To build a more just and sustainable local food system in Thunder Bay that promotes social justice and supports local production, storage, processing, sale and distribution of food.
Through the simple act of eating, we interact with the earth’s natural systems on a daily basis. The way food is grown, processed, transported, consumed, and disposed of is central to the sustainability of communities and the well-being of local economies, families, and individuals.
Developing a stronger food system closer to home will help reduce the size of our ecological footprint by cutting down on energy use, as well as protecting food producing space and related biodiversity for generations to come. Access to safe, nutritious and affordable food also affects the health and well-being of individuals and communities. By making conscious decisions to build healthy and accessible food environments, food can be a powerful tool to improve quality of life. It is estimated that if every household in Ontario spent $10 a week on local food, we would have an additional $2.4 billion in our local economy at the end of the year and create 10,000 new jobs. Urban farms, rooftop greenhouses, and small-scale processors are up and coming examples of how food is transforming cities and positioning itself as able to respond to many of the social, economic and environmental challenges of our day.
In Thunder Bay, the Food Action Network (FAN), established in 1995, was an early pioneer in improving the local food system and has been involved in establishing the Regional Food Distribution Association and Good Food Box program, and promoting local food through farmers markets, community gardens and kitchens, and gleaning programs. In 2008, the City of Thunder Bay and the District Social Services Board endorsed the Thunder Bay Food Charter, which is a set of principles that help guide decisions, policies and collaboration for building a robust local food system. In early 2012, FAN, in collaboration with the City and surrounding municipalities, held a Regional Food Summit that identified the development of a Food Strategy as a necessary next step. There are many players involved in Thunder Bay’s local food movement including educators, farmers, health care professionals, anti-poverty advocates, First Nations, civil servants, and many others. The Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy is built on seven pillars of a sustainable food system.
The City of Thunder Bay, and community partners will work together to promote food systems change in the following areas :
A. Forest and Fresh Water Foods: Increase our region’s knowledge of available forest and fresh water foods and their sustainable harvest, protect and conserve forest and fresh water food ecosystems, and support a diverse and sustainable forest and fresh water foods economy within the region. This economy includes both harvesting for personal consumption and the development of commercial opportunities.
B. Urban Agriculture: Increase food production in the urban landscape and support the participation of citizens in urban agriculture activities.
C. School Food Environments: Improve the eating habits, food skills and food literacy of children and youth in Thunder Bay and Area through supportive healthy school food environments.
D. Food Access: Create a food system in Thunder Bay and Area based on the principle that food is a human right, not a commodity, and in which all community members have regular access to adequate, affordable, nutritious, safe and culturally appropriate food in a way that maintains dignity.
E. Food Production: Protect and encourage growth in farm-scale production so that a greater proportion of food is grown, raised, prepared, processed, and purchased closer to home.
F. Food Procurement: Leverage procurement food spending to develop a public sector food supply chain that contributes to the economic, ecological and social wellbeing of Thunder Bay and Area through food purchases that foster local production, processing, and distribution.
G. Food Infrastructure: Support the creation of a local food supply chain that links production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management to make local food more accessible and the supply chain more economically and environmentally efficient.Learn more about the Objectives and Recommended Actions:
The City of Thunder Bay and Earthcare are partners in the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy.