Share your story: Food Experiences in the Halifax Region during COVID-19

As work begins on the Food Action Plan for the Halifax Region, we want to learn about how your food experiences have changed during COVID-19, such as, new challenges, new ways you’ve discovered to access food; new food skills like learning to or spending more time gardening, cooking; and challenges to the way you normally access food.

Your responses will be used to increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on people’s experience with food, how to build on strengths and address challenges for the future.

There are two ways to share your stories:

  1. An online survey
  2. Online story sharing –  Feel free to submit stories, videos, images, and other ways of telling your story.

We look forward to hearing your food stories!

HFPA responding to and learning from COVID-19

As you are no doubt all too aware, the COVID-19 outbreak has called for significant changes in order to stem the spread of infection. These changes have direct implications for food; from the initial stages of production, to its storage and distribution, to the ultimate enjoyment of consumption. These changes also present challenging demands on all levels of government and government agencies, the important work of industry, and organizations in the non-profit sector. Despite the challenges currently being experienced by leading members of the Halifax Food Policy Alliance (HFPA), we are continuing to support immediate responses in food production and food access, as well as taking stock of what the current moment can teach us about the work necessary to reach the resilient and inclusive food system envisioned in the HRM Food Charter.

In continuing this important work, the HFPA continues to support healthy change, lead informed action, and convene important community conversations on food focused actions and advocacy. Please stay in touch as we continue to work towards an HRM Food Action Plan.

For now, please view and sign-on to our HRM Food Charter. Spread this Charter to your friends, family, and networks in order to share this hopeful vision with those interested in working towards it.

Looking to purchase food from a local producer through pick-up or home delivery? Check out a list of local producers, community supported agriculture farms, and online markets put together by the EAC.

And, have a look at the important work being done at the Dartmouth North Family and Community Food Centre to prepare food for those in need in a safe fashion.

Kings County invests in healthy school food!

On March 3rd, the municipality of Kings County amended a motion to put $200,000 in the 2020-2021 budget in support of healthy food programs, and $100,000 in subsequent years. The amended motion received council’s unanimous approval!  Another great, local example of how municipalities are investing in food!

To view the full article from Saltwire see the link below:

https://www.saltwire.com/news/local/county-of-kings-to-inject-200000-into-healthy-food-programs-in-schools-419432/

Kings County council approved operating and capital budgets and set the tax rates for the 2018-2019 fiscal year at a recent special meeting.

Public Consultations on Centre Plan Package B

HRM is looking for feedback on Centre Plan Package B.  This second part of this plan for the regional centre (includes the Halifax peninsula and Dartmouth) focuses on:

  • Established residential areas
  • Downtown Halifax
  • Industrial lands
  • Institutional lands (e.g. hospitals, universities)
  • Waterfront lands
  • Parks and Community Facilities 
  • Culture and Heritage
  • Updates to Centre Plan Package A 

Some of the exciting food highlights include bee keeping, egg-laying fowl keeping and enhanced opportunities for community gardens, urban agriculture and small-scale food production.

For more information on the public consultations visit:

https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/centre-plan

http://centreplan.ca/

Centre Plan Package A April 2019 image

 

 

Exciting week for food action in Halifax!

On Tuesday, Dec 3rd Halifax Regional Council endorsed the HRM Food Charter in principle and committed to supporting the development of a Food Action Plan with the Halifax Food Policy Alliance (HFPA)!  This initiative is an exciting milestone for working towards a healthy, just, and sustainable food system for HRM.

After the motion was passed unanimously, the Mayor and Council thanked those involved with the work.  Councillor Mancini tweeted this picture of HFPA members in the audience (from left to right Leticia Smillie – HRM; Wesley Petite – EAC; and Heather Monahan & Madeleine Waddington – Public Health, NSHA).

tonymancinitweet

Here some highlights from the media coverage:

HRM commits to developing a Food Action Plan!


Breaking News! Halifax Regional Council has just endorsed the Halifax Food Charter in principle and committed to supporting the development of a Food Action Plan!  This initiative is an exciting milestone for working towards a healthy, just, and sustainable food system for HRM.

A Food Action Plan will:

  • use a food lens to coordinate policy & action
  • support diverse participation particularly among underrepresented voices
  • maximize resources within and across community, business and local government
  • build on existing successes

Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities to get involved! To learn more about the food charter and action plan visit  https://halifaxfoodpolicy.ca/food-charter.  

