Canadians have access to abundant food at prices that are economical for most of us, but our production methods increasingly threaten this security. There are enormous energy inputs into the planting, harvesting, processing, packaging and transport of our foods, so the economy depends on the availability of cheap fuels. And the availability of cheap fuels cannot be taken for granted any more.
In the lead-up to the economic collapse of late 2008, food prices soared globally along with the price of oil, leading to economic and political instability, with food riots in dozens of countries. The instability in turn heightens threats to global food security. Recently, the democratic crises in North Africa and the Middle East have everything to do with food prices and food security, as oil prices rise again. Governments are tumbling as desperate, hungry people defiantly take to the streets and face bullets to demand food for their families.
While the rise in global food prices has so far not been as crippling for families making North American incomes, in some ways we are even more vulnerable than families in Mexico, India or Brazil. That’s because the production of staples for those countries is still relatively local. Serious supply disruptions to Canadian cities could have very rapid and catastrophic impacts.
What’s more, the quality of our food is declining as more and more of our food is pre-prepared, pre-packaged and pre-infused with pesticides and preservatives.
We need to ensure that Canadian farmers can produce nutritious food locally, and that they can make a decent living doing so. The Green Party supports organic agriculture, family farms and local distribution. We want clear and honest labeling in markets, grocery stores and restaurants. We want to promote good health and the conservation of water and soil so that our children can also enjoy fresh, local food.