The movement to encourage the consumption of more locally produced food got a shot in the arm — or belly — this week with the first meeting of the city's first Food Policy Council.
About 20 people met May 14 at the Motley Kitchen on Yonge Street to discuss ways of making the local food system more sustainable. The Motley Kitchen is an incubator kitchen, providing a complete cooking space where bakers, caterers and other food-business owners can rent space at a fraction of the cost of buying or renting a standalone work area.
Peggy Baillie, co-chair for the Food Policy Council, said the mandate is to make systematic change within the food system by engaging residents in helping to make and support community gardens, community kitchens, working in partnership with the city and community groups to work co-operatively in addressing issues with the food system.
“As an example, in the last year we have been able to work in partnership with the Greater City of Sudbury to help develop changes to the proposed official plan,” Baillie said. “We have made recommendations to the planning department and worked with them to make sure that there was a food system within the official plan.”
The council is an exciting development, said Chris McTaggert, chef and co-owner of the Motley Kitchen along with Natalie Lefebvre, Hillary Duff and Stephen Caruso.
“It is bringing local food closer to people like us at restaurants that can actually use the local food, which we absolutely want to do,” said McTaggert.
Plans for the coming year will focus on food literacy and the food mapping.
“We want to make sure that we are developing some good mapping of what already exists, where people can get food, what are the distances between where people live and where they can access food, and making sure we have a good registry of what's happening throughout the city,” said Baillie.
The Food Policy Council was founded in 2013 and is comprised of local food producers, distributors, non-profit organizations and consumers involved in Sudbury’s food system.
For more information or to get involved, visit www.sudburyfoodpolicy.com.