to support farm interests and restrict unchecked development of rural lands.
  13. Whenever possible Canadians should buy local, seasonal and organic agricultural products to help sustain regional farming communities.
  14. There are many lessons to be learned from those striving to create a sustainable agriculture system – Canadians should look to organic food growers for models to grow food both rurally and in the city.
  15. Canadians should pressure governments to legislate comprehensive labeling of fresh, processed and packaged foods, that includes attention to nutritional information, country of origin, fair trade, organic standards and genetially modified content.
  16. Canadians should work with consumer, health, farm and environmental groups in urging the federal government to establish national organic standards.
  17. Community groups and professional organizations should join with the Alliance for Food Label Reform in lobbying the federal government for labeling rules and active government regulation.
  18. Canadians should engage in campaigns protesting the lack of labeling of genetically modified foods, and their increased presence in the marketplace.
  19. Food security coalitions should be built at the municipal, provincial, federal and international levels, which share information, join together for advocacy, and participate in training sessions and conferences.
  20. Agencies should strive to be more integrative of diverse and holistic food security strategies and practices.
  21. Each community should create its own information clearinghouse for community-based food programs.
  22. School boards should reinvigorate home economics classes for all students, making them fun and interesting, so that all high school graduates can demonstrate cooking, shopping and food budgeting skills.
  23. Boys along with girls should receive cooking training both in the home and at school.
  24. Community-based programs (such as cooking classes, community kitchens and ovens, cooking groups, and baby food making classes) should be established in order to facilitate greater commensality, nutritious eating and communal cooking, especially for the elderly, low-income, street youth, and specific ethnocultural groups.
  25. Communities and neighborhoods should regularly host communal cooking events (such as barbecues, bread-baking, soup-making, etc.) to encourage greater cooking and eating together.
  26. Parents, student groups and social organizations should lobby the federal government for the creation of national student nutrition programs and policies.
  27. Universities, nutritionists and researchers should conduct thorough research projects aimed at rendering visible the connections between school nutrition programs and better student health and academic performance.
  28. Schools should work to transform their own environments and student eating practices by establishing schoolyard gardens, in which students can grow some food in order to supplement their diet during the school day.
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