Food Security – Canada

Libby DaviesFOOD FIGHT was the message we got in our mailboxes as an invitation from Libby Davies and NDP Agriculture Critic, MP Alex Atamanenko to attend the Food Security Forum on July 9th, 2009 at St. Patrick Parish Hall, 2881 Main Street, Vancouver BC.

I was very glad to go and hear about this issue, I recently got residency so I can finally let my roots down into this rich Canadian soil, and get involved in my new community.

Alex Atamanenko is on a Food Security Tour to hear concerns and to look into the gaps in Canada’s food systems, he will put together a proposal for a long-term food security strategy to deal with climate change, global energy insecurity and the world economic crisis. The sooner we see more systems for this being put into place the better we will all be and the more hope our children have. If you have anything you would like to add to this report please go to his website and submit your comments.

Alex Atamanenko opened his talk with a Statement on People’s Food Sovereignty by viacapesina.org:

Food sovereignty is the RIGHT of peoples, countries, and state unions to define their agricultural and food policy without the “dumping” of agricultural commodities into foreign countries. Food sovereignty organizes food production and consumption according to the needs of local communities, giving priority to production for local consumption. Food sovereignty includes the right to protect and regulate the national agricultural and livestock production and to shield the domestic market from the dumping of agricultural surpluses and low-price imports from other countries. Landless people, peasants, and small farmers must get access to land, water, and seed as well as productive resources and adequate public services. Food sovereignty and sustainability are a higher priority than trade policies.

La Via Campesina

Alex talked about how Canada has surrendered control to large scale agriculture but he also told inspiring stories from around Canada of school kids who are making “garden angels” and getting interested in farming by growing gardens at school as well as of a group of local Community Supported Agriculture grain farms literally shipping their harvest up Kootenay Lake to lower their carbon footprint.

I was fortunate to have brought my camera with me, although my battery keeps dying, and I got a couple of his key points. My favorite of these was when he challenged Vancouver BC to go GM Free. Unfortunately I was zoomed out at the time and it is hard to hear. Nevertheless, the challenge has been made and I hope to see Vancouver rise to meet it as quickly as possible and create a new cooperative and sustainable standard for urban centers.

Belo Horizonte in Brazil has a Zero Hunger strategy that they began to put in place in 1993. This city has proved that such solutions are highly successful and entirely within reach. I hope to see Vancouver follow the wonderful example such places are setting for the rest of the world. We are running out of time, so the faster we can get this going, the sooner we can all move on towards solving some of our other problems like education and health. Food is the basis of everything and must be our top priority right now, before it is too late.

The following are a few clips of Alex Atamanenko’s talk.

This first one is his challenge to the city of Vancouver to go GM Free:

Comment on the movement to ban captive supply and how farms have been driven out of business because of huge feed lots:

Anecdote about how local grain revolutionaries shipped their harvest along Kootenay Lake, demonstrating one way to minimize their carbon footprint:

Comments how local orchards have been driven out of business by US dumping cheap apples onto the BC market:

Alex Atamanenko says that Canada has surrendered control of her food to large scale agri-business:

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