26 people from 16 organizations attended a working session on April 20, 2017: Building a Food Systems Network for Niagara. Participants expressed strong support for developing a charter-like food systems framework for Niagara. Examining proven models that work in other communities is seen as an important next step.
The April session featured presentations by Albert Witteveen (Niagara North Federation of Agriculture), Pam Sharp (Project SHARE), and Cassandra Magazzeni (Welland Farmers’ Market). The idea of a food charter or charter-like framework was pointed to as an effective way of organizing our work together.
What we Heard
A successful food system for Niagara can be achieved through:
- Community education (e.g. June 8 – Niagara North Federation of Agriculture Regional Farm Tour Day)
- Supportive policies & legislation
- Expanded access to locally-grown food (e.g. June 7 webinar – 10 lessons on leveraging institutional food purchasing power, hosted by Food Secure Canada)
- Strong and consistent communication across the food system
- A strong local evidence base
Suggested Action Steps
- Engage a diverse group of people working across the 11 Food Systems categories to strengthen this work in Niagara.
- Facilitate strong, inclusive and consistent communication across the food system in Niagara
- Gather information about successful food charter models built by other communities, to inform development of a Niagara-focused approach to working together to achieve meaningful impact.
Niagara Connects will facilitate shared learning about successful food charter models in other communities. The value is in the process of bringing diverse partners together, to systematically strengthen connections. The intent is that collectively we can seize the opportunity for food systems to more fully contribute to Niagara’s vitality.
Executive Director, Niagara Connects