Good Food is...
Good for the planet
Good for the provider
Good for the health and well-being of all
When we aspire to create, share and eat Good Food, what does this mean? The term good food is intended to resonate with you personally but also to encompass how food relates to everyone as a broader community. Our food system is complex and there is a lot of activity and relationships embedded within it. Good Food is an emerging paradigm that demands sustainable if not regenerative agriculture but also includes traditional food hunting, gathering and fishing systems. Food is much more than a simple commodity or resource, it is intrinsically tied to a web of ecological, economic, and social relationships. It is a vital indicator and determinant of our health, the health of our communities, and our planet. Given the importance of food to everyone, it is imperative that we all have access to the knowledge, the means and the connections necessary to nourish ourselves in a way that is good for the planet, good for the producer and good for the health and well being of all. The Good Food Network comprises individuals and organizations that are working together to make this a reality.
Good Food is good for the planet
Understanding how food reaches our plate and sourcing food in a way that is sensitive to the ecological systems on which we and millions of other species rely is critical. There are many challenges with the globalized industrial food system. The negative impacts of this system are becoming increasingly evident and finding ways to feed a growing population while we nurture soils, decrease water contamination, minimize habitat degradation and mitigate climate change is paramount. How do we ensure that the way we gather, raise and grow food does more good than harm?
Good for the provider
In the Capital Region, most of our food providers continue to struggle with economic viability. We are blessed with rich alluvial soils and a favourable growing climate that can produce food year round. Despite these advantages, competition with "cheap foods" from global sources has led to a decline in our ability to support local infrastructure and capacity to maintain a secure regional food supply. The real costs of global foods (reliance on cheap labour, lower environmental standards) have been externalized or pushed down the road to be dealt with later. Ironically, as our own producers are struggling to make ends meet, corporations and governments, looking to secure their own food security and capitalizing on perceived future scarcity are buying vast tracks of land in Canada, Africa and around the world. Other industrial practices, such as the patenting of seeds and loss of genetic biodiversity that have been preserved as community assets for thousands of years is also at odds with our own food security and the interest of our local producers. Supporting the people who are endeavouring to build and maintain our regional food economy supports our ability to feed ourselves today and in the future.
Good for the health and well being of all
Food is the foundation of our health. It is critical that everyone have access to nourishment, not only for their body but also their culture and community. Many people, in our region and elsewhere, have seen their choices limited through decreased access to their traditional food, lands and waters. Income security and housing affordability are also key factors contributing to people's economic ability to access foods that are healthy, nutritious and produced in a manner that is consistent with their values. Many of our new dietary staples are highly processed, full of questionable ingredients and designed primarily to add profits to the corporate bottom line rather nourish and support the health of individuals and communities. The negative impacts on individual health, especially in vulnerable populations, is clear. We know that eating fresh fruits and vegetables, eating at home, and eating together with the people we care about not only has positive impacts on individual health but also on the social determinants of health for the broader community.
Eating Good Food should be the easy choice, but we are living with a system that is failing to make that choice available to everyone. We believe that, together, we have the power to change that.
Linda Geggie, ED CRFAIR