Transcript: Rethinking Canada's Food System | Feb 12, 2019

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a plaid blazer over a white shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Rethinking Canada's Food System. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says FROM FARM TO TABLE, CANADA'S
FOOD SYSTEM IS A COMPLEX NETWORK
OF COMPETING PRIORITIES.
IT CAN LEAD TO ENDLESS AND
SOMETIMES BAFFLING CHOICES FOR
FAMILIES, POLICYMAKERS AND
EVERYONE IN BETWEEN.
DO WE NEED A MORE COMPREHENSIVE
NATIONAL APPROACH?
JOINING US ON THAT, FROM OTTAWA,
CRYSTAL MACKAY, PRESIDENT OF THE
CANADIAN CENTRE FOR FOOD INTEGRITY...

Crystal is in her forties, with shoulder-length straight blond hair. She's wearing a blue blouse.

Nam continues IN ETOBICOKE, VIA
SKYPE, CECILIA ROCHA, DIRECTOR
AND PROFESSOR AT THE SCHOOL OF
NUTRITION AND RESEARCHER AT THE
CENTRE OF STUDIES IN FOOD
SECURITIES AT RYERSON UNIVERSITY...

Cecilia is in her sixties, with short chestnut hair. She's wearing glasses, a blue blazer and headphones.

Nam continues AND HERE IN OUR
STUDIO, LORI STAHLBRAND, A FOOD
POLICY SPECIALIST WITH THE CITY
OF TORONTO'S FOOD STRATEGY TEAM,
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TORONTO FOOD
POLICY COUNCIL...

Lori is in her fifties, with blond hair in a short bob and bangs. She's wearing round glasses and a gray blazer over a black shirt.

Nam continues AND MELANA
ROBERTS, CHAIR OF FOOD SECURE
CANADA AND CO-CHAIR OF THE
TORONTO YOUTH FOOD POLICY COUNCIL.

Melana is in her thirties, with long black hair in thin braids. She's wearing a black blazer over a white shirt.

Nam continues WELCOME TO YOU ALL.

Lori says THANK YOU.

Nam says IT'S A FUN DAY IN
TORONTO GTA WITH THE SNOW, SO
WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE ALL HERE IN
STUDIO, AND ALSO FOR JOINING US
VIA REMOTE.
LORI, I WANTED TO START WITH YOU
BEFORE WE GOT INTO THE
CONVERSATION WITH EVERYBODY
ELSE, AND I'M GOING TO ASK YOU A
QUESTION THAT MIGHT BE RUDE TO
ASK OF PARTIES, BUT WE NEED TO
ASK IT FOR THIS PANEL.
WHAT DO YOU DO?

The caption changes to "Lori Stahlbrand. City of Toronto."
Then, it changes again to "What Toronto's doing."

Lori says SO I'M AN EMPLOYEE OF THE
CITY OF TORONTO, AND MY
SPECIALTY IS FOOD POLICY, AND I
LOOK AFTER THE TORONTO FOOD
POLICY COUNCIL, WHICH IS RATHER
UNIQUE ORGANIZATION.
IT WAS FOUNDED BACK IN 1991, SO
WE'RE ALMOST 30 YEARS OLD.
WE'RE THE OLDEST FOOD POLICY
COUNCIL IN A MAJOR CITY IN THE
WORLD.
WHEN WE STARTED, THERE WERE
ABOUT THREE FOOD POLICY COUNCILS
IN THE WORLD.
NOW THERE ARE ABOUT 300 OR MORE
AROUND THE WORLD AND GROWING.
BASICALLY WHAT HAPPENED WAS IN
THE MID '80S THERE WAS A CRISIS
FOR THE FIRST TIME WE HAD FOOD
BANKS.
WE HAD PEOPLE WHO WERE HUNGRY
AND DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH FOOD,
AND EVERYONE SAID THIS IS A
TEMPORARY SOLUTION, AND IN FACT
I WAS A BROADCASTER AT CBC AT
THE TIME, AND WE DID THE VERY
FIRST SOUNDS OF THE SEASON, AND
I INTERVIEWED GERARD KENNEDY WHO
WENT ON TO BECOME A POLITICIAN
ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE WAS THE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DAILY
BREAD FOOD BANK AT THE TIME AND
WAS GOING TO PUT HIMSELF OUT OF
BUSINESS WITHIN A YEAR OR TWO.
WELL, BY THE LATE '80S, WE KNEW
THAT WASN'T HAPPENING, AND THERE
WERE SOME DYNAMIC POLITICIANS,
PARTICULARLY THE MAYOR AT THE
TIME OF TORONTO, ART EGGLETON,
NOW A SENATOR, AND JACK LAYTON,
WHO WAS ALSO A CITY COUNCILLOR
AT THAT TIME, WHO SAID WE NEED A
POLICY APPROACH, NOT JUST A
CHARITY APPROACH TO ADDRESSING
THESE ISSUES AROUND HUNGER

Nam says IN A WAY, THEN, TORONTO
WAS FORWARD-THINKING IN ITS
APPROACH TO FOOD FROM BACK THEN.

Lori says VERY, YES.

Nam says CAN YOU GIVE US AN
EXAMPLE OF SOME OF THE PROJECTS
THE COUNCIL HAS SPEARHEADED?

Lori says WE'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN ALL
SORTS OF THINGS, IN STUDENT
NUTRITION PROGRAMS, IN MAKING
SURE THERE IS MONEY COMING FROM
THE CITY TO SUPPORT STUDENTS IN
SCHOOLS AROUND THE CITY, TO HAVE
BREAKFAST PROGRAMS AND LUNCH
PROGRAMS.
WE WORKED ON URBAN HENS, ON
BRINGING A BYLAW TO DO A PILOT
PROJECT ON ALLOWING PEOPLE TO
HAVE HENS IN THEIR BACKYARD WITH
EGGS.
WE'VE WORKED ON ALL SORTS OF
URBAN AGRICULTURE PROJECTS, AND
OF COURSE ON MANY PROJECTS TO DO
WITH HUNGER AND PROVIDING FOOD
SECURITY FOR PEOPLE IN
LOW-INCOME NEIGHBOURHOODS.
SO DIFFERENT KINDS OF PROJECTS
THAT THEY COULD BE INVOLVED IN.

Nam says WHY DO YOU THINK THIS
ROLE IS IMPORTANT FOR
MUNICIPALITIES TO HAVE?
AND SHOULD OTHER MUNICIPALITIES
HAVE THIS ROLE?

Lori says WELL, FOOD IS THE MOST BASIC
THING.
IF YOU HAVE A CRISIS, YOU'VE GOT
TO FEED PEOPLE.
ON AN EVERYDAY BASIS, WE HAVE TO
EAT, AND THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE
IN CANADA WHO DON'T HAVE ENOUGH
FOOD, AND WE ARE ACTUALLY THE
CHILD POVERTY CAPITAL OF CANADA
IN TORONTO.

Nam says WHICH IS SHOCKING.

