Monday, July 4, 2011

Just Food Barn Raising

Last month I participated in the Just Food Barn Raising which celebrated the launch of the Community Food and Agriculture Hub as well as providing information about the Food for All project and the Community Garden Project in Ottawa. It was an honour to speak on behalf of my food policy team, and it was extremely inspiring to hear everyone speak about their passion for local, sustainable, healthy, accessible food!

Here is what I shared with the crowd:

Hi everyone, my name is Heather Heagney and I write a food blog called After the Harvest. I got involved with the Food Action Plan because, let’s face it: I’m a “food blogger”, and I love anything to do with food. Seriously though, my love for food certainly involves amazing flavours, but the issues surrounding food are my true passion.

Issues like: Where is my food coming from? Who’s growing it and raising it, and how is it being produced? Why is it that in some neighbourhoods there are 5 or 6 fast food outlets and not one grocery store selling fresh produce? How can we ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy, affordable food? These are questions I think about a lot, and getting involved in the Food Action Plan seemed like a great way to start trying to answer them.

The policy-writing team I worked with focused on Community Food Access.

As a team, we came up with ideas such as:
  • healthy corner stores that would help eliminate areas with poor access to food;
  • changes in urban planning and zoning to better support a local food economy; and...
  • the creation of a pilot project which would make fresh, local food available for sale on OC Transpo property.
I truly enjoyed working with my team on this project, and it was inspiring to know that there were so many of us in little pockets around the city, passionately discussing and working on new food policies for Ottawa.

Access to food is a basic human right and I think we can all agree that food is an extremely important part of our lives. It is my hope that as a community we can continue to work together to make positive change in our food system and to create better access to food for all.

Thank you.

The whole experience was really amazing. I was lucky enough to make a speech on behalf of my blog for the first time ever, I planted a pepper seedling at the new Just Food offices, and I was inspired by a community of local, sustainable food activists! Can't wait to see what's new in Just Food's world in the months and years to come.

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