Food connects us and influences the health, culture, environment, and economy of our people and communities.
What is a Food System?
A food system(External link) is an interconnected web of activities, resources, and people involved in keeping us healthy and nourished. It is a reflection of social, cultural, political, economic, health, and environmental conditions, and is affected by decisions at the household, local, regional, national, and global levels (San Diego Food Vision 2030).
What is a Food Strategy?
The CK Food Strategy is a multi-year plan that integrates the actions that are underway and identifies future actions that work to strengthen the local food system. We plan to build on policies and programs that already exist, address gaps, and find new opportunities as we move forward. The strategy will be reflection of local input and leans on research and experiences from other communities who have already completed similar work.
Why does this work matter?
Food is a basic human need. Regardless of skin colour, age, education, religion, occupation, gender, employment, we all need food to live. And we all need healthy food to be healthy. Despite improvements in the food system, inequities exist and not all us have the same access to healthy food.
Food systems are complex and change depending on where you live. In general, modernization of the local, regional and global food system have focused on food quantity, safety, variety and affordability of food. Food systems also have significant contribution to economic activities and employment. Despite this progress, many challenges still exist. For example, current practices do not prioritize keeping foods local, farming has focused on increasing the amount of crops produced to meet contract demands, neighbourhoods have inequitable access to healthy foods, some food system practices contribute to the degradation of the environment, people are disconnected from their food source and billions of food waste ends up in landfill.
Chatham-Kent has strong roots in agriculture, alongside increasing public interest in the quality, healthfulness, and culture of locally sourced food. From our research and consultation to date, there is no question that our current path is unsustainable and transformations must take root at the community level. We believe that the CK Food Strategy can be a powerful tool carry out the activities that will transform our communities local food system and provide significant opportunities to elevate the health, economy, environment and culture for all.
What Will a Food Strategy Do for CK?
It is a plan of action that will:
- help to increase access and availability to local foods.
- provide people with the education and information that they need in order to make an informed choice about buying and eating foods.
- work towards better economic, social and physical environments in our communities.
- support community organizations and partnerships within the food system.
- provide structure for mutually accepted goals and a common agenda for partners moving forward as a community.
- balance the aspirations of the community with municipal and local resources.
- work with organizations and members of the food system including production, processing and distribution, buying and selling, access and consumption, and waste to help meet specific actions identified.
How are we going to do this?
We are working to develop a community-led, multi-sectorial food strategy by working together to identify and prioritize initiatives and that will contribute to a vibrant and healthy food system in CK.
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