“Policies from the Field” is a series of six working papers that offer insight and analysis into promising food policies from cities and regions across North America, Europe, and Australia Ranging from a health in all policies approach, local food procurement, land-use planning, and food policy councils, “Policies from the Field” presents case studies and examples of how Ontario can learn from innovative policies and initiatives from other places in order to transform its food and farming sector.
Ontario: The Case for a Provincial Food Policy Council
Author: Mark Winne
Abstract: Ontario faces a range of food system challenges, such as unequal access to affordable, healthy, and locally produced food, soaring health care costs due to unhealthy food environments, and economic problems that make it difficult for farmers to make a living growing food. Food policy councils offer an opportunity to address problems by building solutions collaboratively. By bringing together stakeholders to harness the power of good food ideas, food policy councils can create policies, programs, and regulations that foster healthy communities and a strong and vibrant food and farming sector.
Possibilities for Local Food Procurement in Ontario
Author: Kyra Bell-Pasht
Abstract: Ontario is affected by many trade agreements that potentially restrict its ability to enact public procurement measures that discriminate in favour of local food. However, an examination of some of the limitations and exceptions of certain trade agreements that affect Ontario as well as a review of public procurement measures adopted by jurisdictions subject to similar trade agreement restrictions, such as the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, and Nova Scotia, will demonstrate possibilities for local food procurement policies in Ontario.
Abstract: A wide range of policies can influence health, ranging from employment and education strategies to promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles. This short paper will offer examples from Finland, South Australia, and the World Health Organization to illustrate how innovative thinking around health can be used to increase the health of the population while also reducing health care costs.
Excerpt: “There is a negative correlation between the supply of dependable agricultural land and the demand for cultivated land in Canada. At present, a significant amount of agricultural land near urban centers is owned by developers, awaiting development, and not in sustainable agricultural use. Meanwhile, Ontario farmers are experiencing a farm income crisis and Ontario’s ability to grow its own food is diminishing. The effects of market pressure on agricultural land are not new. [...]In order to preserve the continued use of agricultural land for farming, both development pressure and the economic viability of farming must be addressed. In what follows, a selection of policy tools has been highlighted. In each case, an example of the policy tool’s implementation and impact are provided. This summary provides an overview of some of the policies in place in other jurisdictions which may be worth further consideration for implementation (or increased use) in Ontario.”