guaranteed annual food

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Tigana Tigana's picture

I wish social services worked better for the poor who need it. SS too often is an empty menu (phrase Ennir's) and serves the people who offer the services more than it offers services. 

p-sto

Nothing it's an irrational emotional response to the state having increased autonomy over an individual.  However, logically it's quite sensible.

susan davis

i really like the idea of locally grown and healthy.i watch the little old guys'n gals in the DTES wither away to  nothing. men and women getting liver cancer from constantly eating bad food.

at one point, one of the bar restaurants had switched out real potatoes for powdered because the cook was lazy and didn't want to peel them....you could see peoples skin colour change, they looked grey...

i am lucky, my partner is a butcher and we eat canadian grown and well.i would so be in support of measures to improve quality of food and food for all.

Tigana Tigana's picture

Thank you, Susan, for joining this thread.

Completely agree about the seniors - almost weep when I see them hobble by with with white bread and bottles of Coke which do nothing for their health. And the guys on meds in the halfway house around the corner - so much could be done for their mental clarity with good food. 

Each of us can start a garden co-op or plot in out neighbourhood - and we have all  winter to plan it. 

p-sto

I'm not against the idea of locally grown food but I think that there are short falls that need to be addressed and I'm still not seeing how it fits in to the access to food debate.

Merely creating more local agriculture operations on a large scale is exceptionally wasteful unless it's part of a comprehensive plan to transition the agriculture industry.  Canada already produces plenty of food, so much so that it's among the world's leading exporters of a number of agricultural products.  Food is already being produced, edible healthy food.  You may consider that growing locally is more environmentally friendly but that's only if the increase in local production is met by a decrease in conventional production.  Otherwise it's using more resources to produce something we already have and creating a greater environmental burden.

And it still begs the question of how this creates better access to food, we already have plently but people still go with out.  Money or food cards still seem to be the most sensible way to go to ensure that those who have difficulty accessing the abundance of food that is available may better do so.  I could be wrong but I would imagine that most low income people it is lack of money that keeps them from getting the food they need.

Out of curiousity how would the co-op model work?  I could see some low income people benefiting from it but I also imagine that for others it would still be quite inaccessible.

HeywoodFloyd

What food are you talking about that we export and that by implication we shouldn't be exporting.

We export wheats as our climate is ideal for its production. We can produce far more than we could ever consume.

p-sto

I'm not saying export is bad, but I'm saying that it demonstrates excatly what you say production beyond our capcity to consume.  I'm not sure that increased production is a solution to hunger when we already produce so much.

You'll have to forgive me for being vague because it's been a few years since I've looked at the numbers (I can try to track them down later if you wish).  If I recall correctly Canada is among the world leaders for exporting wheat and selected live stock products.  A healthy diet also requires fruits and vegtables, I'm hard pressed to believe that there's a shortage of either but I'll see what data I can find over the weekend.

HeywoodFloyd

TY, p-sto (ps, where did the handle come from. It reminds me of 'pissed off' or 'pistol')

I agree with you about the fruit and vegetables. We may be able to produce enough veggies for our diets in Canada but I'm hard pressed to believe that we have the capacity to produce enough fruit. Our two great fruit regions (the Okanagan and the Niagra region) use that capacity to product wine.

p-sto

I seem to have boxed myself into a corner invoking trade the way that I did, but with my research background in school it's where my head went first.  But if Canada's climate is more suited to vegetables than fruit it's likely even with more localised production there would be some need to import from those south of us.  It still doesn't change my unlying arguement that without a comprehensive approach to adapting the agriculture industry we're simply creating redundant supply by encouraging local production and ignoring conventional agriculture.  It is somewhat complicated now by the fact that it would require international coordination to accomplish anything but that's a reality that needs to be addressed.

With respect to the handle it's nothing so sinister, just my first initial and the first three letters of my last name.  Although considering the possible word associations maybe it's troubling that that is where I gravitated.  Although on another forum where I use the same handle it was commented that it made one person think of pesto.  It is what you make of it I suppose. Wink

HeywoodFloyd

I think I agree with everything you've said, and what you've said is both insightful and never been said in such an effective way on babble before.

