When Michelle Obama planted the first White House vegetable garden in 60 years she wanted to spark a discussion about food and food production in America. While food security and the production of food in urban settings has been a topic of discussion for small groups of people, the First Lady’s garden has sparked interest and discussion about urban food production and has renewed people’s interest in growing their own food and knowing more about food production.
In Canada, the popularity of local eating – also called the 100 mile diet – has brought discussions of food and food policy to municipal, provincial, and federal decision makers. In Calgary a group of citizens has formed a pressure group to change bylaws restricting urban livestock so that Calgarians can raise chickens in their back yards. The University of Lethbridge recently opened its first cooperative garden, which strives to grow both a stronger community and tasty produce.
The growing demands for sustainable food production and reduced carbon emissions in the production of that food has policy makers discussing food security. What about you - are you ready to share your neighborhood with your neighbour’s livestock? What do you think a progressive food policy should look like? How do we meet the growing demands for Food Security, Food Democracy, and Food Justice?
Paul Hughes is the Chair of the Calgary Food Policy Council, a grassroots, citizen-driven initiative that aims to advocate and educate on matters of food health and sustainability, with the goal of lobbying Calgary City Council to adopt food policy that is healthy for people and the environment. Paul is also a conceptualist with Paulinate, an abstract expressionist artist, a high performance hockey coach, an urban farmer and an expert in Food Policy.