By Nathan Stevens
June 22, 2012
The need for an Ontario or Canadian food strategy has been emerging in the agricultural and health communities. Sustain Ontario is one of the groups that is moving ahead in developing ideas around an Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy. Their efforts tie agriculture and food production to health and environmental improvement. A recent meeting held by Sustain Ontario focused on three key strategic directions that aim to make their vision a reality.
The first strategic direction is to ensure that Ontarians have access to and the means to obtain safe, healthy, local and culturally acceptable food. This area of the strategy focuses on the need to ensure household food security for Ontarians. But it goes beyond the need for calories and focuses on the nutritional quality of the food purchased by Ontarians.
The second strategic direction is for Ontarians to have the information, knowledge, skills and relationships to support healthy eating and make healthy choices where they live, work, learn and play. This area of the strategy focuses on education of the consumer both in terms of nutritional knowledge and food preparation. It also recommends that children be protected from advertising of unhealthy food and beverages.
The third strategic direction is for Ontario to have a diverse and sustainable food production system that contributes to an equitable and prosperous economy. This area covers a wide range of potential initiatives. There are environmental initiatives like the protection of land and water for future generations, implementation of an ecological goods and services program, and waste reduction throughout the food system. It is encouraging that the strategy recognizes the need for an economically sustainable sector as well.
Sustain Ontario has taken the next step in developing an Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy. The three strategic directions they have identified focus on ensuring Ontarians have access to enough healthy food, the knowledge to make health conscious choices, and most importantly for farmers, a resilient and sustainable food system.
Nathan Stevens is the Interim Manager and Director of Policy Development for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and UCB Canada radio stations in Chatham, Belleville, Bancroft, Brockville and Kingston and in Brantford and Woodstock. It is also found on the CFFO website:www.christianfarmers.org. CFFO is supported by 4,200 family farmers across Ontario.