Local Food, Local Politics

Food has been in the news. A lot of it has to do with the issue of food security, food safety and the costs of the food we eat.

Locally, we’re working hard, literally, to make sure we have an adequate supply of good, wholesome, sustainably produced food for an increasing portion of the year.

Through successful partnerships, it appears that the food system here in the Yukon is growing successfully. However, there are issues that still need to be dealt with and stronger ties need to be made.

The growers, whether they are backyard gardeners or large-market farmers, have found good support and local market access through the Fireweed Community Market. For approximately 15 weeks this summer, producers presented their efforts for public consumption at Shipyards Park.

An ever-increasing number of patrons lined up every week for fresh produce, eggs, cheese and fresh canned goods not to mention the dinner delights ready made by Stephane, Gadi, Ray and Kevin.

The partnership between consumers and producers has been established. It’s also been helped along with the production of the 2008 Yukon Farm Products & Services booklet produced by the Fireweed Community Market. It’s available at the Fireweed Community Market Store in Shipyards Park, the Yukon Agriculture Branch or through the Yukon Agriculture Association office.

The last and most important link to be established still needs to be made.

Growing, producing and processing food is gathering momentum now. People have made contact with farmers; farmers have accessed funds to help with production through the Agriculture Branch; the Agriculture Branch has consulted with producers, processors and farmers to create better support programs.

Locally, the City of Whitehorse has continued to rent the Shipyards’ parking lot every Thursday to the Market and now the new building in the park houses the Fireweed Community Market Store and a kitchen being organized by the Fireweed Community Market.

Both print media and radio have been excellent advocates of the market for access to local real food.

The next link to establish is with territorial politicians. Not just of the market but of the food system in general.

Every day now, we are reading about collapses of financial institutions, large-scale corporate food processors and multi-national seed companies. Politicians here continue to promote oil and gas, mining of natural resources, tourism value and networking with other like-minded politicians.

Questions on food policy on a territorial level are forwarded to the Agriculture Branch. Issues of safety are pointed toward Environmental Health or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Success on food matters need to be more local than that.

Look at and find ways to support food in the Yukon. Success in production and processing food locally shines nationally and it provides jobs, it’s sustainable and it wins votes at every level.

Talk to me about Real Food.

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