Federal Government announces national food plan

Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau (Photo courtesy of the Government of Canada).

Bailey Sutherland

The federal government has announced more details of its national food plan.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Filmore, announced a plan for a $50 million Local Food Infrastrastructure Fund yesterday at the Hope Blooms Garden and Greenhouse in Halifax. The fund is designed to reduce food insecurity, support community-based organizations, and strengthen local food production through the recently launched Food Policy for Canada.

The Local Food Infrastructure Fund will support community-led projects at urban gardens, community kitchens, food banks, farmers’ markets, and greenhouses over the next five years. Starting on August 15th until November 1st, eligible organizations will be invited to submit an application through the first intake period for non-repayable funding of up to $25,000. This will enable small community-based organizations to improve their infrastructure and purchase equipment that is directly related to the accessibility of healthy, nutritious, and local foods within their community. The Government of Canada is investing more than $134 million through Budget 2019, to support new initiatives in key action areas, including:

  • A Buy Canadian Promotion Campaign that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food
  • Support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities
  • A challenge fund to support new and innovative approaches to reduce food waste in food processing, grocery retail, and food service
  • New funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition
  • Taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program.

The Government of Canada created the Food Policy after hearing from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates. 

The Food Policy for Canada aligns with other projects across the Federal Government, such as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Healthy Eating Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, among others. It is also intended to help the country meet its commitments under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems.

“Through Food Policy for Canada investments, such as the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, we can make an impact right here in Nova Scotia and across the country, especially when it comes to addressing food insecurity and supporting diverse community-led projects. Our Government is taking action today to ensure Canadians have access to healthy food while shaping a healthier and more prosperous future for our families and communities”, says Marie-Claude Bibeau in a press release.

Applications are also now being accepted until September 20th for membership in the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will bring together the expertise and diversity of members from the agriculture and food industry, health professionals, academia, non-profit organizations, and Indigenous organizations within the food system to address both the opportunities and challenges that are being faced in Canada. More on the application and selection process can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/food-policy/thecanadianfoodpolicyadvisorycouncil.html.

Andy Filmore says, “I am proud to join Minister Bibeau at Hope Blooms to highlight the positive change that just one organization can make in our community. The Food Policy for Canada will support initiatives like this one, working to make a better food system all across the country.”