Vancouver, British Columbia Food Charter

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Vancouver, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 2/15/07

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The Vancouver Food Charter presents a vision for a food system which benefits our community and the environment. It sets out the City of Vancouver’s commitment to the development of a coordinated municipal food policy, and animates our community’s engagement and participation in conversations and actions related to food security in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver is committed to a just and sustainable food system that

  • contributes to the economic, ecological, and social well-being of our city and region;
  • encourages personal, business and government food practices that foster local production and protect our natural and human resources;
  • recognizes access to safe, sufficient, culturally appropriate and nutritious food as a basic human right for all Vancouver residents;
  • reflects the dialogue between the community, government, and all sectors of the food system;
  • celebrates Vancouver’s multicultural food traditions.

In a food-secure community, the growing, processing and distribution of healthy, safe food is economically viable, socially just, environmentally sustainable and regionally based.

Some members of our community, particularly children, do not have reliable access to safe and nutritious food. In addition, much of the food we eat travels long distances from where it is grown and processed and is dependent on fossil fuels at every stage. Dependency on imports for our food increases our impact on the environment and our vulnerability to food shortages from natural disasters or economic set-backs. Overall food security is increasingly influenced by global factors that affect our community’s ability to meet our food system goals.

Community food security needs the involvement of all members of our community, including citizens, consumers, businesses and governments. When citizens are engaged in dialogue and action around food security, and governments are responsive to their communities’ concerns and recommendations, sound food policy can be developed and implemented in all sectors of the food system and the community.

In 2002, the City of Vancouver adopted sustainability as a fundamental approach for all the City’s operations. The goal of a just and sustainable food system plays a significant role in achieving a “Sustainable Vancouver”.

Five principles guide our food system:

Community Economic Development
Locally-based food systems enhance Vancouver’s economy. Greater reliance on local food systems strengthens our local and regional economies, creates employment, and increases food security.

Ecological Health
A whole-system approach to food protects our natural resources, reduces and redirects food waste, and contributes to the environmental stability and well-being of our local, regional, and global communities.

Social Justice
Food is a basic human right. All residents need accessible, affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food. Children in particular require adequate amounts of nutritious food for normal growth and learning.

Collaboration and Participation
Sustainable food systems encourage civic engagement, promote responsibility, and strengthen communities. Community food security improves when local government collaborates with community groups, businesses, and other levels of government on sound food system planning, policies and practices.

Sharing food is a fundamental human experience. Food brings people together in celebrations of community and diversity.

To create a just and sustainable food system, we in Vancouver can:

  • Be leaders in municipal and regional food-related policies and programs
  • Support regional farmers and food producers
  • Expand urban agriculture and food recovery opportunities
  • Promote composting and the preservation of healthy soil
  • Encourage humane treatment of animals raised for food
  • Support sustainable agriculture and preserve farm land resources
  • Improve access to healthy and affordable foods
  • Increase the health of all members of our city
  • Talk together and teach each other about food
  • Celebrate our city’s diverse food cultures