What does it mean to declare that food connects us all? Or to announce, willy-nilly, that we need to work together towards a bold new vision of food and food policy, in Ontario and across Canada?
In a world where the better-off among us munch on organic produce shipped in from the furthest reaches of the globe, while others subsist off $1 specials at discount grocery stores, do those connections really exist, or are they merely words on paper?
Add your two cents, your observations, your proclamations, throw down your own gauntlet and discuss in this first part of a series of discussions on the ever-present force in all life: FOOD.
The following letter is being published in conjunction with the Alphabet City FOOD Festival
and anthology. Check out the FOOD book here
For your chance to win your own copy, get involved by commenting on each discussion. Be sure to check in and comment frequently as we’ll be adding discussion topics weekly. At the end of each discussion we will randomly draw a name and send the winner a copy of this year’s anthology, FOOD.
Alphabet City Open Letter
Once upon a time everyone thought the world was flat. Figuring out that it was round changed how we saw everything. Now the next revolution in perspective has taken hold — the world is not just round, it is connected. The Global Village — Marshall McLuhan’s phrase for the connected world created by new communications technologies — has arrived, and not just in communications but also with food and foodways. We think this global food village must be connected by conscience and fairness — to the other villagers, to our environment.
The way we grow, market, process, manufacture, and distribute our food here in Ontario reveals connections across the global village. Ontario’s working landscapes, farms, rural communities, and cities are linked in a web of complex exchanges. But our food policies to date have usually ignored that web, dividing rather than connecting. If we are going to build a healthy and sustainable village, we have to make the connections.
This letter is supported by, and represents the initiatives of, a network of organizations working on many aspects of food policy in Ontario. We are working together because we believe that food is connected to every major problem
being raised in the current provincial election campaign — rising medical costs, poverty and hunger, declining farm incomes, the paving-over of farmland, wildlife protection, urban sprawl, youth unemployment, and communities at risk.