Towards A Healthy Community Food System
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Towards A Healthy Community Food System

on

  • 1,182 views

Towards A Healthy Community Food System

Towards A Healthy Community Food System

Statistics

Views

Total Views
1,182
Views on SlideShare
1,182
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
17
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

CC Attribution License

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Towards A Healthy Community Food System Towards A Healthy Community Food System Document Transcript

  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System for Waterloo RegionPrepared by Marc Xuereb and Ellen DesjardinsHealth Determinants, Planning and Evaluation Interim Report November 2005
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemAcknowledgementsMuch of the research conducted for this report was reviewed regularly by members of an advisory committee over thecourse of 2005. They provided suggestions on research methodology, contacts in the local food and agriculture industry,and feedback on how to interpret results. Region of Waterloo Public Health would like to thank them for their contributions.Members of the advisory committee included: Elsie Herrle and Trevor Herrle-Braun – Herrle’s Country Farm Market Gerry Horst – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Peter Katona - Foodlink Waterloo Region Ron Laurie – Global Delights John Lubcynski – Region of Waterloo Planning, Housing, and Community Services Rod MacRae – Food Policy Consultant Carl Mueller – Elmira Farmers’ Market Donald Murray and Harry Cummings – Harry Cummings and Associates Mark Reusser and Jeff Stager – Waterloo Federation of Agriculture Rick Whittaker and Cathy Brosseau – Waterloo-Wellington Community Futures Development CorporationIn addition Public Health staff would like to acknowledge the ongoing involvement of colleagues from the Planning,Housing and Community Services department and the Social Services department. They have provided very helpfuldirection and guidance in the development of this report.Finally, the contribution of local planning staff and other associated agencies through the RGMS ImplementationCoordinating Committee has been formative and has helped to ensure relevance of the research underlying this report.Public Health staff looks forward to continued collaboration as these findings are moved into policy recommendations. 2
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportTable of ContentsExecutive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Section 1: Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Section 2: The Current Food System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 2.1 Dietary Intake and Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 2.2 Food Accessibility, Availability and Affordability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 2.2.1 Access and Availability of Healthy Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 2.2.2 Affordability of Healthy Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 2.3 Agricultural Production and Food Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 2.3.1 The Agriculture and Food Economy in Waterloo Region . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 2.3.2 Distribution of Local Food Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 2.4 Food System Consolidation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 2.5 Social and Environmental Consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 2.5.1 Social Consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 2.5.2 Environmental Consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 2.6 Emerging Trends. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 2.6.1 The Local Food Economy is Gaining Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 i) Farm-Direct Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 ii) Farmers’ Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 iii) Food Box Programs and Community Shared Agriculture Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 2.6.2 Consumers are interested in Local Food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 i) Popularity and impact of the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 ii) Consumers want to buy local food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 2.6.3 Urban agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21Section 3: The Future of Waterloo Region’s Food System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22Section 4: A Healthy Community Food System Plan for Waterloo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 Plan Objectives: 1. To ensure that all residents can afford to buy the food they need to sustain health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 2. To preserve and protect Waterloo Region’s agricultural lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 3. To strengthen food-related knowledge and skills among consumers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 4. To increase the availability of healthy food so that healthy choices are easier to make . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 5. To increase the viability of farms that sell food to local markets in order to preserve rural communities and culture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 6. To strengthen the local food economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 7. To forge a dynamic partnership to implement the plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32Section 5: Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 3
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemExecutive SummaryThe concept of broad community The local food supply can affect the Waterloo Region integrates the findingsfood system planning provides an nutrition environment of the local of a number of local studies relatingintegrated response to the seemingly population, in that the food produced, to local agriculture, rural health, fooddisparate food-related problems distributed and sold within the region availability, buying practices,affecting public health. A healthy can play a major role in how well the environmental issues and dietarycommunity food system approach population eats. A region with a intake of the population. Section 1goes beyond individual dietary diverse agricultural economy, linked makes the connection between abehaviour, and examines the broader with local food needs and markets, community food system approachcontext in which food choices occur. will be more sustainable in the long and the social, economic andIt seeks to build healthy communities term, with lower environmental costs, environmental determinants ofby considering the ways in which reduced demands on transportation health. Section 2 describes the statesocial, economic and environmental infrastructure, and potentially higher of the local food system today, andconditions determine health. The goal food quality that helps serve nutritional documents the impacts it is havingis to create a system in which all objectives. As well, a vibrant local on public health. Section 3 points outresidents have access to, and can food economy will help sustain our some trends for the future, highlightingafford to buy safe, nutritious, and rural communities and the viability of challenges and opportunities presentedculturally-acceptable food that has our local farms. by population growth and demographicbeen produced in an environmentally change. Section 4 provides objectivessustainable way and that sustains The interim report Towards a Healthy and preliminary strategies to guideour rural communities. Community Food System for further planning in Waterloo Region. 4
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportSection 1: IntroductionTowards a Healthy Community Food greater transportation choice and human and economic capital haveSystem for Waterloo Region is one of protecting our countryside in ways left rural communities. Theseseveral discussion papers prepared which simultaneously promote public communities are showing signs ofby Region of Waterloo Public Health health. Based on this work, Towards economic and social stress asin support of the implementation of a Healthy Community Food System agriculture has re-structured andthe Regional Growth Management for Waterloo Region attempts to consolidated. Pressures to increaseStrategy (RGMS), which was approved engage key stakeholders in further agricultural production have resultedby Council in June 2003. Urban shaping policy and program in concerns about water quality anddesign affects public health and recommendations to improve the ecosystem health.quality of life in a number of ways. health of the public.Incidence of chronic diseases, such The concept of broad community foodas asthma and conditions like obesity system planning provides an integratedin particular, seem linked to the way response to these seeminglyin which our communities are disparate problems, and aims todesigned. The interests of the ensure access to healthy food for allpopulation’s health are best served residents. A community food systemby communities which make healthy approach goes beyond individualchoices for food and activity more dietary behaviour, and examines theconvenient, and which