Food Matters Manitoba is collaborating with community organizations, local businesses, public health experts and city planners to create the city’s inaugural food policy council.
Building on a 2015 Winnipeg Public Service recommendation to explore opportunities for improving food production and security in Winnipeg, the food policy council would work toward enhancing access to local, affordable, and healthy food.
In consultation with the City of Winnipeg’s Urban Planning Division, Food Matters Manitoba hosted a series of conversations this summer to identify food policy priorities and provide recommendations on the structure and role of a food council.
“From fresh food markets to urban gardening and bee keeping, communities in Winnipeg are already working on improving access to good food,” said Coun. Jenny Gerbasi.
“A Winnipeg food policy council will increase capacity to move forward on progressive policies that support these grassroots initiatives and contribute to the social and environmental vitality of our city,” Gerbasi added.
“The Food Policy Council report will be coming forward in the very near future,” said Coun. Brian Mayes.
“I am very excited to have this initiative move forward so we can talk about issues like urban agriculture. I am an unlikely champion for this, having never gardened in my life, but groups like Food Matters Manitoba have educated me about the importance of these food-related issues,” Mayes said.
“The proposed food policy council will play a key role in enhancing food security in our city by engaging communities in food solutions, responding to changing environments, and creating opportunities for a strong, vibrant local food economy,” said Rob Moquin, policy coordinator at Food Matters Manitoba.
“We’re thrilled to have support from city councillors and community organizers on this.”
Food Matters Manitoba initiated a postcard campaign this fall to garner community support for a food policy council in the city.
“With more than 400 responses so far, it is clear that people in Winnipeg desire a food council. We urge city decision-makers to put this initiative on their agenda before the end of the year,” Moquin said.
An election promise from Mayor Bowman, the formation of a food policy council is an important and necessary step for Winnipeg.
Food Matters Manitoba is a community organization that envisions a Manitoba where good food nourishes strong communities and healthy people. Food Matters Manitoba works with communities across Manitoba to create opportunities for people to be able to eat good food. For more information on Food Matters Manitoba’s programs, please visit www.foodmattersmanitoba.ca.