It started out as casual chats about local food security issues between passionate community members and professionals that endearingly called themselves the “food gals”.
Fast forward to joining together as a coalition of community agencies, partners and community volunteers: the Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance (HFFA) is proud to launch the Headwaters Food Charter and Action Plan, a community vision for their local food system.
“It was strong partnerships, a shared vision for a healthy food system and an engaged community passionate about local food issues that led to the successful creation of the food charter,” said Lisa Needham, HFFA chair and Public Health Nutritionist at Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
“The food charter is for and owned by the Headwaters community,” Lisa emphasized. This collaborative effort involved input from businesses, farming, municipalities, schools, community organizations and interested community members.
A bit of history
Over the last six years, there were two large food summits in Headwaters, a survey and various local initiatives that engaged stakeholders and community members dedicated to strengthening the Headwaters food system. A research report was also completed on barriers that members of the local food system face, and one of the key recommendations for HFFA was to develop a food charter.
“We knew that developing a food charter that captured community voices and priorities would be instrumental in helping our community guide planning, policy, and program development in an effort to support a healthy food system,” said Lisa.
The Food Charter
The key themes that emerged from stakeholder and community consultations were captured as six main areas of focus of the food charter. Under each area, there are goals, values and actions for local food and farming in Headwaters.
The food charter is a conversation starter that uses food as a tool for community action. For example, the actions of the food charter can support the Headwaters community by:
- Building strong partnerships as a way to strengthen the food sector workforce
- Using local food to promote tourism
- Encouraging growth of local food businesses
- Improving the availability of healthy local food in the community (e.g. Institutions, neighbourhood level)
- Influencing policies that would help strengthen land use planning, food related businesses and skill development
- Encouraging local events that promote our agricultural heritage and locally grown foods
- Advancing environmentally friendly and sustainable practices
What can you do?
You can endorse today to show that you support the vision, values and goals of the food charter. It takes less than 2 minutes but has a great impact for the future of food in Headwaters.
So far, HFFA presented to eight councils and received unanimous endorsement. It’s your turn to join!
Though their work began earlier on during informal gatherings, the Headwaters Food and Farming Alliance came together as an official group in 2013. HFFA is dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable food system that supports the health and well-being of residents and contributes to a prosperous and fair economy.
HFFA is always looking to work with and engage other agencies and community members. The current team is made up of members from:
- Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health
- Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance
- Town of Caledon
- Town of Orangeville
- Dufferin Farm Fresh map
- Headwaters Communities in Action
- Dufferin Board of Trade
- HFFA Education, Literacy and Access (ELA) Working Group