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An analysis of contemporary approaches to planning for food security in Canada : essential interdependence Boeckner, Amy Nicole 2003

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A N A N A L Y S I S OF C O N T E M P O R A R Y A P P R O A C H E S T O P L A N N I N G F O R F O O D S E C U R I T Y I N C A N A D A : E S S E N T I A L I N T E R D E P E N D E N C E by A M Y N I C O L E B O E C K N E R B . A . The University of Guelph, 2001 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF A R T S ( P L A N N I N G ) in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this thesis as conforming to the^qyiredgtandard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A December 2003 © Amy Nicole Boeckner, 2003 Library Authorization In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. / \ M y N I C O L E & 0 £ C k W £ P O E . C / l<3 /ZOOS Name of Author (please print) Date Title of Thesis: A ^ A L V ^ S o f troMTeLtnf>o<z>vR-V Degree: MAST<£YZ-S o<= /\<ircs ( P L / V C J I V J I Year: z-oos ABSTRACT In Canada, in the late 1990s, food security was officially recognized as a national and international problem by the federal government with the formulation of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security. It was a notable admission; however, the difficulty is that despite voiced commitment, official approaches to and understandings of food security are inconsistent at best. In this context the purpose of the research is to evaluate contemporary approaches to domestic planning for food security in Canada at the federal level. I specifically analyze Canada's Action Plan for Food Security. The data derived and information collected are based on a review of relevant literature, qualitative content analysis of key government documents and the proceedings of a national conference, and semi-structured interviews with knowledgeable experts, within and outside of government, across Canada. I compared the case study to a set of substantive and procedural criteria constructed from a review of the literature on food security and planning. I found that while on the surface there is genuine merit in Canada's Action Plan for Food Security, the state's approach to planning for food security as formulated, structured and executed is severely deficient in its excessive reliance on market forces. The notion that food security can be achieved at the 'flick of a button' (Pottier 1999) persists and there is little to no indication that food security is a priority for government. I conclude that so long as the dominant hierarchy of values persists much of what matters to life is vulnerable to erasure because prevailing market-based thinking cannot adequately value or protect life, human or ecological. Indeed, food security is as much about values and choices as it is about factors of production. The fact that food security remains a problem is significant evidence that collectively we have not dealt well with being human. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT II TABLE OF CONTENTS Ill LIST OF TABLES V LIST OF BOXES VI LIST OF ACRONYMS VII ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS VIII INTRODUCTION 1 Purpose 1 Consequential Everyday Objects ". 1 An 'Emergent' and Elusive Concern 2 Mediating the Interface? 3 Research Outline 4 CONCEPTUALIZING FOOD SECURITY 4 Moving Beyond Diction 5 Guiding Components 5 Availabil i ty 5 Accessibility 6 Acceptability 6 Adequacy 7 Summary 7 HIDDEN CODES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FOOD SYSTEM 7 The Dominant Social Paradigm 8 The Contemporary Food System 10 iv OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT 13 Commitments 13 Rhetoric or Action? 14 CANADA'S ACTION PLAN FOR FOOD SECURITY 17 Origins and Profile 17 Methodology 19 Semi-Structured Interviews 20 Qualitative Content Analysis 22 Results of Assessment 23 Criterion One: 23 Criterion Two: 28 Criterion Three: 32 Criterion Four: 34 Criterion Five: 37 Criterion Six: 40 Criterion Seven: 41 Criterion Eight: 43 Criterion Nine: 44 Criterion Ten: 45 Summary 48 Proximal Reasons 49 DISCUSSION 50 Selection Pressures 51 Participation in Food Security Planning 52 CONCLUSION: RECOGNIZING DISJUNCTURE 55 BIBLIOGRAPHY 56 APPENDICES 64 Appendix 1: Content Summary of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security 64 Appendix 2: Composition of Consulative Groups 65 Appendix 3: Interview Protocol .....68 V LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Interviewee Background Information 22 Table 2: Summary of Results 49 VI LIST OF BOXES Box 1: World Food Summit Commitments ...14 Box 2: Key Events in the Development of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security 19 Box 3 : Framework of Criteria for an Effective Food Security Plan 20 LIST OF ACRONYMS A A F C Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada C A P F S Canada's Action Plan for Food Security F A O Food and Agriculture Organization I M F International Monetary Fund