 

Thank you.

p-sto

Actually I had a few minutes free so I looked it up quickly, seems I may have been wrong to about our production capicity.  Seems Canada produced enough for 218.77 grams or 7.72 ounces of vegetables per person per day and 61 grams or 2.15 ounces of fruit per person per day in 2007.  Trends seem to suggest that in may have been an off few years for fruit production or that Canada may be scaling back it's capicity.  This is according to statistics from Stastistics Canada and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.  Anyone have any idea about what the recommended guide lines for consumptions are?

Concerns regarding redundant supply still stand considering our ability to import.

ETA: Thanks Heywood.  Glad you appreciate my words.  Also thankful to you for pointing out the weaknesses in my presentation.  I tend to make more sense when given the proper checks.

HeywoodFloyd

I think the fundamental question that needs to be answered is: Is it better for all regions to be able to produce enough food for their inhabitants so that they will have a complete diet, or is it better for the regions to produce food that they are best suited to produce and ship it to all other regions as needed?

I don't know what the answer is. As an example, I love wood roasted pineapple. I live in Canada, which is not known for its ability to produce pineapple. Should Canada forgoe pineapple as we cannot produce it?

 

Tigana Tigana's picture

Pineapples  (bromeliads) we can grow indoors/ in a green house.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapples

But OMG loss of fruit trees in Golden Horseshoe...

http://people.becon.org/~pals/

km1818

HeywoodFloyd wrote:

I think the fundamental question that needs to be answered is: Is it better for all regions to be able to produce enough food for their inhabitants so that they will have a complete diet, or is it better for the regions to produce food that they are best suited to produce and ship it to all other regions as needed?

I don't know what the answer is. As an example, I love wood roasted pineapple. I live in Canada, which is not known for its ability to produce pineapple. Should Canada forgoe pineapple as we cannot produce it?

 

The issue is not whether one region or another should produce a particular crop. Some regions can produce some crops, such as pineapple, more efficiently than others. The issue is: who owns the crop when it is produced? Those who actually do the work should own the crop. Anybody who doesn't work doesn't get to eat, like Conservative MPs. 

HeywoodFloyd

Perfect. So don't eat my potatoes, unless I chose to sell them to you.

km1818

You don't get to sell them unless you grew them. 

Farmpunk

I had an illuminating discussion one time with a manager at the London Food Bank.  Her husband is also known as the only Federal Liberal left in my part of SouthWestern Ontario.

"Why don't food banks try and connect with local farmers?"

"I've never thought of that."

The conversation was quite a bit more detailed than that but the end result is the same: there is no infrastructure in place to process or deliver locally grown food locally. 

There are a lot of vegetables that can be grown and stored for long periods of time.  We grow a variety of cabbage that stays "fresh" for over six months.  Same for carrots, squash, turnips, onions, garlic, etc.  If you stroll through even a big box store these food items are cheap and often Canadian or Ontario grown.  I don't see a lot of overarching consumer interest in this food. 

So while I'm supportive of the idea behind helping low income people buy food... it's not just as easy as e-vouchers vs paper.  The political and business interests in the food industry are numerous and deeply entrenched, and that's why logical ideas like helping people buy food that's cheap to grow and transport and process - supplying farmers with a steady market and local people with jobs in the food sector beyond handing someone another cup of Tim's and a breakfast burrito through a drive through window - is more of a fantasy than a reality. 

Heywood... fruit can be grown in Ontario beyond Niagara.  The entire north shore of Lake Erie from Niagara to Windsor could support an insane variety of soft fruit production.  Guess how many peach farmers are left in this area? 

To be honest, I'd be much more in support of an idea that creates local food processing\manufacturing.  That would create jobs, a market for farmers, and then people would have a steadier income with which to whet their own appetites.  But competing in an overall food marketplace that rewards salt\suger\fat\cheap imports is extremely difficult. 

I suggest people begin asking food related questions of their provincial and federal representatives, and especially the departments of agriculture, which are tasked with answering these questions or finding routes through the food maze.  Maybe you'll have better luck discerning what those useless bureaucratic assholes are doing on the public dole in the interests of the public's food.

