Good Food 2025: Working together to promote healthy and local food system

What is Good Food 2025?  Good Food 2025 is an initiative to transform the regional food system. By working together, we can create a healthier and more sustainable food system, providing good food for all.  Good Food 2025 sets long term goals and works to align a wide range of efforts behind these goals.  The Good Food Network is the individuals and organizations who are actively working towards these goals. To demonstrate solidarity and unity of purpose behind these goals, we ask individuals and organizations to sign on to the the Good Food 2025 Resolution of Support.

In 2008, the Capital Region Food Charter defined a regional vision for our food system as:

 

A sustainable and secure local food and agriculture system that provides safe, sufficient, culturally accepted, nutritious food accessible to everyone in the Capital Region through dignified means.

What is the Challenge Good Food 2025 is Addressing?

When we talk about our regional food system, we mean all of the complex relationships and processes that bring food from the land or waters to our plates. Is it produced in ways that are sustainable, if not regenerative to the ecosystem? Is it health promoting? Are the systems involved economically viable? Does everyone in our region have access to Good Food?

Good Food 2025 is a regional response to these challenges.  It is about transforming our regional food system for the better.  Some of the key issues that Good Food 2025 addresses are:

  • The loss of food lands and farmland and diminished water quality
  • Challenges with farm and food producer/provider profitability and sustainability
  • Support for revitalization of indigenous food systems
  • increasing food prices
  • Lack of knowledge of how to grow and prepare healthy food
  • High rates of food insecurity in our communities
  • Significantly increasing rates of diet-related chronic diseases
  • ensuring adequate food supplies in the event of an emergency or natural disaster
  • reducing or eliminating food waste
  • Global impacts of climate change

What are the key goals we are working towards?:

 

  1. Grow the local food economy to provide more of our foods closer to home and in a manner that promotes economic, social and environmental health
  2. Enable all residents in the region to have the food knowledge, skills and ability to make informed choices about their foods
  3. Increase the percentage of people who are food secure and able to access adequate healthy food
  4. Celebrate food as a vital part of all cultures and ensure that Indigenous foods are honored, with access to traditional ways of hunting, gathering and fishing by indigenous peoples

In order to work towards our goals, we have organized work into impact areas and set ambitious targets.  

 

Local Food Economy:  Local food production for the Capital Region increases from less than 10% of total food consumption in 2011 to 25% by 2025.

Food Literacy:  Number of households in the CRD who report growing or accessing healthy, local, and traditional food steadily increases from 23% in 2014 to 46% by 2025.  To do this we will double our Food Literacy efforts.

Food Access:  The number of households who report that they are food insecure drops by 25%, from 14% of households in 2012 to 10% by 2025.

How is this feasible?

Building Food Literacy:  Its fundamental for residents to  understand our local food system. The ability to growing, gather, and cook healthy meals is paramount to becoming educated eaters and consumers.  Through our daily choices we impact how the food system is shaped.  The network is focusing on the next generation, engaging youth through work in the schools as well as food related activities in neighbourhoods to engage families. Broadly we are undertaking communications activities, events and celebrations that build and promote a diverse healthy and local food culture.  A good example of this is the Flavour Trails, family friendly events  where you learn about local farms, what is in season, and can taste and experience delicious fresh foods.

Shifting to a More Local Food Economy:  In order to move towards more local food production and consumption, we need to ensure that farming and food provision is economically viable.   Because food supplied through the global food economy is done at a large scale and able to skirt environmental and labour costs that we want to support locally, it makes it very difficult for food providers to compete.  Our focus is on ensuring that new farmers can access land, that retiring farmers can pass on their farms, that there is farm sector capacity building.  Perhaps our greatest challenge is our work ahead to tackle  rebuilding a regional  distribution system.  We are also focusing on programs and supports to increase community food growing, harvesting and sharing.

Decreasing Food Insecurity:  Food insecurity is related to many factors; in the Capital Region this includes sufficient and stable income and housing affordability.  While the network cannot tackle these factors on our own we can work to create supports and pathways for individuals and families that build their resources and access for healthy food.  We are building a strong network of food providing agencies, called the FoodShare Network to better coordinate and undertake this work.  Some of the key projects include increasing fresh food availability through neighbourhood and school programs, and creating a new subsidized grocery store where people with low incomes can shop with dignity.  We are shifting to provide food skills and literacy programs, employment, counselling and support programs linked to emergency food provision across the region.  

Do you support our goals for Good Food 2025?  We encourage you to sign the Resolution of Support! By signing you join with others in demonstrating this is a regional priority and will join in to take action.  To learn more read the Good Food 2025 Primer and sign the Good Food 2025 Resolution at www.crfair/signtheresolution

Linda Geggie is the Executive Director of CRFAIR and a local bee keeper.

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