May 2012 Community Meeting: Everything you ever wanted to know… about local food systems!

On May 7th, over 40 community members met at Metro Hall for the last community meeting of the year. This meeting featured a group of very special panelists: Lauren Baker, Coordinator of the TFPC, Rod McRae, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environment Studies, York University; Jamie Reaume, Executive Director, Holland Marsh Growers Association; and Carly Dunster, Food Lawyer, CD Lawyer.

The TYFPC also made special announcement! We are looking for 6 council members: Vice-Chair, Operations Lead, IT & Social Media Guru, Network Lead, and two Advocacy Leads. See here for more information.

For additional job and events from the community, please see the full community meeting minutes.

Our first panel speaker, Rod McRae gave us his list of top 10 things he saw as problems, and top 10 actions we can take. For instances, some of the problems we currently face include: our current food system does not feed everyone;  there is an emphasis on trade in the food system; and, the lack of planning and design in the food system, which results in gaps and market failures.  On the other hand, actions we can take include: transition planning of farming development and taking a multi-sectoral collaborative approach; expanding community food hub models; and, pushing for for local sustainable procurement. For the full lists of problems and actions, see the full community meeting minutes.

Jamie Reaume gave us the top 10 reason we won’t see farming, the way we want to see it in his presentation entitled The pressure cooker: Impacts on farmers. Save the farmer, save the land. Some of the reasons he identified include: the differing viewpoints from farmers, consumers, and the markets; ever-changing technology, land, and culture; mother nature and the environment; and, the large number of rules and regulations around farming and food. For the full list see the full community meeting minutes.

Last, but not least, Carly Dunster gave us the know-how on starting sustainable food businesses. She emphasized the need for: putting your ideas in a business plan, and viewing it as a long term process; if available, connecting to existing initiatives and not reinventing the wheel; and taking the time to understand laws, rules and regulations that govern the food system. For more tips and details, read the full community meeting minutes.

We would like to thank Lauren Baker for her excellent moderation of our panel discussion.

For a list of the Q&A during the meeting, see the full community meeting minutes.

See our facebook page for additional photos from the meeting!

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