put in place Evidence is beginning to quantify an broader context of these behaviours.infrastructure which reduces our increasing number of food-related It seeks to build healthy communitiesreliance on fossil fuel use. problems in our communities. by considering multiple conditions Hunger and poor nutrition have risen, that determine health and quality ofToward this end, the RGMS diet-related diseases have proven life (see figure 1). With this healthintegrates a cross-section of local resistant to traditional educational determinants perspective, economic,Municipal, Regional, and other approaches, and consumption of social and environmental aspects ofstakeholder actions, including many low-nutrient “fast food” is increasing, the food environment becomewhich typically fall outside the scope resulting in the escalating incidence relevant to public health. A foodof conventional land-use planning. of obesity and diet-related diseases system that improves access toThis partnership-based approach is like diabetes. Reliance on international healthy food throughout the region,the most successful way to achieve shipping of food has environmental and at the same time ensures abalanced growth which simultaneously implications. Food retail has been viable local agricultural economy, willadvances public health. As partners consolidated outside of urban cores, enhance the health of all residents.in the RGMS, Public Health staff has resulting in more automobile trips. An ecological paradigm emerges,been engaged in a number of studies Centralized purchasing associated where a healthy food system is anwhich support the goals of enhancing with the giant retail model has embedded goal within regionalof our natural environment, building of reduced opportunities for producers growth management for the future.vibrant urban spaces, providing to sell their product locally. Both 5
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemFigure 1: Applying a Community Food System Approach to a Healthy Communities Model Sustainability -increased biodiversity -increased consumption of food Viability -reduced dependency on imported food -improved air quality -protection of farm land -fertile soil -unpolluted, conserved water supply Prosperity -adequate and sustainable Economy Environment livelihoods - urban and rural Livability HEALTH -walkable access to retailers of healthy food -green spaces, community gardens, etc. that encourage Community physical activity and enjoyment of food Equity -equal opportunity and increased interaction of diverse cultures -increased access to healthy food for people with low-income Conviviality -heightened sense of community -decreased social isolation -increased community empowerment and social cohesion -time and space for cooking and eating together Source: Adapted from Hancock, 1999Over the next 40 years, Waterloo and whole grains will face a lower will be more sustainable in the longRegion will face population growth of risk of obesity and both communicable term, with lower environmental costs,over 50%, with a corresponding and chronic diseases. reduced demands on transportationincreased demand for food. The infrastructure, and potentially higherpopulation will change demographically The local food supply can affect the food quality that helps serve nutritionalsuch that the proportion of older nutrition environment of the local objectives. As well, a vibrant localpeople and new immigrants will grow. population, in that the food produced, food economy will help sustain ourAs these population subgroups are distributed and sold within the region rural communities and the viability ofknown to consume more fruit, can play a major role in how well the our local farms (Feenstra, 1997,vegetables and legumes, the demand population eats (French et al, 2001, Halweil, 2002, Horrigan et al., 2002,for these foods will likely rise. A McCullum, 2004). A region with a Meter, 2004).population that consumes an optimal diverse agricultural economy, linkeddiet high in fruit, vegetables, legumes with local food needs and markets, 6
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportA food system, as depicted in Figure The overall food system is vast and2, can be defined as “a set of complex, and involves numerous 1. To ensure that all residents caninterrelated functions that includes sub-systems. Engaging stakeholders in afford to buy the food they needfood production, processing and achievable local changes is seen as to sustain healthdistribution; food access and utilization the most realistic step given limited 2. To preserve and protect Waterlooby individuals, communities and resources. Region’s agricultural landspopulation; and food recycling, 3. To strengthen food-relatedcomposting and disposal”(Dahlberg, Thus, the scope of this report is to knowledge and skills among1991). A sustainable community food describe the food system in Waterloo consumerssystem, however, improves the Region, highlight the ways in which it 4. To increase the availability ofhealth of the community, environment impacts the public’s health, and healthy food so that healthyand individuals over time, involving a present possible strategies to choices are easier to makecollaborative effort in a particular accomplish the following seven 5. To increase the viability of farmssetting to build locally-based, self- objectives of a Healthy Community that sell food to local markets inreliant food systems and economies Food System Plan for Waterloo order to preserve rural(Dahlberg, 1999, Peters, 2002, Region: communities and cultureFeenstra, 1997). 6. To strengthen the local food economy 7. To forge a dynamic partnership to implement the plan Figure 2: A Food System Model Policy Policy Policy 7
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemSection 2: The Current Food System in Waterloo RegionAs a foundation to the development of a CommunityFood System Plan for Waterloo Region, Public Healthhas engaged the help of multiple partners to researchand document the current state of the local food systemand its impact on population health. This sectionhighlights these findings. Complete background reportsreferenced are available on the Region of WaterlooPublic Health website.12.1 Dietary Intake and Health Our population does not eat enough healthy foods, and our health is affected origin such as whole grains, legumes, Region residents do not meet the fruits and vegetables helps protect dietary recommendations of Canada’s against both communicable and Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Over chronic diseases. Such a diet also half (58%) of residents consume helps maintain a healthy weight, fewer than the daily recommended because these foods are high in fibre number of servings of fruits and and generally low in fat, especially vegetables. Whole grains and when they are minimally processed. legumes are also under-consumed, The increased availability of low-cost, and refined carbohydrates, fats and highly-available processed foods, oils and animal proteins are which are typically high in sodium, fat over-consumed. This pattern of and/or refined carbohydrates, is a dietary intake, coupled with inactivity, contributing factor to the rise in has contributed to a population whereHabitual dietary patterns are a key obesity among children and adults 50.1% of residents were eitherfactor in health, and can have a (Raine, 2005, Drewnowski, 2003). overweight or obese in 2003positive or negative long term effect. (ROWPH, Oct. 2004, and ROWPH,A healthy diet high in foods of plant Current dietary habits of Waterloo June 2005). 1 Go to http://www.region.waterloo.on.ca/ph, and click on “Reports and Fact Sheets” under “Resources.” 8
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report2.2 Food Accessibility, Availability and Affordability2.2.1 Access and Availability of Healthy convenience but not grocery stores, however, will find that convenience store food is 1.6 times more expensive Food compared to larger grocery stores and that healthy food options are more limited. (ibid) Hence, location of groceryThe food that is available to people shapes their food stores and other food retail outlets is a key considerationchoices. Evidence suggests that people are more likely to which affects all residents’ ability to make healthy lifestylemeet dietary recommendations when they have ready choices.access to grocery stores with healthy and affordable food,as opposed to convenience stores that offer mostly packagedprocessed food (Morland, 2002). The increased Healthy food needs to be available, accessible anddensity of “fast-food” restaurants in lower-income affordable to support healthy eating choices.neighbourhoods has been shown as a contributing factorfor greater obesity rates in some American cities (Block etal., 2004, Maddock, 2004, Reidpath et al, 2002). Further,the opportunity to walk to retail food outlets can contributeto obesity prevention and improved urban Livability(Gottlieb et al, 1996).A study of food access in Waterloo Region found thatresidents without cars have good access to food retail,since 94% of the urban population lives within walkingdistance of a bus route which can connect them to asupermarket.2 (ROWPH, Sep. 2004) However, usingpublic transit for grocery shopping is difficult, especially forfamilies with small children, and many residents who donot have access to a private vehicle do not have the optionof walking to obtain the food they need.Seventy-one per cent of the Region’s urban populationdoes not live within reasonable walking distance of asupermarket, and 47% of the urban population in WaterlooRegion does not live within reasonable walking distance ofeither a supermarket or a convenience store (ibid).3Residents without cars who live within walking distance of2 “There is no formal taxonomy for the various food retailers, but supermarkets are generally characterized as stores with over 15,000 square feet of selling space, featuring very diverse products for sale, and located within a 15-minute drive from the clientele” (HCA, Oct. 2003, p. 88, citing Wen, 2001).3 The research defined a reasonable walking distance to be 450m. 9
