Building on a 2015 Winnipeg Public Service recommendation to explore opportunities for improving food production and security in Winnipeg, Food Matters Manitoba collaborated with community organizations, local businesses, public health experts and city planners to create the Winnipeg Food Council. Although, as an organization, we have been working towards a municipal food policy council for nearly a decade.
In consultation with the City of Winnipeg’s Urban Planning Division, we hosted a series of conversations last summer to identify food policy priorities and provide recommendations on the structure and role of the proposed food council. In anticipation of the public service report and vote at city council, we initiated an email and postcard writing campaign, engaging Winnipeg residents to share their support for the proposed food council with their city councillors and mayor. We also organized delegations to present to Winnipeg City Council in favour of the prosed food council. Delegations included CCEDNet Manitoba, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Canadian Diabetes Association Manitoba
The motion to create a Winnipeg Food Council was passed at City Hall on February 22nd.
Together, Winnipeggers took a major step towards intentional and informed municipal food policy and a more equitable and sustainable food system in our city. Nine years after the first Food Matters Manitoba discussion of a potential Winnipeg food council, we have finally arrived.
From here, The Winnipeg Planning, Property and Development department will have 120 days to select members, using an open application process and standardized assessment tool. Their recommendations will then be brought before council for approval. If all goes according to plan, we will have a working Winnipeg Food Council by the end of summer. As a city, we are proud of the step we have taken and look forward to policy developments that aim to sustain the health and prosperity of people in Winnipeg, and the land and people that feed them.
Rob Moquin is passionate about all things food, and is on a mission to learn everything he can about it. Starting out with several years of culinary experimentation in his youth, he moved on to earn an honours diploma in Culinary Arts from Red River College and, after much negotiation, was finally entrusted with his mémère’s elusive tourtière recipe. While earning his master’s degree from the Natural Resources Institute, Rob expanded his knowledge of food through participatory research on community-building through gardening, and by engaging local governments, institutions, and service organization in food systems analysis. He is thrilled to continue his learning process at Food Matters Manitoba, and apply his knowledge to positive food policy developments in Manitoba.
*The opinions expressed in blog posts are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of CCEDNet