Lori says WHICH IS REALLY SHOCKING IN
SUCH A WEALTHY CITY, AND THAT
MEANS THAT ABOUT ONE IN SIX
CHILDREN DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH...
ACTUALLY, IT'S EVEN HIGHER THAN
THAT.
THAT'S CANADA-WIDE.
WE'RE EVEN HIGHER.
WE'RE ABOUT 26 percent OF CHILDREN IN
TORONTO DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY
IN THEIR FAMILY TO BE ABLE TO BE
ADEQUATELY FED ON A REGULAR
BASIS.
SO THAT'S A BIG PART OF WHAT
WE'RE DOING, IS TRYING TO
ADDRESS THAT ISSUE AND BRING IT
TO PUBLIC LIGHT.
BUT IT'S A LOT BIGGER THAN THAT,
BECAUSE, IN FACT, IF WE DON'T
HAVE FARMLAND THAT'S PROTECTED
AROUND US, IF WE DON'T HAVE SAFE
WATER AND LANDS AND AIR QUALITY
AND ALL THOSE THINGS, WE
ACTUALLY DON'T HAVE FOOD
SECURITY FOR ANYONE.
SO WE IDENTIFY FOOD SECURITY AS
A HEALTH ISSUE, AN ENVIRONMENTAL
ISSUE, AN ECONOMIC ISSUE, A
SOCIAL ISSUE.
IT'S AN ISSUE FOR ALL OF US, AND
IT CONNECTS WITH EVERYTHING.
SO TO ME, IT'S THE MOST
IMPORTANT JOB I COULD BE
POSSIBLY DOING.

Nam says DO YOU THINK THAT PEOPLE
LIKE THE REGULAR PUBLIC IS AWARE
OF HOW INTERCONNECTED WITH SO
MANY DIFFERENT THINGS THAT IT IS?

Lori says I ACTUALLY THINK A LOT OF
PEOPLE TAKE FOOD FOR GRANTED.
YOU KNOW, THEY GO TO THE STORE
AND THEY BUY FOOD, AND THEY
DON'T THINK ABOUT WHERE IT COMES
FROM, HOW IT WAS PRODUCED, THE
LABOUR THAT WAS INVOLVED IN
THAT.
THEY DON'T THINK ABOUT THE
NUTRIENT ISSUES, AND RIGHT NOW
WE'RE FACING A CRISIS OF CHRONIC
DISEASE IN CANADA.
THEY DON'T THINK ABOUT THE
FARMERS AND WHAT'S HAPPENING IN
THEIR LIVES, SO I THINK WE DO
TEND TO TAKE IT FOR GRANTED.
AND THEY DON'T THINK, MOST OF US
WHO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY
FOOD, DON'T THINK THAT THERE ARE
PEOPLE WHO ARE OUR NEIGHBOURS
WHO DON'T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD.
AND WE NEED TO BE ADDRESSING
THAT.

Nam says WELL, SINCE WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT FOOD, PART OF THE
REASON WE'RE DOING THIS PANEL
RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE CANADA CAME
OUT WITH A NEW FOOD GUIDE IN JANUARY.
HERE IS THE OLD GUIDE.

A picture shows the cover of Canada's food guide, with drawings of different kinds of foods arranged on colourful lines.
Then, the same colours appear in a graph dividing food into a green section of fruits and vegetables, a yellow section for grain and cereal, a blue section for dairy products and a red section for meat and other animal products.

Nam continues AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE IMAGES
ON YOUR SCREEN, THE GUIDE BREAKS
DOWN FOOD INTO FOUR COMPONENTS.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, GRAIN
PRODUCTS, MILK AND ALTERNATIVES,
AND MEAT AND ALTERNATIVES.
THE NEW GUIDE, HOWEVER, BREAKS
FOOD DOWN INTO THREE COMPONENTS:
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, PROTEIN,
PLUS WHOLE GRAINS.

A picture appears of a plate half full with vegetables and fruits. The other half is divided between grains, with the caption "choose whole grain foods" and protein from various sources, including eggs, nuts and legumes.

Nam continues THE NEW GUIDE'S ONLY SUGGESTION
REGARDING LIQUIDS IS TO CONSUME WATER.
ALSO GONE ARE RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR DAILY SERVINGS.
SO I JUST WANTED TO GET YOUR
REACTION TO THE FOOD GUIDE,
WHETHER OR NOT YOU LIKED IT, AND
CRYSTAL, COULD WE START WITH
YOU, PLEASE?

The caption changes to "Crystal Mackay. Canadian Centre for Food Integrity."
Then, it changes again to "Food guide, food policy."

Crystal says SURE.
I THINK THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF
CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE MAKING OF
THE FOOD GUIDE AND THE
CONSULTATIONS, LACK THEREOF,
DIFFERENT VOICES.
SO I FEEL THERE IS A LOT OF
CONFUSION ABOUT WHAT WAS DRIVING
THE FOOD GUIDE AND WHAT SOME OF
THE FINAL END PRODUCTS ARE.
I THINK MOVING FORWARD, YOU
KNOW, IT'S HERE, DIFFERENT
PEOPLE ARE RECOMMENDING
DIFFERENT THINGS, DEPENDING ON
INDIVIDUALS' NEEDS, AND REALLY
AT THE END OF THE DAY, I'M A MOM
TOO, IT'S COMING DOWN TO WHAT'S
A BALANCED DIET THAT'S GOING TO
KEEP MY KIDS HEALTHY AND GROWING
AND THRIVING IN THE FUTURE.

Nam says YOU MENTIONED YOURSELF
BEING A MOM.
I'M A MOM TOO, AND I DON'T THINK
I'VE EVER REFERRED TO THE OLD
GUIDE.
DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY REFER TO
THESE GUIDES AS TO WHAT THEY
FEED THEIR FAMILIES?

Crystal says YEAH.
WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S A GREAT
QUESTION.
I'VE HAD PEOPLE ASK ME THAT TOO,
AND I THINK IT BECOMES
INTRINSIC, WHEN I'M MAKING MY
KIDS' LUNCHES, WHICH IS MY
NEMESIS, MAKING KIDS' LUNCHES,
IS THAT TERRIBLE QUESTION WHAT
I'M GOING TO PUT IN THE LUNCH,
IS I DO WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT
IT I THINK ABOUT THE FOUR FOOD
GROUPS WHEN I'M MAKING THEIR
LUNCH.
I'M ASSUMING THAT WILL SHIFT IN
TERMS OF PROTEINS, GRAINS.
ARE YOU GETTING A BALANCED DIET.
AND AT THE END OF THE DAY,
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ALL TRYING TO
DO, TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT
LOOKS LIKE.
I WOULD SAY THE ONE
DISAPPOINTMENT ABOUT ALL THE
MIXED MESSAGING IS... MY WORK IS
STUDYING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND
WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT FOOD AND
FARMING, IS PEOPLE ARE REALLY
CONFUSED.
THEY GO ON-LINE, THEY DON'T KNOW
REALLY WHAT TO BELIEVE, SO I
THINK PEOPLE WERE HOPING THE
FOOD GUIDE WOULD GIVE THEM THAT
DEFINITIVE ANSWER, AND I FEEL
IT'S MORE OF A QUESTION MARK
STILL.

Nam says CECILIA, WHEN THE NEW
FOOD GUIDE CAME OUT IN JANUARY,
WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS?

The caption changes to "Cecilia Rocha. Ryerson University."
A map of Ontario appears briefly, showing the location of Etobicoke.

Cecilia says VERY GOOD.
MY IMPRESSIONS WERE GOOD.
I THINK THAT PART OF THE REASON
FOR CHANGING THE FOOD GUIDE IS
BECAUSE THE OLD ONE WAS NOT
WORKING, AS YOU MENTIONED.
VERY FEW PEOPLE REALLY USED THE
FOOD GUIDE TO GUIDE THEM ON AN
EVERYDAY BASIS.
HOWEVER, FOOD GUIDES ARE
IMPORTANT BECAUSE THEY GUIDE...
[INDISCERNIBLE] OF FOOD, FOR
EXAMPLE.
THEY GUIDE ON EDUCATION FOR THE
CHILDREN, WHAT SHOULD BE THE
FOOD THAT YOU EAT, WHAT IS YOUR
DIET SHOULD BE.
AND I THINK THAT WILL HELP.
IT IS NOT PRESCRIBING, BUT IT IS
I THINK AS THE NAME SUGGESTS A
GUIDANCE, A GUIDANCE ON WHAT A
GOOD, HEALTHY DIET SHOULD BE.

