September 15, 2017 5:27 pm

Peterborough information session discusses move toward a national food policy

National Food Policy program

The federal government will develop a National food Policy

Steve Guthrie/CHEX News

In May, Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Lawrence MacAulay announced the development of a National Food Policy.

Regional information sessions are being held around the county and Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef hosted one on Friday at the Douro-Dummer Community Centre. Themes of the consultations include increasing access to affordable food, improving health and food safety, conserving our soil, water and air, and growing more high-quality food.

The federal government will develop a National food Policy

Steve Guthrie/CHEX News

Participants at the session include representatives of public health agencies, farmers, organic growers, and food banks.

Carolyn Doris from Peterborough Public Health would like to see a national food policy look at ways to make local, nutritious food available to all residents regardless of their household income.

“Looking at access and affordability of healthy food for everyone plus the ability to grow the healthy food we need for our citizens to enjoy,” says Doris.

Monsef agrees.

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“We cannot deny the link between the access to good food and poverty. We cannot deny the link between access to good food and nutrition or a sense of community and belonging,” said Monsef.

READ MORE: Does the Canada Food Guide need updating?

When it comes to making locally grown nutritious food available to all, participants agreed a national food policy needs to strike a balance between the needs of growers and consumers.

“Trying to find a balance to make sure farmers get paid fairly and are recognized for their hard work and also make local fresh food available to all,” says Jillian Bishop,

With food banks across the county seeing soaring usage, Ashlee Aitkens with Kawartha Food Share would like a national food policy to formalize the distribution of surplus food to those who need it most.

READ MORE: Salvaging edible food

She says too much food is being discarded because there is no way of getting to food bank users.

“We really need to develop this so no food is being wasted, we have so many people in need it’s a shame things are being thrown away still,” says Aitkens.

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