“ Community Food Security is a situation in which all community residences obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, and nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes self- reliance and social justice.” Hamm MW and Bellows AC J.Nutr Education Behav, 2003:35:37-43
Food security is dependent on a sustainable food system. In a sustainable food system every part of the system to be as local and efficient as possible.
Why is the current food system unsustainable? Environmental concerns - climate change, agricultural chemicals – pesticides and fertilizers and their impact on soil and watersheds Loss of farmland and urban sprawl –– less small-scale farming, loss of food growing knowledge – less youth Monoculture production practices, more control over food by fewer and few corporations, genetic modification and seed patenting – crops and livestock impacted Current answer to climate change and peak oil is green fuels, but corn and other crops are now grown as monocultures and are replacing food crops for many indigenous peoples – driving up food costs Processed food available everywhere, that produce food that is unhealthy to eat over life time – contributes to obesity problems in children – low income areas may lack grocery stores 10% of the Canadian population is food insecure – healthy food needs to be more accessible and affordable
Some of the consequences… The average age of the Ontario farmer is over 50 and farm incomes are not viable, no pension plans Young farmers are not encouraged to take over the family farm We are vulnerable to breaks in the food distribution chain in the event of an emergency Most cities have three days worth of food in case of emergency Adding to climate change problems
The CLIMATE system links the global food system together. We are connected to the global food system by peak oil and green fuel issues.
The average number of food miles for food in North America is 2500 kilometers
Transporting food all over the globe adds greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Our changing climate is impacting our ability to grow food.
Bad News about climate change? Extreme weather, such as storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. More precipitation, flooding, less snow cover, higher temperatures, drought, and more variability, and has impacts on ecological systems. Good News about climate change? Higher CO 2 and temperature levels may improve some crops,
Global food system has replaced local food systems We are not connected to our food sources any more!
Many local farms cannot compete with global imports Local food is not available in most grocery stores
We are becoming reliant on other people and places to grow and process our food and transport it to us.
Young people are not taking over the family farm business because they cannot make a viable living. Small-scale farms need direct-marketing sales to make ends meet – the consumer has to connect with the farmer. Examples - community shared agriculture, to improves farm income in the spring planting season.
Ontario imports 4 billion more in food than it exports
Green fuels are not the answer to our transportation dilemma. Green fuels displace food crops in other countries. Local food systems are a better answer to reducing our global food transportation demands. Added benefit, preserves petrochemical resources until we can find truly green and sustainable solutions to replace our oil dependency.
The food system is dependent upon cheap and abundant supplies of petroleum resources. As supplies dwindle, the price of oil will rise. As oil prices rise, so will the price of food, and that effects everyone’s bottom line!
A predominantly global food system is unsustainable.
We are dependent on an unsustainable food system…it relies on fossil fuels to produce pesticides and fertilizers. GMO crops are bred for pesticide use long term impacts are unknown and pesticides are accumulating in the environment.
The good news…. The demand for fresh, healthy local food grown and produced by local farmers is not likely to be saturated any time soon! What is local? It is the most local product that you can find – or change your diet to what is available in your community!
More good news…. Sustainable farming practices can sequester carbon dioxide emissions. Young people are concerned and want to contribute towards real change.
Summary… Food is grown far away and contributing to climate change Climate impacts our ability to grow food Farmers cannot compete with global food imports, that are based on cheap oil As oil increases in price, food becomes less affordable and that increases food insecurity Farmers are aging demographic and new farmers are more scarce Loss of arable land in some areas Food may not be so available over time as pressure increases on farm land Emergency food systems not in place Local food offers many positive benefits, but lacks the food producers and infrastructure needed to feed most local populations Sustainable farming can sequester carbon dioxide Young people want to be involved in the solutions
Sustainable food systems are local, wholistic and secure -will involve society in a cooperative fashion - produces benefits that overlap into other sectors
The attributes of a foodshed: Local governance Community Owned - Cooperative model Renewable energy Protects and restores natural ecosystems Waste recycling Equitable distribution and emergency supplies Economically and ecologically self-sustaining
A foodshed is based on ecological principles to respect the ecology, biodiversity, and sustainability of resources. Qu’est que c’est foodshed?
A foodshed is “people-centric” – looks at the dietary needs of a specific population within a local geographic region.
Qu’est que c’est foodshed? A foodshed is designed to meet a specific demand and supply relationship – it is intentionally designed to feed a specific (size or target) population.
Qu’est que c’est foodshed? A true foodshed would limit our foodprint to the carrying capacity of the surrounding food system.