Nam says YOU SAID THAT YOU LIKED
IT, BUT THERE'S BEEN SOME
PUSHBACK, THE NEW GUIDE IS NOT
BASED ON SCIENCE.
DO YOU AGREE?

Cecilia says NO, I DON'T THINK SO.
I THINK IT IS VERY
EVIDENCE-BASED.
I THINK THAT YOU CAN FIND WHAT
IS THE EVIDENCE THAT PEOPLE HAVE
USED TO COME UP WITH THIS GUIDE.
AND IT'S HAPPENING EVERYWHERE,
SO IT'S NOT JUST CANADA.
I THINK THAT NOW MORE AND MORE
GUIDES AROUND THE WORLD ARE WHAT
WE CALL FOOD-BASED INSTEAD OF
NUTRIENT-BASED, AS THE OLD ONE
USED TO BE.
SO YEAH, I THINK THAT THE
EVIDENCE IS MOVING IN THAT
DIRECTION, AND THAT'S WHY THERE
WAS SOME CHANGES NOW.

Nam says MELANA, WHAT WERE YOUR
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ON THE NEW
FOOD GUIDE?

The caption changes to "Melana Roberts. Food Secure Canada."

Melana says WELL, THINK THE FOOD GUIDE IS
A HOME RUN.
I THINK THIS IS THE FIRST FOOD
GUIDE THAT IS REALLY
EVIDENCE-BASED, AND WHAT'S
UNIQUE ABOUT THIS FOOD GUIDE IS
IT WASN'T NECESSARILY JUST
PRESCRIBING WHAT WE SHOULD EAT
TO BE HEALTHY OR AVOID DISEASE,
BUT I THINK WHAT IT REALLY SAID
IS FOOD IS MORE THAN JUST, YOU
KNOW, NUTRIENTS IN YOUR BODY.
IT'S ALSO ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT
AND ALSO THINKING ABOUT
CONNECTING ABOUT THE BROADER
SYSTEMS, YOU KNOW, WITHIN THE
FOOD SYSTEMS.
SO YOU KNOW, ABLE TO CONNECT THE
IDEA AND RECOGNIZE CULTURAL
ADAPTATION IF NECESSARY.
YOU KNOW, IT TALKED ABOUT
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS AND THE
IMPACT ON INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITIES.
IT TALKED ABOUT THE IDEA THAT,
YOU KNOW, THIS IS A TOOL TO
THINK ABOUT HOW WE'RE EATING,
BUT ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
THINGS IS EATING TOGETHER, HOW
WE SHOULD BE EATING, AND I THINK
IT REALLY OPENED UP THE DOOR TO
THINK ABOUT THE CONNECTION
BETWEEN WHERE WE'RE GETTING OUR
FOOD AND CREATED A REAL
OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THAT
CONVERSATION WITH FARMERS ABOUT
WHERE OUR FOOD IS COMING FROM AS
CANADIANS AND HOW WE'RE EATING
OUR FOOD.
I THINK THE MORE THAT CANADIANS
THINK ABOUT WHERE FOOD IS COMING
FROM, WHAT'S IN OUR FOOD, I
THINK THAT'S A REALLY GOOD THING
FOR EVERYONE.
IT REALLY TIED FULL CIRCLE ABOUT
WHERE WE'RE GOING AS CANADIANS
ABOUT WHERE OUR FOOD IS COMING
FROM.

Nam says YOU BROUGHT UP A LOT OF
TOPICS THAT I WANT TO DISCUSS
WITH YOU ALL.
BUT I WANT TO GET LORI'S
IMPRESSIONS FIRST BEFORE WE DIVE
INTO THE CONVERSATION AGAIN.
LORI, WHAT WERE YOUR IMPRESSIONS?

Lori says I WOULD VERY MUCH AGREE WITH
EVERYTHING MELANA HAS SAID.
I THINK THIS IS A POSITIVE MOVE.
I THINK WE HAVE TO BE THINKING
ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPLICATIONS OF WHAT WE'RE
EATING, AS WELL AS THE HEALTH
IMPLICATIONS.
WHEN WE ARE FACING CHRONIC
DISEASE, AN EPIDEMIC OF CHRONIC
DISEASE IN OUR SOCIETY, TO
REALLY EMPHASIZE EATING FRESH
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES IS A
REALLY IMPORTANT STEP.
AND ALSO THE IDEA THAT FOR THE
FIRST TIME, AS MELANA MENTIONED,
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HOW WE EAT,
WHO WE EAT WITH, THE IDEA OF
CONVIVIALITY, OF COMMUNITY AS A
VERY IMPORTANT PART OF NUTRITION
AND FOOD.
IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE
CALORIES OR ABOUT THE SPECIFIC
NUTRIENTS.
IT'S ABOUT A CULTURE, A POSITIVE
CULTURE AROUND FOOD, AND I THINK
THAT'S WHAT THIS GOOD IS LEADING
US TOWARDS.

Nam says OKAY, SO IF MY COUNT IS
CORRECT, THREE LIKE AND ONE
DOESN'T, RIGHT?
IS THAT CORRECT?

Crystal says I'M MORE OF A QUESTION MARK.
I'M A QUESTION MARK.
I'M NOT A DISLIKE.

Nam says WHAT ARE SOME OF THE
QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE AROUND
THE FOOD GUIDE?

The caption changes to "Crystal Mackay, @CrystalMackay32."

Crystal says UMM, I JUST FEEL THE FACT
THAT THERE'S A LOT OF CREDIBLE
VOICES STILL SPEAKING UP AGAINST
THE FOOD GUIDE AND SOME OF THE
RECOMMENDATIONS, SAYING IT'S
NOT... THEY DON'T LIKE THE
EVIDENCE THAT WAS USED,
INCLUDING DOCTORS AND
DIETICIANS.
I FIND THAT CONFUSING.
I'M AN ANIMAL SCIENTIST.
YOU HAVE A PELLET.
IT'S VERY EASY.
OR YOUR DOG FOOD, IT'S ONE
THING.
SO SOME OF THE CONTROVERSY
AROUND WHO WAS CONSULTED AND WHO
WASN'T AND WHAT EVIDENCE WAS
USED OR NOT, SO IF YOU GOOGLE
SEARCH AND YOU SEE SOME DOCTORS
SAYING IT'S GREAT AND OTHER
DOCTORS SAYING IT'S AWFUL, SOME
DIETICIANS SAYING THEY LOVE IT,
INCLUDING YOUR GUESTS TODAY, AND
THEN OTHERS SAYING THEY DON'T.
FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON THAT
DOESN'T WORK IN THIS SPACE, I
THINK OUR REAL GOAL IS WE WANT
TO GIVE CANADIANS A TOOL THAT
THEY CAN SAY I WANT TO FEED MY
FAMILY, I WANT TO BE HEALTHY,
AND I LOVE SOME OF THE OTHER
COMMENTS AROUND THE SOCIAL AND
HOW WE EAT AND OBVIOUSLY WHERE
OUR FOOD COMES FROM IS MY
PASSION.
BUT I JUST FEEL A LITTLE
DISAPPOINTED IN THE PROCESS,
THAT THERE'S SO MANY QUESTION
MARKS AROUND IT, AND I WISH IT
COULD HAVE BEEN A LITTLE MORE
DEFINITIVE, AND MAYBE IT WILL BE
IN TIME.
THIS IS JUST PART OF THE
FORMATIVE STAGE.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Nam says AND IS IT FAIR TO...
THIS IS TO YOU, CRYSTAL, AGAIN.
IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT FARMERS
HAVE BEEN LOUD OPPONENTS TO THE
CHANGES IN THE FOOD GUIDE?

