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e-3290 (Food and drink)

E-petition
Initiated by Vickey Brown from Cumberland, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled

Whereas:
  • Farmers’ Markets are a key tool for COVID-19 recovery as small business incubators, domestic food system resilience and security builders and Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Programs (FMNCPs) are a key support for new and existing farmers’ market development and their provincial associations or equivalent;
  • FMNCPs helps create food security and resiliency by providing vulnerable people access to healthy locally grown foods and dietary education while improving the physical and mental health of participants by increasing the amount and diversity of fruits and vegetables they consume;
  • FMNCPs increase domestic food supply, sustainable farming and farmers by providing a secure source of income via farmers’ market sales, and these farmers are key stakeholders in climate change mitigation, adaptation and prevention;
  • The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets with its long-term experience and partnership with the province, provides an excellent model for FMNCP, providing almost 16,000 vulnerable families, seniors and pregnant women with access to weekly coupons, and $1.9 million to local farmers; and
  • As there is a waiting list in all communities participating in BC’s program, a national matching program would assist in meeting that demand, supporting those provinces who have a provincial program to expand and encourage provinces without a program to create one.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to initiate a national matching program for all provincial FMNCPs across Canada that would match provinces who are already contributing to their FMNCP and encourage provinces that do not have such a program to implement one by offering matching funding.

Response by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, PC, MP

On June 17, 2019, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) launched the first Food Policy for Canada, a whole-of-government approach supporting the vision that “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.”

The Food Policy for Canada is an ambitious initiative, the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including agricultural producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates.Recognizing the importance of helping communities access healthy food, AAFC is delivering the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, a Food Policy initiative with $50 million in funding to strengthen local food systems and to facilitate access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations.

The first phase of the Local Food Infrastructure Fund provided up to $25,000 for 362 projects for a total investment of $6.6 million. This funding supported projects including community gardens, the purchase of refrigerated trucks, kitchen and other equipment needed to prepare, store and distribute food, and the installation of solar panels and irrigation systems.

In April 2020, the Government launched the Emergency Food Security Fund, to help improve access to food for people experiencing food insecurity in Canada that has been exacerbated as a result of COVID-19. Through this initiative, AAFC has made available up to $200 million to food banks and other food assistance organizations to support the urgent food needs of Canadians.

The Government of Canada invested an additional $140 million in 2021-22 through Budget 2021 to top up the Emergency Food Security Fund and Local Food Infrastructure Fund.

As Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Programs (FMNCPs) help address food insecurity by providing vulnerable people access to healthy locally grown foods, funding may be available as part of the Emergency Food Security Fund through contacting the intermediary organizationsthat distribute funding.

In British Columbia, the FMNCP program is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Provincial Health Services Authority and community donors. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Multisectoral Partnership Program supported a similar initiative, with an investment of $1.5M from 2020 to 2024 to expand Community Food Centres Canada’s Market Greens initiative to 30 locations across Canada. The Market Greens initiative supports increased access to low-cost fresh produce markets and offers fruit and vegetable vouchers/coupons that can be used at participating local affordable markets.

Thank you for sharing your proposal to improve Canadians’ access to healthy, local foods through farmers markets and FMNCPs. The Government of Canada remains committed to considering all opportunities to improve food security for Canadians and a vibrant, productive agriculture sector in Canada.

Open for signature
March 24, 2021, at 5:22 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 23, 2021, at 5:22 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni)
April 30, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00899)
Government response tabled
June 14, 2021
Photo - Gord Johns
Courtenay—Alberni
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia
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