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System2.2.2 Affordability of Healthy FoodLimited food access and limited income with which to buy are taken into account, a family on social assistance orfood lead to multiple risk factors for poor health (Tarasuk et with two adults working full-time at minimum wage wouldal, 2004). It is estimated that 42.4% of low income households4 find it difficult to afford sufficient healthy food (ibid).in Waterloo Region experienced some degree of foodinsecurity (defined as “not having enough to eat, worrying The problem of insufficient income with which to buy foodabout having enough to eat, or not eating the desired in Waterloo Region is reflected through use of food banksquality or variety of food, due to lack of money”) in 2001 and other emergency food distribution sites. The Food(ROWPH, Sep. 2004). It costs about $112.00 per week for Bank of Waterloo Region distributed food hampers ora family of four to eat a healthy diet in Waterloo Region. meals to over 25,000 people through its member agenciesWhen shelter, household items, and other essential costs and programs in 2004, an 11% increase over 2002 (FBWR, 2005).2.3 Agricultural Production and Food DistributionA region with a diverse agricultural economy, linked withlocal food needs and markets, will be more sustainable inthe long term. It will have lower environmental costs andreduced demands on transportation infrastructure. It willstrengthen linkages in the local economy by keeping moremoney circulating locally and therefore help to preserverural culture. We have a prosperous agricultural region, yet not much food that is produced in Waterloo Region is sold here.4 Low income households are defined as those whose incomes are below the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO). 10.3% of households in the Region are in this category. 10
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report2.3.1 The Agriculture and Food Economy in Waterloo RegionCompared to other regions across Ontario, Waterloo Farms in the Region averaged 156 acres, significantlyRegion’s farm sector is relatively prosperous. The Region’s smaller than the provincial average of 226 acres. As shownfarms ranked third in the province in gross receipts per in Figure 3, the size difference is largely explained by thefarm in 2001, with an average of over $262,800 per farm. predominance of beef, dairy, and hog farms in the Region,Net revenue per farm, at over $39,000, was almost twice which are smaller than field crop type farms (HCA, 2003,the provincial average, and second only to Niagara Region. pp.26-28, pp. 3-16).Figure 3: Farm Types in Ontario and Waterloo Region, 2001. 35.00% 30.00% 25.00% 20.00% Ontario 15.00% Waterloo Per centage 10.00% 5.00% 0.00% iry f y s it & Da Be e Ho g ltr p Fru bles alty tion Pou Cro pe ci bin a ld ta S Fie Ve ge Co mSource: HCA, 2003, p.16The strong farming sector makes an important contributionto Waterloo Region’s economy, with every job in theagricultural sector supporting another four in the widereconomy (ibid, p.59). Taken as a group, the primary(farming), secondary (processing and distribution) andtertiary (retail) sectors of the Region’s agriculture and foodeconomy support 11.3% of the Region’s labor force,comparable to any other major sector of the local economy(ibid, p.100). The secondary sector alone supported 6,674jobs directly in 2002 (ibid, p.69). 11
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System2.3.2 Distribution of Local Food ProductsOur food system relies heavily on imports to meet supermarkets and convenience stores. In most cases theconsumer demand. Canada imports about 40% of its amount of Waterloo Region (WR) content found in foodvegetables (excluding potatoes) and 80% of its fruit, with items is low as a result of the integration of Waterloomost of the imports coming from the USA and Mexico Region’s food(Riches et al, 2004). The Food Flow Study (HCA, 2005) production into theattempted to determine what per centage of food that is provincial, national,consumed in the Region of Waterloo has been grown, and internationalraised and/or processed in the Region. A basket of 20 processing,foods (shown in Table 1), all commonly eaten and capable distribution, andof being grown or raised locally – was assessed in both retail systems.Table 1: Degree of Ontario and Waterloo Region Sourcing of Selected Foods in WR Retail Outlets<10% Very low 10-29% Low 30-59% Moderate 60-79% High >80% Very highFood Ontario content WR content Food Ontario content WR contentGround beef Low – moderate Very low Wholegrain crackers Insufficient info Insufficient infoPork chops Low – moderate Very low Quick oatmeal Moderate Very lowBeef wieners Low Very low Corn flakes Insufficient info Insufficient infoChicken breasts Moderate – high Low Fresh apples Very high ModerateCooked ham Low Very low Apple juice Moderate Very low2% milk Very high Low Fresh carrots Moderate NoneFruit yogurt Very high Low Fresh tomatoes Moderate high None High Very low Strawberries (out of None NoneCheddar cheese season)Eggs High Very low Strawberry jam Very low None Oats, cornmeal &Multigrain bread Very low Potato chips High Very low soybean: very highSource: HCA, 2005 12
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportTo explore the availability of local productsfurther, Region of Waterloo Public Healthconducted a series of grocery store andfarmers’ market audits in order todetermine the extent to which importedproduce was available during peakavailability of local produce. (ROWPH,Nov. 2005a) As shown in Table 2, thisstudy shows that, even during the peakseason, produce grown in WaterlooRegion is not readily available toresidents.Table 2: Origins of Eight Products at Randomly Selected Grocery Stores and Farmer’s Markets during their peaklocal Season Number and Per cent of Number and Per cent of Number and Per cent of Product Vendors Selling Region of Vendors Selling Ontario Vendors Selling Imported Waterloo Product Product ProductAsparagus (n*=26) 1 (4%) 25 (96%) (11)** No imported productStrawberries (n=35) 2 (6%) 30 (86%) (1) 9 (26%)Leaf Lettuce (n=18) No ROW product 14 (78%) (2) 7 (39%)Sweet Corn (n=28) 3 (11%) 25 (89%) (8) No imported productField Tomatoes (n=30) 2 (7%) 30 (100%) (2) No imported productCarrots (n=20) 1 (5%) 19 (95%) (4) 1 (5%)Bartlett Pears (n=23) No ROW product 20 (87%) (2) 6 (26%)White Potatoes (n=23) 2 (9%) 22 (96%) (0) No imported productSource: ROWPH, Nov. 2005a* n refers to the number of vendors audited** the second number in brackets refers to the number of vendors who knew their produce was from Ontario but did not know exactly from where 13
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemAs shown above, Ontario produce is Interviews with primary producers, Retailers also noted the growingwell represented in grocery stores produce managers, distributors, and demand for local produce, but stilland markets during peak season. In market managers reinforced the carry the imported produce notingcontrast, Waterloo Region produce above findings. There was agreement that it is generally more consistent, itwas generally available at a more among all interviewees that imported is available in the volume theylimited number of locations. The produce is always available somewhere require, it often has longer shelf lifeaudits also made note of other similar during the local season. All primary and it is often cheaper. Primaryproducts that were available, such as producers saw this as a significant producers commented on the need todifferently packaged products or problem and noted that where there continue to educate the public aboutdifferent varieties. It is interesting to is an abundance of imported product the health and community economicnote that once a product has even a available it has the obvious effect of benefits of buying locally producedsmall amount of processing associated reducing the price of locally grown fruit and vegetables.with it, the imported product tends to product. One primary producerdominate the market. For example, commented on the difficulty of100% of foil wrapped baking potatoes distinguishing between local andand 80% of baby carrots available imported produce and that people’swere imported. This suggests potential assumptions of where they canfor growth in the local food processing source local produce are not alwayssector. correct. 14
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report2.4 Food System Consolidation Our food system is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer players.There is a general trend toward an increasing scale ofoperation across Canada’s agriculture and agri-foodsystem, including significantly larger farms and consolidationof food stores (Wilson, 2005). Agriculture and AgriFoodCanada notes that one-third of larger farms (>$100,000sales) account for 87% of farm production and receive75% of agricultural program payments (AAFC, May 2005).Figure 4 and Table 3 illustrate that, while not as dramaticas in the rest of Ontario, this trend is evident withinWaterloo Region.Table 3: Number of Farms, Farmland Area, Average Farm Size and Per cent Change 1996-2001 1996 2001 Per cent change 96-01 Average Average Average Total farms Total acres Total farms Total acres Total farms Total acres farm size farm size farm sizeOntario 67,520 13,879,565 206 59,738 13,507,357 226 -11.5% -2.7% 10.0%Waterloo 1,590 234,406 147 1,444 225,800 156 -9.2% -3.7% 6.1%RegionSource: Region of Waterloo, 2003 15
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System Figure 4: Distribution of Farms in Waterloo Region by Total Gross Receipts Category, 1990- 2000 550 500 450 400Number of Farms 350 1990 300 1995 250 2000 200 150 100 50 0 Under $2,500 to $5,000 to $10,000 to $25,000 to $50,000 to $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $2,500 $4,999 $9,999 $24,999 $49,999 $99,000 to to and over $249,000 $499,999 Source: HCA, 2003, p.29 Food system consolidation is not to the marketplace (HCA, 2005). In the first product of the size and limited to primary production. In their audits of supermarket and quality they were seeking. They Waterloo Region the top five employers convenience store shelves in search found that almost all of the foods they in the food processing and distribution of the 20 commonly-consumed foods, surveyed were dominated by two or sub-sector account for over 55% of food flow study researchers used a three brands that in some cases were all jobs in the sub-sector (HCA, 2003, random sampling method to record owned by the same parent company. p.69). Though the sub-sector is a major contributor to Waterloo Region’s economy currently, this dominance of a few firms leaves the local food economy somewhat vulnerable to potential corporate relocation decisions (ibid, p.74). Ongoing consolidation in the food processing and distribution sub-sector is also making it more difficult for commodities to retain their unique local identity as they make their way 16
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportIn the food retail sector, four food chains operate 71% of These findings confirm analysis made elsewhere about thethe 35 supermarkets in the Region, where consumers effect of concentration in the food industry on thespend 77% of their total food expenditures (HCA, 2003, availability of local food (Winson,1993; Waltner-Toewspp.89, 94). These chains are increasingly consolidating and Lang, 2000). The image below, for example, waspurchasing decisions through head offices, posing barriers created to portray the food system in Europe, but couldto producers that cannot generate sufficient product volumes also represent the situation in Waterloo Region.to supply all stores in a chain throughout the year (ibid, p.89).Figure 5: Shift in the supply chain: Retailers, not farmers, dominate the food supply The Supply Chain Funnel in Europe Consumers 160,000,000 Customers 89,000,000 Outlets 170,000 POWER Supermarket formats 600 Buying desk 110 Manufacturers 8,600 Semi-Manufacturers 80,000 Suppliers 160,000 Farmers/producers 3,200,000 Source: Grievink, 2003. 17
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System2.5 Social and Environmental Consequences The structure of our food system 2.5.1 Social Consequences rural residents have a strong sense has social and environmental of connection to the land and history, consequences. The health of rural communities is which leads to a sense of community recognized as a key component of a and belonging which in turn contributes community food system plan. For to their health. It was clear thatIn a free market economy, the supply example, the US Department of farming is more than a business forof food tends to be driven by the goals Agriculture includes it in its definition the farmers who were interviewed. Itof productivity and efficiency to of sustainable agriculture as a was also clear that the business ofminimize costs and maximize profits. system “that will, over the long-term: farming is changing. Smaller farmsOver the past several years, the (1) satisfy human food and fiber are disappearing, and those left areeffects of competition and subsidies needs; (2) enhance environmental finding it increasingly difficult toin the global market have reduced quality and the natural resource base compete with larger farms and thethe price of agricultural commodities upon which the agricultural economy subsidized commodities from otherto record low levels (resulting from depends; (3) make the most efficient countries. As a result of all thesehigh volume outputs and excess use of non-renewable resources and factors, farmers are facing a greatsupply). As a result of this trend, the integrate, where appropriate, natural deal of stress and major financialmarket price of many locally grown biological cycles and controls; (4) concerns, resulting in many pursuingfood products may not reflect all of sustain the economic viability of farm off-farm incomes (ROWPH, 2003,the production costs. This makes it operations; and (5) enhance the and AAFC, May 2005). The studyincreasingly difficult for local farmers quality of life for farmers and society also found farm succession to be ato earn a living and keep their farm as a whole. (USDA, 2005, emphasis concern. As one participant stated,viable. When agricultural policy is added) "Young people end up leaving anddriven solely by the goals of the community loses - they see noproductivity and efficiency, the market The Rural Health Study (ROWPH, future in farming."outcome may lead to social, health, 2003) was conducted to gain a betterand environmental consequences that understanding of the factors thataffect the community as a whole affect the health of rural residents in(Waltner-Toews and Lang, 2000). Waterloo Region. It identified that 18
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report2.5.2 Environmental Consequences 1.1 kg of greenhouse gas is created. If all the tomatoes consumed in Waterloo Region came from Leamington,One environmental consequence of a system that sources each kg of tomatoes would create 14 times fewerfood from distant locations is the greenhouse gases emitted emissions. If all the tomatoes came from within Waterlooin its transportation. Greenhouse gases are emitted Region, each kg would create 132 times fewer emissions.through the burning of fossil fuels, and affect air qualityand global climate change. A recent study of imports5 of Imports of only the 31 foods tracked in this study are31 commonly-eaten foods capable of being grown or responsible for more than the equivalent of 5% of theraised in Waterloo Region tracked the distances travelled. greenhouse gases emitted by households in the RegionIt found that imports of the studied foods travel an (ROWPH, Nov. 2005b). This environmental impact isaverage of over 4,500km (median of over 3,700km) to entirely preventable since all of the studied foods areWaterloo Region, and generate an average of 1.8 kg of capable of being grown in the rich agricultural lands ofgreenhouse gases (median of 1.0 kg) for every kg of food Waterloo Region.imported. Imports of the studied foods generate a total ofover 50,000 tonnes greenhouse gas emissions annually,which is equal to the average emissions of over 16,000cars on our roads each year (ROWPH, Nov. 2005b).Although the greenhouse gases created are not all emittedwithin Waterloo Region, the emissions result from demandcreated here and contribute to the broad environmentalissue of climate change.Tomatoes serve as an interesting example. Cannedtomatoes travel an average distance of 5,244 km to get toWaterloo Region. For every kg of canned tomatoes imported, 5 Imports were from outside of Canada: data on inter-provincial or inter-regional food trade are not available. 19