W F S World Food Summit W F S : fyl World Food Summit: Five Years Later W T O World Trade Organization ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank B i l l Rees for his patience, commitment and critical encouragement. His approach to advising was greatly appreciated and the quality of this work and others could not have been achieved without his ongoing support and inquisitive eye. I would also like to thank Graham Riches for the diligent and careful responses to previous drafts and the enthusiasm he so consistently offered. Without being able to have known, Graham was a vital source of inspiration from the start. Last, the participants in the research must also be recognized as an important part of the development of the research and my understanding of the field of food security in Canada. Their willingness to engage and the conversation shared renewed my passion to pursue the subject. 1 INTRODUCTION Purpose Food security is a problem that transcends most boundaries. Connecting disparate issues, it is illustrative of the complexity of life and a matter commanding much attention. Indeed, the food system is an increasingly contested terrain, which can be described as a battle over life-organization (Lang 1999).' In this context the purpose of the research is to evaluate contemporary approaches to domestic planning for food security in Canada at the federal level. The research question guiding the evaluation is i f and/or what turning point has been reached in the federal government's approach to planning for food security. Consequential Everyday Objects The dominant image of the food system in Canada is one of abundance and quality. Food is generally taken for granted. For most people it is not hard to imagine bountiful fields of crops stretching across the land, plates of food piled high or grocery-store aisles filled to the ceiling (Pothukuchi and Kaufman 1999; Vancouver Food Policy Organization 2001). That said, the extent to which we take everyday objects for granted is the extent to which they govern and inform our lives. Food is one very such object. Food and the food system embody hidden assumptions and values that shape, direct, and inform life personally and collectively (Visser 1986). The consequences of this are immediate and long-term, direct and broad, and have profound implications for livelihoods and sustainability. Food is both personal and political. The nourishment of body and soul is combined with one's situation in the world of others (Lacy 2000: 23). Individual and collective choices exercised both contribute to and are informed by our understanding of and relationship with the food system, and consequently determine what assumptions and values are privileged in its development. Simply put, food matters. It is a sign of our bounded interdependencies. It does not simply appear. Through its production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption basic connections are formed between people, and people and ecosystems, ' The term food system refers to an "integrated system that includes everything from farm input suppliers to retail outlets, from farmers to consumers" (B. Kneen 1993: 18). 2 across spaces and times. Humans rely upon the integral functioning of ecological and social relations for their sustenance. We are social beings and secondary producers, reliant upon sufficient inputs from the ecosphere for our maintenance and growth (Rees 2001). In this light it is absurd, though often practiced, to reduce the importance of food to its contribution to gross national product. Life depends on the consumption of food as indeed does the rest of gross national product. Food is a basic human need and internationally recognized right, foundational to physiological development. "Unless we first have enough food we just w i l l not be interested in [for example] information services. If I am hungry, I want a meal, not a recipe. And I w i l l trade my recipes and any other information I have for just one plate of real food" (Daly 2000: 2). Rich in material and symbolic power, food is a building block and pawn in politics and a traded good. It is an intimate and essential commodity - like few other commodities it is not only displayed and exchanged, but also taken within the body for survival and pleasure, and it has a distinct relationship with social experience and culture (Winson 1993). M u c h 'information' is held and hidden in the details of the quantity and quality consumed, which become manifest both in the body and globe. From the individual to household to societies, food translates opportunity for creation or destruction, enhancement or subordination. Landscapes are transformed, civilizations have fallen, and development is contested over food (Harriss-White and Hoffenberg 1994). Food is a perennial problem. Consequently, it is important to think critically about the taken-for-granted assumptions surrounding food, as it may lead to deeper understandings of ourselves and others, the relations between 