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People's food policy offers blueprint for food secure Canada

The People's Food Policy Project, an umbrella group that represents food security advocates and organizations has released its vision for a food secure Canada.

"Resetting the Table, a People's Food Policy for Canada" was released today after two years of consultations across the country.

"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 councils, 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," reads the report.

The policy recommendations are unique in that they include indigenous food and land rights as well as fisheries, which are typically left out of discussions on agricultural policy.

Among it's priority recommendations include a national poverty reduction plan and mandated living wage, and an effective national housing program "to ensure that Canadians no longer have to choose between paying rent and buying food." It also recommends that Agriculture Canada shift resources "away from commodity-based, export-focused agriculture and toward a community-based, sustainability-focused agriculture that prioritizes healthy eating for all Canadians."

The recommendations also call for more co-operative models of infrastructure ownership, such as shared processing equipment. A lack of adequate processing facilities for canning and freezing, for example, has been identified as a major gap in the growing local food movement.

Cathleen Kneen is chair one of the Food Secure Canada, one of the funders and architects that helped shaped the policy.

"The fact is we're facing climate change and the end of fossil fuels," she told The Tyee. "We need to have food systems that are resilient. The less you're dependent on something coming from somewhere else, the better off you're going to be if things start turning sideways."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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