The importance of local, sustainable food

Strategizing to improve food sovereignty, safety and security

For many Canadians, it’s easy to take food security and availability for granted. In a lot of northern and rural communities, however—as well as in many low-income urban neighbourhoods—food shortages, safety and prices are major concerns.

Through a SSHRC Community-University Research Alliance grant, the University of Manitoba’s Stéphane McLachlan has helped tackle these concerns by bringing together 11 researchers from five universities and over 50 community groups to promote environmentally sustainable regional food systems.

The group has helped fund more than 40 projects since 2009—such as arranging to provide a food bank with bycatch from First Nations fisheries, and developing a website for shoppers looking for local, small- food producers and sellers.

The group’s efforts have been improving food situations in many Manitoba communities. The projects funded have also provided data with which researchers can measure how effective different food security methods are, and identify best practices.

McLachlan hopes many of the projects will serve as models that can be adapted and adopted across the country.