'us' and 'them' (Counihan and Van Esterik 1997), to say nothing of the sources of our sustenance. An 'Emergent' and Elusive Concern Dominant discourses on food security convey a unidirectional and irreversible continuum from insecurity to security. Its location and solution are segmented between 'us' and 'them', North and South (Nef 1999), a task for machine and market growth. Indeed, the Canadian food system is touted as a model system, held up as an example for people elsewhere (Qualman 2001). The system seems to work and people seem to be fed. 3 This myth, however, is increasingly constrained and insufficient. It fails to account for prevalent and emerging complexities. The 'model ' system is not working in important ways and this is the difficulty - "we tend to rely on what the system has told us" (People's Food Commission 1980: 77). A s such, the formulation of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security in the late 1990s was a pivotal turning point in Canada. The federal government admitted, most notably, that within one of the most 'developed' countries, some people are unable to acquire adequate amounts of food to meet basic nutritional requirements and that the sustainability of the national food system is weak. Reality could no longer be denied -food security is a problem here as well as elsewhere. O f course, Canada also plays a role in advancing food security in other countries. Most strategies advanced to date have tended to frame the problem of food security by dichotomizing it into one of eliminating poverty or creating a sustainable food system (Gottlieb and Fisher 1996; Power 1999). Both dimensions are problematic in Canada, and the task of bringing them together is essential though not simple. According to the Plan: "Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 5). Mediating the Interface? Despite voiced commitment, official approaches to and understandings of food security are inconsistent at best. Efforts are generally thick with seeming significance and rife with contention but lacking in 'results'. Vagueness and reductionism have permeated policy-making, serious contextualization is left wanting (Pottier 1999; Riches 2002; Rosset 2002). Indeed, Canada has nothing that resembles coherent food policy. It is rather a random assortment of policy, programming and regulations. Activists and academics claim it to be a mechanistic, technocratic, incomplete, fragmentary and often contradictory approach to addressing one of the most consequential matters of life (MacRae 1999: 182). Nevertheless, for better or worse, the state's omnipresent role cannot be ignored. The state has a responsibility and role in protecting public goods and interests, and should "be involved in projects that directly address people's survival needs and liberate their energies 4 for self-development" (Friedmann 1987: 408). Further, while many of the problems of food security are manifest at the local level, they are often rooted in larger, global, political economic structures, forces and factors (Allen 1999: 121). The state is a consequential actor mediating the experience and/or persistence of insecurity through setting policy and planning. Research Outline As noted, the purpose of the research is to evaluate contemporary approaches to planning for food security in Canada. I specifically analyze Canada's Action Plan for Food Security (CAPFS) since it is the most comprehensive and pertinent example of the Canadian state's approach to planning for food security. The federal government formulated the Plan in response to the World Food Summit (WFS) and released it in October 1998. I focus on those aspects directly related to the domestic context and federal level of government. I pay particular attention to agriculture. I begin first by conceptualizing the problem and then go on to highlight key facets shaping the contemporary context, including a cursory examination of the W F S . I then outline the criteria that should be satisfied for an effective food security plan. I use this framework to assess C A P F S . Last, I use the results of the case study to highlight relevant implications and conclude on what can be learned of and from contemporary approaches to planning for food security. This is in hope that it may support the advancement of food security for all. CONCEPTUALIZING FOOD SECURITY While the aforementioned definition of food security is reflective of important shifts in the conceptualization of the problem, it only skims the surface of what food security entails. It is also limited as it "omits any reference to the important question of who controls the food supply and its distribution" (Riches 2002: 649). Further complicating this matter is the fact that food security is a malleable and all-inclusive concept (Power 1999: 35) capable of exuding a 'warm glow of unity' among participants in the process. Upon committing to addressing the problem the various actors can bask in the belief that they share similar values and goals when, in fact, they do not (Lang 1996: 45). 