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Foodscapes Bus Tour

Purpose

Organized in partnership with the Mayor’s Officer, the Foodscapes Bus Tour brought together HRM Councillors, HRM staff, and community food champions to raise awareness of current success stories in our local food system and build support for the Halifax Food Charter and the development of a Municipal Food Action Plan.

The Tour

The first stop was the Northwood Halifax Campus, which offers services for seniors, a specific at-risk demographic with heightened difficulty accessing healthy and affordable food. Along with a range of services, Northwood helps to ensure healthy diets for seniors and collaborates with the Mobile Food Market, offering clients fresh produce, dried goods, baked goods, among other wholesome foods.IMG_5545

The second location that was visited was BEEA Honey with Heart in Dartmouth that provided a direct look at youth-led social enterprise helping to increase food production and food literacy on a local scale. BEEA Honey with Heart embraces the curiosity and creativity of youth and demonstrates how local supply-chains, from production to sale to consumption, can emerge from community collaboration. Seen along the way was the Dartmouth North Community Centre and neighbouring community garden, which is a bustling example  of food education and distribution made possible by collaborations between local community members, municipal government, and the private sector.

The third and final stop was the Sackville Public Library, where attendees learned about the history of community struggle that led to a life-changing collaboration. The Sackville Public Library obtained a grant from the Cobequid Community Health Board to build a community kitchen that is now used to teach residents of all ages new food skills and also helps to address accessibility issues for low-income residents.library group shot

Between site presentations, Bus Tour attendees also heard stories about food in rural communities. Amy Hockin of the Prospect Road Community Centre and Denise VanWychen of the Eastern Shore Musquodoboit Community Health Board shared stories about food in their rural communities and challenges for sustaining their programs.

Why do we need a Food Action Plan? IMG_0594

Bus tour attendees observed how many communities are leading the path forward with innovative solutions to bring healthy food to their communities. In doing so they are demonstrating how food can be a driver of positive change, promoting youth entrepreneurship, social inclusion (particularly for vulnerable groups), and community-based economic development.  As we continue to build on this momentum, we also see the need for better coordination; and ways in which we can monitor progress on common food system goals.

Through a Food Action Plan, we will be able to expand and build on these innovative, community-led programs, by ensuring supportive policies are in place and resources are more accessible to help ensure their sustainability.

Thanks very much to our co-organizers, speakers, site hosts, and attendees! To read more about the bus and the importance of a Food Action Plan click here!

Eat Think Vote 2019 is here!

Interested in food insecurity and other food issues?  Wondering how you can advocate for change in the Federal Election this fall?

Look no further than Eat Think Vote!  Eat Think Vote is a non-partisan campaign of Food Secure Canada gathering community members across the country to chat with federal candidates about food.

There are lots of opportunities to get involved:

  1.  Learn –  Read the policy backgrounders and find out what questions to ask your candidates.
  2. Act –  Host an event with community members and candidates in your area.
  3. Share – Spread the word by sharing on social media.

For more information you can contact Food Secure Canada here.

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Food Policy for Canada announcement!

Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the first-ever A Food Policy for Canada! See a preliminary analysis from Food Secure Canada here.

Highlights include:

  • $50 millon for a local food infrastructure fund
  • $26.3 million to reduce food waste
  • a commitment to work with the provinces and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program
  • the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council bring stakeholders and experts together to better understand diverse perspectives, work toward a common understanding of food issues, and facilitate collaborative action

We are excited to see how this can support our local food system in HRM and look forward to more details as they are released.

foodpolicyforcanada

 

 

 

Workshop Summary: Food & Recreation Settings

In March 2019, Public Health Nutritionists from NSHA Central Zone hosted two Food and Recreation Setting workshops in HRM. The purpose of the workshops, hosted by Public Health, was to identify opportunities for collaboration around food programming and food environments in recreation settings. Workshop participants came from a range of geographic areas within NSHA Central Zone (Halifax Regional Municipality, Town of Windsor and the Municipality of West Hants).  They represented a variety of organizations working in recreation settings such as community centres, libraries and after-school programs.

Those working in recreation settings are supporting healthy food environments in a variety of ways including hosting community meals, supporting community gardens, and offering programming on healthy eating and food skills.  Food insecurity also emerged as a common theme in these discussions and organizations are finding innovative ways to support community members experiencing food insecurity.

For more information please see the full Food & Recreation Settings Workshops Summary Report.buffet poster in picture format3