Open letter to Federal Election Candidates

 Food affects everyone, all day, every day

 Good Food for All

[See the candidates’ responses here!]

There is a growing shift towards Good Food For All in our cities…

…in our neighbourhoods, schools, hospitals, food banks, grocery stores

…in our rural and urban communities.

Food is a central part of the health and well-being of our communities.

 

What is Good Food?

  • Fresh
  • Accessible
  • Affordable
  • Culturally relevant
  • Minimally-processed
  • As local as possible
  • Ecologically grown

 

What do we need federal candidates to champion?

  1. 1. Good Food must be accessible for all who live in Canada.

We need MPs who acknowledge poverty as a root cause of food insecurity.

Nearly half of all Canadians (40%) say rising food prices are a concern they want politicians to address on the campaign trail (Ipsos Reid, July 2015).

As such, we need MPs who support a National Poverty Reduction Strategy that prioritizes Good Food for All through:

  • a liveable income;
  • good jobs;
  • health care for all;
  • affordable childcare; and
  • affordable housing.

We need MPs who will call on the federal government to study the feasibility of establishing a basic income floor to ensure everyone in Ottawa can pay for fixed expenses such as housing and utilities, AND afford sufficient, safe, healthy and culturally relevant food for themselves and their families. The impact of such a basic income would be most significant for people living with food insecurity – 1 in 10 families in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health, 2011).

 

  1. 2. Good Food needs to be a foundation for learning.

We need MPs who will call for a Universal Healthy School Food Program to enable all students in Canada to have access to healthy meals at school every day.

Building on existing programs in Ottawa, all schools would:

  • Serve a healthy meal at little or no cost to students.
  • Have programs on food education, to include growing and cooking Good Food.
  • Serve Good Food to the fullest extent possible in an environment that is free from advertising to children.

 

  1. 3. Good Food must be available to First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals and families.

We need MPs who, in addition to addressing issues with remote and Northern access to Good Food, commit to addressing the high level of food insecurity among First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities living in Ottawa, including the ability to access affordable, healthy, culturally relevant food.  

There are officially 18,200 self-identified First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples living in Ottawa (Statistics Canada, National Household Survey, 2011). Local partners believe the unofficial number is closer to 40,000. At least 17% live with low-income and food insecurity (Statistics Canada, National Household Survey, 2011).

 

  1. 4. Good Food and local economic development need to work hand in hand to keep existing farms and new farmers ecologically and economically viable and supported.

We need MPs who will ensure federal levers are used to support local economic development related to both food and farming in Ottawa, including on NCC lands, with an emphasis on new farmers and farms producing for regional markets.

It is critical that we have thriving food and farming businesses in Ottawa, and that we have a new generation of farmers to take on the 1100+ existing farms within City boundaries (2011 Census of Agriculture).

 

  1. 5. Good Food requires having a National Food Strategy and the ongoing use of a Good Food Lens

We need MPs who commit to actively engage with Ottawa constituents in the decisions related to food at the federal level.

We need MPs who commit to the development of a National Food Strategy with Good Food at its core.

We need MPs who will use a Good Food lens when working on all federal planning, regulation and policy related to agriculture, environment, health and trade.

 

  1. 6. Good Food for All, in Canada and abroad

We need MPs who ensure that domestic and international trade policies strengthen food sovereignty, and do not compromise the ability of communities to satisfy their future food needs.  

Because 500+ million family farms feed the majority of the world’s population, especially in poor and food insecure areas (Statistic from the Food and Agriculture Organization), it is critical that domestic and international trade, development and agricultural policies:

  •       Improve the livelihoods of family farmers, herders and harvesters, assuring their rights to land, water, and natural resources, and supporting the traditional practice of farmers to save and breed their own seeds.
  •       Support programs that promote ecological agriculture practices that reduce carbon emissions, species loss and genetic erosion, while also encouraging farmer innovations that increase farm productivity, food security, and rural livelihoods.

Our food future depends on policies that maintain healthy and resilient food systems for generations to come.

 

Our questions:

How will you champion Good Food for All?

Will you champion a basic income for all who live in Canada?

Will you champion a national school nutrition program?

Will you champion access to Good Food for First Nation, Inuit and Metis people?

Will you champion support for new farmers?

Will you champion a National Food Strategy that prioritizes Good Food?

Will you champion Canada’s role in Good Food abroad?

Please respond to the Ottawa Food Policy Council at info@ofpc-cpao.ca. We will be posting your responses to Good Food For All on this website for public information.