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System2.6 Emerging Trends Waterloo Region has a prosperous local and agricultural economy and some emerging trends are increasing consumer food options.2.6.1 The local food economy is gaining as three emerging markets (Elmira, Wellesley and New Hamburg).support Farmers markets are a strong part of both urban and ruralThough the number of farms is declining and the remaining culture in Waterloo Region: they serve both local needsones are becoming bigger, the trend is not as strong in and as day trip destinations. Approximately 75% ofWaterloo Region as in the rest of the province. OMAFRA’s consumers in the urban areas of Waterloo Region shop atrepresentative in Waterloo Region calls the Region “the a farmers market between June and October (ROWPH,king of small farms” because the average farm size is Nov. 2005e). Collectively, consumers spend over $20smaller than the province’s and yet net farm income is million annually at farmers’ markets in Waterloo Region,comparatively strong. which is 2% of the $1 billion spent annually on food (HCA, 2003, p98).(i) Farm Direct SalesDriven by low commodity prices, a growing number ofWaterloo Region farmers have found a renewed interest in (iii) Food Box Programs & Community Sharedbecoming “price setters” by selling directly to consumers. Agriculture ProjectsIn fact, some farmers are earning up to 50% of their Food Box programs are a form of farm-direct selling in income in this way (HCA, which farms, sometimes through organizations that pool 2003, pp.80-84). However, products from several farms, deliver boxes of fruits and farmers describe barriers vegetables to pick-up locations in the city. They can also to this approach, such as be offered at a discounted price through charitable organizations competition from cheaper with the intention of providing affordable access to nutritious imports and federal or food to people on low incomes. For example, Waterloo provincial regulations that Region has a program called the Good Food Box that makes seem to be designed for monthly deliveries to 21 sites throughout the Region. larger-scale operations. In Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) programs, farmers establish a price for a share of their harvest. Consumers purchase these shares at the beginning of the season(ii) Farmers Markets (thereby sharing in the risk with the farmer), and theirFarmers’ markets are a convenient way for people to “dividend” is a weekly delivery or pick-up of produceaccess healthy food, an important urban design feature in throughout the season. At least four CSAs, ranging in sizethe revitalization of neighbourhoods and a way for farmer- from 30 to 100 shares each, currently operate in Waterloovendors to capture higher retail (versus wholesale) prices. Region. Informal discussions with farmers operating CSAWaterloo Region features four large farmers’ markets projects suggest that all have waiting lists, demonstrating(Cambridge, Kitchener, St. Jacobs, and Waterloo) as well an opportunity for more farmers to try this approach. 20
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report2.6.2 Consumers Are Interested in (ii) Consumers want to buy local food Local Food A 2003 survey commissioned by Public Health asked six questions dealing with consumer attitudes and practices related to buying(i) Popularity and impact of the Buy Local! Buy local food. It found that 87.1% of residents believe it is eitherFresh! Map somewhat (49.2%) or very (37.9%) important to buy local food.The Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map is a consumer The reasons they do so are shown in Figure 8. 71.3% ofguide to food products grown or raised on farms consumers report a willingness to buy more local food if it werein Waterloo Region. It has been published as a labeled as local (ROWPH, Feb. 2004).joint initiative of Region of Waterloo Public Healthand Foodlink Waterloo Region since 2002. With50,000 copies distributed annually, the Map seemsto have found a niche with some consumers. Figure 2: Reasons for Buying Local FoodRecent focus group research found thatconsumers identify the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! 100%Brand with the experience of visiting local farms % of Respondents Listing Reason 90% 88.6%and building relationships with farmers; spending 80%time with family, and educating their children 70%about where food comes from. (ROWPH, July 60% 58%2005). 50% 43.6% 40%An evaluation of the Map in 2004 found that 30% 30.4% 23.6%56.4% of map farmers reported an increase in 20%the number of visitors to their farm (which 80.6% 13.8% 11.8% 10%of farmers attributed to the Map) and 44.8% of 0% Local is Preserves Support Decreases Local has Local is Local isMap farmers reported an increase in sales (which fresher local local dependency travelled cheaper safer84.6% of farmers attributed to the Map) farmland farmers on imports less(ROWPH, Mar. 2005).2.6.3 Urban agriculture water retention, food insecurity, urban rooftop gardens in Waterloo and heat islanding, energy efficiency, air Kitchener (ROWPH, Nov. 2005d). InUrban agriculture has the potential to quality, climate change, habitat loss, a recent survey 70% of urbanimpact the social, economic, and social isolation and crime prevention residents indicated it is important toenvironmental aspects of a community (World Health Organization, 2002). them to be able to grow their ownand thus impacts people’s health vegetables and 38% of residents(Mougeot, 2000). Urban agriculture is In Waterloo Region, there are currently indicate they do so, predominantly inbecoming a well documented practice approximately 31 community gardens their backyards (ROWPH, Nov.in Canada and has with the potential offering at least 679 individual plots 2005e).to mitigate several environmental and to community gardeners. In addition,public health issues, such as storm there are at least 6 green roofs or 21
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemSection 3: The Future of Waterloo Region’s Food SystemOver the next 40 years, the population of Waterloo Region proportion of individuals 65 and older increases in the nextwill increase by over 50%, with a corresponding increased 40 years, projected trends for coronary heart disease aredemand for food. The population will change demographically also expected to increase (ROWPH, Nov. 2005c).such that the proportion of older people and new immigrantswill grow. Add to these trends the potential for food system disruption due to rising fuel costs, climate change, threats to waterAs these population subgroups tend to consume more supplies, or other economic disruptions, and it starts tofruit, vegetables and legumes (ROWPH, Oct. 2004), it is become clear that the current food system may not belikely that the demand for these foods will rise. As the entirely sustainable in the long run. An Optimal Nutrition Environment: A Viable Possibility in Waterloo Region To assess the viability of a food system that supplies more of its own food, a 2005 Public Health study (ROWPH June 2005) calculated the optimal nutritional needs of Waterloo Region’s projected population in forty years, and assessed whether the Region’s agricultural land was capable of supplying it. The study started with the current dietary patterns of Waterloo Region residents and compared them to the recommendations of the Canada Food Guide. Of the foods that are under-consumed, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and legumes, the study assumed that current consumption of foods which must be imported (e.g. rice, citrus fruits, exotic nuts) would continue. It then calculated how many extra servings of foods that could be grown in Waterloo Region would be necessary to achieve optimum nutrition (see Table 4). 22
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportTable 4: Current Waterloo Region Food Intake Compared with Recommended Amount of Food that could beSourced LocallyFood group Canada’s Food Guide IDEAL : Recommended CURRENT: Food intake DIETARY CHANGE Recommendations servings from a locally- in Waterloo Region NEEDED:(fresh and processed) 2000-cal diet based diet (2005) ...to meet the [servings/person/day] recommended diet, that could be provided by our Both local and imported food local food supplyGrains wheat & rice 6 * >4 oats, rye, barley, other 2 0.37 1.63Vegetables 7† 3.65 3.35 dark-green 2 0.42 1.6 deep orange, red, yellow 7 1 0.43 0.57 potatoes & other starchy vegetables 2 1.5 0.5 other vegetables 2 1.3 0.7Fruit tropical ** other than tropical 3 2.5 1.1 1.4 - melons, berries 0.5 0.32 0.18 - other local fruit 2 0.78 1.2Meat and Alternates meat, fish, poultry 3 *** >1.5 dry beans, peas, lentils, nuts 1.5 .86 .64* Wheat and rice are more-than-adequately consumed and mostly imported into the Region.† The study assumed that local agricultural lands could grow all vegetables necessary for the recommended diet.** The study assumed that current consumption of imported tropical fruits would continue.***Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products are consumed adequately, therefore were not included in this study.Data Source: ROWPH, June 2005.The study then projected the number of additional servings commodity to another, or by making use of agriculturalneeded of locally-grown foods into the future, using land not currently in production, or some combination ofprojected population numbers for 2026 and 2046, and both. Further research would be necessary to determinecompared this to the existing base of agricultural land in the optimum means of achieving the shift.the Region. It found that the need for many key nutritiousfoods could be met in whole or part from local production, It would appear, from the above research, that Waterlooand that only a 10% shift in agricultural production6 by 2026 Region’s agricultural land base may potentially be capableor a 12% shift by 2046 would be required to produce these of supplying the foods that could meet the future optimalfoods in Waterloo Region. The shift could be achieved by nutritional needs of the population.changing the production on existing lands from one 23
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemSection 4: A Healthy Community Food System Plan for Waterloo RegionA healthy community food system plan is a collaborative Objectives 1-3 (asterisk) are already being addressed toeffort focused on increasing choices and options in the some degree by existing initiatives in Waterloo Region.prevailing food system in order to improve the health of These are only briefly highlighted below with cross-individuals, the community and the environment over time. references to where action is underway. The remainder ofThe goal is to create a system in which all residents have this section proposes preliminary strategies to stimulateaccess to, and can afford to buy safe, nutritious, and discussions toward accomplishing objectives 4–7.culturally-acceptable food that has been produced in anenvironmentally sustainable way and that sustains ourrural communities.The development of a Healthy Community FoodSystem Plan for Waterloo Region focuses on thefollowing objectives:1. To ensure that all residents can afford to buy the food they need to sustain health *2. To preserve and protect Waterloo Region’s agricultural lands *3. To strengthen food-related knowledge and skills among consumers *4. To increase the availability of healthy food so that the healthy choices are easier to make5. To increase the viability of farms that sell food to local markets in order to preserve rural communities and culture6. To strengthen the local food economy7. To forge a dynamic partnership to implement the plan. 24
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportObjective 1: To ensure that all residents can afford encourage environmentally responsible agricultural to buy the food they need to sustain health practices.A healthy food system ensures that all people have Regional staff is currently preparing a new draft of aincome sufficient to buy a diet that supports health, at Regional Official Plan, which among other things willprices which support continued viability of farming. Groups propose policies related to agricultural lands. Opportunitiessuch as Opportunities Waterloo Region are pursuing for public input into the new Official Plan will follow incampaigns related to this objective. 2006.Ideally, income support policies would make the need to Objective 3: To strengthen food-relateddeliver food assistance through food banks and meal knowledge and skills among consumers.programs unnecessary. Until then, Regional SocialServices along with the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank, Education must play a key role in encouraging residents toFood Bank of Waterloo Region and the House of eat a more nutritious diet. Public Health has always had aFriendship are working with the over 65 food assistance strong mandate for food and nutrition education. Forprograms to identify gaps in service and improve service example, since 1985, the Community Nutrition Workerdelivery. The Review of Emergency Food Distribution in program has used a peer-led approach in the communityWaterloo Region project will produce a report in early 2006 to improve knowledge and skills related to obtaining andfor discussion among providers, customers and stakeholders preparing nutritious foods (ROWPH, Nov. 2004). Otheron community solution building related to food assistance. Public Health examples include the Eat Smart program for restaurants and efforts to encourage healthy eating in schools. Objective 2: To preserve and protect Waterloo Region’s agricultural lands Recent research identified several educational strategies that may reduce barriers to buying local food as well as A healthy food system ensures that sufficient land is encourage healthier eating habits. The suggested strategiesavailable to produce the foods required to support the included educating consumers about what foods are grownhealth of local populations. In addition to protecting the locally, the times local foods are in season, and teachingfarm land from development, farmers need to be supported skills for preserving local foods for the off-seasonand the land needs to be used in a sustainable way, so (ROWPH, Feb. 2004). These strategies were alsothat it will have the capacity to continue to produce food for suggested by local farmers participating in a University offuture generations. Waterloo study on local food systems development in Waterloo Region (Soots, 2003). A number of otherThe Region of Waterloo already has some of the strongest programs in Waterloo Region also pursue this issue,farmland protection policies in the province, including including Foodlink Waterloo Region’s Local Harvestpolicies which limit development outside of designated newsletter, The Working Centre’s urban agricultureurban boundaries, prevent severances of agricultural lands workshops, and programs of the Cruickston Charitableinto lots too small to be farmed efficiently, and which Research Reserve. 25
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System Objective 4: To increase the availability of healthy food, so that the healthy choices are easier to make.A healthy food system makes locations, similar to existing to be explored to attract retailers ofnutritious choices identifiable and mechanisms used to designate healthy food to neighbourhoods. Formore conveniently accessible, while affordable housing units. Or, for example, mobile farmers’ marketslimiting the availability of less healthy example, it may be that new could bring fresh local produce tochoices. opportunities are presented by the different neighbourhoods on different development of station sites along days of the week or street vendorsPossible Strategies: the new transit corridor. might venture beyond traditional hot dog fare to offer a variety of other Other strategies beyond government choices.4.1 Ensure Healthy Food is incentives or regulations also needAvailable in every NeighbourhoodUnder the Planning Act, localmunicipalities have the authority toregulate the use of land through New York Greenmarketszoning by-laws. However, zoning aproperty specifically for food retail use Greenmarket, a program of the Council on the Environment of NYC, promotesdoes not necessarily guarantee that a regional agriculture and ensures a supply of fresh, local produce for residentsprivate firm will establish a food store on through smaller-sized, open-air farmers markets. Over 175 growers sell in 54the property. However, it may be possible markets year-round, including locations near transit stations. By providingto increase the availability of healthy regional family farmers with opportunities to sell their fruits, vegetables andfood in neighbourhoods by developing other farm products to residents, Greenmarket helps preserve farmland for thezoning and/or financial incentives that future. Many restaurants also obtain ingredients at these markets, andmunicipal governments could use to students participate in educational programs.attract food retail operations to targeted http://www.cenyc.org/HTMLGM/maingm.htm 26
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report4.2 Increase Urban Agriculture 4.3 Restrict Unhealthy Foods inPrograms Identified neighbourhoodsAnother way for people to have Some jurisdictions in North Americaaccess to healthy food is for them to are attempting to limit the proliferationgrow it themselves, in backyards, of high-energy, low-nutrient foods (i.e.community garden plots, or rooftop “fast food”) in the immediate vicinitygardens. Waterloo Region has a of schools (Brunner, 2005). Thehealthy start in establishing these rationale is that dietary habits formedkinds of initiatives. Additional efforts in adolescence are often maintainedcan make the urban agriculture for life, and that helping children andoption and its multiple health benefits youth form good dietary habits willavailable to more people. For example, help prevent chronic disease.at present, the City of Kitchener hasa grant program to support theestablishment of community gardens UBC “Soil to Salad Bar” School programwhich could be adopted by other This program gets inner-city Vancouver school children involved in growing,municipalities. harvesting and preparing their own salad greens and other vegetables. UBC Farm is a 40-hectare student-run operation on the University of British ColumbiaThere may also be opportunities to (UBC) campus. It integrates sustainable land management and food productionencourage community and rooftop practices with education, community development, research and innovation.gardening initiatives through Official UBC Farm is forging ties with community groups and neighbourhoods, and isPlans and zoning by-laws, by trading affiliated with the University’s Faculties of Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, andoff height or parking restrictions for Science. http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/media/releases/2002/mr-02-68.htmlgarden space. 27