How come Britain has as a policy that all school kids will have access to two pieces of hard fruit a day (think apples)?  That's a government program.  Ontario tries this in places, I believe, but it's certainly not widely adapted.  Perhaps our Premier doesn't know there are apple orchards in Ontario.   

HeywoodFloyd

km1818 wrote:

You don't get to sell them unless you grew them. 

So if I buy them from the grower, but can't eat them before they go bad......

Ward

So the synthesis will be the "ration card" to buy the good things that growooo in Ontario.

Ward

in fact the whole deal could work as an agency of foodland ontario. How about occasional deals promoting the use of the card by higher income earners that could offset the taxable use of the card?

p-sto

Farmpunk, I'm a bit unclear on your post.  Are you suggesting that the manufacturers of junk food would be displeased with the government providing money for people to purchase healthy food? Or are you alluding to a different party? 

Ward wrote:

So the synthesis will be the "ration card" to buy the good things that growooo in Ontario.

No.  People fortunate enough to have sufficient income can buy imported foods while those that require assistance are restricted to local produce.  That's unnesscessarily restrictive and quite unfair.

Tigana brings up a rather interesting point with green house pineapples.  We could feasibly grow more fruit in Canada, however given the current economy it's seems to be much cheaper to grow them else where and import them here.  This is probably largely due to the degree that oil is subsidised (or insufficiently taxed, I'm not sure which) in North America.  If the cost of oil were more reflective of the social impact of processing and consuming it then it may indeed be more cost effective to switch over to more localised food production, even for goods that don't seem to grow too well here.

Of course ultimately that would result in a higher cost of food which would mean ensuring fair access to food is very important to consider before advocating for a localised food supply.

 

Farmpunk

P-sto,

There isn't a food company out there which would enjoy having the gov kick money to people for "healthy" food... unless that company produces healthy food which would be covered by the subsidy. 

Food is business, and business dislikes marketplace interference unless it's recieving public money.  A prime example of this is the direct to farmer subsidies paid to US grain growers.  The farmers like it, naturally, and so does Monsanto\Syngenta\Massey-Harris\etc because the public propping helps keep farmers buying into the system and its virtual monopolies.  The US food consumer sees comparatively little nutritional reward for this massive investment of public money.  I would humbly suggest that Canadians don't see a whole lot of benefit from big annual investments in Agriculture and Rural Affairs, provincially and nationally.... other than bureaucratic jobs and wonderful sounding programs touted in media soundbites. 

Not sure about your second question.  Are you talking about a political party?

The cost of food in Canada is very low, even for top tier produce.  Certified organic veggies and especially meat is more expensive, but the average shopper, cruising through a big box store, can buy a cartload of quality foodstuffs for prices that astonish non-North Americans.

Having said that - if you can't prepare and cook produce then you will end up paying more and eating less healthy meals.

Not sure if that helps clear up anything or not, haha.

p-sto

No that helps a lot.  My second question was just asking if there was any one other than junk food producers that might be against subsidies for healthy food.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

p-sto wrote:

 

Out of curiousity how would the co-op model work?  I could see some low income people benefiting from it but I also imagine that for others it would still be quite inaccessible.

There are many different models out there that are already in practice.  There are programs like the Good Food Box program which I've seen in a couple of urban areas and at least one smaller rural town. It's geared towards lower income people. Basically every week or so you get a box of veggies which come either from local farms or through the larger distribution centers. Costs stay lower because the food gets quantity discounts.   There is Community Supported Agriculture or CSA models where at the beginning of the growing season people buy a share in the farm and recieve boxes of food throughout the growing season.  This model can work out well for farmers as they get the money up front at the time of the year it's actually needed and have some idea of the amount they need to produce. Any extras they grow can be sold farmgate, at markets and now even in some of the local food stores that are popping up in some areas.   Some are quite big and serve several hundred households but it's also a model that can be done with just a few. I've read of a couple of people with smaller growing areas that serve half a dozen to a dozen people.  