Crystal says NO, I THINK THERE WAS... THE
FARMERS THEMSELVES, OBVIOUSLY
THEY GROW THE FOOD AND, YOU
KNOW, THEY WANT TO ADVOCATE FOR
THEIR OWN PRODUCT, WHATEVER THEY
GROW, WHETHER IT'S LENTILS OR
BEEF.
THERE WAS DISAPPOINTMENT IF THEY
WEREN'T... THEIR ORGANIZATIONS
WEREN'T PART OF THE
CONSULTATIONS.
IF THEY HAVE EXPERTS ON CANOLA,
FOR EXAMPLE, THAT JUST STUDY
CANOLA, THEY WOULD HAVE LIKED TO
HAVE BEEN APPROACHED OR
CONSULTED, AND THEY WEREN'T
NECESSARILY.
SOME OF THEM MAY HAVE BEEN.
SO THERE WAS SOME DISAPPOINTMENT
OR SURPRISE THERE, I WOULD SAY.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, FARMERS ARE
IN THE BUSINESS OF PROVIDING
HEALTHY AFFORDABLE FOOD FOR OUR
COUNTRY.
TODAY IS CANADIAN AGRICULTURE
DAY, BY THE WAY, SO IT'S VERY
APPROPRIATE THAT WE'RE HAVING
THIS CONVERSATION ABOUT FOOD.
SO THERE WAS SOME DISMAY,
PERHAPS, ON WHO WAS CONSULTED OR
WHO WASN'T.
I THINK MOVING FORWARD, THE MORE
IMPORTANT THING AND SOME OF YOUR
GUESTS ALLUDED TO THIS ALREADY
IS THIS FACT THAT IF ANYBODY IS
EVEN ASKING A QUESTION ABOUT
FOOD OR WANTING TO KNOW MORE
ABOUT WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES
FROM, THAT'S WHERE FARMERS ARE
EXCITED, AND THEY ABSOLUTELY
WANT TO BE PART OF THESE
CONVERSATIONS, BUT QUITE FRANKLY
THEY HAVEN'T BEEN SO FAR.

Nam says IT SEEMS THAT FARMERS
FEEL LIKE MAYBE THEY'VE BEEN
IGNORED THROUGH THIS PROCESS,
BUT YOU ALSO FEEL THAT... FOR ME
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHERE FOOD
COMES FROM.
I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT I
LIKE GOING TO THE STORE AND MY
FOOD IS NEAT AND TIDY.
I REALLY DON'T WANT TO THINK
ABOUT WHAT ELSE IS BEHIND IT.
DO YOU THINK THAT THE
PUBLIC DOESN'T REALLY UNDERSTAND
OR TAKE FARMERS FOR GRANTED?
WE DON'T MAYBE RESPECT THAT THE
LABOUR THAT THEY PUT INTO WHAT
WE EAT?

Crystal says MM-HM.
GREAT QUESTION.
SO YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS JOKE
ABOUT THE RODNEY DANGERFIELD, NO
RESPECT, RIGHT.
WE'RE LIVING IN THIS
CHALLENGE OF ABUNDANCE, AND MY
FAMILY FARM IS NOT TOO FAR FROM
HERE IN THE OTTAWA VALLEY.
SO YOU HAVE THIS CHALLENGE OF
ABUNDANCE WHERE WE GO TO THE
GROCERY STORE, THE SHELVES ARE
NEVER EMPTY, THE EGG COUNTER IS
A 10-MINUTE DECISION WHAT KIND
OF EGG YOU WANT TO BUY.
HOW AWESOME IS THIS?
PART OF THE CHALLENGE OF
ABUNDANCE IS THIS INCREDIBLE
OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE THE
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HOW WE GROW
OUR FOOD AND HOW WE CAN DO
BETTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, ANIMALS,
FOOD SAFETY, ET CETERA, BECAUSE
WE HAVE THAT BASE FOR THE MOST
PART OF HEALTHY, AFFORDABLE
FOOD.
SO THE FRUSTRATION FARMERS HAVE
IS PEOPLE ARE HAVING THESE
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT FOOD AND HOW
IT SHOULD BE GROWN AND FARMERS'
VOICES REALLY SMALL OR NOT EVEN
THERE.
SO THE REALITY IS WE'RE ONLY 2 percent
OF THE POPULATION FEEDS 100 percent.
AND YOU'RE BUSY FARMING, SO HOW
MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE TO BE ON
SOCIAL MEDIA OR BEING ATTENDING
EVENTS LIKE TODAY, RIGHT?
SO I THINK THERE'S ABSOLUTELY A
BIT OF... THERE'S FRUSTRATION
AND A FEELING OF BEING A BIT
BEAT UP BY THE FARM COMMUNITY,
BUT THERE'S ALSO OPTIMISM TO SAY
THERE'S NOTHING BETTER THAN IF
SOMEONE WANTS TO KNOW MORE ABOUT
WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM AND
THEY GO BACK DIRECTLY TO THE
FARM ITSELF.

Nam says DO YOU THINK THAT THE
FARMING INDUSTRY NEEDS TO DO A
BETTER JOB OF MARKETING ITSELF,
OR DO YOU THINK THAT MAYBE
THE... IT SHOULD FALL ON THE
GOVERNMENT?

Crystal says WELL, THAT'S A GREAT
QUESTION.
MY ORGANIZATION, CENTRE FOR FOOD
INTEGRITY, STUDIED THAT.
WE ASKED CANADIANS HOW WELL DO
YOU THINK THE FOOD SYSTEM IS
DOING ON TRANSPARENCY, AND
FARMERS WERE AT THE TOP OF THE
LIST, BOTH FOR CREDIBILITY,
TRUST AND DOING A GOOD JOB, BUT
THE HIGH NUMBER WAS ONLY 34 percent.
SO YOU KNOW, EVEN AT SCHOOL, IF
YOU'RE RIDING THE BELL CURVE,
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO PASS FROM 34
TO A 50, IT'S STILL PRETTY LOW.
AND IT GOES DOWN FROM THERE.
FOOD COMPANIES, RETAIL AND
GOVERNMENT IS QUITE LOW.
I THINK WE'RE IN A REALLY
EXCITING PLACE, AND I'M SURE
YOUR GUESTS WILL AGREE, WE HAVE
THIS OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A
BETTER CONVERSATION ABOUT FOOD,
A MORE ROBUST CONVERSATION ABOUT
FOOD, HOW IT'S GROWN.
SOCIAL, ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH,
INCLUDING STARTING AT THE FARM
AND WORKING ALL THE WAY THROUGH
TO WHAT'S ON YOUR PLATE OR
WHAT'S NOT ON YOUR PLATE IN THE
CASES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE FOOD
INSECURE.
AND FARMERS ABSOLUTELY WANT TO
BE PART OF THOSE CONVERSATIONS,
AND THEY ARE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT
THAT OPPORTUNITY.

Nam says AND MELANA, YOUR
ORGANIZATION WAS PART OF THE
CONVERSATION.
WHAT ROLE DID YOUR ORGANIZATION
PLAY IN THE CHANGES TO THE FOOD GUIDE?

