The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force briefly examined the Waterloo Region Food Charter (April 2013) at its 27 November 2013 meeting. The Group agreed that this was a good platform for starting/contributing to strategic change in the area. It was agreed that this would be a key agenda item for the next meeting on January 8th, 2014.
Brendan Wylie-Toal, who serves as co-chair of the Waterloo Region Food Roundtable, says the charter is a “set of guiding values or principles. There’s nothing in there that’s going to force a municipal government to do anything. Our hope is that it’s a stepping stone to policies in the future that do have a little bit more teeth.”
The charter emphasizes that residents of the region must have access to affordable food, and encourages government policies that assist area farmers and prioritize “small and medium-sized” food processors and distributors.
Group members look at the following document: Waterloo_Region_Food_Charter_final_Apr8
The Guelph-Wellington Food Roundtable has developed a toolkit for their Food Charter funded by the Healthy Communities/Public Health, The Research Group and The Trillium Foundation. Specific sections of the toolkit are targeted to Eaters, Growers, Businesses and Institutions; Policy Makers and Community Food Projects.
Fifteen Ontario municipalities have already endorsed local food charters, including Guelph, London, Toronto and York Region.
1. “How To” guides for creating a food charter
- “Rural Food Charter Development Guide” from Vancouver Coastal Health
- “Community Food Charters: What they are and when to use them” from the Vancouver Food Policy Council
- “Municipal Food Policy Entrepreneurs: A preliminary analysis of how Canadian cities and regional districts are involved in food system change” from the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute
2. A sample of existing Food Charters:
- Toronto Food Charter – http://www.justfood.ca/foodforall/documents/Toronto.pdf
- London http://foodnetontario.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Londons-Food-Charter-Booklet-Style.pdf
- York Region Food Charter – http://yrfn.ca/issues/york-region-food-charter/
- Waterloo – http://www.wrfoodsystem.ca/files/www/Food_Charter_News_Release.pdf
- Sudbury Food Charter – http://www.sdhu.com/content/search/doc.asp?doc=1161&q=food+charter&l=&lang=0
- Vancouver Food Charter – http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/Van_Food_Charter.pdf
- Durham Food Charter – http://www.cdcd.org/cms_lib/Durham%20Region%20Food%20Charter%2005%2028%2009%20final.pdf
- Kawartha Lakes Food Charter – http://www.advantagekawarthalakes.ca/en/aboutUs/resources/KawarthaLakesFoodCharterBrochure.pdf
- Capital Region – (Victoria) http://www.communitycouncil.ca/pdf/CR_Food_Charter_Final-2008-06-10.pdf
- Guelph-Wellington Food Charter – http://www.gwfrt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/GW_Food_Charter.pdf
- Hamilton Food Charter – http://hamiltonfoodcharter.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/food-first-brochure.pdf
- Prince Albert (Saskatchewan) – http://www.foodsecuritynews.com/presentations/PrinceAlbert_Food_Charter.pdf
In March 2013, the provincial government introduced the Local Food Act, which aims to promote locally produced food and help more of it appear in restaurants and on grocery store shelves.