5 Moving Beyond Diction Food security is one objective, of many, pursued by individuals and societies, and "begins with the recognition - and celebration - of our dependence, not on the lords of the food system but upon one another and the natural world in all its diversity and abundance" (B. Kneen 2001). It is a global and local problem, as well as a rural and urban issue. Indeed, as life is embedded in a series of interconnected systems, vulnerability in any component has significant repercussions elsewhere (Nef 1999). Therefore while the experience of food insecurity is often felt personally or in seemingly individual spaces and times, it is a relational, dynamic process not an either/or status achieved in isolation. Guiding Components Food security is a complex problem. There w i l l always be room for improvement. Taken from K o c et al. (1999), the following four components guide my understanding of the concept: availability, accessibility, acceptability and adequacy. Planning for food security should strive to satisfy at least these four components. Availability Availabili ty refers to the ability of a food security plan to assure a steady and reliable supply of food at all times in sufficient quantity to meet demand. Earlier conceptions of availability focused on mitigating risks to global supplies of basic foodstuffs and stability in price (Koc et al. 1999; Maxwel l 1996). Presently there is a movement to focus more holistically on the sustainability of the food system and attention is given to autonomy in the sense of self-reliance where independence and interdependence are fostered (Menezes 2001). I concur with these shifts. A steady and reliable supply of food is not simply a direct result of basic factors in food production in one time. It can result from any combination of social and environmental factors over times (Nef 1999: 32). A sustainable food system is rooted in an awareness of ecological and social realities. Sustainable food systems prioritize the health and well being of people and ecosystems. Specifically regarding agriculture: "It emphasizes design and management procedures that work with natural processes to conserve all resources and minimize waste and environmental 6 damage, while maintaining or improving farm profitability" (Toronto Food Policy Council 1995). Accessibility Generally, access may be achieved through production, purchase, exchange or receipt (Food and Agriculture Organization n.d.). The articulation of this component is important since sufficient supplies at a national level does not "indicate food security at a community, household, or individual level" (Koc and MacRae 2001: 8). Accessibility refers to the capacity of a plan to assure steady and reliable access to food, which capacity cannot be understood as solely a direct result of individual or household activity (Bakker 1990). Where the proceeding component, availability, is more closely related to the production aspects of the food system, accessibility is more closely related to consumption. Presently access is primarily dependent upon sufficient income to purchase foods, but also relates to physically accessible locations (Koc et al. 1999; Toronto Food Policy Council 2003). Acceptability A food security plan should ensure that the food available and the system through which it is accessed are acceptable to consumers. This stems from the recognition that "foods have intrinsic personal, spiritual and cultural meanings and the understanding that charitable food sources are not a long term solution for inequalities in the food supply" (Ontario Public Health Association 2002: 9). 3 Individuals and communities w i l l make different choices and this component asserts the right and need to do so because of, for example, different behavioural and community structural realities (Toronto Food Policy Council 1995). O f course, many factors w i l l also affect choices exercised, including level of income and/or geographic location. 2 It is important to recognize that the unit of analysis selected (for example, household versus nation) invariably shapes how these components are defined and what vulnerabilities are revealed or obscured. 3 Charitable sources cannot provide sufficient amounts of adequate or culturally acceptable food and are an inappropriate system of distribution since people "want justice and dignity, not charity" for development (Hobbs et al. 1993: 95; Hamelin et al. 1999; Dachner and Tarasuk 2002; Riches, 2002; Wilson and Tsoa 2002). 