A Food Action Plan for Ottawa

Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.

The Ottawa organization Just Food is made up of a hardworking group of people who’ve been gathering some innovative ideas about how to make Ottawa’s food system healthier, more sustainable and accessible to everyone.

Many of us are trying to eat food that’s more nutritious, more local or grown more sustainably. And many Ottawa families can’t afford healthy food, according to the City of Ottawa. The Ottawa Food Bank helps address the gap, serving about 43,000 people a month. But it’s not a long-term solution.

Just Food has spent the last couple of years talking with Ottawa residents and food experts of different backgrounds about ways to bring about “Food for All.” In June they announced a Food Action Plan for Ottawa. The Plan consists of proposals on a range of issues. Ideas include improving access to land for community gardens, encouraging public institutions to “buy local,” bringing healthy food to schools, corner stores and transportation hubs, strengthening Ottawa’s local food-processing and distribution infrastructure, and enhancing income supports for people who need them. (These and more proposals are on Just Food’s website.)

The proposals “aren’t set in stone,” says Just Food, and they’re hoping that people will comment, and participate in “Kitchen Table Talks” coming up January through March next year.

Just Food is currently looking for people to help run the Kitchen Table Talks, and is offering training sessions for prospective animators. Three training sessions are scheduled so far, on November 21 at the Sandy Hill Community Centre, November 29 at the Centretown Community Health Centre, or December 5 at the Nepean, Rideau, Osgoode Community Resource Centre. You can check out the Just Food website for details and how to register.

Stay tuned for announcements about the Kitchen Table Talks themselves, and do check out the Food Action Plan proposals online.

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