Does Canada’s new food guide connect healthy eating and healthy farming?

January 23, 2019

Healthy, sustainable diets cannot exist without healthy, sustainable farming.

Image of Canada’s food guide.

Canada’s new food guide marks an encouraging step towards a healthier and more sustainable food system for Canada. The next step for the Canadian government would be to acknowledge that healthy, sustainable diets cannot exist without healthy, sustainable farming.

The new guide recommends choosing more plant-based foods, recognizes the importance of culture and traditions, and provides simple, science-based nutritional advice that is easier to understand and remember.

But it doesn’t connect the dots between healthy eating and the way we grow our food, despite earlier comments made by previous health minister Jane Philpott who said “we need to consider both the consumption and production of food.”

SeedChange hopes this connection will become clear in Canada’s forthcoming national food policy. In the meantime, we note a number of instances where government policy continues to undermine a healthier and more sustainable food system. The decision to allow continued use of glyphosate in Canada just last week is one example. The government is also considering proposed revisions to Canada’s Seed Act that could undermine farmers’ right to save and use their own seeds. These decisions stand in direct opposition to the aspirations of the new food guide.

SeedChange supports farmers, in Canada and around the world, who use local seeds and locally-adapted practices to grow nutritious, culturally relevant food while preserving soil fertility, keeping waters clean, and conserving biodiversity.

“These farmers are proving that feeding the world ecologically is possible. Now governments need to help scale up these solutions,” says Martin Settle, Executive Director at SeedChange.

“Healthy eating and healthy farming are two sides of the same coin,” explains Jane Rabinowicz, also Executive Director at SeedChange. “We encourage the government to take the good work on Canada’s food guide one step further by ensuring that health and sustainability become guiding principles across the food system, from the seed to our plates.”