Melana says SO WE ACTUALLY PARTICIPATED
IN THE LAUNCH OF THE FOOD GUIDE.
I'M CHAIR OF FOOD SECURE CANADA,
WHICH IS A PAN-CANADIAN
BILINGUAL ORGANIZATION THAT
WORKS TO SUPPORT THREE
INTERLOCKING GOALS OF HEALTHY
AND SAFE FOOD, SUSTAINABLE FOOD
SYSTEMS, AND ZERO HUNGER.
AND WE WERE ABLE TO WORK WITH
HEALTH CANADA IN PROVIDING
FEEDBACK.
I WOULD ACTUALLY ARGUE THAT
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF POSITIVE
FEEDBACK IN TERMS OF THE PROCESS
AND THE GUIDELINES AND THE
INCREASED TRANSPARENCY AND THE
PROCESS TO ADVISE AND CONSULT ON
THE FOOD GUIDE.
45,000 CANADIANS PARTICIPATED IN
CONSULTATIONS TO HELP PUT THEIR
INPUT INTO SHAPING WHAT THIS
FOOD GUIDE LOOKS LIKE.
I WOULD SAY THIS MIGHT NOT BE A
DOCUMENT SOMEONE HAS ON THEIR
FRIDGE BUT IS DEFINITELY HELPING
TO CONTRIBUTE AND SHAPE WHAT,
YOU KNOW, CANADIANS ARE HAVING
ON THEIR PLATE.
I'D LIKE TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT
THE FOOD GUIDE IS ONE STEP.
IT'S A CORNERSTONE PIECE OF
POLICY, BUT IT'S NOT THE ONLY
TOOL TO THINK ABOUT OUR FOOD
SYSTEM AND HOW THINGS ARE BEING
SHAPED.
WE NEED A FOOT STRATEGY.
AND I THINK FOOD SECURE CANADA
WORKED VERY CLOSELY TO, LIKE
MANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, TO
ENSURE THAT PUBLIC POLICY WAS
BEING PUT TOGETHER IN THE
INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC, AND NOT
IN THE INTEREST SOLELY OF
INDUSTRY, WHICH PAST FOOD GUIDES
ARGUABLY HAVE, ENSURING THAT,
YOU KNOW, THIS IS A FOOD GUIDE
THAT TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE
HEALTH OF CANADIANS AND TAKES
INTO ACCOUNT ENVIRONMENTAL
IMPACTS AS WELL.
SIFTING THROUGH COMPREHENSIVE
AND HOLISTIC THAT ADDRESSING
SOME OF THE KEY CONCERNS THAT
WE'RE FACING.

Nam says YOU MENTIONED 45,000
CANADIANS.
BUT THAT'S... WHEN YOU THINK
ABOUT THE COUNTRY, THAT'S LIKE A
TINY, TINY PERCENTAGE OF THE
COUNTRY.

Melana says IF YOU THINK ABOUT PUBLIC
CONSULTATION PROCESSES, THAT'S
ACTUALLY A VERY VAST NUMBER.
MOST GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS
ONLY GET A COUPLE THOUSAND
PEOPLE PARTICIPATING, SO TO HAVE
THAT KIND OF ENGAGEMENT THROUGH
A VERY SHORT WINDOW PROCESS,
THIS WAS PUT THROUGH QUITE
QUICKLY ONCE THIS WAS ANNOUNCED
IN MANDATE LETTERS, IT'S
ACTUALLY QUITE REMARKABLE.
AND JUST TO NOTE THAT, YOU KNOW,
THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT ISN'T ONLY
ABOUT FARMERS AND ONLY ABOUT THE
ENVIRONMENT, BUT THIS IS ALSO AN
ISSUE THAT IS REALLY WEIGHING ON
OUR SYSTEM, RIGHT?
YOU HAVE THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF
DEATHS IN CANADA IS ACTUALLY
DIET-RELATED.
YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT 13
BILLION dollars A YEAR THAT'S CRIPPLING
FOR PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS.
AND YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT THINGS
THAT CAN BE ADDRESSED WHEN
YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT TYPE 2
DIABETES.
WE'RE THINKING ABOUT SOME
CANCER-RELATED DIET... SORRY,
CANCER-RELATED TO DIETS.
YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT THINGS
LIKE CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE.
SO THESE ARE THINGS WHERE WE CAN
GET AHEAD OF THE GAME AND
ACTUALLY HAVE AN IMPACT, AND I
THINK IT STARTS WITH, AS CECILIA
MENTIONED, INSTITUTIONAL
PROCUREMENT AND THINKING ABOUT
WHAT DO WE HAVE IN OUR PUBLIC
INSTITUTIONS, WHETHER THEY BE
SCHOOLS OR HOSPITALS, TO START
TO SHAPE THE FOOD SYSTEM
HOLISTICALLY
AND I THINK FARMERS HAVE AN
OPPORTUNITY TO BE A PART OF THAT
CHANGE.

Nam says WELL, YOUR ORGANIZATION
DEALS WITH YOUTH.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT'S IMPORTANT
TO ENGAGE YOUTH IN FOOD POLICY?

Melana says WELL, I THINK THERE ARE A LOT
OF REASONS.
I THINK THE AVERAGE YOUNG PERSON
DOESN'T ALWAYS NECESSARILY
UNDERSTAND HOW POLICY IS
IMPACTING THEIR EVERY DAY, AND
LET'S FACE IT, YOUNG PEOPLE ARE
THE FUTURE THAT ARE GOING TO BE
INHERITING ALL THESE DECISIONS
WE'RE MAKING NOW.
IF WE WANT THESE POLICIES TO BE
SUCCESSFUL, YOUNG PEOPLE NEED A
SEAT AT THE TABLE TO BE ABLE TO
MAKE DECISIONS.
LOOK AT FARMERS TODAY.
THE AVERAGE FARMER IS AT THE AGE
55 OR OLDER, SO WE NEED TO CLEAR
THE WAY TO HAVE SPACE FOR YOUNG
PEOPLE TO HAVE ACCESS TO CAPITAL
AND LAND AND TO RESOURCES TO BE
ABLE TO ADAPT TO BE ABLE TO
CONTINUE FARMING.
FARMING IN A MORE SUSTAINABLE
WAY, FARMING IN A WAY THAT ALSO
TAKES INTO ACCOUNT
[INDISCERNIBLE]
TO BE ABLE TO
PUT FOOD ON YOUR OWN TABLE.
AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE
HEARING FROM YOUNG PEOPLE AND
WHAT THE FOOD GUIDE NEEDS TO BE
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT.

Nam says AM I CORRECT THAT YOUR
ORGANIZATION IS THE WORLD'S
FIRST YOUTH FOOD COUNCIL?

Melana says THAT'S RIGHT.

Nam says LORI, WE'VE BEEN TALKING
ABOUT THE FOOD GUIDE.
DOES CANADA HAVE AN OFFICIAL
FOOD POLICY?

Lori says WE DON'T HAVE A NATIONAL FOOD
STRATEGY YET.
IT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
MANY OF US THINK WE DO NEED IN
CANADA.

Nam says WHY DO WE NEED IT?

The caption changes to "Commodity versus social good."

Lori says WE NEED IT BECAUSE FOOD
CONNECTS WITH EVERYTHING, AND WE
NEED A NATIONAL FOOD STRATEGY,
WHICH MEANS WE WANT TO INCLUDE
FOOD.
WE WANT TO INCLUDE AGRICULTURE.
WE WANT TO INCLUDE HEALTH.
WE WANT TO INCLUDE ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT.
WE WANT TO INCLUDE THE
ENVIRONMENT.
WE WANT TO INCLUDE WASTE.
AND SO, THEREFORE, WE NEED THAT
NATIONAL STRATEGY THAT CONNECT
ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT PARTS.
AND THAT'S REALLY ESSENTIAL, TO
RECOGNIZE THAT FOOD IS CONNECTED
TO ALL OF THOSE THINGS, AND THAT
FOOD, IN FACT, IS A VERY
POWERFUL LEVER FOR HELPING US
SOLVE MANY OF THOSE PROBLEMS.
SO FOOD, FOR EXAMPLE, IN ONTARIO
IS THE NUMBER ONE EMPLOYER, THE
FOOD SECTOR.
SO IF WE CAN CREATE MORE JOBS IN
FOOD, THAT'S A REALLY POSITIVE
THING FOR OUR ECONOMY.