Qu’est que c’est foodshed? A true foodshed would support the social justice “right to food” for everyone. Food would be grown to feed the local population.
Qu’est que c’est foodshed? A true foodshed would support community-based economic development.
Qu’est que c’est foodshed? A foodshed is a local food system that supports local food self- sufficiency, from production to consumption.
Qu’est que c’est foodshed? A foodshed is based on a cooperative food production system to ensure markets for farmers.
A foodshed can be measured by food miles - the distance from where food is grown and produced to where it is consumed. Qu’est que c’est foodshed?
The food growing demands would be based on the nutritional needs of the population within the foodshed. Qu’est que c’est foodshed?
A foodshed is locally owned and governed through food safety regulations and food security policies and labour standards. Qu’est que c’est foodshed?
A foodshed supports community- based food programs, such as community kitchens, community gardens, and food education to preserving the harvest. Qu’est que c’est foodshed?
Foodshed-sharing - connecting to other local foodsheds would ensure that “the most local” food is available and also provide some resilience in case of crop failure. Qu’est que c’est foodshed?
Every foodshed will be unique… population size and attributes productivity of farmland and farmers climate and soil types food infrastructure assets food outlets institutions economic activities transportation and energy systems expansion potential policies and regulations water and soil resources biodiversity
Foodshed planning would assess: Agricultural inputs and food growing potential; Seed saving processes; Agricultural markets and food demand; Farm succession; Built environments for processing and distribution; Transportation infrastructure; Natural resources, soil, water, climate; Waste materials, recycling and waste reduction; Technologies, energy and building efficiencies; Population demographics and cultural food practices; Nutritional requirements over a lifetime; Food insecurity, regulations, and policies. Definition developed by The Foodshed Project
Food production would fit demand… Local food available everywhere - backyard gardens, community gardens, community shared agriculture, small-scale diverse farms, distributed through fresh food box or other community-based programs… Agricultural cooperatives would thrive as farmers work within a the local supply-demand model Biodiversity of the natural and the grown environment is enhanced through seed saving and seed exchange programs
Food processing follows in the heals of food production… Local small processing plants that provide for the local diet first, with excess sold to an adjacent foodshed Utilizes local ingredients, assuring markets for farmers and market gardens Economically self-sustaining Reduce and recycle waste products for agricultural production In keeping with local dietary requirements – don’t produce what you don’t eat or don’t like!
Benefits of local foodsheds… Be local and economically self-sustaining - coordinated to reduce overproduction and competition for the same product Ensures fair market share, farm viability, and farm succession planning Conserve and enhance food biodiversity - expansion of small-scale farms, community gardens, backyard gardens… Saving seeds improves adaptability and resilience of crops to climate change, more in touch with food sources Conserves petrochemical resources Make the food systems link between agriculture, healthy food choices, and environmental sustainability
And would… Take the stress off of other food growing areas of Ontario and world Protect and enhance arable farm land Heighten awareness of climate change issues Promote community food security and reduce food insecurity Builds community assets – infrastructure, health, environmental, knowledge, transportation and energy systems Emergency food is more readily available
Engages the community in greater environmental stewardship… Being dependent on your local foodshed for fresh, healthy food creates a new value for farmers, farmland, clean water and soil. Food is a necessity for life, not like other commodities on the open market, growing food depends on our finite natural resources - air, land, water and healthy ecosystems.
Sustainable Foodsheds would support other sectors and promotes environmental values… Energy efficiency, use ground source heat pumps, solar and wind renewable energy sources Waste reduction strategies – 3R’s, composting Water conservation and source water protection Sustainable transportation – biofuels from waste Horticulture technology – research into crop yields, seed saving, greenhouse technology, seasonal extension techniques Innovation - building codes need to be progressive and support renewable energy installations, and energy efficient building practices, such as straw bale construction
Summary… A foodshed is a food system that surrounds an urban centre It has a direct demand and supply relationship with local food producers/processors/distributors Infrastructure is designed to store, process, and distribute local food with the lowest carbon footprint Coordinated by local food sustainability and food security policies that encourage local food pathways, food access and efficiencies Designed for maximum food security - household and community level
Action Planning Priorities… making new connections and food pathways 1)Food Systems Assessment – what are your current assets? Food needs? 2)Improve Access to Local food – educate the community and support what you have. 3) Expand and Create New Food Pathways – local food production and processing.
1a) Food Systems Assessment the supply…what are your current assets? Over 2,000 farms in Northern Ontario Learn about existing policies and regulations, grants or tax incentives? Assess your food growing and processing potential - who knows how to grow food? Review urban transportation systems and access to grocery stores, farmers markets, and local farms Find out what you import now, and if you can grow or produce it locally
1b) Food Systems Assessment the demand…what are your food requirements? What is your population size? What about demographics – is your population increasing or decreasing? Aging? Do you have easy access to healthy food? Who is food insecure? What are your food costs?
2) Improve local food availability and access …support what you have and get commitment for long term change Promote the benefits of eating more locally – can your community adapt to a more local diet? Find out what is produced and processed locally Find out what is sold locally and map it Develop a Food Charter or a Food Policy Council and have it endorsed by municipal governments, health units, and the ICI sector Promote and market local products with Buy Local Maps and local labelling Support Farmer’s Markets Expand food education in schools and to the public - cooking, preserving, and nutrition Review Official Plans and ensure arable land is protected
3) Expand and Create new food pathways …food production, processing, and access Support food education – nutrition, cooking, preserving… Support community food growing, such as community gardens, backyard gardening, greenhouse operations are an important link Start and expand CSA and Pick Your Own operations Support farm to table connections such as food buying and food growing agricultural cooperatives Small-scale Organic operations can be viable but need support Greenhouses operations can support farmers and gardeners by growing transplants/seedlings and by seed saving Support programs that provide fresh meals with local sources of food Develop social enterprises to support employment opportunities to link youth in the development of a more local food system
Mentoring from existing farmers can assist in developing food growing, farming and business skills in youth Involve the public - community groups, social planners, gardeners, youth, schools – link them to each other to initiate project Involve the business community in marketing partnerships – chefs, restaurants, catering companies, incubator kitchens, and greenhouse operations Leverage your partners for funding possibilities –greenhouses, food processing, educational initiatives and social enterprizes Engage youth in planning and developing new farms, products, education and marketing Action plans – involve the community
Grassroots movement across Ontario and the world…examples of thinking of TOMORROW Many not-for-profits are now involved… have websites that you can learn from –FoodLink - Waterloo, –Food Down the Road - Quinte, –Local Food Plus - Toronto, –Everdale Farms – Toronto area –FoodShare, Toronto Food Policy Council –Sustain Ontario –Northern Locavores, –100 Mile Diet followers, –Eat Local Sudbury!, –Sudbury Food Connections Network…many more
The Foodshed Project initiatives… Greater Sudbury Food Charter and Report Card – endorsed by Board of Health and sent to all municipalities with the Sudbury and Manitoulin Districts Climate Friendly Shopping Planner – can be downloaded from website Sustaining several community gardens Currently developing a Food Biodiversity Inventory to find out what is being grown in Greater Sudbury… Food Sustainability Grant for students science fair projects All About Local Food! Workshop Series for schools and community groups Eating for the Earth cooking classes, using local ingredients Farm Yard Gardens Youth Internship pilot – looking to expand next year
Youth Engagement is essential…Farm Yard Gardens program is an example Youth care about environmental issues and are looking for ways to contribute Most Ontario farmers are over 50 Farms are aggregated into larger operations, hard to get new farms started Lack of formal agricultural training in the North Youth lack food growing skills Funding needed to continue programs
Lessons learned by the Farm Yard Gardeners… A new respect for what it takes to grow food, how vulnerable it is to weather, importance of biodiversity, clean soil and water, and of the importance of working together cooperatively and learning from each other. We can all learn from youth! Visit us at www.foodshedproject.ca
Host farmer and one of the Farm Yard Gardeners…
Food is more than a commodity to be traded on the world market, food is vital necessity by all citizens of the world. The global food system is not sustainable. Food production needs to be protected from environmental degradation and climate change, and systems that support food production have to become more local. The benefits of local food systems are too great to be ignored. Local food systems are do-able, and are supported by public demand and future generations. We have the technology!
Guelph University Organic Agriculture Program Ryerson University Food Security Certificate Cambrian College Sustainable Energy Technology www.leopold.iastate.edu – Leopold Centre for Sustainable Agriculture – GIS models www.leopold.iastate.edu COG – Canadian Organic Growers www.cog.orgwww.cog.org Eat Local Sudbury! Food Buying Cooperative Northern Flavours MIRARCO – compost and soil research Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Cambrian College – Chef courses and Sustainable Energy Technology program Northern Ontario Agri-food Education and Marketing Association Greater Sudbury Restaurant and Food Services Association Sudbury Food Connections Network, which supports the Food Charter References…