Food matters to you and to all of us. So let’s make sure food matters to our politicians. That’s the rationale for the campaign entitled Eat Think Vote, outlined on the site of Food Secure Canada http://campaign.foodsecurecanada.org/, the dynamic national alliance of organizations and people aiming to make our food systems just, healthy, and ecological.
Gordon Neighbourhood House was the site of an Eat Think Vote event, on the evening of Monday, Sept 21, where federal candidates for Vancouver Centre spoke about food and responded to questions – including the need for a national food policy and the troublesome lack of school programs for children who may not get adequate healthy sustenance at home. Panelists were the Green Party’s Lisa Barrett, Liberal candidate Hedy Fry, and New Democratic Party candidate Constance Barnes.
Each candidate outlined a few of their personal, and their party’s, positions. Liberal Hedy Fry talked about the importance of food policy, and said she is particularly concerned about food safety and the lack of adequate attention to that issue from the Conservative government. Constance Barnes said the NDP believes food is a right, that it has championed school food programs, and that she would like to see a ban on the advertising of food to children. Lisa Barrett said that our societies need to stop thinking of food as a commodity, and ensure that all are fed. She said the Green party would develop a Council of Canadian Governments to help levels of government work together on big issues like food.
The session was a useful introduction to the three candidates and their parties. I spoke afterward with Paul Taylor, executive director of Gordon Neighbourhood House. He agreed that these kinds of events are useful for audience members – but also that such public discussions affect the politicians themselves by encouraging them to put food higher on their priority lists.
Part of the 2015 West End Food Festival, the Eat Think Vote session was co-organized and sponsored by Gordon Neighbourhood House, the Vancouver Food Policy Council, BC Food Systems Network, Neighbourhood Food Networks, and the Vancouver Urban Farming Society.
By Eleanor Boyle
GNH Community Journalist/Blogger
Photos taken by Matt Schroeter.