Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Democratic Food Policy

Everyone likes democracy, right? I admit there are days when I think I'd make an excellent benevolent despot -  preventative health care would be a priority and your neighbour down the street wouldn't be allowed to rattle your windows with the bass from his car speakers if I were in charge. But I'll choose democracy over corporatocracy* any day. That's one of the reasons I'm a big fan of the People's Food Policy Project.

"Things are clearly cooking in food policy, and citizens, often left out of key processes or afforded token consultation roles, are not content with last minute seats at pre-set policy tables. It is time for strong citizen and civil society involvement in the construction of a new food policy for Canada – a policy which places the well-being of the majority and the health of our planet at the centre of all decisions. It is time to reset thetable." (Resetting the Table, p. 7)

The Project just released the outcome of two years' work with over 3500 Canadians through three hundred and fifty Kitchen Table Talks, hundreds of policy submissions, dozens of tele-conferences, ongoing online discussions, three cross-Canada conferences, and support from organizations including Dietitians of Canada, Food Secure Canada, and Food Banks Canada.

"Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada" ties together health and nutrition, food security, sustainable livelihoods for farmers and food workers, the environment, international relations, and many other aspects of our food system, comprehensively uniting them in recommendations for a food sovereign food system. However, it is also an ongoing participatory process, providing a model for collaboration, fora for discussion, support for initiatives, and connections between groups and individuals.

They also seem to be having fun. What more could you ask for?

*Corporations and global capital have undue influence and control over the food system, operating beyond the reach of government or public oversight. Rather than being recognized as a biological requirement of life, this has turned food into a volatile commodity. (Resetting the Table, p. 6)

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