Building Strong Community Food Systems
Food is intimately tied to our health as individuals and plays a major role in the well-being of our communities, economies, and environments.
While food is a critical component of healthy and sustainable communities, decisions relating to food have for decades been driven by commodity markets, global economic trends and fragmented government policy that considers parts instead of the whole. Government food policies and programs tend to be disjointed, take place in silos, and fail to consider the broader role that food plays as a centerpiece of healthy and vibrant cities, regions, and rural landscapes.
In recent years, public awareness of local food issues has blossomed and the number of passionate individuals, Indigenous Peoples, government entities, non-profit organizations, and small businesses working to build healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems has increased dramatically. Community leaders from various backgrounds have undertaken efforts to address the multitude of issues surrounding food – from hunger and poverty, farmer financial struggles and low wages for workers across the food chain to environmental destruction, loss of traditional cooking skills, a dwindling processing and distribution infrastructure, and the increasing incidence of diet-related illnesses.
The Thunder Bay + Area Food Strategy was developed in 2014 by a group of regional, municipal and organizational partners to bring stakeholders together from across the food system to assess and address challenges of the food system holistically.