Q. What is food policy?
A. “A food policy is a decision, program or project, endorsed by a government agency, business, or organization, which affects how food is produced, processed, distributed, purchased, protected and disposed. Food policy can be local, regional, provincial, national or within an institution.” -from Vancouver Food Policy Council website
Q. What is food security?
A. The Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University offers a very useful definition of food security it has coined “the 5 A’s of food security”:
Availability – sufficient food for all people at all times
Accessibility – physical and economic access to food for all at all times
Adequacy – access to food that is nutritious and safe, and produced in environmentally sustainable ways
Acceptability – access to culturally acceptable food, which is produced and obtained in ways that do not compromise people’s dignity, self-respect or human rights
Agency – the policies and processes that enable the achievement of food security
Q. What is food sovereignty and how does it differ from food security?
A. “Food sovereignty” is a term coined by members of Via Campesina in 1996. It is a term used to describe the rights that people have to define their own food systems. Advocates of food sovereignty put the people who produce, distribute and consume food at the centre of decisions on food systems and policies, rather than the demands of markets and corporations that they believe have come to dominate the global food system.
The concept of food sovereignty takes food security to another level. Not only should all individuals have the right to food that is available, accessible, adequate and acceptable and have agency, food sovereignty recognizes the importance of all of the people associated with the food production chain and ensures that their voices are heard and that power is equally central to decision making around food policies and practices as it is to its production.
Q. What factors affect food policy?
A. There are many factors that affect food policy including (and not limited to) regulations, standards, licensing, health and safety, social norms, politics and relevant issues to a jurisdiction. Just as important are stakeholders who may affect food policy. Some prominent actors include school districts, civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, governmental departments and agencies, advocacy groups, to name a few! Most importantly, anyone can get involved in affecting food policy change by joining up with one of these types of actors (like us!) or creating a group of your own…
Q. How does food policy affect me?
A. Food policy affects you in a variety of ways! Food policies provide the blueprint for how your food is grown, produced, regulated, inspected, how it travels, where it is sold, and at what cost. In addition, food policies affect the ways in which food retailers and restaurants operate. Food policies also have the power to shape the kinds of food environments in your community through zoning, licensing and regulatory frameworks.
Q. What is a food policy council?
A. Food Policy Councils (FPCs) bring together stakeholders from diverse food-related sectors to examine how the food system is operating and to develop recommendations on how to improve it. FPCs may take many forms, but are typically either commissioned by state or local governments, or are predominately a grassroots effort. Food policy councils have been successful at educating officials and the public, shaping public policy, improving coordination between existing programs, and starting new programs. Examples include mapping and publicizing local food resources; creating new transit routes to connect underserved areas with full-service grocery stores; persuading government agencies to purchase from local farmers; and organizing community gardens and farmers’ markets.
While FPC’s are not a new concept, their structures, practices, and policies are still evolving. Although the first Food Policy Council started 30 years ago in the city of Knoxville, only in the last decade have Food Policy Councils really gained momentum, and today there are almost 200 active councils in North America alone.
The above definition was provided by The Community Food Security Coalition a great resource if you have an interest in learning more about FPCs!
Q. What is our definition of youth?
A. The TYFPC’s definition of youth is under the age of 30. However you don’t have to be under the age of 30 to get involved with us, attend our bi-monthly community meetings, or to share your thoughts and ideas with us.
Q. How can I get involved with the TYFPC?
A. There are several ways you can get involved in our council! Our council structure is made up of what we call is the 3 C’s of council membership.
Community Member: By attending our community meetings, events or staying in touch through our newsletter you become an active member of our always growing community. If you are looking to submit a general volunteer application please fill out our contact form here!
Committee Member: If you are interested in a more active role on the council please take a look at our three committees. You can join in on one of our exciting projects by getting in contact with the committee lead.
Council Member: Every year we go through a council expansion where we bid farewell to any outgoing council members and open our door (and application process) to new council members. If you are interested in a more involved and regular volunteer committment please keep an eye out for our expansion in the Spring/Summer time!
Q. Besides the TYFPC , how can I get involved in other areas of food policy/food security?
A. Besides our council and community, there are lots of other places you can go to learn about local food policy issues. One great place is to start is the Toronto Food Policy Council. We also recommend checking out Meal Exchange, Food Forward, Food Share, The Stop Community Food Centre, Cultivate Toronto and Local Food Plus….just for starters!