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System Objective 5: To increase the viability of farms that sell food to local markets in order to preserve rural communities and cultureThe future health of Waterloo The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)Region’s food system and its rural The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program provides supplementalcommunities is dependent on farmers foods and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeedingbeing able to earn a reasonable and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up toliving from agriculture. Strengthening 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk. The FMNP was established inthe viability of farms that sell food 1992, to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIClocally takes advantage of the unique participants, who can purchase these with FMNP coupons. This also serves tomixed, small farm profile evident in expand the awareness, use of and sales at farmers’ markets. Other WICWaterloo Region. programs educate participants on how to select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy with their FMNP coupons. A similar program has been piloted in Kitchener (ROWSS, 2005). http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/FMNP/FMNPfaqs.htmPossible Strategies:5.1 Increase Farm-gate SalesWaterloo Region has a rich tradition offarm-gate sales of fresh produce. The BuyLocal! Buy Fresh! Map has made thistradition more visible to residents, and hasbegun to have an impact on participatingfarms. There is much room for expandingthis area.5.2 Expand Local Farmers’ MarketsDespite the success of Waterloo Region’sfarmers’ markets, challenges remain.Often vendors are not Waterloo Regionfarmers and/or sell produce that is notlocally grown and sometimes localproduce at the markets competes againstcheaper imports of the same products. Atleast one local market is trying to addressthis through a market by-law preventingthe selling of imported products whenlocal products are in season. 28
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report5.3 Establish Farm-to-School (and more of their ingredients from local chronic diseases (OSNPPH, 2004).other public institutions) Programs farms to produce fresh and more Such programs also strengthen theSeveral schools across North nutritious meals. Evaluations have viability of local farming operations.America are trying to improve the shown the programs to produce These kinds of programs could bequality of their cafeteria food by measurable changes in children’s implemented in university and hospitaleliminating high-fat, high-salt, low diets, which have affected classroom cafeterias, or indeed any corporatenutrient food choices and sourcing behaviour and could help prevent lunchroom, with similar results.Farm-to-University Food ServiceUniversity or College food service departments have an important influence over students eating habits and health. Farmto college projects offer opportunities for increasing farmer income, supporting the local economy and the environment, andimproving students eating habits. By purchasing directly from local farmers, they can help local farms stay in business andkeep dollars in the local economy. Each farm to college project is unique to the college or university where it is based. Alist of active farm-to-college programs in the United States and Canada is at http://www.farmtocollege.org/. 5.4 Enable On-Farm Processing Facilities Currently, land zoned as agricultural pays a lower rate of tax than land zoned for commercial or industrial uses. Farmers seeking to build a processing (e.g. canning, freezing, or washing and peeling) facility on their land face the prospect of engaging in a process to have a portion of their land re-zoned and paying a higher rate of tax on that land. The existing Regional Official Policies Plan allows farmers to establish on-farm businesses provided the business is compatible with, and clearly remains secondary to, the main farm operation.FoodShare Toronto Farm-to-School Salad Bar Research may be needed to identify why more farms do not takeWith childhood obesity on the rise, and increasing advantage of this opportunity, or to identify whether the existingdisconnect between food production and urban life, regulations still pose a barrier to farms.the salad bar approach seems sensible. The SaladBar Program aims to increase children’s consumptionof fresh fruits and vegetables, and to purchase theselocally where possible. Statistics gathered from theseprograms demonstrated that when healthy, seasonalfood is presented to them daily, in a way they like,children can change the way they eat. The foods areprepared in advance and do not have to be heated.http://www.foodshare.net/publications_09.htm 29
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System Objective 6: To strengthen the local food economyTo meet consumer demand for local food and help make it Possible Strategies:more economically viable for farms to sell to local markets, 6.1 Encourage Local Food Processing Industrycertain gaps in our local food economy need to be Although there is a market for fresh, unprocessed fruitsaddressed. Retailers (including restaurants, institutions, and vegetables, the realities of today’s lifestyles and ourand grocery stores) demanding it, have very few sources seasonal climate require that food products undergo aof local food that meet their criteria in terms of volume, certain degree of processing to attain a viable marketquality, and processing. share. Decisions to invest in food processing facilities, are driven by market forces. Currently, those forces are not creating food processing facilities to serve exclusively local markets. Municipal and private partners need to come together to identify ways to stimulate entrepreneurial development in this area.The Seasoned Spoon restaurant at Trent UniversityThe Seasoned Spoon is a very successful student-run café co-op that opened on Trent Universitys Symons Campus.Homemade soup and baked goods are prepared as often as possible with locally sourced ingredients. The not-for-profitSeasoned Spoon has 10 paid staff members, and functions as a co-operative. The purpose is to support local agriculture,and to serve as an educational opportunity. http://www.trentu.ca/opirg/seasonedspoon/6.2 Establish Incubator Kitchens to Food Retail operationsA shared-use commercial kitchen is a type of business incubator where caterers, street cart vendors, farmers, andproducers of specialty/gourmet food items can prepare their food products in a fully licensed and certified kitchen. Kitchenincubators usually offer technical assistance in food processing as well as general business management skills, and theopportunity to form shared services cooperatives for marketing, distribution, and supply purchasing. They are particularlyuseful for preparing locally-sourced food for use in farm-to-cafeteria programs. 30
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim Report6.3 Encourage Local Food Distribution Sector 6.4 Establish a Local Food LabelIn addition to building an infrastructure for processing local A 2003 survey of Waterloo Region residents found thatfoods, a healthy community food system requires specialty 71.3% of residents said they would buy more local food if itdistributors who focus on healthy local products. The were labeled as such. One of the recommendations of therecently-established Elmira Produce Auction Co-operative Growing Food and Economy Advisory Committee was tois a promising start in this direction, as it provides one “initiate a process for Waterloo Region branding of locallylocation where re-sellers, distributors and caterers purchase grown and processed products” (HCA, 2003). Foodlinkwholesale quantities of fresh produce. Similar initiatives Waterloo Region and Region of Waterloo Public Healthcould expand into other areas of the Region and/or expand co-own rights to the logo on the Buy Local! Buy Fresh!into preserved or processed local foods in the off-season. Map, and have done some research with WLU students into the viability of expanding the brand for other uses (ROWPH, July 2005). Further research may explore the possibilities of a label that defines "local" more broadly than Waterloo Region.County Taste the SeasonCountry Taste the Season is a food wholesaler and distributor that markets foods to and from the South East region ofEngland. Over 70 different independent food and drink companies from four counties supply their products through thisco-operative local food distribution scheme. With support from the counties of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire, thisenterprise is an example of a successful public-private partnership. http://www.countyproduce.co.uk/ 31
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food System Objective 7: To forge a dynamic partnership to implement the Community Food System planMany of the interventions suggested in this interim reportare beyond the jurisdiction of the Region of Waterloo.The goal of achieving a healthy food system for WaterlooRegion will require that many different organizationsendorse the plan and co-operate in pursuing its aims.A body comprised of diverse stakeholders in WaterlooRegion’s food system, such as Regional and localmunicipal planners, Foodlink Waterloo Region, WaterlooFederation of Agriculture, economic development, foodsystem entrepreneurs, etc., will be necessary to advancethe strategies and policy options developed.Section 5: ConclusionThe concept of broad community been produced in an environmentally of the local food system today, andfood system planning is providing an sustainable way and that sustains our documents the impacts it is havingintegrated response to the seemingly rural communities. on public health. Section 3 points outdisparate food-related problems some trends for the future, highlightingaffecting public health. A healthy The interim report Towards a Healthy challenges and opportunities presentedcommunity food system approach Community Food System for by population growth and demographicgoes beyond individual behavioural Waterloo Region integrates the change. Section 4 provides objectiveschange, and examines the broader findings of a number of local studies and preliminary strategies to guidecontext in which food choices occur. relating to local agriculture, rural further planning in Waterloo Region.It seeks to build healthy communities health, food availability, buyingby considering the ways in which practices, environmental issues andsocial, economic and environmental dietary intake of the population. Inconditions determine health. The goal Section 1, the connection is madeis to create a system in which all between a community food systemresidents have access to, and can approach and the social, economicafford to buy safe, nutritious, and and environmental determinants ofculturally-acceptable food that has health. Section 2 describes the state 32
