On August 5, 2023, the nation is celebrating Food Day Canada—a day of appreciation for the bounty of Canadian produce and the people who produce it! Although Food Day Canada has been observed for 20 years, this year marks the first iteration of the event as a nationally recognized day of celebration.
It’s no coincidence that Food Day Canada falls on the August long weekend, which sees families and friends come together to revel in the last weeks of summer. In honour of Food Day Canada, why not pledge to buy, cook, and eat Canadian this holiday long weekend?
Food Day Canada was founded by the late Anita Stewart (1947-2020), a food journalist, activist, historian, radio personality, and Food Laureate at the University of Guelph (appointed 2012). In 2003, Stewart held “The World’s Longest BBQ” to celebrate and support Canada’s beef producers after an outbreak of mad cow diseases (BSE) rocked the industry.
What began as a one-time grassroots event, expanded to become an annual event celebrating the wider Canadian food industry, as well as a registered non-profit organization under the same name, Food Day Canada.
Food Day Canada’s values include celebrating Canadian-made foods and beverages, and the Canadians who farm and manufacture them. The organization also supports research and education surrounding Canada’s food cultures, fostering sustainable food practices and food security, and promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in the industry.
The organization’s website aims to make shopping and dining Canadian easier by featuring a variety of recipes that call for Canadian produce, and an interactive map and list showcasing restaurants, markets, and venues that will be observing Food Day Canada with special menus and activities. You will find London’s own Abruzzi restaurant featured there!
Canadians are also welcomed to show their support of the Canadian Food industry, by pledging “to support Food Day Canada and shine a light on Canadian food and farming.” Pledge as a ‘proud Canadian’ or as a farmer, food-related organisation, restaurant, or retailer. Organisations or businesses that pledge their support are recognized as ‘Food Day Canada pledge partners’ and may use the Food Day Canada logo and brand in their promotions for their August 5th events. Finally, you can make your support for Canadian food known using the #FoodDayCanada hashtag this long weekend, and tagging @FoodDayCanada in posts celebrating the national food scene and the people who make it possible.
Food Day Canada comes along at a time of widespread uncertainty in international food markets, which together with economic inflation, is pushing up grocery costs and making it harder for Canadians to purchase food according to their values (such as buying local).
For us at the Middlesex London Food Policy Council, every day is ‘food day.’ As Stewart said, “Canada is food,” and each day represents another opportunity to learn why supporting our local and national food producers is essential to improving the economic condition of this country and its citizens. We hope that the newly, nationally-recognized Food Day Canada will foster the appreciation and conversation needed to make Canadian food a daily and not just annual celebration.
By Siobhan Watters