The OFPC was established as a result of the Food For All Project: a collaborative, community-based food research and action project between 2009-2012. Food for All was led by Just Food and the University of Ottawa, and made possible through three years of funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Food for All provided the structure, supports, resources, linkages to academic researchers, community partners and organizations, and a forum to explore food issues together. The process was overseen by a Steering Committee, which included representatives from municipal government, community organizations and academic institutions. Over 300 community members participated in workshops, research, and policy writing teams. The teams directed their own process, set the policy priorities based on evidence from academic research and research on other communities’ experiences, and ultimately developed proposals that together formed the Ottawa Food Action Plan. For many volunteers, this was the very first time they had engaged in a policy process.
The Ottawa Food Action Plan documents food needs in our community, examines ways of strengthening the activities that already exist, and proposes actions that we can take as a community to make our food system more just and sustainable. One of the proposals was that Ottawa convene its own Food Policy Council. A selection process overseen by members of the Food for All Steering Committee was initiated in November 2012. The OFPC first met as a community-based group in February 2013 and has developed its terms of reference and a work plan for its first year.
While the Ottawa Food Action has acted as a starting point to inform the work of OFPC, current actions and directions are further decided based on emerging issues, opportunities and expertise.
Please see Actions for current focus areas.