Our latest Climate Justice Project report, Every Bite Counts: Climate Justice and BC’s Food System, has been unleashed on the province. I have to admit that this was one of the most challenging research projects I’ve ever been part of – the food system is complicated, and overlaying climate change and social justice issues added to that complexity. Thankfully, I had some amazing collaborators on this project: Herb Barbolet, who brought an immense personal knowledge of agriculture and food in BC and beyond; Tegan Adams, who taught us to think about the lifecycle GHG emissions from our food supply; and Matt Thomson, who made us reckon with inequality, hunger and food democracy.
I’m really proud of the result. I think the paper builds nicely on the work of countless activists at the grassroots level (who have brought us farmers’ markets and community shared agriculture projects), and on more recent efforts at the local government level (such as Metro Vancouver’s draft Regional Food System Strategy). Our report is aimed at the provincial level, and talks about actions that would greatly strengthen these efforts to create a just, sustainable and resilient food system.
The report covers a lot of ground, and we don’t pretend to have answers to all of the big questions surrounding a food system. Instead, we use climate change as a lens to engage a discussion about where our food system needs to go in the years to come. That sounds like a hard conversation to launch at this moment in time, given the casual over-abundance of the modern supermarket, and a plethora of restaurants to choose from. But start to peel back the layers and the whole edifice of globalized, industrial food is less solid than one might think.