Local Food Initiatives in the Context of Global Trade
In what can be seen as the best of times and the worst of times, food security experts from Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Toronto, Canada met for a day-long exchange of experiences and perspectives on Thursday July 10, 2003.
As trade agreements increasingly seek to control agriculture and food policies, is there any point in looking to municipal government and city local action as the way to advance a positive political and social food agenda? If so, what kinds of programs and policies work best to reduce hunger, increase the viability of local and sustainable agriculture, and promote healthy eating?
Food activists in Belo Horizonte and Toronto are implementing some of the most advanced food programs in the world. There has been a 20-year history of exchanges and visits between activists in Canada and Brazil. On July 10th there was a special opportunity for Toronto City officials, politicians, grass roots activists and academics to meet three important Brazilian food security leaders.
The morning discussion featured presentations highlighting what Toronto and Belo Horizonte are doing to deal with issues of hunger, food security and social and environmental sustainability.
10:00 am. A Tale of Two Cities: Toronto and Belo Horizonte:
Cecilia Rocha, Ryerson University
Adriana Aranha, Municipal Secretariat of Supplies, Belo Horizonte
Susan Sheppard, Toronto Food Policy Council
Debbie Field, FoodShare Toronto
1:30-3:30. Can we move outside the current restrictive agricultural trade context and trade agreements to create a new food system?
Mark Muller, Director, Environment and Agriculture Program, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Renato Maluf , Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFFRJ) and the recently created Reference Centre for Food and Nutritional Security, in Rio de Janeiro
Harriet Friedmann, University of Toronto Sociology Department
Francisco (Chico) Menezes Director of Policies and Planning at the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses (Ibase)
Questions addressed during discussion:
What do the examples of food security programs in Toronto and Belo Horizante tell us about:
EnviReform gratefully acknowledges the funding of SSHRC