October 14, 2010
By Paul Chorney, Community Liaison, Food Matters Manitoba
At least one in eight Winnipeg jobs is directly related to food and agriculture, and that contributes to a major part of our economy. More than 600,000 Manitobans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables each day, and the same number are overweight or obese. More than 47,000 Manitobans use food banks every month, an increase of 18 per cent since 2008, and half of those are children.
Supporting a healthy, local and sustainable food system for Winnipeg would have several direct benefits for the city:
- help farmers’ markets, community gardens, and other food projects that strengthen local communities,
- provide opportunities to celebrate Winnipeg’s diverse food cultures,
- make fresh, local food available in our community, and
- create jobs growing, processing, and selling food.
That’s why Winnipeg Food Policy Working Group, a network of food security and community organizations has focused upon encouraging the city to form a Winnipeg Food Policy Council made up of city staff and community stakeholders who together can develop plans, respond to broader community concerns and educate one another about our food system and food policies. We have presented to Community Committees, met with city officials, participated in the Our Winnipeg process and educated the larger public about the need for a holistic approach to food security at the city level, and the need to examine our food system
Winnipeg’s election is October 27 and food is on the agenda. The Winnipeg Food Policy Working Group has been actively encouraging voters to think about food policies and has sent a questionnaire to all candidates for Mayor and City Council asking them about their views on food. You can read some of their responses, and educate yourself about the issues by visiting our website at www.winnipegfoodpolicy.org