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People’s Food Policy Officially Launched! April 26, 2011

Posted by gfsa in Community Stories.
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Hey food enthusiasts, it is time to get involved! Spread the word – Canadian Peoples Food Policy (PFPP) is here!

The PFPP was launched on the Hill in Ottawa April 18 2011- “Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada”. The PFPP is the result of a collaborative process in which hundreds of people devoted thousands of volunteer hours to create a food policy that genuinely reflects the perspectives of people across the country. The People’s Food Policy is rooted in the concept of food sovereignty. This is an internationally-recognized approach where food is viewed as a primary foundation for healthy lives, communities, economies and eco-systems.

We all recognize that Canada urgently needs a national food policy. Close to two and a half million Canadians are food insecure. Farmers and fishers are going out of business, our natural environment is being pushed to the limit, a quarter of Canadians are considered obese, and we are the only G8 country without a nationally-funded school meal program. The status quo is no longer an option.

The PFPP is on solid ground. The 10 discussion papers that back up the PFPP are very well written and well-referenced. They should help you feel comfortable and confident in speaking with the media, politicians and the uncoverted. Share the information among your networks. The work that has gone into the PFPP, the 10 discussion papers and deriving the 5 key elements is incredible. Use the launch document “Resetting the Table” and the detailed discussions papers to help you.

From 2008-2010 Albertans participated in the discussions and in Kitchen Tables gatherings (over 400 people) and formulated 7 Alberta-created policy suggestions. The policy suggestions have been integrated into the 10 discussion papers from which the PFPP 5 key elements were derived.

The People’s Food Policy embodies a wave of concern, interest and action by citizens who are increasingly questioning how our current food system is organized. From connecting directly with food producers to reclaiming indigenous food systems to setting up food policy coun¬cils, people across Canada are taking actions daily that are transforming our food system from the ground up. These actions need to be translated into policy. The 5 Key elements of the PFPP for Canada include:
* Ensuring that food is eaten as close as possible to where it is produced (domestic/regional purchasing policies for institutions and large food retailers, community-supported agriculture, local farmers markets, etc.).
* Supporting food providers in a widespread shift to ecological production in both urban and rural settings (organic agriculture, community-managed fisheries, indigenous food systems, etc.), including policies for the entry of new farmers into agriculture.
* Enacting a strong federal poverty elimination and prevention program, with measurable targets and timelines, to ensure Canadians can better afford healthy food.
* Creating a nationally-funded Children and Food strategy (including school meal programs, school gardens, and food literacy programs) to ensure that all children at all times have access to the food required for healthy lives.
* Ensuring that the public, especially the most marginalized, are actively involved in decisions that affect the food system.

The 5 key elements are areas in which all of us in GFSA must continue to focus our efforts in community building for food security in Alberta. One new way is our upcoming Sustainable Equitable Local Regional System for food (SELRS) initiative which will help inform some of the action and policy changes that are needed in Alberta and in Canada. Stay tuned more to come on the S.E.L.R.S.. This is all so exciting so be sure you register and keep informed at the PFPP web site www.peoplesfoodpolicy.ca . The paper and the launch Document “Resetting the Table: A People’s Food Policy for Canada” are on the web site.

Submitted by: Susan Roberts, Coordinator, GFSA

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