CRFAIR and the Good Food Network are partnering with the Capital Regional District and Le Coteau Nursery to bring 150 new fruit bushes and shrubs to our region. Eligible participants in this initiative include regional schools, local and First Nations governments and community organizations. Choose the fruit/nut tree or shrub from Le Coteau's catalogue that will work best in your location.
Trevor Hancock: Good news on the good-food front
TREVOR HANCOCK / TIMES COLONIST
DECEMBER 21, 2016 12:51 A
This seems a good time to be thinking about food, when we are focused on the one hand on feasting, and on the other hand on the hunger that many of our fellowcitizens face.
Last month, I attended the Good Food Summit, organized by the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable. It was a heartening celebration of the hard work and good news about good food in this region.
CRFAIR is small organization, but it plays a big role in bringing together the many players involved in the production and distribution of the food we grow and eat: farmers, gardeners, First Nations, food processors, retailers, restaurants, food banks, community food initiatives, schools, nutritionists and many others.
Founded in the 1990s with a strong focus on food security, and hosted by the Community Social Planning Council, CRFAIR grew to have 30 member organizations and four workgroups focusing on various aspects of food security. Island Health funded CRFAIR to work as the food-security hub for the capital region, and research partnerships were established with the University of Victoria and others.
Then in 2013, CRFAIR became an independent entity, funded by a combination of foundations, local governments and Island Health, with a mission to “mobilize and connect efforts to develop healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems in the capital region.” One key focus is “good food,” by which they mean food that is “good for the planet, good for the provider, and good for the health and well-being of all.”
Sadly, many aspects of our food system are far from these ideals. Our diet is definitely not healthy; as a society we eat way too much food of the wrong sort, leading to dramatic rates of overweight and obesity along with a host of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, arthritis and some forms of cancer.
Nor is our food system equitable. Most obviously, we have large numbers of people, including children, who are hungry and lack the economic means to acquire adequate amounts of healthy food. But in addition, we exploit cheap labour in Canada, the U.S. and many other parts of the world to produce our food.
Here in B.C., for example, a 2008 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that “Canadian farmworkers on piece rates were earning just over $5 per hour,” which was well below the minimum wage, while a 2015 CCPA report noted that almost all B.C.’s agricultural workers are immigrants or migrants and they are “subject to coercive employment practices with serious consequences for health and safety.”
Third, our food system is not sustainable, it is not good for the planet. Our modern, meat-based diet requires a lot of land and water, extensive energy and chemical inputs and intensive farming practices, and produces large amounts of waste, including significant quantities of methane and carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming.
Jennie Moore, a professor at the B.C. Institute of Technology, did her PhD on the ecological footprint of Vancouver. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Management in 2013, she and her colleagues reported that food consumption represented almost half the ecological footprint, mainly due to “the large area required to grow crops and fodder, and because of the energy intensity of food production, processing and distribution.”
Astonishingly, of the 2.6 million tonnes of food used in Vancouver in a year, “approximately one-third ends up lost or wasted due to spoilage and/or plate-waste.” More than 370,000 tonnes was “plate waste,” food that was purchased but not eaten.
None of this is good news, but it is food for thought.
Happily, however, there is good news on good food. There were many examples at the Good Food Summit of people and organizations throughout the region that are working to create a food system that is indeed “good for the planet, good for the provider, and good for the health and well-being of all.” Check out the Good Food Network on the CRFAIR website, especially the “Find good food in the CRD” page, where you will find a list of 10 simple things you can do to make a difference, links to useful resources and much more besides.
Dr. Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria’s school of public health and social policy.
© Copyright Times Colonist
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CRFAIR is partnering with Black Press to present the first annual Actions for Good Food Contest which is scheduled to launch September 7. Tell us what actions you're taking to grow, share or promote good, healthy food and you could win $500. To participate, go to saanichnews.com/contests.
Good food is good for the planet, good for the producer and good for the health and well being of all. For some ideas about what you can do to make a difference, check out our Find Good Food in the CRD page. Small steps are important! If you are doing anything around good food in the region we want to hear about it.
The Actions for Good Food Contest is part of the Good Food Network Initiative which brings together diverse regional actors who care about our local food system. You can join or learn more by reading the Good Food Network page.
Are you a youth (under 30) who cares about food sustainability, supports local farming, and loves to cycle? We invite you to bring your bike out on the Flavour Trail to the North Saanich Food and Farm Festival. At each of our four hotspots (details on those to come soon) you can enter for a chance to win iTunes gift cards! You can also earn additional entries by posting a picture of you and your bike at any of the sites to the Youth Food Action Team Facebook Page and adding the hashtags #peoplepowercrd and @crd_bc. Use the brochure (download here) to decide where you want to go and bring some friends along!
On Wednesday, August 10th, CRFAIR coordinated its first successful Bike2Farm tour alongside TIDES adventure tours and the City of Victoria Crystal Pool Summer camps. Social media was abuzz! Check out twitter to see what was said!
CRFAIR believes in the potential youth have to improve their food systems and have a positive impact on the world around them. Read a recent Saanich News article about how youth are getting involved here!
The Brochure and Map have arrived for North Saanich Food & Farm Festival!! Download here and hit the Flavour Trail on August 19-21, 2016!
Find out more at www.flavourtrails.com
#flavourtrails #yyj #explorevictoria #peoplepowercrd
A great new venue joins the Flavour Trail for the North Saanich Food & Farm Festival. Welcome to the Fickle Fig!!!
Posters hit the streets for Aug 19-21 North Saanich Food & Farm Fest! We are so excited about what’s in store this year! Learn more on the Flavour Trails website #flavourtrails #yyj #explorevictoria #peoplepowercrd
In a new biweekly column, Local Flavour, CRFAIR Executive Director Linda Geggie writes about the Peninsula Wine Fest and Strawberries and Wine Tour. She gives insight into what the weekend - part of Flavour Trails this summer - held, and why local strawberries matter to all of us. Read the article here!
Following an in-depth interview with our Executive Director Linda Geggie, CRFAIR's work on the Vision Sandown project was featured on the front page of the Victoria Times Colonist. If you missed the article, published on June 19, you can access it here. The full draft report prepared by CRFAIR for the District of North Saanich is also available on the District's Vision Sandown web page.
Spring is here and so is our newsletter! From the launch of the Good Food Network, and the 100 Actions for Good Food Campaign to updates on regional Food Rescue, Vision Sandown, or Farm to School, it’s all included! Click here to view.