OTTAWA, June 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Over 64 municipal and regional governments
across Canada are using a food systems approach to improve health,
generate economic development, address environmental sustainability,
and engage communities.
The report released today, "Municipal food policy entrepreneurs: a
preliminary analysis of how Canadian cities and regional districts are
involved in food system change," is the first scan of municipal and
regional food policy development in Canada. It reveals that a growing
number of communities right across the country have launched food
charters, food strategies and action plans, and created food policy
"We were surprised by the number of municipal governments involved in
food policy work," states Lauren Baker, food policy coordinator with
the Toronto Food Policy Council at Toronto Public Health.
"Municipalities are finding creative ways to improve people's lives
through the way they manage a broad array of food priorities."
While municipal and regional governments have limited jurisdictional
authority over the food system, many are springing into action on the
food front. They are bringing together diverse sectors to stimulate the
local food economy and generate more jobs, but also to address
significant food issues such as agricultural land loss, climate change,
food poverty, food affordability, and public health problems associated
with inadequate or poor quality diets.
"The activity of food policy councils is clearly visible in almost every
major city in Canada," states Vancouver Food Policy Council member
Joanne Bays. "Gardens and urban farms are sprouting in backyards,
boulevards, rooftops and parking lots. Farmers markets, food vending
carts, and food hubs are bustling businesses. And increasingly foods
from nearby farms and oceans are found on the retail shelf and on our
plates in restaurants, schools and hospitals."
The research shows that Canada's municipal food initiatives have varied
governance structures. Some are formally linked to municipal
departments; others have less formal structures and funding mechanisms,
and some are largely volunteer-driven. The rate of growth of this food
policy work has increased exponentially since 2005 and the most
significant nodes of food policy activity exist in the provinces of
British Columbia and Ontario.
Given the increasing number and diversity of food policy initiatives,
and the potential economic, environmental, social and cultural impact
of these initiatives, the report recommends that the time is ripe to
take a more systematic approach to documenting and evaluating their
role and success. Further, it recommends the establishment of a
national network to share best practices across municipalities, and to
further efforts to clarify how governments at various jurisdictional
levels can best support these efforts.
"With some 80% of Canadians living in urban communities, we need to
understand how cities are creating change through food initiatives,"
notes David McInnes at the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.
"Clearly municipalities are embracing food as a catalyst - to spur
economic activity across supply chains, to improve the health of its
residents and to respond to sustainability objectives, among other
The report was prepared by researchers at York University's Faculty of
Environmental Studies, Rod MacRae and Kendal Donahue, and involved a
diverse array of food policy organizations and advisors from across the
Download the report from http://capi-icpa.ca/pdfs/2013/Municipal_Food_Policy_Entrepreneurs_Final_Report.pdf
SOURCE: Municipal food policy entrepreneurs
For further information:
Lauren Baker, Toronto Food Policy Council, firstname.lastname@example.org, 647-884-6540.
Joanne Bays, Vancouver Food Policy Council, email@example.com, 604-612-1633.
David McInnes, Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-232-8008.