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.

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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

 

 

Federal budget has good news for food

In case you missed it, the 2019-2020 federal budget was released last Tuesday and there is some good news for food!

We were excited to see the intention to work with provinces to develop a National School Food Program.  While there is no funding committed, this is a positive step forward.  Today is the LAST DAY to sign the petition for a national school food program!  Please sign and share!

Other exciting highlights from this budget include;

  1. The release of the long-awaited Food Policy for Canada.
  2. Helping Canadian Communities Access Healthy Food: $50 million investment over five years for infrastructure for local food projects (e.g. food banks, farmers’ markets, and other community driven projects).

Here is the full budget announcement and press release from the Ecology Action Centre NourishNS