7 Adequacy Adequacy refers to the ability of a food security plan to assure that all people can access food that is safe and high in nutritional quality. The articulation and recognition of this element marked an important shift in the problem's conceptualization: from a 'food first' perspective to one of livelihoods (Maxwell 1996). It speaks directly to the consequentiality of food to life and physiological development. Summary While discussed separately, the guiding components are mutually reinforcing and inter-dependent. Succinctly, a food security plan must strive to provide a steady and reliable (sustainable) supply of safe and nutritious food that is culturally acceptable to consumers in sufficient quantity to meet demand for all people at all times. Given this conception, it must also be understood that some components or populations may demand more urgent action or focused response than others and that no one individual, organization, or institution can solve the problem alone (Koc et al. 1999). HIDDEN CODES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FOOD SYSTEM Food security clearly significantly challenges planning. Best efforts require a foothold to be kept in people's experiences and "determined sifting and sorting to see, first, what solutions are influenced by the continuing belief that the overall system works well , needing only minor adjustments; and, secondly, what solutions might go to the roots of the problem and reorient the way food is produced and delivered" (People's Food Commission 1980: 78). Indeed, the question is not inertia but continuity. And , since there is no easy boundary defined by food (Harriss-White and Hoffenberg 1994: 1) effective planning for food security also demands a movement away from strict disciplinary analysis and towards a fundamental questioning of the values and beliefs that shape understandings of, and approaches to, the problem. Forming a cultural structure of imaginings, these systems of understandings (paradigms or worldviews) are implicated in the development of the current context, o f which the food system is a key facet. Therefore, I wi l l discuss the most salient 8 aspects of the dominant social paradigm, neo-liberalism, before examining how it has shaped the contemporary food system, its direction and participation therein. Two points must first be addressed. First, any social paradigm, especially that which is dominant, wi l l be contested both from 'within ' and 'outside'. However, its maintenance is fervently guarded. Foundational ideas remain in place through a complicated yet concrete process of transmission. Second, the dominance of a particular social paradigm, in and of itself, is not necessarily remarkable. A system of shared beliefs is a key component of any stable society (Olsen et al. 1992; Rees 2002). However, it becomes increasingly problematic and of consequence when the dominant belief system is so closed to feedback that recognition of its contradiction with the needs of life and survival are absent, withheld, or refused. Social paradigms of how to live are [...] maintained by remaining unexposed to conscious reflection. The process of confining consciousness within the closed loop of a given frame of reference typically continues until it is recognized to be in contradiction with the needs of life and survival. Whether by violent upheaval or cognitive advance, the old mind-set is opened to question. Either its adherents adjust to life realities which the value programme has excluded from view, or they prolong the systemic destruction which collapsing value programmes are usually marked by [...]. Since there is no alternative to the system, whatever must be done to defend it is the unavoidable cost of protecting the known good. This is the closed circle which can lead to entire societies accepting a social lock-step that dismantles life-organization itself. (McMurtry 1999: 23) The Dominant Social Paradigm Neo-liberalism has its roots in the Enlightenment movement of the late seventeenth-and eighteenth-century, which was promoted on the primacy of reason and progress. The interpretation of which has been narrowly defined. First, the Enlightenment gave birth to the persistent notion that humans are exempt from dependence on nature and "the only species that does not have to adapt to the forces of nature" (Murphy 1994: 7). Thus, humans conceived as 'exceptional' can control nature and 9 use it to their advantage to improve life. A n y obstacles posed can be overcome in time through human ingenuity and by technological development. A s such, human development was first removed from nature then with the triumph of Liberalism, which asserted the centrality of individual rights, development was thereafter removed from others through the ascendance of competitive individualism (Bonanno 1998). Individuals act and live through the market, pursuing their self-interest and maximizing utility. Indeed, neo-liberalism claims that the basic conditions for development are best established through economic freedom. Development is measured in terms of the accumulation of capital wealth (Macnaghten and Urry 1998; Douthwaite 1999). Differently stated, gross national product is the primary indicator favoured, against which 'development' is compared and which is used as the proxy for human well being. Only that which can be valued and quantified (read, monetary units) indicates the level achieved. Priority is placed not on meeting