I felt very fortunate to have been given the chance, through Development and Peace’s Sow Much Love photo contest, to attend Food Secure Canada’s 8th National Assembly in Halifax from November 13-15, 2014.
The congregation of food sovereignty proponents of all ages and from such diverse backgrounds as farming, academia, politics, and activism created a vibrant space of idea-sharing and contagious energy. The dialogue focused on sustainable food for all, within Canada and across the globe. As an undergrad student in international development, with a particular interest in food sovereignty, global food systems, and food production practices, I found the assembly to be immensely motivating and engaging!
Over the course of the weekend, many issues relating to social justice and access to food were articulated and analyzed. Some of these issues included access to healthy foods within Canadian schools and Indigenous communities, climate change and ecological agriculture, water management, global agrifood supply chains, equitable national food policy, and the role of small farmers in feeding the planet.
I attended panels and breakout sessions on the close relationship between seed security and food security, on how speculative finance is coming to shape the global food system, and on the role that Canada can play in a global transition to sustainable agriculture.
There was plenty of opportunity throughout the weekend to discuss these topics with other assembly attendees, and to explore possible answers to the overriding question: “What bold actions are we going to take to create deep and lasting change?”
It was exciting to see the overlap between the message of Development and Peace in this year’s fall campaign and such inspirational voices as environmentalist and social justice activist Dr. Vandana Shiva. In a panel on earth democracy and sustainable food production, Dr. Shiva said: “It’s out of small steps that big things happen. We’ve got to become local in our production systems, but global in our solidarity.”