Will a National Food Policy Be Realistic for Commercial-Scale Farming?

Canada is moving towards a national food policy, so says the marching orders handed down to federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay in mandate letters set out last fall.

Prime Minister Trudeau has tasked MacAulay to “develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more healthy, high-quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.”

This isn’t the first time a government has broached the subject of a national food strategy, however, MacAulay has it placed rather high on the the to-do list. The wheels of consultation are in motion — Greg Meredith, an assistant deputy minister of Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, is chairing the committee, and a recent Toronto-based meeting saw a wide-range of those involved in food lay out their wish list for the coming food strategy. Formal consultations begin in 2017.

Ron Bonnett, president of the Canadian Federation of Agricutlure, has been part of the national food strategy discussion for years. In fact, it was over 4 years ago, that RealAgriculture’s Bern Tobin first interviewed Bonnett outlined the challenge at hand.

Bonnett outlines, in the interview below, the importance of keeping farming competitive, recognizing the importance of exports to Canadian agriculture, keeping social issues and food issues separate, and making sure that commercial agriculture is represented in consultation, all within the context of a national food strategy.

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