By Colleen Burns
For the past year, the Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council (GSFPC) has been seeking community feedback about a food strategy for our city.
The Greater Sudbury Food Strategy is now ready to launch, and on Nov. 15, the Greater Sudbury Food Strategy Launch & Celebration will be taking place at College Boreal. The event will consist of a morning session for key stakeholders, who will help implement actions outlined in the strategy, and an evening celebration that will be open to the public.
The celebration will consist of an all-local dinner, live music and a presentation about the Food Strategy.
The Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council was formed in 2013. It strives to support the development of an equitable, vibrant and sustainable food system for the City of Greater Sudbury through research, advocacy and the dissemination of knowledge of food issues.
The GSFPC works to create a community where all residents have access to adequate, affordable, safe, nutritious and culturally acceptable food; where there exists a financially viable, equitable, environmentally sustainable food system; and where citizens are knowledgeable about the food system and its impact on their individual lives and community. The council also works to foster collaboration and communication among other food system stakeholders, including business, community organizations, individuals, and government.
The Greater Sudbury Food Strategy is a document outlining steps that would improve food security and the local food system in our community. It has been developed through consultation with stakeholders and community members with the intention of bringing about change in our local food system. A strong food system provides accessible, affordable, nutritious and culturally acceptable food with a strong support for food produced locally and/or in a sustainable manner.
There are five pillars in the Greater Sudbury Food Strategy: Food Retail; Service and Tourism; Healthy Food Access and Literacy; Growing Food (not for profit) Agriculture and Food Processing; and Forest and Freshwater Foods.
The Food Retail, Service and Tourism Pillar outlines steps to strengthen Greater Sudbury’s food culture, where more local food would be available in stores and restaurants, where food waste would be reduced, and where culinary events and festivals would draw tourists to enjoy our local cuisine. This pillar brings together farmers, retailers, chefs and purchasers at large institutions, to celebrate our local food and make it more accessible.
The Healthy Food Access and Literacy Pillar summarizes the actions needed to ensure everyone can find and afford healthy food, and everyone has the skills to prepare it. Plans to support healthy eating throughout the lifespan, from encouraging more breastfeeding friendly initiatives, to teaching food preparation skills at all ages, to ensuring that healthy and local food is available in our hospitals and institutions are described.
The Growing Food (not for profit) Pillar encompasses actions to strengthen the network of community gardens, community farms, food forests, and home growers that are establishing roots in Sudbury.
Increasing the numbers of community gardens, encouraging community food events, reducing barriers to keeping bees, chickens and rabbits for food, and putting pollinator friendly and food-producing plants into public gardens are all examples of steps we can take to sustain not-for-profit food production. These are key to supporting an equitable food system we can all share in.
The Agriculture and Food Processing Pillar emphasizes the impact gained by training, supporting and celebrating local farmers. Identification and prioritization of local food, more training and education opportunities for budding farmers, assistance with equipment purchases, and the creation of transportation networks would all help to support our northern farmers and ensure the food sovereignty of our region for decades to come.
The Forest and Freshwater Foods Pillar outlines steps that can be taken to ensure hunting, foraging and fishing are protected and supported by public policy. From blueberries in the summer to mushrooms in the fall, fishing on our lakes, rivers and streams, and hunting in our forests, Sudbury has a vibrant Forest and Freshwater Food culture, which can be strengthened through improved forest and water conservation, and measures to encourage traditional hunting and gathering practices.
If you would like more information about how to get involved with the Greater Sudbury Food Strategy, please email the Greater Sudbury Food Policy Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to attend the Greater Sudbury Food Strategy Launch & Celebration at Aux Pied du Rocher at Collège Boréal on Nov. 15, please contact Fionna Tough at email@example.com, or find the Event Brite link which will soon be posted on the GSFPC Facebook page.
Colleen Burns is the market manager for the Greater Sudbury Market and has a decade of experience volunteering with food security groups in Toronto, Ottawa and Sudbury, and has managed the Good Food Box host site at St. Andrew’s for more than three years. She is a new member of the GSFPC.