U of G Hosting National Food Policy Discussion

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Helping develop a national policy that ensures safe and affordable food while protecting the environment is the goal of a Sept. 12 gathering at the University of Guelph.

U of G is hosting an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada regional session for A Food Policy for Canada. The first-of-its-kind initiative, announced by the federal government this past spring, will set short- and long-term goals for Canada’s food system.

Similar public consultations are being held across the country. U of G’s session will include experts from across campus and Ontario, as well as government officials, including Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield and Kim Rudd, parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Natural Resources.

“The University of Guelph, as Canada’s food university, has much to contribute in helping develop a national food policy,” said Daniel Atlin, vice-president (external).

“We have a long history in agri-food and a reputation for innovation and excellence, in Canada and around the world, in food-related issues. We also have world-class researchers and facilities, and strong partnerships with government and industry.”

Kim Rudd, parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Natural Resources (left), and Lloyd Longfield, MP for Guelph.

Tuesday’s session will focus on government-identified themes, ranging from increasing access to high-quality, affordable food, to improving health and food safety, to conserving soil, water and air.

This forum and other consultations are intended to help the federal government learn Canadians’ priorities for food-related issues. The discussions will help in shaping a national food policy.

“A national food policy requires thinking into everything from what is a healthy diet, to food poverty and food access amongst Canadian Aboriginal communities, especially those in the far North, through to production-related issues like water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture,” said Prof. Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph.

Agri-food issues also provide economic opportunities, including food exports, and involve digital technologies, including big data and artificial intelligence, Fraser said.

“A Food Policy for Canada will be an effort to create a single, coherent governmental strategy to address all these things together.”