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Food Journeys: A Reflection on the Food Secure Canada National Assembly

November 16 Matthew Stepanic

The Localize blog has been quiet lately! Matthew, our summer communications fellow, has lodged his complaint by writing a blog-reflection about his experience at the recent 2012 Food Secure Canada's National Assembly in Edmonton.  Did you attend the FSC National Assembly? Let us know what you took away from it!

At the beginning of November, I had the honour of volunteering for Food Secure Canada’s
National Assembly. For those who don’t know, Food Secure Canada’s guiding vision is zero hunger, a sustainable food system, and healthy and safe food. I believe that those are all important and necessary things.

In my role, I attended several workshops and information sessions at the conference that
awakened me to many of the issues inherent in our food system. I felt overwhelmed many times through the weekend by what I heard, from stories of the oil sands’ devastating effect on the food safety of Athabaskan First Nations people to the treatment of animals on industrial farms—everything weighed heavily on my mind.

I do not have the individual power or influence to revolutionize this movement, but I am a citizen who takes comfort knowing that there are plenty of smart and resilient people—I met several of them this weekend—working for a better food future. They are finding the solutions to these problems.

And I take comfort in the advice offered to me from a friend this weekend. After a conversation in which I agonized over how I wished I was more self-sustainable in regards to my food and how I regretted every trip I ever made to a fast-food restaurant, my friend offered me this tidbit: “Every one of us is on our own food journey.” This means that I am not my best today, but I can be better tomorrow. I cannot start growing all of my own food today. My landlord would be quite displeased if I tore up the brick patio, pulled down the fence, and uprooted the trees in the yard in order to plant a garden. (Also, winter has struck Edmonton, making these tasks especially challenging.) But I do have a goal for improvement: I will buy some garden boxes next summer and plant what food I can grow in an area that feels little sun.

This is good for now. For now, I can rely on my grocery store to continue feeding me, and I can improve myself by consciously consuming: making the effort to know who produced my food, how they produced it, and where it was produced. There are resources, like Localize, that can assist me in this. I do have the power to vote with my food dollars for more local and sustainable food.

This is my food journey. What’s yours?

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