The Middlesex-London Food Policy Council is seeking applications for members for 2020-22 terms
Please send completed application forms to Ellen Lakusiak at email@example.com.
Who We Are
Whether you grow food, sell food, cook food, or eat food, our food system is an important part of our economy, our daily lives, and our shared well-being. The Middlesex-London Food Policy Council (MLFPC) is a non profit group that seeks to connect people and organizations and promote collaboration, to strengthen our regional food system through awareness and advocacy. To learn more about the MLFPC, check out our website at www.mlfpc.ca.
What We Do
• Set direction on food system change;
• Take positions on local food system issues consistent with the vision and values of MLFPC;
• Drive or develop strategies for bringing about food system change;
• Write and advise on food policy;
• Provide leadership (i.e. attending events, speaking on behalf of the Council, etc.);
• Engage people and community regarding food issues in an open and democratic way;
• Leverage relationships to further the strategies and tactics that the MLFPC identifies.
Paul Shand, Chair
Middlesex-London Food Policy Council
On December 11, 2019 Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, released a statement describing the amendments to Regulation 440. The changes will no longer allow the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers (OPVG) board the ability to negotiate on behalf of growers to ensure contracts are paid as negotiated. Growers are busy doing what they do best…producing food. Losing their collective bargaining power is removing a tool from their toolbox, leaving growers to take on more risk. This will result in growers feeling ignored and unsupported to make the best business decision.
In an ideal world, policies, subsidies and insurance programs would be made in the best interest of the growers. This contributes to a healthier, more sustainable food system as the growers are the closest to the land and have the knowledge about best practices. We all have an obligation to ensure that farm businesses are able to operate in a profitable and sustainable way.
There is tremendous value to organized, collective marketing for all Ontario growers, but only ifthe growers are supported in the process. It takes work to come up with creative and innovative solutions and we need to have confidence and curiosity to pursue changes. Let’s get serious about our food system. Peggy is right we are dealing with real farmers, real families, real communities…without their success we have no food system.
Your Voice Counts!
You have a chance right now to speak up for a healthy and stable local food system; one that is ecologically responsible and economically viable. Use your voice!
London has tabled its four-year budget, and City Council will be reviewing, debating, and inviting input on the budget until its final approval in March. There are opportunities for you to provide input at Ward meetings and Public Participation meetings. You can fill out the online feedback form and speak directly to your Councillor.
What does the budget have to do with food?
More than you might think!
This is the first budget London City Council will be approving since they acknowledged that we are facing a climate change emergency. It’s also a multi-year budget, setting the framework for the next four years of a decade that has authoritatively been identified as crucial in avoiding catastrophic climate changes.
The city’s proposed strategies to address the climate emergency include support for a robust local food system, including a strategy to “promote and invest in urban agriculture initiatives”. (You can find the November 2019 report here.) As a community food council, we think these kinds of strategies are crucial and we strongly support them. While they are not specifically included in the draft budget, they are expected to be part of the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) which the draft budget recommends be developed over the next year. That means this is a prime opportunity to strengthen the future of the local food system.
What can you do?
Show your support for a budget that prioritizes action on climate change and invests in urban agriculture, agro-forestry initiatives and a strong, healthy local food system.
- Provide your feedback to city council using the online feedback form
- Sign the London Environmental Network’s petition calling on city council to prioritize climate action by funding as many climate action plans to reduce emissions as possible
- Email, call or tweet your city Councillor with your feedback on the budget
- Speak up at a Public Participation Meeting
- Share this with your friends, family, and social networks
Council has already acknowledged we’re in a climate emergency. Your voice can convince them to make climate action the top budget priority, for the sake of providing a safe and sustainable local food system.
On December 13 Justin Trudeau released the Mandate Letter for Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. The letter underscores the aim of building a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country. Trudeau also directs every Minister to accelerate and build on the progress previously made to support self-determination, improve service delivery, and advance reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. And Trudeau emphasizes the need for open, effective, honest, and transparent government.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Priorities
Within Agriculture and Agri-Food, Trudeau underscores the goal that agriculture continues to be a leader in job creation and innovation as well as maximizing its export growth potential. The Letter spells out ten priorities for the Minister Bibeau:
- Review risk management programs with a special focus on AgriStability to help manage environmental and business risks.
- Work on tax measures to facilitate the intergenerational transfer of farms.
- Create a new entity, Farm and Food Development Canada, that consolidates federal financial and advisory services for agriculture.
- Protect Canada’s supply-managed agriculture sections and develop with them a vision of the future in a world of global free-trade agreements.
- To identify additional tools that help Canada’s agriculture and agri-food businesses export and diversify into global markets.
- Develop additional capacity to respond to trade disputes based on recent experiences.
- Provide leadership for the implementation of the new Food Policy for Canada, which aims to:
- Help Canadian communities access healthy food;
- Make Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad;
- Support food security in northern and Indigenous communities; and
- Reduce food waste.
- Support the Minister of Health to ensure that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency is making science-based decisions that lead to safe and suitable uses of crop protection products in Canada.
- Create a new fund to help producers and processors close technological and infrastructure gaps inhibiting the development of domestic and international markets.
- Create a new Canada Water Agency to work with other stakeholders to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean, and well-managed.
Middlesex-London Food Policy Council
Many of these priorities will directly impact the communities and residents of Middlesex County and the City of London, though they do not exhaust the issues of concern to us. As a Council, we are looking forward to watching the Liberal government’s progress on these priorities and on other issues facing Canada’s food and agriculture sectors and are looking forward to being one (of many) local partners in support of a robust and resilient Canadian food system.
What do you think are the most pressing food-related concerns facing the Middlesex-London region and its residents? Please share your ideas with us in the comments.
Are you interested in being a part of food system change in Middlesex London? Then the Middlesex London Food Policy Council needs you.
We are now seeking applications for the January 2020–Dec 2022 term.
Here is the application form and here is the role description. Please direct any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please share this email with your networks or individuals who you think might be interested.
Applications are due by November 29, 2019. Please send completed applications to email@example.com.
Paul Shand, Chair
Middlesex London Food Policy Council