Opinion Column

A reminder to be more grateful, less wasteful

Brittany Doner, Special to the Examiner



This Feb. 14 isn’t just for celebrating your sweetheart it also marks Food Freedom Day in Canada. Coined by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Food Freedom Day is the calendar date when the average Canadian has earned enough income to pay his or her grocery bill for the entire year.

“This is an important date to recognize as it is an indicator of the level of food security we enjoy in Canada,” said Cal Patterson, County of Simcoe Warden and Chair of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee. “It is also a reminder to acknowledge the important role our local agriculture sector plays in ensuring that we produce enough healthy food to continue feeding generations to come.”

The Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter, to be unveiled on February 21, states that to ensure food security and food sustainability food must be affordable for consumers and producers. Farmers and consumers, however, have long been on opposite ends of the food pricing spectrum. The prices farmers are paid for commodities produced are significantly lower than the prices consumers pay for the end products they buy.

“A simple solution to closing the price gap is encouraging consumers to buy local whenever possible,”

said Rob Keffer, County Councillor and member of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter Steering Committee.

“Locally produced food is fresher and more nutritious, has less environmental impact, produces less food waste, and puts money right into the farmer’s hand.”

With the global population continuing to increase and natural resources on the decline, food waste is ethically, environmentally and economically irresponsible.

According to a study conducted by the George Morris Centre in Guelph, total Canadian food waste in 2009 amounted to $27 billon, which equates to $774.07 in food dollars wasted per person.

Food Freedom Day is a reminder that food is not to be taken for granted, but rather it should be protected. Individuals can make a committed effort to maximize and store food to ensure less waste, industries can work to improve efficiency along the food chain and address risks to the environment, and local governments everywhere can work together with their community to create food strategies to ensure fair and sustainable food systems for future generations.

To find out where to purchase local food in Simcoe County, visit www.simcoecountyfarmfresh.ca.

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. Topics may include: healthy eating, food access, and hunger; food and skills development; farming, the environment, and farmland protection; food and economic development; education and employment; and food and culture. For more information, visit www.fpa.simcoe.ca.

Brittany Doner is project manager, Simcoe County Food & Agriculture Charter, and Simcoe County Long Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

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