THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – A wide variety of stakeholders from food producers to health care providers have gathered at the Paterson Family Food Centre to set the groundwork for developing and implementing a regional food strategy. Jointly presented by the City of Thunder Bay, the Food Action Network and the Food Security Research Network under the banner “Cultivating our Future”, the Regional Food Strategy Summit will build on growing public interest in food security since the adoption of the Thunder Bay Food Charter in 2008.
The event, facilitated by Joan Brady of Grand Bend, Ontario, a food systems consultant with HC Link and the Acting Coordinator of FoodNet Ontario explained that there is widespread interest throughout the nation in creating food strategies. “Communities across the province and country are focusing energy and attention towards their food futures. A food strategy considers both the current status of the food system and community needs as well as projecting towards the future and the resources required to provide safe, nutritious and culturally acceptable food for all citizens,” Brady said.
“The organizers and participants are intentional about celebrating the great food initiatives in the Thunder Bay area, both past and present. The Thunder Bay food charter creates a vision for a food secure community within a healthy, just, and environmentally and economically sound food system. A food strategy takes that vision and mobilizes it with policy and collaboration across various sectors and government departments,” added Brady.
Organizing committee chair Catherine Schwartz-Mendez said “That the Summit builds on the range of activities that are already underway to enhance the way people access food in a sustainable way”. Schwartz-Mendez added that “The goals of the Thunder Bay food strategy could include improving access to nutritious, local and affordable food, integrating food policies into city-wide plans, managing food waste, creating more opportunities to grow food in the city, reducing distances between food production and consumption, supporting food infrastructure and supporting local food celebrations”.
Local food was featured in the meals that were offered to the delegates.