Saskatoon Regional Food Assessment 2014
A group of Saskatoon organizations has just released its recipe for improving Saskatoon’s food economy. “Saskatoon is named after a berry”, they point out, “and is central to Canada’s richest food producing area. We should be celebrating our bounty and no one should go hungry in our city.”
The organizations include CHEP Good Food Inc., the City of Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Health Region, and the University of Saskatchewan. The group also includes individuals from the farm and food retail/wholesale sectors.
In January 2014, the group released a report with plenty of ideas to enrich Saskatoon’s food culture, increase food tourism and boost the local share of food produced and sold in the region, whether it be from farm products, city garden produce, harvested berries or other sources. The report also has proposals for reducing hunger in Saskatoon, especially among children. To move strategy forward, the report recommends more collaboration among the organizations and individuals who produce and distribute food in the city and region, and creating a food council to implement the actions. The strategy also includes longer-term recommendations about food sustainability, reducing waste, and improving the knowledge base about food systems.
The report was the result of a year-long food assessmen finding that Saskatoon is ready for the changes being proposed. Population and income trends point to growing interest in locally produced food and increased awareness about the importance of good food to health and community.
Many cities across Canada have conducted food assessments and adopted food strategies. Saskatoon has a Food Charter that was adopted in principle by City Council in 2002. The food strategy and food council now being proposed are a step forward from that.