Tuesday morning, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons to address the issue of food waste. Bill C-283 would establish a National Food Waste Awareness Day, and tasks the Minister of Agriculture to establish a national strategy to reduce food waste in Canada.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of food security and food management,” Blaney said. “Canada has a lot of work to do to address the economic, social and environmental impacts of food waste. My bill is a first step in the right direction.”
The bill was seconded by Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP and NDP Critic for Agriculture Alistair MacGregor.
Food waste is a significant concern from farmers to distributors to local and regional governments. Comox Strathcona Waste Management and Tla’amin Nation near Powell River are both planning new compost facilities to address local waste management challenges. Community organizations such as the Comox Valley’s Lush Valley are providing increasing programming and education about food waste.
“I would say the majority of farms do a good job ensuring ‘ugly’ produce gets used for jams, jellies, salsa, etc., or donated, or fed to animals,” said Arzeena Hamir, organic farmer and co-chair of Farmers for Climate Solutions. “Where I think we have a problem is when it hits the supermarkets. Only a few chains have a process in place to direct unsold food for the best and highest use. I do think this should be legislated and encouraged.”
“This bill is an opportunity to examine our food system, stop the overproduction of unhealthy foods flooding the market, and ensure that excess healthy fresh food is available for all,” said Maurita Prato, Lush Valley executive director. “This examination of food waste in our food system will decrease methane production, support food security and move our food system towards a more sustainable future.”
Blaney has added a page to her website where Canadians can add their support for a national strategy on food waste at www.rachelblaney.ndp.ca/food-waste