Food Secure Canada, a coalition of farmers, food banks, community food organizations, and food and health advocates, brought food to the forefront of election issues this past summer in Canada with the Eat Think Vote campaign. The main focus of the campaign was to draw attention to the need for a national food policy in Canada with four key goals: healthy school food; zero hunger in Canada; support for new farmers, and affordable food in the North.
Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada, called on candidates to commit to a national food policy and to engage in a dialogue with the public about how to build a sustainable food system for the future. Bronson said, “We all have a role to play in creating a more sustainable food system. Yet it will take more than the marketplace to create a healthy, sustainable food system. Beyond simply ‘voting with our forks’ as individuals, we need to strengthen and unify our countless efforts.”
The Eat Think Vote campaign united Canada’s food movement through 68 organized events across Canada at farmers’ markets, farms, community food centers, universities and festivals to allow federal candidates and the public spaces to discuss the most pressing food issues in Canada. One hundred and fifty-eight candidates attended events, 192 organizations hosted, 4,461 people participated, and millions more were reached through television, radio, social media, and newspapers.
Following the campaign, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Laurence MacAuley, to “develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high-quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.” Trudeau’s statement validated the focus of the Eat Think Vote campaign and affirmed the need for a national food policy.