by Charles Levkoe and Amanda Wilson; published on The Conversation Canada

In late May, Canada’s agriculture minister launched consultations to inform a national food policy for Canada. This initiative built on a mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high-quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.”

While a national food policy has immense potential to address some of the long-standing challenges in the Canadian food system, evidence demonstrates that to be effective, it must approach food issues as interconnected and be rooted in health, equity and sustainability.

What is a national food policy?

Food policy is a collection of decisions that influence food, from production and harvesting to processing, distribution, retail, consumption and waste management. Policies shape the broader context in which these activities take place, creating an enabling or constraining environment to apply different objectives. This includes various laws, regulations, rules and guidelines that affect different parts of the food chain.

A national food policy would offer the federal government an opportunity to review the existing policies and programs scattered throughout a variety of offices and ministries and consider ways to coordinate, integrate and fill gaps in the existing landscape. Currently, many of these different policies work in isolation and in contradiction to each other, contributing to dysfunction in the food system.

The stated intention of a national food policy is to bring together a whole-of-government approach, one that will set long-term food-related goals for society, the economy and the environment, while also prioritizing initiatives to address immediate challenges.

Read the full article on The Conversation Canada.