In January, I joined a team developing the JustFOOD Action Plan for the Halifax Region. JustFOOD is a collaboration between HRM and Halifax Food Policy Alliance (HFPA). You might recall Wesley Petite from HFPA came to speak to our congregation about food justice at a Lunch and Learn in March 2020 – just before everything shut down.
Food justice is a “holistic and structural view of the food system that sees healthy food as a human right and addresses structural barriers to that right” (foodprint.org). Food is more than a public health issue; it is a racial and social justice issue, an environmental justice issue, and an economic issue. Based on this, the goal of the JustFOOD Action Plan is a Halifax region where no one is hungry and everyone has access to healthy food that they enjoy, where food and people are celebrated, the local economy is strong, and the environment is protected.
The pandemic continues to highlight gaps and vulnerabilities in our food system, and make food even harder to access for many people. Many of you have changed your grocery shopping and cooking and eating habits during the pandemic. We have heard that groups providing free meals to folks in need – such as ARK Sunday Suppers – face a greater demand than ever before. The Mobile Food Market pivoted from their typical in-person affordable produce market and served 4 times the number of community members in 2020 than in the previous year, including delivery of nearly 2000 emergency food boxes.
The JustFOOD Action Plan is in the public engagement phase. We are gathering feedback and knowledge from across the food sector (which includes local producers, retailers, food workers, food advocates, faith communities, and anyone who eats food) to inform priorities for collective action. Have a look at the first newsletter to see what’s already happening and join the conversation.
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