The Halton Food Council hosted its Fall food forum, Assembling the Ingredients, on November 22, 2016 in Milton.
The event gathered 56 community partners with different backgrounds, interests, and expertise about food systems in Halton. The goal was to set the stage – or assemble the ingredients – for future community conversations leading to the development of a food strategy in the region. Attendees included Halton Region and municipal councillors and staff, food security and community development organizations, health professionals, stakeholders in the local food chain, and interested citizens.
The Council released the second edition of its environmental scan: The Agri-Food System in Halton Region. The 2016 scan builds on the HFC’s 2011 report, using a food system framework to document the stakeholders and activities in each step in the food chain. You might recognize Michelle Malandra, author of our Council’s newsletter blogs on local news, Savour Local , and primary researcher of the environmental scan and the database – ever wonder why she gets Halton foodie news before everyone else? The database includes 41 local farms, 31 on-farm markets, 10 pick-your-own farms, 4 CSAs, 2 food box programs, 44 community gardens, 70 food processors, 106 food distributors, 84 retail stores, 38 community food resources, 23 agri-tourism locations, 21 food skill training and education programs, 20 independent restaurants, 8 advocacy and action groups … all of which are located in Halton. The list is expected to grow with your help. Send us an email with additions and corrections any time.
The scan generated much discussion about the opportunities and barriers facing the food system in Halton. A full list of brainstormed ideas is available in our event summary.
The conversation highlighted 6 themes: cost of living, agriculture, food access, community gardens, food literacy, and food waste, as well as an overall desire to collaborate across sectors.
The discussion was followed by three presentations on food strategies in other Canadian cities: Edmonton, Hamilton and Toronto. We heard about Edmonton’s futuristic agrihoods from Jonathan McNeice, Hamilton’s skilful community consultation from Sandy Skrzypczyk, and Toronto newest innovation, such as FoodReach and Grab Some Good, from Dr. Paul Coleman.
We invite you to review the presentations and event summary on your own and let us know your thoughts on social media or by e-mail. Happy reading.
By Adeline Cohen