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OUR FOOD…OUR FUTURE

- Area Residents Urged to Have Their Say at Upcoming Events on Proposed ‘Food Charter’ for Northumberland -

(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – As the seeds are planted for a new ‘food charter’ – or strategy – for the area, supporters want to gauge grassroots interest in the idea at meetings slated for early April.

Advocates of a food charter for Northumberland County describe it as a strategy that reflects the community’s values and beliefs on producing and consuming food here. Food charters can cover many topics, including the promotion of locally-grown food, raising the profile of farming in the community, encouraging sustainable agricultural practices, and working towards measures that ensure all local residents have access to nutritious and affordable foods. Many other Ontario communities, including nearby Durham Region and City of Kawartha Lakes, have already adopted similar food charters.

The goal of local advocates is to collect feedback from area residents on the food charter, then present the plan to Northumberland County council for endorsement and action. Based on the experience of other communities, food charters have led to enhanced support and profile of agriculture in the community, the establishment of food support programs for low-income individuals, the promotion of year-round farmers’ markets, the provision of free busing for people who need to access low-cost food, and the conversion of vacant municipal lands into community gardens, says Kimberly Leadbeater, one of the local food charter advocates.

“We believe there is fertile ground for such a food charter to take root in Northumberland County, and that is why we want to invite local residents to join us for a discussion,” says Leadbeater, who is also a Registered Dietitian with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

Local residents can find out more about the importance and benefits of a food charter for Northumberland County at two public meetings set as follows:

  • In Codrington on Wednesday, April 3, from 7-9:30 pm at the Codrington Community Centre (2992 Highway 30).
  • In Port Hope on Thursday, April 4, from 7-9:30 pm at the Port Hope Community Health Centre (99 Toronto Rd.).

A promotional brochure and video on the Northumberland food charter will be unveiled, and participants can have their say on what is being proposed. Refreshments and door prizes will also be available at each event.

“If you enjoy locally-grown food, want to support farmers in our community, and ensure everyone can access healthy food, then you need to get involved in the creation of a food charter,” Leadbeater says. “It’s our food, our future.”

The Health Unit is among approximately 20 local organizations and individuals working on the food charter initiative. The working group was formed two years ago to begin development of the charter. The working group includes local farmers, agricultural organizations, food banks, health and social agencies, Northumberland United Way and concerned citizens. For more details on the food charter initiative, call the Health Unit at (613) 475-0933 or toll-free at 1-866-888-4577.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Kimberly Leadbeater, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (613) 475-0933, or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577.

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