A four-hour interactive Grow Ontario Food Summit hosted by the Hon. Lisa Thompson Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Food (OMAFRA) was held on March 27, at Hart House, University of Toronto. OHEA was invited.
Diane O’Shea P.H.Ec. and Mary Carver, P.H.Ec. attended virtually on OHEA’s behalf, while Dr. Peggy O’Neil, P.H.Ec. attended in-person representing Brescia University College. A number of speakers made presentations, then intermittently the 260 (or so) attendees were divided into small breakout sessions (virtually and on-site) to add to the discussion.
What were Home Economists hoping to achieve by attending the provincial Food Summit?
To be heard, OHEA must be visible as a professional body and watchful of opportunities to speak to issues impacting families. The Summit was a rare chance to influence decisions at a government table set with like-minded others who support Ontario food production and food literacy on many levels.
As Professional Home Economists, we know the complexity of food. Many OHEA members work in a variety of businesses and organizations connected to the food system. Agriculture is a key component of Ontario's food system.
Strengthening the Agri-food supply chain is important to the present government while increasing Agri-food technology and attracting educated and skilled participants. The goals are admirable in establishing a trust in the quality and dependable supply of food and agricultural products produced in Ontario. Food Systems Literacy is a critical part of the process.
While the "business" of agriculture was forefront in the speaker presentations, breakout groups offered other conversations and further considerations that must be accounted for in government actions. Diane, Mary and Peggy were all able to discuss the need for improved food literacy at all levels.
Home Economists spoke up!
A take-away from the event: We encourage OHEA members to respond to OMAFRA's Red Tape Reduction Plan — please see here.
After the event, a follow-up letter was sent to the Hon. Lisa Thompson as our appreciation to be included in the summit.
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The Ontario Home Economics Association, a self-regulating body of professional Home Economists, promotes high professional standards among its members so that they may assist families and individuals to achieve and maintain a desirable quality of life.