Political food fight brewing

4/11/2011

For the first time in a federal election, each of the political parties has introduced food strategies that are separate from agriculture.

The growing awareness among the middle class on the global food system has prompted parties to come out with food policy platforms, something that has been hailed as an accomplishment for the global food movement.

The Conservative platform focuses on the creation of national farm and food strategy, and an agriculture innovation initiative that supports local farm-based research, as well as $100-million over five years for improvements to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The Liberals meanwhile, tout the first national food policy that promotes healthy living with education programs for children, food labelling changes, and a complete review of federal agencies handling food safety.

Next, the New Democrats are aimed at developing regional food systems through the increased support of farmers’ markets, agriculture co-operatives and different guidelines for smaller operations.

Food sovereignty is the focus for the Bloc Quebecois as well as increased research funding by $150-million a year over the next 10 years.

Lastly, the Green Party policy looks to establish green house gas emission targets together with industry while encouraging grocery retailers to promote more local foods, and a “200-kilometre diet” campaign.

Some critics charge however, that the the parties' food platform promises don’t do enough to link food to health care to make a big impact on reform.

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