The primary objective of those involved in designing Canada’s national food strategy is to develop a mission and long-term strategy for the Canadian food system.
Participants expect that will create a focal point for the agriculture, processing, distribution, and customer sectors that will contribute to a sustainable food sector and a healthier economy, environment, and population.
Initial work on this strategy started almost a year ago, but intensive work began at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture in February. A working group from CFA is leading the project with participants from other organizations and representatives from the value chain and various government agencies.
The drive for a national food strategy comes from the realization that food is increasingly becoming an issue of concern and discussion domestically and internationally.
Domestically, those involved in the production of food are finding their returns are shrinking while their input costs are growing. That is putting farmers increasingly at the mercy of the consuming world, and their success as business people is diminishing.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is one of the leading groups within the CFA family in search of a national food strategy. We want to give farmers a stronger role within the food chain and, as a result, more control over the returns they receive as primary food producers in the world.
We believe a clear, overall objective is lacking in Canada’s current food policy – a clear and meaningful vision for the future of the food system and sectors involved in Canada. A national food strategy for Canada will provide an agreed upon direction that will effectively guide appropriate food policy for years to come.
At OFA, we believe a national food strategy represents a tremendous opportunity for Canada to establish a food plan to secure healthy food for current and future generations, to guard our environment and boost our economy at the production level.
The working group has developed a set of principles for Canada’s national food strategy. We believe these principles reflect both what the working group has learned through the planning process, and the values it believes should be carried forward in implementation of the strategy.
Those working on the strategy believe a national food strategy is necessary to support the development and maintenance of a sustainable and secure food system, something critical in allowing governments, businesses, and communities to invest resources strategically and effectively.
In designing Canada’s National Food Strategy, members of the working group see the strategy taking a new, collaborative and inclusive direction – including all segments of Canada’s complex and integrated agriculture and food system, including all who eat.
At OFA, we see the strategy, when complete, reconnecting the Canadian pubic with one of society’s most fundamental elements of survival, but often taken for granted – food.
Details of the work done to date on Canada’s strategy were shared with participants at the recent federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers’ conference – just another stage in gaining national approval for the proposal.