Taking Action on Food in Renfrew County
Food! It can play an important role in promoting health, building strong communities, protecting the environment and strengthening the economy. The food we eat results from a food system – a network that connects food production, processing, distribution, access, consumption, and food waste management.
A strong local Food System is one in which all residents have access to, and can afford to buy, safe, nutritious, and culturally-acceptable food that has been produced in an environmentally sustainable way and that sustains our rural communities. A strong food system can result in broad environmental, economic, social and nutritional benefits.
Food System Work is a Priority of the Healthy Communities Partnership
The Renfrew County Community Picture Report (2012) identified local policy development related to healthy eating as a priority. The report recommends:
- Policies that support local agricultural food sources and community gardens
- Policies that increase access to healthy food (e.g. local food security)
- Policies that support standards and guidelines for food served in daycares, schools, workplaces, community and recreational settings
Activities to Date
- November 2013: The Healthy Communities Partnership hosted Exploring a Sustainable Food System for Renfrew County. Participants learned about what defines a food system and the critical role a community group plays in addressing its sustainability. This includes such things as a food policy council and a food charter. Community partners did an initial assessment of the local food system, thinking about all the activities and the people involved in the growing, processing, distributing, acquiring and disposing of food in Renfrew County.
- June 2014: The Healthy Communities Partnership hosted the Roll Up Your Sleeves and Let's Get Down to Business working session to undertake a Community Food Assessment in Renfrew County. A Community Food Assessment looks at a range of food system issues including existing assets, barriers to accessing food (e.g., transportation), social/cultural issues, community programs and food policies. It gives us baseline information to inform decision-making, set priorities and make action plans to address gaps in the community food system. A Community Food Assessment Work Group was formed.
- July 2014: The Community Food Assessment Work Group received funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation for: Advocacy for Sector Engagement in the Renfrew County Food System.
- November 2014: The Community Food Assessment Work Group completed the Connect the Dots survey to identify and recruit champions from each food system sector to sit on the Renfrew County Food Council. This Council will lead the Community Food Assessment using a model followed by other groups in Ontario. See the Community Food Assessment Guide.
We want to work together to build a strong local food system for Renfrew County and District communities.
About the Community Food Assessment Work Group
- Andrea McIntrye, Food for Learning Regional Program Coordinator
- Bil Smith, Director, Community Resource Centre
- Carly Meissner, KidActive
- Carolyn Froats-Emond, Registered Dietitian, Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Charlene Whattam-Dick, Local Farm Operator
- Elizabeth Graham, Communications Officer, Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery
- Juliana Dow, Public Health Nurse, Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Larrie Thomson, Deep River and Area Food Bank
- Peggy Patterson, Program Planning and Evaluation, Renfrew County and District Health Unit
- Shawna Babcock, KidActive, Healthy Communities Partnership Coordinator
For more information email Carolyn Froats-Emond, or call 613-735-8651 x 527.