Nam says HOW DO YOU SOLVE THE
INEQUALITY?
BECAUSE I'M SURE PEOPLE WATCHING
THIS IN NORTHERN PARTS OF THE
PROVINCE, OR IN CERTAIN PARTS IN
CANADA, I'M THINKING
SPECIFICALLY INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITIES, WHEN YOU SEE... YOU
LOOK AT THE FOOD GUIDE, EVEN
JUST HAVING, LIKE, THE GLASS OF
WATER AS A SUGGESTED BEVERAGE,
THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE ACCESS TO
CLEAN WATER.
DO YOU THINK THAT A NATIONAL
FOOD POLICY COULD ADDRESS THAT?

Lori says I THINK THOSE ARE CRUCIAL
ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE
ADDRESSED, BUT I DON'T THINK WE
NEED TO HAVE A FOOD GUIDE THAT
SAYS HOW DO ADDRESS ALL OF THOSE
ISSUES.
THOSE ARE MUCH BIGGER ISSUES
THAT WE NEED TO BE PUTTING AN
EMPHASIS ON HERE IN CANADA AND
HERE IN ONTARIO, BUT TO BEGIN
WITH, WE NEED TO HAVE THE FOOD
GUIDE OF WHAT IS WHAT WE'RE
AIMING FOR.
WHAT'S THE DIRECTION WE WANT TO
GO?
SO I DON'T THINK IT'S REALLY
FAIR TO SADDLE THE FOOD GUIDE
WITH ALL THE QUESTIONS AROUND
INEQUALITY.
INEQUALITY IS CRITICAL, THAT WE
ADDRESS INEQUALITY.
AND INEQUALITY AROUND FOOD, FOOD
IS ONE OF THE WAYS WE CAN
ADDRESS THAT, BY ADDRESSING...
USING FOOD TO ADDRESS SOCIAL
INTEGRATION AND REDUCING SOCIAL
ISOLATION, FOR ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT, FOR IMPROVING
HEALTH, ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT
THINGS.
SO I THINK WE STILL... THEY ARE
TWO SEPARATE QUESTIONS, REALLY,
IS WHAT ARE THE IDEAL WAYS WE
SHOULD BE MOVING TOWARDS FOR
GENERAL POPULATION TO BE EATING
FOR HEALTH AND FOR HEALTHY
ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTHY WORLD.
BUT THE OTHER IS: HOW DO WE
ADDRESS INEQUALITY?
AND WE SHOULD NOT EVER BE GIVING
UP ON HOW WE ADDRESS INEQUALITY.

Nam says CRYSTAL, DO YOU THINK
THAT THE FARMING COMMUNITY WOULD
BE IN FAVOUR OF A NATIONAL FOOD POLICY?

Crystal says ABSOLUTELY.
THERE'S LEADERS AT A GROUP
CALLED THE CANADIAN FEDERATION
OF AGRICULTURE WHO HAVE BEEN
PART OF THESE DISCUSSIONS ON
FOOD POLICY AND NATIONAL FOOD
STRATEGY, AND AGRICULTURE AND
AGRI-FOOD CANADA HAS DONE
EXTENSIVE CONSULTATIONS.
I WAS LOOKING IT UP YESTERDAY,
BACK TO 2017 AND EARLIER ON THIS
CONVERSATION.
I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT'S AT IN
TERMS OF PROGRESS, AND MAYBE
THAT'S PART OF THE PROBLEM, THAT
MAYBE WE COULD PUT A LITTLE MORE
SPEED BEHIND IT.
BUT I WOULD AGREE, YOU KNOW,
WITH LORI'S COMMENTS ABOUT THIS
FOOD IS INTEGRAL PART OF CANADA.
IT'S A FOUNDATION, AND OUR WORK
AT CENTRE FOR FOOD INTEGRITY
SHOWS CANADIANS HAVE HEALTHY,
AFFORDABLE FOOD AND THE COST OF
FOOD AT THE TOP OF LIST OF
CONCERNS, ABOVE HEALTH CARE,
ENERGY AND ECONOMY.
SO THIS... MASLOW'S HIERARCHY OF
NEEDS, YOU HAVE TO FEED YOURSELF
FIRST.
SO THIS CONCEPT OF HAVING A
BROADER STRATEGY OF WHICH
FARMERS WOULD LOVE TO BE PART OF
IS REALLY INTEGRAL TO FUTURE
SUCCESS, AND THEN I LOOK AT THE
FOOD GUIDE AS A TOOL TO HELP
GUIDE HEALTHY EATING WITHIN A
BIGGER STRATEGY, BUT ON ITS OWN,
IT CAN'T ACCOMPLISH ALL THOSE
THINGS.

Nam says AND CECILIA, I WANT TO
POSE THE NEXT QUESTION TO YOU.
THERE IS A TENSION BETWEEN THE
FACT THAT FOOD IS A COMMODITY
AND IT'S PART OF A FOR-PROFIT
BUSINESS MODEL AND A MAJOR
EXPORT OF THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO.
AND A PUBLIC GOOD THAT WE ALL
NEED TO SURVIVE.
IS THIS SOMETHING THAT CAN... IS
THIS A PROBLEM THAT WE CAN RESOLVE?

Cecilia says WELL, WE HAVE TO.
BECAUSE IT'S SO ESSENTIAL, AND
YES, FOOD IS A COMMODITY, BUT
IT'S ALSO A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT.
SO THE QUESTIONS ARE: HOW DO WE
PRESERVE THIS RIGHT, GUARANTEE
THIS RIGHT TO EVERYBODY IN
SOCIETY ON SOMETHING THAT IS
ALSO A COMMERCIAL PRODUCT?
SO WE NEED THIS FOOD STRATEGY TO
PROVIDE SOME GUIDANCE ON HOW TO
DO THAT, AND HOW TO ACCOMMODATE
THAT.
AND WE NEED EVERYBODY TO BE PART
OF THAT CONVERSATION BECAUSE, AS
EVERYBODY HAS MENTIONED, FOOD IS
CONNECTED TO SO MANY AREAS,
DIFFERENT AREAS.
AND SO WE NEED TO RECONCILE THIS
IDEA OF FOOD AS A COMMODITY AND
ALSO A HUMAN RIGHT.

Nam says BUT BECAUSE IT IS SO
COMPLICATED, THERE'S SO MANY
LAYERS, THERE'S SO MANY PEOPLE
INVOLVED, IS IT EVEN REALISTIC
TO THINK THAT WE CAN ALL AGREE
ON A NATIONAL FOOD POLICY?
MELANA?