human needs through exchange of useful goods, but on the generation of economic growth through the exchange of commodities (Manno 2000). Justice is equated with liberty and concern for social equality conceived as a drag on individuality. People should receive benefits on the basis of personal achievement since it is through individual gain that gains may be achieved for all (Olsen et al. 1992). In the words of Margaret Thatcher: "It is our job to glory in inequality and see that talents and abilities are given vent and expression for the benefit o f us a l l " (George 1999). It is only through economic growth that such 'concerns' maybe alleviated as it 'expands the pie' , 'raising all boats.' Competition is a virtue. Indeed, poverty and marginalization are viewed as "unalterable natural conditions, arising from aggregated inherited differences in individual cognitive skills and/or inevitable variance in individual character and morality" (Bonanno 1998: 233). Such 'differences' and 'variance' can be chronic or temporary. Anyone can be excluded or marginalized at any time. Succinctly, given the premises of human ingenuity and competitive individualism, growth is conceived as unlimited and equated with development for all. What is good for the economy is good for everyone. Ecological limits are considered a moot point since when scarcity is approached, prices w i l l rise, thus stimulating ingenuity, and a solution wi l l be found. It then follows that in order to facilitate the 'emergence' of solutions to social or ecological problems societies should facilitate the accumulation and efficient movement of 10 capital. Development paths are sought according to the theory of comparative advantage: efficiency maximized through competition, specialization and free trade. Open markets increase productivity and more commodities mean lower prices and increased consumption (Olsen et al. 1992; Bryceson et al. 2000), all good for profit. Such premises dictate that the role of the state is to leave decisions to the market. Equal opportunities to participate in and thus direct the market are deemed to be best advanced through international agreements that essentially legitimate deregulation. To intervene otherwise is a source of likely ensuing 'crisis ' . Most governments have come to believe that it "is for the consumer to say, through his or her expenditure, what should be produced, by whom and how, because both maximum personal freedom and greater economic efficiency lie in that direction" (Douthwaite 1999: 6; Bonanno 1998). Individual action is conceived to equal collective action. The Contemporary Food System Clearly, the dominant social paradigm identifies people strictly as actors in the marketplace: atomistic, isolated and suspended in both space and time. A public mural painted in a community on the coast of northern Ecuador comes to mind. It pictures a grotesque figure with a swollen belly full o f money, arms thin and eyes glazed. The figure is oblivious to the surrounding scene of a rich mangrove ecosystem. The figure stands alone, gathering the riches in his pockets. Guarded. Indeed, the figure's posture tells that such riches are illusionary and destructive. The shrimp are sick and the community angry. It had not been this way before: the mangroves nearly cleared, jobs gone, tension high, and under-nourishment rife. Yet the food and capital still flies out. People are told to integrate. There is not enough money. People are told that nature w i l l come back. They too w i l l soon feel their pockets filled. People are divided, but know better than to suspend space or time. Many seek to build relations. A similar version of this mural could be painted most anywhere. The market logic is failing. In Canada farm debt stands at approximately eleven times annual realized net farm income - Depression-era levels (Qualman and Wiebe 2002: 7). From 1981 to 2001 the number of farms in Canada dropped by twenty-two percent (Qualman and Wiebe 2002: 12). Further, a recent National Population Health Survey found that "over 10% of Canadians, or 11 an estimated 3 mil l ion people, were living in food-insecure households" (Che and Chen 2001: 13). Consistent with this, the Canadian Association of Foodbanks most recent study (Wilson and Tsoa 2002) found not only that its annual count on food bank users has doubled since 1989, but also that 'demand' consistently exceeds 'supply.' Many people simply cannot afford a nutritious diet since the cheapest foods are of poorest quality. A n intense process of distancing and commodification, which disconnects and displaces, characterizes the market-driven food system. This is similar to the contemporary dismantling of the welfare system, whereby welfare rights have been commodified - no longer based on need alone (Manno 2000; Lightman and Riches 2000). This means that entitlements are increasingly dependent on the requirement that claimants participate in the labour force (Riches, G . Personal communication. 