Today, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, visited Quest Food Exchange where she highlighted a $26.3 million investment through the recently launched Food Policy for Canada to reduce food waste.
Responsible for one in eight jobs across the country, our food sector is a powerhouse of the economy, particularly in our rural communities. However, more needs to be done to improve our food system. For example, we waste more than 11 million metric tons of food every year, worth nearly $50 billion.
The Government is discussing with key organizations concerned with food waste over the coming months to finalize the terms of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge, which will launch in early 2020. The challenge is a $20 million investment that will fund the most innovative food waste reduction proposals in key areas such as the food processing, grocery retail and food service sectors. Minister Bibeau also announced that the Government of Canada is leading by example and will invest $6.3 million to cut its own food waste in federal facilities.
Challenges are internationally recognized innovative funding models used to address complex issues. Challenges shift the programming focus from an activity-based approach to one centred on outcomes and impact, with solutions that demonstrate tangible, measurable results for Canadians.
The Food Policy for Canada is the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates.
The vision for the Food Policy for Canada developed through these consultations is: All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food. Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.
To realize this vision, the Government of Canada is investing $134 million through Budget 2019, to support new initiatives in key action areas, including:
- a Local Food Infrastructure Fund designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food;
- a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
- support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
- new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition;
- taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program;
- the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council to bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the food challenges of today, as well as the future of Canada’s food system.
The Food Policy for Canada aligns with the objectives of initiatives across the Federal Government, such as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Heathy Eating Strategy, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, among others.
“Food loss and waste is an important issue – one that, if addressed, would help save consumers money, contribute to food security, improve the efficiency of the agriculture and food sector, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Food Policy for Canada’s Food Waste Reduction Challenge is an important step towards achieving our vision of a sustainable food system, one that provides safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food for all Canadians.” Says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
• Starting now and throughout the summer, AAFC will engage with key stakeholders for the design phase of the Food Waste Reduction Challenge. This exercise will consist of developing a detailed framework for the Challenge, including specifics on the following: defining the target audience and potential applicants; outlining the external engagement process and external communication plans; scoping the challenge process, including use of stages, prizes, facilitation grants to assist in final proposals; and
• Developing the selection criteria and the use of an external expert jury.
• Specific activities of focus for the Challenge will be refined through the engagement process. Preliminary work carried out by Environment and Climate Change Canada, in collaboration with AAFC, has identified several key contributors to food loss and waste in each of the three sectors. Examples of projects that could emerge and be supported through the Challenge based on this preliminary work, include, but are not limited to: food processing – developing effective food processing equipment and addressing line production inefficiencies; grocery retail – establishing efficient inventory forecasting tools to limit oversupply; instituting protocols and methods to ensure food rescue and redistribution; and food service – developing pricing strategies based on encouraging consumption of certain foods to clear out inventory and reduce waste.
• Eligible participants of the Challenge could include for-profit and non-profit organizations, Indigenous organizations, community groups, Canadian academic institutions, regional and municipal governments, and individuals.
• Quest Food Exchange is a not-for-profit organization that works with food suppliers who donate their surplus food to individuals and families facing food security challenges in British Columbia. The organization’s mission is to reduce hunger with dignity, build community, and foster sustainability. Last year, Quest Food Exchange redistributed more than $9.7 million worth of surplus quality food, donated by more than 190 food supplier partners.
• The Food Policy for Canada will also help the country meet its commitments under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems.