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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Vancouver's New Food Strategy

Back at the end of January, the Council of the City of Vancouver heard from over a dozen urban farmers, community garden volunteers, farmers' market coordinators, and food security advocates in support of a food strategy for the city.

After almost three years of engagement, data compilation, research, and barriers, the proposed report was accepted and the strategy was passed -- unanimously!

The Vancouver Food Strategy is a plan to help meet the City's social, environmental, economic, and health goals by building on years of food systems initiatives and grassroots community development in order to help create a just and sustainable food system for the City.

Why a food strategy?

The ways that we produce, access, prepare, eat, and dispose of food are directly linked to the sustainability of our cities and the quality of our neighbourhoods. Within the current system, food access and distribution are unequal between neighbourhoods. Strategic food policy will integrate individual policies into a more coordinated approach, help the City address Vancouver's food challenges, and align food system goals within broader City plans and processes.

Making nutritious, locally-produced food that is accessible and affordable is crucial for a vital food system, as are strong links between food policy, planning, and on-the-ground activities.

Principles of a Sustainable Food System

The Vancouver Food Charter identifies five key principles of a just and sustainable food system:

1) Community economic development

Foster development of and greater reliance on local food systems in order to strengthen our local and regional economies, create employment opportunities, and increase food security.

2) Ecological health

It is vital to protect our natural resources, reduce and redirect food waste, and contribute to the environmental stability and well-being of our local, regional, and global communities.

3) Social justice

Food is a basic human right and entitlement; all people must be ensured access to affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food.

4) Collaboration and participation

Sustainable food systems encourage civic engagement, promote responsibility, and strengthen communities.

5) Celebration

Sharing food is a fundamental human experience, bringing people together in celebrations of community and diversity.

What is a food system?

A healthy food system is one in which food production, distribution, and consumption are integrated in order to enhance the environmental, social, nutritional, and economic health of a place.


City of Vancouver (Vancouver Food Strategy materials)
Urban Stream

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