Opinion Editorial

Growing county will require fresh ideas: FOOD MATTERS column

Brittany Doner - Special to the Examiner

Home to nearly 450,000 residents, Simcoe County is one of Canada's fastest-growing areas, and as the county continues to grow, so will demand for a commodity that every person needs: food.

Food has become a hot topic in the past few years. Around the globe, increased population growth along with increased cost of basic food, has spurred concerns of food shortages; increasing urban development has prompted a demand for the protection of farmlands; and global warming has necessitated a worldwide effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Basically, food matters.

Food is more than sustenance; it is culturally relevant and directly impacts our health, the environment and economy. For this reason, it is important as a community to understand our local food system, and the processes and infrastructure that allow food to travel from local farms to our forks.

The first step in strengthening our local food system is identifying what could be improved, for example, what barriers farmers are facing?

How are county residents being affected by increasing food prices?

Where can one buy local food and food products?

The next steps: discussing as a community what can be done.

To ensure a sustainable food system characterized by healthy, affordable food for all, the County of Simcoe, in partnership with various community organizations, is in the process of assisting the community in developing a made-in-Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.

"Although the population of Simcoe County is certainly large, and growing, the county's many regions all maintain a warm and inviting sense of community," Simcoe County Warden Cal Patterson said. "This neighbourliness has extended county-wide, as residents from across our regions continue to work together to achieve a common goal.

Once developed, the charter will be a document that outlines the values and beliefs of our community, in regards to our food and agriculture system. The goal is to create a document which can be referenced in the development of future policies and procedures relating to Simcoe County's food system.

For more information on the continuing development of a Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter, visit the

Food Partners Alliance at www.fpa.simcoe.ca.

Brittany Doner is a project consultant for the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.

Food Matters is a monthly column addressing a variety of relevant topics concerning the food system in Simcoe County, as identified by the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter.

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