20 October 2003). Consumers and producers - individuals - are left to "wrestle with their bootstraps" (Young 1997: 17). Distancing refers to the separation of the sources of production from spaces of consumption (B. Kneen 1993; Botelho 1999). Rather than maintain connections, distancing isolates. A s a consequence, people are separated not only from their food, but also from knowledge about how and by whom their food is produced, processed, and transported. If these processes tend to destroy land, water, air, and human communities, as they often do, the consumers are unaware of the implications of their participation in this global food system and are unable to act responsibly and effectively for change. (Lacy 2000: 19) Commodification, on the other hand, is a selective process of privileging certain goods and services over others. It transforms development into growth and subordinates use-value to exchange-value (Manno 2000). The consequentiality of food is denied and access is predominantly reliant upon effective demand. Unless it fits into the money sequence, "it is disaggregated and reaggregated to do so, or ruled out as valueless [...]" (McMurtry 1999: 141). Indeed, food's "production, transportation, distribution, and consumption are subject to the same fundamental social forces and economic ' laws' that work on and apply to other commodities" (Winson 1993: 1). Hence, the food system's 'success' comes from and goes to the tables of only those able to afford it. Access is skewed and precariously achieved on the basis of distant short-term choices that maintain low food prices and high levels of production. These choices do not adequately consider ecological and social costs. Life 12 goods and services are reduced to marketable commodities to be traded on increasingly global markets according to the theory of comparative advantage, which is operationalized through domestic policy and international agreements. Globally, hierarchical power structures dominate and a general lack of transparency means explicit and implicit policies are shaped on an uneven battleground of competing interests, in a climate of uncertainty, by few actors, with little attention given to the unintended consequences (Lang 1999). Indeed, it is a system premised not on meeting human needs, but on the primacy of profit and Canada's food system is one of the most highly concentrated sectors displaying these qualities (Qualman 2001) with ever expanding boundaries of commodification. The more powerful the force of commodification the more distant are sources of sustenance, the more standardized the 'product' consumed and the more access is restricted (Manno 2000). At the centre of this (re)structuring is a strong focus on export-led growth whereby food is reduced and isolated according to an industrial logic based on standardization and specialization. In consequence, in agriculture, fewer farmers are farming larger farms, which demand the use of expensive inputs (owned and marketed by a select number of corporations) in increasing amounts with tighter restrictions enforced not by government, but corporations. The maintenance of the system is precariously reliant on cheap fossil fuels, which continues "to be used to obscure the impacts of depletion and environmental degradation and mismanagement. We are deceived by apparent solutions whereas in reality the problems are only deferred" (Rees, W . Personal communication. 4 March 2003). Indeed, the "merits of 'economies of scale' fall apart when we consider more than just the bottom line, and look at greater social and environmental costs" (Geggie 2002). The development of a food system along the premises and principles of neo-liberalism has constrained the meaningful advancement of food security not because of malfunction, but '"because the system is working the way it is supposed to work'. The solution is not simply to behave better in a flawed system, but to correct the flaws" (McLaughlin 1996: 55). Food security, however, can offer a trenchant critique of the contemporary food system, highlighting the incompatibility of neo-liberalism with the needs of life. It is an area of immense possibility as food " embodies the links between nature, human survival and 13 health, culture and livelihood it w i l l , and has already, become a focus of contention and resistance to a corporate takeover of life i t s e l f (McMichael 2000: 32). OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: THE WORLD FOOD SUMMIT The first international conference to address rising concerns over the food system's security was held in 1974. However, the second such conference was not held until twenty-two years later in 1996. This World Food Summit (WFS) was organized in Rome by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) . While both conferences were accompanied with much official fan-fare, the second Summit marked a pivotal turning point whereby commitment was given internationally to advancing food security for all. Attendance included one-hundred-and-eighty-five countries, the European Union, twenty-four United Nations agencies, fifty-five other inter-governmental organisations and four-hundred-and-fifty-seven non-governmental organizations (Bne Saad 1999). Discourse moved far from that of the first conference held in 1974, though many of the same issues were raised. Operationalization and action were more varied. The follow-up conference, The World Food Summit: Five Years Later (WFS: fyl) was much the same but coupled with rising levels of frustration over weak progress made. O f note, only two heads of state of the twenty-nine member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development participated in the W F S : fyl (Riches, G . Personal communication. 