The Maple Leaf Foods Sustainability Action Committee hosted a spirited Eat. Think. Vote. panel discussion at the company’s ThinkFOOD! Centre. The topic focused on the urgent need to address food insecurity in Canada.

“Food insecurity is a problem of national and global proportions and interlocking policy areas,” said Michael H. McCain, President and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods. “It cannot be solved in policy silos or by companies acting in isolation. It requires public support and coordinated action. It cannot be solved with industry in pitched battle with the environmental movement or other stakeholders. It requires a national Food Strategy for Canada.”

The panel included Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada; Dr. Evan Fraser, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security at the University of Guelph; Ron Bonnett, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture; Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Liberal candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s; and Michelle Bilek, NDP candidate for Mississauga-Erin Mills. The three major political parties were invited to present their views at the event.

Eat. Think. Vote. events are being held across the country, encouraging discussion regarding critical food security and sustainability issues leading up to the federal election.

“We are calling for a bold new national food policy based on the goals of zero hunger, healthy and safe food and a more sustainable food system,” said Bronson. It will take more than the marketplace to create a healthy and sustainable food system and we need to do more than individually ‘vote with our forks’ when buying groceries – we need to engage with politicians who want us to vote for them.”

“Developing the ways and means to sustainably, equitably and ethically feed the world population will be one of the defining challenges for the next 50 years,” said Dr. Fraser. “The solution is so much more than simply producing more food. We need to ensure marginalized people have the economic means to demand good food; our food production needs to be better for biodiversity; and we need to establish better safety nets to protect at-risk societies against food crises.”

A webcast of the Eat. Think. Vote. discussion is available, here.

Food Secure Canada is an alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty.

Dr. Fraser is an associate of the University of Guelph Food Institute and a Fellow of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. He is the founder of the Feeding 9 Billion Challenge at the University of Guelph, which brings like-minded students together from diverse academic backgrounds to drive change for better food security globally.

Maple Leaf Foods’ Sustainability Action Committee is an employee-led team focused on engaging Maple Leaf employees on the importance of sustainable food production in Canada and globally.