“In the midst of the federal election campaign, a radical citizen-led plan to address some of our most pressing health, hunger, climate and agricultural-related issues was launched. The plan, called the People’s Food Policy (PFP), is all about food. The sweeping proposals come from communities across the country and call for an overhaul of federal policies governing all aspects of food: where it comes from, how it is produced and how all Canadians can have access to safe, nutritious food at all times.
The People’s Food Policy Project set out two years ago to identify policies needed to support Canadians as they work to create a food system “based on care and respect for humans and the natural world,” where food is viewed as a primary foundation for healthy lives, communities, economies and eco-systems. This goal contrasts sharply with our current industrial system, which has built a complex, centralized infrastructure to treat food as a market commodity. Through the People’s Food Policy, we now have a suite of policy proposals that, if implemented, would connect food, health, agriculture, the environment and social justice. The plan details the specific policies that we need to support the food system we want.
Policy for the people, by the people
“Policy-making is not just for politicians. Everyone who eats should have a say in the future of food,” states the PFP and this is why the proposals were built from the participation of thousands of people from across the country. Direct input and widespread involvement were the cornerstone of the PFP because “the government needs to institute a national food policy that is driven by the people.” The PFP says this strong citizen participation was needed so that food policy could reflect the values of the average Canadian.
The process of compiling the People’s Food Policy was a nation-wide conversation about the kind of food system Canadians want and what government can and should do to help make it happen. Over the past two years, 3,500 people participated in the creation of the new plan, including people in populated cities and remote communities and farmers, fishers and consumers. All contributed their ideas for food policy and it took many different types of interactions, including 350 submissions from individuals and groups, 250 so-called “Kitchen Table Talk” community gatherings, and three national meetings. Finally, the input was compiled into 10 discussion papers on different themes, summarized in the short document called “Resetting the Table.”…”