Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada, People's Food Policy Project, 2011.
Food insecurity is a growing concern in Canada. Close to two and a half million Canadians struggle to put food on the table each day and one in four Canadians are obese. It is widely recognized that systemic adjustments to the food system are needed to address these problems. However, Canada does not have a national food policy in place that would help us achieve this goal.
This document, Resetting the Table: A Peoples Food Policy for Canada provides an introduction to the Peoples Food Policy. This was launched by the Peoples Food Policy Project, which is a network of Canadians and national organizations concerned about food security in Canada. The report provides justification for a national food policy developed by and for the people that will help build a fair, healthy and ecological food system for all Canadians.
It also recognizes that while plans for a national food policy have been presented by different sectors in Canada, the Peoples Food Policy is unique. This grassroots initiative is the first policy of its kind in Canada to have emerged out of the citizen-driven food movement and is the result of consultation with over 3500 Canadians and input from some of the most innovative community food projects in the country.
In addition to describing the environmental, economic and political context that the Peoples Food Policy was created in, the report familiarizes readers with the concept of food sovereignty. As the authors outline:
Food sovereignty calls for a fundamental shift in focus from food as a commodity to food as a public good. As such, it can once again assume its central role in strengthening communities, ecosystems and economies. (p. 9)
After establishing the principals of food sovereignty as the foundation of the Peoples Food Policy, this report outlines ten core components of the policys platform:
- Indigenous Food Sovereignty
- Food Sovereignty in Rural and Remote Communities
- Access to Food in Urban Communities
- Agriculture, Infrastructure and Livelihoods
- A Sustainable Fishery and Reasonable Livelihood for Fishers
- Environment and Agriculture
- Science and Technology for Food and Agriculture
- International Food Policy
- Healthy and Safe Food for All
- Food Democracy and Governance
Each section outlined in the report is based on research conducted by a policy team dedicated to one of these policy components. Each policy team also developed an in-depth policy paper on their particular theme. The report offers a short summary of each policy paper, outlining challenges, ways to address specific issues related to their component and priority recommendations. While the summaries allow readers to develop a general understanding of each theme, they should also read these policy papers for a comprehensive understanding of each issue.
Resetting the Table provides a succinct and informative introduction to the Peoples Food Policy and will be of interest to anyone concerned with the state of Canadas food system. While the report provides a sufficient outline of the policy and its ten core components, additional information illustrating how the policy platform compares to other proposed national food policys would also be helpful for readers unfamiliar with the territory.
Reviewed by Kayla Atkey