Although I am very actively engaged in food security work at the local, regional and sometime provincial level, I have paid little attention to what’s happening federally. So while I did file away the emails I was getting from Food Secure Canada about the national food policy that they were helping to develop as part of a network called The People’s Food Policy, I barely scanned them. Nor did I make a submission about the work I was helping with locally. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I just didn’t feel I had time to plug in to yet another layer. I do have to take time out occasionally to do paid work after all.
Fortunately, while I was at the recent food policy conference in Portland, I had the chance to attend a session called Resetting the Table, A People’s Food Policy for Canada. Fortunately, because this is one fine piece of work.
Over 3500 Canadians participated in this grassroots effort – farmers, fishers, food activists, you name it, they’re on the list. Three hundred and fifty kitchen table talks took place across the country, there were also teleconferences and on-line forums, policy submissions and national conferences. The result is ten policy discussion papers ranging from food sovereignty in indigenous, rural and remote communities to food access in urban communities. They’ve also done a series of helpful pamphlets that define the six pillars of food sovereignty written in story form, so very easy to digest. You can download the policy framework and the pamphlets off the web site.
I was pretty proud to be a Canadian sitting in that workshop alongside Americans who were curious to learn what we were up to. Hats off to Cathleen Kneen and Amanda Sheedy for leading the charge, and to the thousands of other Canadians who helped bring it to life. Go Canucks go!