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportReferencesAAFC (Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada). 2005. Agriculture Policy Framework. Retrieved fromwww.agr.gc.ca/cb/apf/index_e.phpAAFC. May 2005. Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector.Retrieved from www.agr.gc.ca/cb/apf/pdf/bg_con_overvu_e.pdfBlock, J.P. et al. (2004). Fast food, race/ethnicity and income: A geographic analysis. American Journal of PreventiveMedicine, 27(3):211-217.Booth, S.L. et al. (2001). Environmental and societal factors affect food choice and physical activity: rationale, influencesand leverage points. Nutrition Reviews, 59(3):S21-S39.Brunner, J. “Seattle tries to restrict vending near schools”, The Seattle Times, Tuesday, May 17, 2005 Retrieved fromhttp://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002277564_vendors17m.htmlDahlberg, K.A. (1991). Sustainable agriculture – fad or harbinger? BioScience, 41(5):337-340.Drewnowski, A. (2003). Fat and sugar: an economic analysis. Journal of Nutrition, 133:838S-840S.Feenstra, G. (1997). Local food systems and sustainable communities. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture,12(1):28-36.FACTA (Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act) (U.S. Code Title 7, Chapter 64, Section 3101), Washington, DC.,2005 http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode07/usc_sec_07_00003103----000-.htmlFBWR (Food Bank of Waterloo Region)(November 2005), personal communication with W. Campbell, Associate Director.FBWR (October 2004), “Demand for local emergency food assistance mirrored in National statistics,http://www.thefoodbank.ca/documents/HungerCountResponseMediaRelease-101504.pdfRegion of Waterloo (2003), 2001 Region of Waterloo Statistical Profile: Agriculture.French, S.A. et al. (2001). Environmental Influences on eating and physical activity. Annual Review of Public Health22:309-335.Gale, F. (1999). Direct farm marketing as a rural development tool, Rural Development Perspectives 12(2):19-25.Gottlieb, et al. Community Food Security Coalition. (1996). Homeward Bound: Food-Related Transportation Strategies forLow Income and Transit Dependent Communities. Retrieved November 24, 2003 fromhttp://www.foodsecurity.org/pubs.html 33
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemGrievink, J. Cap Gemini, OECD 2003, as cited in Food, the New Ecological Public Health and Governance, Tim Lang,Centre for Food Policy, City University, London, July, 2004 Retrieved fromhttp://www.fcrn.org.uk/presentations/Tim_Lang_presentation.pdfHalweil, B. (2002). Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market, Worldwatch Paper 163http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/paper/163Hancock,T. et al. (1999). Indicators that count! Measuring population health at the community level. Canadian Journal ofPublic Health, 90(S1):22-26.HCA (Harry Cummings and Associates). (2003). Growing Food and Economy Study, Region of Waterloo Public Health.HCA. (2005). Region of Waterloo Food Flow Analysis Study, Region of Waterloo Public Health.Hora, M. and J. Tick. (2001). From Farm to Table: Making the Connection in the Mid-Atlantic Food System, Capital AreaFood Bank, Washington, DC.Horrigan, L. et al. (2002). How sustainable agriculture can address the environmental and human health harms of industrialagriculture. Environmental Health Perspectives 110(5):445-456.Lyson, T.A. (2002). Advanced agricultural biotechnologies and sustainable agriculture. Trends in Biotechnology,20(5):193-196.Maddock, J. (2004). The relationship between obesity and the prevalence of fast food restaurants: State-Level Analysis.American Journal of Health Promotion, 19(2):137-143.McCullum, C. (2004). Using sustainable agriculture to improve human nutrition and health. Journal of Community Nutrition,6(1):18-25.Meter, K. (2004). Food for Thought: Food with the Farmer’s Face on It – Emerging Community-Based Food Systems, WKKellogg Foundation.Morland, K. (2002). The contextual effect of the local food environment on residents’ diets: the atherosclerosis risk incommunities study. American Journal of Public Health, 92(11):1761-1767.Mougeot, L. (2000). Urban agriculture: definition, presence, potentials and risks. In: Bakker, N. et al. (eds). (2000). Growingcities, growing food: urban agriculture on the policy agenda. Deutsche Stiftung fuer internationale Entwicklung (DSE),Feldafing, Germany. Retrieved February 2005 from http://www.interdev-net.org/uk/theme/agriurb/pres1.html 34
  • Towards A Healthy Community Food System Interim ReportOSNPPH (Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health) School Nutrition Workgroup Steering Committee(2004). Call to Action: Creating a Healthy School Nutrition Environment, http://www.osnpph.on.ca/call_to_action.pdfPeters C. et al. (2002). Vegetable Consumption, Dietary Guidelines and Agricultural Production in New York State –Implications for Local Food Economies, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University.Pothukuchi, K. (1999). Placing the food system on the urban agenda: The role of municipal institutions in food systemsplanning, Agriculture and Human Values, 16:213-224.Raine, K.D. (2005). Determinants of healthy eating in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health 96(3):S8-S14.Reidpath, D.D. et al. (2001). An ecological study of the relationship between social and environmental determinants ofobesity. Health and Place, 8(2002):141-145.ROWPH (Region of Waterloo Public Health) (Mar. 2003), Rural Health Report.ROWPH (Feb. 2004), A Fresh Approach to Food: Local Food Buying in Waterloo Region.ROWPH (Sep. 2004), A Glance at Access to Food.ROWPH (Oct. 2004), A Glance at Diet, Weight and Diabetes.ROWPH (Nov. 2004) Region of Waterloo Public Health Peer Program Evaluation - Capacity Building through PeerProgramming.ROWPH (Mar. 2005), Promoting Local Farms in Waterloo Region: An Evaluation of the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map.ROWPH (June 2005), Optimal Nutrition Environment for Waterloo Region, 2006 – 2046.ROWPH (July 2005), The Marketing and Branding of Buy Local! Buy Fresh!ROWPH (Sep. 2005) Guidelines for Offering Healthy Foods at Meetings and Catered Events.ROWPH (Nov. 2005a), Redundant Trade Report, in progress.ROWPH (Nov. 2005b), Food Miles Study, in progress. 35
  • Interim Report Towards A Healthy Community Food SystemROWPH (Nov. 2005c) Population Health events Projections Summary, in progress.ROWPH (Nov. 2005d), Region of Waterloo Urban Agriculture Report.ROWPH (Nov. 2005e), Urban Form, Physical Activity and Health – Interim Report.ROWSS (Region of Waterloo Social Services) (2005) personal communication with N. Steinacher, Administrator, SocialDevelopment Programs.Riches, G. et al. (2004). The Human Right to Adequate Food: Canadian Case Study. Presented to the Right to FoodGuidelines, ESD Division, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United Nations, March 15, 2004.http://www.fao.org/righttofood/common/ecg/51629_en_Template_Case_Study_ Canada.pdfSoots, L.K. (2003). Home Grown: Local Food System Development in Waterloo Region, Masters Thesis for the Universityof Waterloo.Tarasuk, V. (2001b). Household food insecurity with hunger is associated with womens food intakes, health and householdcircumstances. Journal of Nutrition, 131, 2670-2676.USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) (2005).Food Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, FACTA(U.S. Code Title 7, Chapter 64, Section 3101), Washington, D.C.http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode07/usc_sec_07_00003103----000-.htmlWaltner-Toews, D. and Lang, T. (2000). The emerging model of links between agriculture, food, health, environment andsociety. Global Change and Human Health, 1(2): 116-130.Wen, J.F. (2001). Market Power in Grocery Retailing: Assessing the Evidence for Canada. Competition Bureau: Calgary.Retrieved from http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSI/ct/wen_e.pdfWilson, K., Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (2005). Annual Food Store Statistics, Ontario, 1994-2004http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/stats/food/foodstore.htmlWinson, A. (1993). The Intimate Commodity: Food and the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex in Canada,Garamond Press.WHO (2004). World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Retrieved fromhttp://who.int/hpr/gs.process.document.shtml 36