The regional council of Halifax – the provincial capital of Nova Scotia in Canada – recently endorsed a portion of its JustFOOD Action Plan. The food plan for the Halifax Region is a long-range strategy for building a healthy, just, sustainable food system, providing measurable steps to support community food security and strengthen the food system. The Council also pledged to make Halifax a signatory to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, an international protocol aimed at tackling food-related issues at the municipal level. The Halifax Region has a reported food insecurity rate of 18.6%, compared to 15.9% across the ten Canadian provinces.
The approved portion of the plan – Part A – will prepare for the establishment of the regional food system. It provides 56 recommendations for positive food system change through six principles:
- Governance – enhancing collaboration among government departments and agencies;
- Social and economic equity – increasing community food sovereignty, to address racial inequities and the root causes of food insecurity;
- Food production – supporting and strengthening sustainable local food production;
- Food supply, processing, and distribution – ensuring a sustainable and efficient supply and distribution of food in the region;
- Health, wellness, and resilience – promoting and supporting access to nutritious food; and
- Food waste reduction.
Part A will go on to serve as a benchmark that will be monitored, evaluated, and refined by community and Plan partners over time. JustFOOD Working Groups will bring together a diverse group of community and government stakeholders to implement a community-based, collective-impact approach to implementing the key recommendations.
Part B of the Plan is currently being developed, and will include formal commitments to actions from food system partners, as well as the strategies needed to bring the Plan into reality. A complete Plan, including Part A and Part B, will be brought to the Halifax Regional Council for approval in the Fall of 2023.