K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Moments ago, Halifax Regional Council endorsed the Halifax Food Charter, a community-built vision for a Halifax where no one is hungry, and everyone has healthy food that they enjoy.
The move commits council to support the next steps to realize this vision -- the development of a Food Action Plan. Over the next two years, the municipality will work with the Halifax Food Policy Alliance (HFPA), a partnership of individuals and organizations that represent different sectors related to the food system, to develop this plan.
Wesley Petite, co-chair of the HFPA and municipal food policy coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, says today’s decision will help address some of the challenges of our current food system.
“We all eat, but access to good food isn’t equal for everyone,” says Petite. “Healthy eating isn’t always easy or affordable in Halifax. As of 2014, one in seven households had experienced food insecurity.”
The new Food Action Plan will provide a coordinated framework of short- and long-term actions to bring the vision of the Halifax Food Charter to life and identify clear roles for community, government, and business sectors. It will also be developed with diverse participation from communities whose voices are often underrepresented.
Petite says a new Food Action Plan, informed by the Halifax Food Charter, is an opportunity to build on the strengths of the Halifax region, such as a long history of fishing, farming, and the many successful community-led initiatives that are already making a difference.
The HFPA hopes the Food Action Plan will also ensure better coordination across policies and plans, improve the sustainability of successful community-led projects, and monitor progress in building community food security.
Madeleine Waddington, co-chair and nutritionist with Nova Scotia Health Authority Public Health, says today Halifax joins many municipalities across Canada who are already developing and implementing municipal food policies.
“We are excited that HRM has made this commitment and will continue to be a leader in promoting a healthy, just, and sustainable food system,” says Waddington. “The Food Action Plan will help us to work better together to help communities experiencing food insecurity, protect our environment and promote good food jobs for future generations.”