Food Matters Across the Province

Since February until now I will have attended, presented or been involved somehow with more than15 different gatherings, celebrations, panels and conferences - all about food or relevant to food. Some of these include: a new foundation emerging in Alberta called Wellness Alberta an outcome of the hard work of the Alberta Policy Coalition on Chronic Disease Prevention, Slow Food with Cows and Fish of SW Alberta, Communities Choosewell selection of communities, CHNET fireside chat on technology waste and health, UN Special Rapporteur on The Right To Food in Canada, Conference Board of Canada on a National Food Strategy, Farm to Cafeteria Canada webinars, Localize, Team Food Edmonton - Asset mapping, Mosaic Minds - the food of our lives, Waterlution Edmonton, Next Up Edmonton, Public Interest Alberta conference, Food Revolution - 10 days of food talks, TEDx Edmonton on Food, a No GMO Alfalfa rally, Growing Food Security Council of SW Alberta and the GFSA/S.E.L.R.S. community Food Intensive workshop, Edmonton Permaculture, Edmonton District Labour Council and others!

Whew!! See the links at the end of this blog.

The tidbits and questions I have swallowed and am digesting suggest some epi-centres for focus in the future

  1. THERE IS FOOD INSECURITY IN ALBERTA AND ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE SOLVE THAT. Students, youth, First Nations, UN Special Rapporteur on The Right to Food, health institutions, social policy, schools, education and educational institutions, agriculture, unions, Food Secure Canada and permaculture all have some of the answers. Why is Canada well reputed internationally for food security yet we have food insecurity right here in Canada!?!

  2. FOOD MATTERS - WE MUST CONNECT THE DOTS – there is so much happening and we must come together across the province around food, farming, education, environment, water, sustainability and food equity in Alberta. WHY do we not have provincial support to solve this food insecurity puzzle?

  3. FOOD MATTERS – WE MUST HAVE A UNIFIED VOICE AND A SHARED NUCLEUS OF ACTIVITY AROUND FOOD IN ALBERTA AND CANADA - Rural farming, urban farming, permaculture, education, public institutions and people living in Alberta must seek commonness and together find economic and social viability for food for our people. HOW can we bring ecological, environmental, riparian, heath, rights of workers and community interests together to seek and find commonness in goals and work together toward them? WHERE do we start? You’ll notice I did not mention the Conference Board of Canada - National Food Strategy.

  4. FOOD MATTERS – WE MUST DEMYSTIFY THE FOOD LABEL - FOOD LABELLING AND HEALTHY FOOD - GMOs, irradiation, country of origin, ingredients, nutrition information. The term ‘healthy eating” is not as simple as it sounds nor as some make it out to be. Healthy eating is far more than an eating behaviour change, or a health and chronic disease issue. It has implications for economics, equity, peak oil, food system regeneration and sustainability, the environment and as a key to building “community”. If we eat healthfully we will help achieve food sovereignty in Alberta. Eating healthy non-processed food, and food closer to home, will build our communities and our health. Eating ‘non-processed’ and ‘closer to home’ food means we must share our knowledge and learn/relearn how to cook, garden and preserve food AND build relationships with farmers/providers/retailers to understand the origin and composition of food. ARE FOOD LABELS THE ANSWER and can they help you see the “Real Value of Real Food’? - getting people connected to the sources of real food and demystifying the makeup and convoluted path of processed foods. ‘Localize Your Food’ and nutritionists can help!

There is growing action and interest with many groups, and doors are opening to a broader, yet deeper understanding of food and healthy eating. There is an urgency though, we must come together on some common goals and share in the actions they require. The GFSA BUZZ policy group has an idea of where to start! Stay tuned!! Let’s get together!!

I am sure many of you have other opportunities and learnings to share. Please do share them! Hope this is useful to you! Thanks!

LINKS TO SOME OF THE INITIATIVES AND GROUPS MENTIONED – CHECK THEM OUT!!

Submitted by Susan Roberts