Melana says YEAH, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S
NOT ABOUT ONE NATIONAL FOOD
POLICY.
IT'S ABOUT A SERIES OF DIFFERENT
POLICIES WITHIN THIS BROADER
FRAMEWORK THAT'S GOING TO ALLOW
US TO MAKE SOME HEADWAY ON SOME
KEY ISSUES.
SO YOU KNOW, WE TALKED ABOUT,
YOU KNOW, HOW WOULD A FOOD
POLICY WORK?
IT'S SO POLITICAL.
I THINK WE NEED MECHANISMS TO
HELP SUPPORT AND GUIDE THAT.
SO LORI TALKED ABOUT THE TORONTO
FOOD POLICY COUNCIL.
WELL, HAVING A NATIONAL COUNCIL
THAT'S SITTING TO HELP GUIDE
THAT CONVERSATION, SO WE'RE
THINKING ABOUT THE NEEDING TO
HAVE JOINED UP FOOD POLICY WHERE
YOU HAVE FARMERS AT THE TABLE,
WHERE YOU HAVE POLICY EXPERTS AT
THE TABLE, WHERE YOU HAVE THE
DIVISION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND
THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
AND YOU HAVE PUBLIC HEALTH.
YOU HAVE ALL OF THESE PLAYERS
AND INTERESTS AT THE TABLE TO
HELP ENSURE THAT THOSE
PRIORITIES ARE ALL BEING
CONSIDERED.
AND YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU THINK
ABOUT A PARTICULAR PROGRAM OR
APPROACH TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO
ADDRESS THESE THINGS, IT BECOMES
MORE CLEAR AND EASY TO
FACILITATE WHEN YOU HAVE ALL OF
THOSE VOICES THERE.
SO TO GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, IF
YOU THINK ABOUT SOMETHING...
THERE'S BEEN A CALL FOR A
NATIONAL COST-SHARED SCHOOL FOOD
PROGRAM, AND PEOPLE THINK, WELL,
HOW WOULD THAT WORK?
WORKING FEDERALLY, ISN'T
EDUCATION AND SCHOOL WORKING AT
A PROVINCIAL LEVEL?
WELL, YES, BUT IF YOU THINK
ABOUT THE FACT THAT, YOU KNOW,
CANADA IS 37 OUT OF 41 COUNTRIES
THAT... IN TERMS OF HOW
EFFECTIVELY IT'S PROVIDING
HEALTHY FOOD FOR CHILDREN IN
SCHOOLS.
AND IF YOU THINK OF THE FACT
THAT, YOU KNOW, CHILDREN FROM
THE AGES OF 4 TO 13, two thirds OF THEM
DON'T RECEIVE THEIR DAILY
RECOMMENDED SERVINGS OF FRUITS
AND VEGETABLES, YOU THINK WE
HAVE AN ISSUE HERE.
BUT IMAGINE WE WERE IN A COUNTRY
WHERE WE COULD PROVIDE A HEALTHY
NUTRITIOUS MEAL TO CHILDREN IN
SCHOOLS, AND THOSE PARTICULAR
FOODS WE WERE PROVIDING IN
SCHOOLS WERE ACTUALLY PROVIDED
LOCALLY FROM FARMERS.
WE'RE STARTING TO THINK ABOUT
ADDRESSING ECONOMIC ISSUES.
WE'RE THINKING ABOUT CREATING
MORE LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS.
WE'RE THINKING ABOUT CREATING AN
OPPORTUNITY WHERE CHILDREN CAN
START TO BUILD THEIR
UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT A HEALTHY
DIET IS AND START TO BUILD A
TASTE FOR HEALTHY FOOD.
AND OF COURSE THEY'RE GOING TO
BRING THAT KNOWLEDGE HOME.
SO WE'RE STARTING TO THINK ABOUT
INTEGRATING ALL THESE DIFFERENT
AREAS, AND WE CAN'T DO THAT
UNTIL WE HAVE EVERYONE WITH A
SEAT AT THE TABLE TO HAVE THOSE
IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS TO
UNDERSTAND HOW THAT WILL WORK.

Nam says SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT
INSTEAD OF HAVING, LIKE, A
NATIONAL FOOD POLICY FROM COAST
TO COAST THAT WE HAVE SOMETHING
LIKE WE HAVE HERE IN TORONTO,
WITH DIFFERENT MUNICIPALITIES
AND DIFFERENT LAYERS?
LORI?

Lori says I VERY MUCH BELIEVE THAT
ALTHOUGH WE DO NEED A NATIONAL
STRATEGY, THAT FOOD IS SOMETHING
THAT MUNICIPALITIES HAVE A
SPECIALLY STRONG ROLE TO PLAY,
AND FOOD POLICY COUNCILS, AS
MELANA MENTIONED, WE'RE A
30-PERSON COUNCIL WITH CITY
COUNCILLORS ON THE COUNCIL, WITH
EXPERTS FROM A RANGE OF
DIFFERENT AREAS, REPRESENTING
ALL THE AREAS WE'VE BEEN TALKING
ABOUT, HEALTH AND WASTE AND
NUTRITION AND POVERTY.
FARMING.
WE HAVE FARMERS AND RURAL PEOPLE
ON THE COUNCIL.
IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE HAVE THIS
VOICE THAT CAN ALLOW OUR
DECISION MAKERS TO HEAR WHAT'S
HAPPENING AT THE GROUND LEVEL,
HEAR AND FEED INTO IT WITH THIS
EXPERTISE.
SO COUNCILS ALL OVER, AND WE ARE
SEEING COUNCILS SPROUTING UP IN
OTHER PARTS OF THE PROVINCE, ARE
REALLY A USEFUL TOOL.
AND THEN THEY HELP TO INFORM
PUBLIC POLICY, AND THIS IDEA OF
FOOD AS A COMMODITY, FOOD IS
ALSO IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
TRANSPORTATION, HEALTH CARE,
THESE THINGS ARE IN THE PUBLIC
INTEREST.
FOOD IS AS WELL.
AND WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT AS
IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
WE NEED TO SUPPORT FARMERS TO
MAKE SURE THAT THEY CAN SURVIVE
AND THEY ARE NOT HAVING TO GO
OUT OF BUSINESS BECAUSE THEY ARE
COMPETING WITH CHEAP FOOD COMING
IN FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE
WORLD.
ONE OF THE WAYS WE CAN DO THAT
IS THROUGH INSTITUTIONAL
PROCUREMENT.
AT OUR SCHOOLS, OUR HOSPITALS,
OUR UNIVERSITIES, WE SHOULD BE
BUYING LOCAL FOOD THAT'S
PRODUCED SUSTAINABLY BY ONTARIO
FARMERS.
IT'S A REALLY CRITICAL PIECE.
BECAUSE I THINK OUR FARMERS ARE
CAUGHT IN A JACKPOT.
BASICALLY THEY BUY EVERYTHING
RETAIL AND THEY SELL EVERYTHING
WHOLESALE, SO THEY ARE BUYING
THEIR FERTILIZERS AND SEEDS AND
ALL OF THAT FROM BIG HUGE
MONOLITHIC COMPANIES, AND THEN
THEY ARE SELLING TO BIG HUGE
GLOBAL CORPORATIONS, AND THEY
ARE CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE.
SO IF WE REALLY WANT TO PROTECT
FARMLAND, WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT
HOW DO WE PROTECT FARMERS AND
HOW DO WE USE THE POLICY TOOLS
THAT WE HAVE AT HAND TO ACTUALLY
BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THE AREAS
AROUND US?
BECAUSE ESPECIALLY WITH CLIMATE
CHANGE MOVING AHEAD VERY
QUICKLY, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO
HAVE SOME BACKUP SYSTEMS FOR
RESILIENCE, AND PART OF OUR
BACKUP SYSTEM IS TO MAKE SURE WE
HAVE LAND FOR GROWING FOOD AND
WE HAVE CLEAN WATER.
WE HAVE ALL THE THINGS WE NEED
TO BE ABLE TO PRODUCE FOOD FOR
OUR OWN CITIZENS.

Nam says CRYSTAL, I'M SURE YOU WANT TO
RESPOND TO WHAT LORI JUST SAID.

