On August 2 about 50 Sunshine Coast residents attended our Democracy Talks: Food Policy at the Gibsons Public Market. Thank you to Sunshine Coast guest panelists for kicking off the conversation: Barb Higgins, Elder from the shíshálh Nation who also gave an opening prayer, Barbara Seed, PhD and Registered Dietician, Mark Lebbell Area D Director with SCRD, Brian Smith from Community Futures and Persephone, and Annette Clark of the Exotic Fruit Nursery.
Food matters yet Canada has not had a food policy before. The decisions we make as individuals and as a country about food impact our health, environment, economy and communities. Working together we are striving to put more affordable, safe, healthy food on tables across the country. The most important ideas from four discussion groups are listed below. (A full summary will be available at the end of August.)
• Increasing access to affordable food: education programs to teach students and residents how to grow their own food; government resources e.g. grants/incentives for farmers; community support for local farmers i.e. buy local
• Improving health and food safety: articulate the health values of good food; improve labelling i.e. know what you are eating; create apprenticeships for young people to develop a food-related career
• Conserving our soil, water and air: get farmed salmon out of the oceans; water conservation is key, water should never be sold; community-wide composting
• Growing more high-quality food: organic and pesticide-free; tax credits for farmers; utilize technology to connect farmers, limit waste and share through local cooperatives
Thank you to all participants. We need a reliable supply of affordable, nutritious and safe food. This depends on maintaining Canada’s natural resources to support and grow our agriculture and food sector appropriately. The feedback from our discussions will be critical to the success of developing and implementing a Food Policy for Canada. I encourage you to take the food policy online survey at www.Canada.ca/food-policy which is open until August 31 or attend our West Vancouver and Whistler events (see below) or contact us directly.
It is wonderful to be home. Sea Cavalcade was great, followed by knocking on doors to hear from people, a neighbourhood drop-in in Roberts Creek, and back to Gibsons for Nomadic Tempest – the talk of the town. I’ll be at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts with an afternoon diversion to the Pender Harbour Chamber Music Festival – how does anyone choose between these?
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback on our government’s work. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with us on Facebook: Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, or stop by our community office in Horseshoe Bay, 6367 Bruce Street 604-913-2660.
Upcoming Democracy Talks: Food Policy: West Vancouver, Community Centre, August 15, 5-7 pm; Whistler, Maury Young Arts Centre August 22, 4:30-6pm.