New report calls for a political champion on food security

There needs to be stronger, more vocalized political support in order to improve food security in Burnaby, according to the author of a new report released by a local community food group.

Last week, Burnaby Food First released its report, Local Food Security: Turning Policy into Action in Metro Vancouver. The report provides recommendations for improved access to locally grown and sustainable food initiatives. It also identifies food security measures that have been successful for various cities in the Lower Mainland.

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The report analyzed how Burnaby, the North Shore, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver have each fared in supporting the key strategies outlined in Metro Vancouver’s 2011 Regional Food System Strategy. Burnaby scored the best in its support of restoring fish habitats and protecting sustainable sources of seafood.

 “The report was primarily prepared so that different municipalities could take a look at the areas where cities excel and adopt similar best practices,” Grant Rice, author of the report said.

In a presentation to the Burnaby Board of Trade’s Environmental Sustainability Committee, Rice said Burnaby was most in need of more space to grow food on city-owned land.

“One of the issues we’ve come across along with Burnaby Food First is Burnaby organizations that want to grow food, but there’s no space to do so,” Rice said.

He believes that increased public support from city politicians would help influence policies around food security and bolster the movement forward.

“There’s no ‘political champion’ and that’s a void that needs to be filled to really stimulate the conversation,” he said.

A spring food forum is planned for June 8, 2016 at the Nikkei Cultural Centre in Burnaby that will continue to further the conversation and welcome ideas and suggestions on food security from a variety of individuals and groups throughout the Lower Mainland.

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