There are 4.4 million Canadians who are food insecure. Of this number, indigenous and racialized households are disproportionately food insecure. The challenges an already food insecure population face will only be exacerbated in the face of COVID-19. In addition, “two million Canadians workers have been laid off or are at “immediate risk” of layoff as a result of the public health measures to combat COVID-1 according to an analysis of employment data by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.”
With more Canadians being faced with paying for rent or buying food, the COVID-19 pandemic begs the question, what will our food system look like when we emerge?
In a recent article (Read more), Melana Roberts, TFPC member and Board Chair of Food Secure Canada and Gisèle Yasmeen, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada look at how the COVID-19 pandemic in the face of climate change demonstrates the need for food system transformation. Some of their suggestions include
- Provide incentives to support a transition to agroecology, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, store carbon and reduce reliance on pesticides, fertilizers and fossil fuels — inputs that cause debt, illness and threaten biodiversity.
- The Canadian government should work with the provinces to mandate sustainable, healthy food procurement for public institutions like universities, hospitals, prisons and government offices.
- Prioritizing growing healthy and sustainable food for local communities could reduce our vulnerability to crises, while building health, climate resilience, and revitalizing rural economies
- Did you know that if we replaced 10 percent of the top 10 fruit and vegetable imports in Ontario with locally grown produce it would result in a $250-million increase in provincial gross domestic product and create 3,400 new jobs?