Become a Good Food Citizen

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Across Ontario people are more and more interested in healthy, local, sustainable food. If you are one of these people, you are part of the good food movement. Here are ten ways to become a good food citizen. Let us know what you think!

1. Choose local food first.

Ask for Ontario grown fruit, vegetables and meat at farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants. Look for Foodland Ontario signs and regional local food brands. Learn about farming in your region and appreciate the seasonal foods available.

2. Buy direct.

Put your food dollars into farmers’ pockets by purchasing directly from them. Support local, independent food businesses. Visit a farm u-pick, or become a member of a Community Shared Agricultural (CSA) group. Use your local “buy fresh, buy local” map to connect with farmers.

3. Make healthy choices.

Eat unprocessed, fresh food and choose fairly traded foods from around the world. Use food labels to help you make healthier food choices.

4. Grow your own.

Plant beans on your balcony, greens in your front garden, tomatoes in your back forty, or sow with others in a community garden. Grow a row to share with others and community food programs.

5. Compost.

Compost your food and garden waste to reduce landfill.

6. Start a school food or food literacy program.

Healthy snacks and lunches for kids ensure they are ready to learn and instill healthy eating habits. Connect with local farmers to teach kids about where food comes from. Teach kids how to cook and prepare healthy, delicious food.

7. Seek healthy food for all.

Learn about the realities faced by Ontarians who use food banks. Find out about how healthy food can be more accessible to all. Get involved in a community food centre or project.

8. Cook and Share Your Food Traditions.

Learn or teach a new recipe, food skill, or food tradition and share a meal with friends and family. Can, preserve, freeze, dry or root cellar your local bounty for enjoyment all year round. Host a community food festival or event.

9. Change the Menu.

Ask for healthy, local food options in schools, hospitals, workplaces, cafeterias and community centres. If you farm or operate a food based-business consider shifting to local markets for supply and sales of food.

10. Stay informed and active.

Sign up for the Sustain Ontario newsletter to keep up to date about provincial food issues. Participate in community and regional food organizations and events. Encourage your local, municipal and provincial leaders to work on actions and policies that promote a more just and sustainable food system for all Ontarians.

Across Ontario and Canada groups and organizations are working to build local,  sustainable, equitable and financially viable food systems. These ideas were adopted from Food Down the Road in Kingston and the Manitoba Food Security Network.