There's also some small scale models that are popping up right in cities.  There's community gardens of course but there's also people who gather numerous small pieces of land, or in this case yards and sometimes patios, farm them and everyone participating gets a share of the total food produced.  There might only be one or two people doing the actual work with the rest providing the space.  I've read about two models, one where the people involved to pay for the work part on top of the space and others where the people working gain their income buy selling part of the crop.

There's all sorts of creative ways to set up these sorts of coopertive models.  Like for instance perhaps it's possible to set up models connected with places like seniors complexes. Many have a lot of growing space around them. Lots of lawn. Take some of that, exchange land for food and you're possibly creating win, win situations for all involved.  Then there's schools that are starting up gardens with the produce going right into the schools and the students get to learn all about growing food and where it all comes from. Education and good eats. Sounds good to me.

Will these sort of models solve the whole problem on a broader scale in the short term.  No of course not but even smaller solutions like this can make a direct difference to the people involved. Not everything has to be big and overarching to be worth trying.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Oh forgot a few others.  There's various community kitchen models that are geared towards lower income people.  They don't necessarily have to do with growing food but with cooking and processing food in groups in order to save money through bulk buying and dealing and preserving produce that's in season and the cheapest.  So for instance a canning group can get the equipment like jars in bulk and get the say the tomatoes in bulk when they in season and the cheapest.  Since it's down as a group every single person doesn't have to get a canner and it's shared.  These types of models also provide a social and community benefit as well and people can participate that don't have the skills to begin with.

Similar things can be done with cooking in general. Once a week people might get together and make big batches or chili or stew or whatever with each participant being able to part of it home for meals.  Community kitchen models can not only provide access to food at better prices but help people learn how to prepare and store food safely.

 

Unionist

I believe that no Canadian should go without food for lack of means. Food should be a sacred right of all who make this place their home. Still, it must be said that a "one size fits all" approach would not be appropriate, given our history, our culture, and our shared values. I therefore propose a bold new "food insurance" strategy, with minimal government involvement. All Canadians, without exception, would be required to hold a "food insurance policy" - whether through work, or through their educational institution, or community, or on an individual basis. We would ask private insurers to step up to the (ummm) plate and formulate creative new schemes to (er) serve the public. Naturally, there would be some basic minimum standards common to all (bread, water...). And, for the most needy among us who cannot afford the most primitive policy, the government would extend a helping hand by instituting its own bare-bones (so to speak) plan.

Let no Canadian go hungry, in this great land of opportunity and prosperity. Let us empower our free market system to fulfill the needs of all our citizens. We can do it!! God bless Canada.

 

p-sto

Thank you ElizaQ very illuminating.  I agree that a multifaceted approach works best and any improvement is better than doing nothing but considerations still need to be made for the people that continue to be missed by the various solutions proposed.

Unionist, the food insurance idea seems interesting.  If I understand your suggestion correctly, it doesn't really do much for people who were never able to afford proper access to food but it does add for a bit of stability to ensure that more people don't end up in that position.  I suppose that using private insurance takes some of the burden off the government.  However, I am concerned that insurance companies may make claim requirements so restrictive that it may mitigate the usefulness of the insurance.  The issue is perhaps whether one trusts the government or private enterprise better to provide such a service efficiently and fairly.  My fellings are rather mixed on this.

Unionist

Sorry, p-sto, you're new here so you may not appreciate my sense of "humour" (don't worry, neither do those who have been here for years...).

I was just trying to do an Obama imitation.

 

p-sto

One wonders how much our society has been shaped by people seriously following through on things that were originally presented as jokes.  By the looks of things perhaps quite bit.  Be careful with that wit, it's sharp it may hurt some one.

Unionist

p-sto wrote:

One wonders how much our society has been shaped by people seriously following through on things that were originally presented as jokes. 

You mean, like when the Irish invented the bagpipes as a joke, and the Scots didn't get it?

Quote:
By the looks of things perhaps quite bit.  Be careful with that wit, it's sharp it may hurt some one.

Sorry again, and I'll be careful. Welcome to babble.

 

p-sto

Smile Quite clever actually now that I've given it a second read.  A tad embarassed that I missed the joke the first time around.

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