Crystal says MM-HM.
NO, EXCELLENT POINTS.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, FIRST OF ALL,
WE LIVE ON A PLANET, SO FOOD IS
GLOBAL, AND THEN CANADIAN, SO
DEFINITELY A NEED FOR A NATIONAL
STRATEGY AND SOME NATIONAL
THINKING AND INVESTMENT IN TERMS
OF DIRECTION AND BIG PICTURE.
AND I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE THAT
THERE'S NO REASON WHY WE CAN'T
HAVE SOME BIG PICTURE VISION
STATEMENTS THAT EVERYBODY CAN
GET BEHIND.
YOU KNOW, YOU CAN THINK ABOUT
SHOULD EVERY CHILD IN CANADA
HAVE A GOOD BREAKFAST?
IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU'RE A
FARMER, A DIETICIAN OR A FOOD
COMPANY CEO, YOU SHOULD BE ABLE
TO GET BEHIND SOME OF THOSE BIG
VISION STATEMENTS.
AND THEN TO LORI'S POINT, THEN
IT GOES VERY... RIGHT DOWN TO
GRANULAR AND LOCAL AND WHAT'S ON
YOUR OWN PLATE.
SO HOW DO WE DEVELOP SOME
STRATEGIES AND DIRECTIONS AND
POLICY AND SUPPORT IS SOMETHING
FARMERS ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE IN.
THE OTHER PIECE WOULD BE THIS
CONCEPT OF THE FARMERS' ROLE IN
THE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT FOOD.
SO I FEEL THEY'VE BEEN VERY
SILENT AND THEY HAVEN'T
NECESSARILY BEEN AT THE TABLE,
PARDON THE PUN, ON HAVING THESE
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT FOOD.
SO THE NEED TO HAVE SOME
PRACTICAL, GROUNDED
CONVERSATION, AND ALSO THE THIRD
POINT I WOULD MAKE WOULD BE TO
ADD THIS CONCEPT OF FOOD IS A
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT THAT OUR
COUNTRY WANTS TO INVEST IN AND
ENSURE THAT WE CAN FEED
OURSELVES.
A COUNTRY THAT CAN'T FEED ITSELF
IS NOT SUFFICIENT IN MANY
LEVELS.
SO UNLIKE OTHER SMALL
BUSINESSES, WHICH FARMERS RUN AN
OPEN MARKET BUSINESS,
COMMODITIES, BUYING AND SELLING
AND, YES, MY DAD WOULD AGREE,
SELLING RETAIL AND SELLING
WHOLESALE.
SO AS A COUNTRY, WHEN ARE WE
GOING TO DECIDE THAT FEEDING
OURSELVES IS REALLY IMPORTANT
AND ALONG WITH ALL THE
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL AND
HEALTH IMPACTS THAT CAN GO WITH
IT, PROS AND CONS?
AND IF WE MAKE THAT A PRIORITY
AND TAKE IT OUT OF THE RODNEY
DANGERFIELD NO RESPECT TERRITORY
AND SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS IS
ABSOLUTELY A PRIORITY, WHAT CAN
WE DO BETTER TOGETHER, I THINK
THERE ARE REALLY EXCITING TIMES
AHEAD.

Nam says CECILIA, IS THERE A
COUNTRY AROUND THE WORLD THAT'S
DOING IT RIGHT, THAT'S DOING
FOOD RIGHT?

Cecilia says LOTS OF COUNTRIES ARE TRYING.
THAT'S ALL THAT WE CAN DO.
BECAUSE THERE IS... IT'S NOT
SOMETHING THAT YOU JUST GET TO A
SOLUTION AND THAT'S IT.
IT IS SOMETHING THAT'S ONGOING,
AND SO WE FIND THAT THE ISSUES,
THEY ARE ALL CONNECTED.
FOOD IS CONNECTED TO ALL THOSE
THINGS THAT LORI AND OTHERS HAVE
BEEN MENTIONING.
AND THERE IS A NEED FOR CONSTANT
ADDRESSING THEM AND IMPROVING
THEM.
THE IMPORTANT THING, AND I THINK
THAT WAS MENTIONED, AND WITH THE
FOOD POLICY COUNCIL WE HAVE AN
EXAMPLE, IS TO CONSTRUCT THOSE
SPACES WHERE WE WILL BE ABLE TO
GET TO THOSE CONVERSATIONS AND
TO CONSTRUCT THE POSSIBILITIES
FOR ALL PEOPLE TO PARTICIPATE,
ALL GROUPS TO PARTICIPATE.
FARMERS, CERTAINLY.
WE KNOW THIS IS... FARMING IS A
VERY HARD LIFE, AND FARMERS DO
NOT HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO
PARTICIPATE IN A LOT OF THOSE
DISCUSSIONS, BUT WE MUST FIND A
WAY FOR THEM TO PARTICIPATE.
AND WE MUST FIND A WAY FOR
DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES TO
PARTICIPATE.
[INDISCERNIBLE] COMMUNITIES IN
OUR COUNTRY, BUT ALSO LOW-INCOME
PEOPLE AND SMALL RETAILERS,
RESTAURANTS, HOUSEHOLDS.
SO I THINK THAT CONSTRUCTING
THAT SPACE IS VERY IMPORTANT,
AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT I HOPE
THE FOOD STRATEGY WILL DO IN
CANADA.
AND I THINK IN OTHER COUNTRIES,
THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO
DO AS WELL.

Nam says THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN
WORKING ON GETTING A NATIONAL...
WELL, THEY'VE BEEN PROMISING A
NATIONAL FOOD STRATEGY FOR A
COUPLE OF YEARS.
HOW HOPEFUL ARE YOU THAT WE WILL
GET SOMETHING WITHIN THE NEXT
LITTLE WHILE?

Lori says OH, WE HAVE HOPE.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TO ASSESS THAT
EXACTLY.
WE HEAR RUMBLINGS THAT THERE IS
ONE COMING ALONG, BUT WE'LL HAVE
TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

Nam says AND MELANA?

Melana says I THINK I'M DEFINITELY
HOPEFUL.
I'M AS HOPEFUL AS SEEING IT COME
OUT IN MARCH.
I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT'S CLEAR
THAT CANADIANS CARE ABOUT THIS
ISSUE.
IT'S CLEAR THAT THERE'S A LOT OF
OPPORTUNITY AND A LOT OF LEVERS
THAT THIS WILL HELP PULL IN
TERMS OF CREATING ECONOMIC
OPPORTUNITY, IMPROVING HEALTH,
CONNECTING AND ADDRESSING OTHER
ISSUES LIKE SOCIAL ISOLATION.
SO I THINK THAT IT WOULD BE IN
THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT
TO BRING THIS FORWARD AND TO
ENGAGE CANADIANS AND CONTINUE TO
ENGAGE THEM IN THIS
CONVERSATION.

Nam says AND CRYSTAL, I'LL GIVE
YOU THE FINAL WORD.
I THINK WE HAVE 30 SECONDS.
HOW HOPEFUL ARE YOU THAT THE
GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE A NATIONAL
FOOD STRATEGY?

Crystal says I DON'T KNOW IF I'D GO AS
EARLY AS MARCH.
I DON'T KNOW HOW TIMELY IT WILL
BE, BUT I THINK THEY ARE
DEFINITELY COMMITTED AND THEY'VE
HEARD ENOUGH VOICES FROM EVERY
ASPECT OF THE FOOD CHAIN,
STARTING FROM FARMERS AND GOING
THROUGH TO RETAIL AND SOME OF
THE GUESTS YOU HAVE ON THE SHOW
TODAY TO SAY FOOD MATTERS TO
CANADIANS AND WE NEED TO BE
STRATEGIC ABOUT THE FUTURE.

Nam says THANK YOU SO MUCH, AND
CRYSTAL, AS YOU MENTIONED, YOU
SAID IT WAS AGRICULTURE DAY?

Crystal says IT IS CANADA'S AGRICULTURE
DAY.
IT'S A CELEBRATION.

Nam says SO WE SAY HAPPY CANADA
AGRICULTURE DAY AS WE TALK ABOUT THIS?

Crystal says ABSOLUTELY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Nam says THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
YOUR TIME, CRYSTAL, CECILIA,
MELANA AND LORI.
WE REALLY APPRECIATE ALL OF YOUR
INSIGHT.
I THINK WE'VE ALL LEARNED A LOT
FROM ALL OF YOU.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Rethinking Canada's Food System