20 October 2003). Commitments The 1996 W F S resulted in both the Rome Declaration and the formulation of the W F S Plan of Action whereby each signatory committed to the goal of reducing by half the number of hungry and undernourished no later than 2015. Signatories also adopted the strategy outlined in the W F S Plan of Action and agreed to develop country-level plans of action for achieving the W F S goal. Each plan was to address the domestic and international context. Finally, each signatory also committed to reporting back on progress achieved in implementing its commitments (Food Security Bureau 2001). A l l national representatives unanimously adopted both the Rome Declaration and Plan of Action, which "reaffirmed 'the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious 14 food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger'" (Bne Saad 1999). While fifteen countries placed formal reservations on the record, the U . S . A . most fervently, (Mulvany 1997: 1) all national representatives agreed to the following seven commitments (Box 1), which are direct quotes from Canada's Action Plan for Food Security (1998): Box 1 W o r l d Food Summit Commitments 1. We wi l l ensure an enabling political, social and economic environment designed to create the best conditions for the eradication of poverty and for durable peace, based on full and equal participation of women and men, which is most conducive to achieving food security for all. 2. We wi l l implement policies aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality and improving physical and economic access by all, at all times, to sufficient, nutritionally adequate and safe food and its effective utilization. 3. We wi l l pursue participatory and sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development policies and practices in high and low potential areas, which are essential to adequate and reliable food supplies at the household, national, regional and global levels, and combat pests, drought and desertification, considering the multifunctional character of agriculture. 4. We wi l l strive to ensure that food;'agricultural trade and overall trade policies are conducive to fostering food security for all through a fair and market-oriented world trade system. 5. We wi l l endeavour to prevent and be prepared for natural disasters and man-made emergencies and to meet transitory and emergency food requirements in ways that encourage recovery, rehabilitation, development and a capacity to satisfy future needs. 6. We wi l l promote optimal allocation and use of public and private investments to foster human resources, sustainable food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry systems, and rural development, in high and low-potential areas. 7. We wi l l implement, monitor, and follow-up the World Food Summit Plan of Action at all levels in cooperation with the international community. Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998 Rhetoric or Action? While seemingly a significant advancement, progress on the W F S goal remains weak and despite much praise of the goal set and commitments outlined, the approach taken in the W F S is a source of intense criticism. Many "delegates left with a cynical view that this multi-million dollar exercise [the 1996 W F S ] had only achieved an increased profile of the F A O " (Mulvany 1997: 2). Pottier, commenting on the lack of hard facts and list o f commitments notes, it is "as i f the wi l l to reform required no more than the flick of a mental yes-button [...]. Its language is internationally recognizable and inoffensive, typical of the 15 Western-dominated way of discussing and deciding, also known as 'AgreeCulture' [...]" (1999: 16). The Overseas Development Institute claims, "what was achieved at the W F S represents only a restatement of commitments acceptable to every government and rephrased in the sustainable, participatory, gender-sensitive, anti-poverty, environmentally friendly terms of the moment" (Bne Saad 1999). According to Mies (1996), the approach was similar to one of adding gender and stirring. Indeed, not unlike many other international conferences, alternative summits were held during both the 1996 and 2002 official Summits. A t both Summits (the W F S and the W F S : fyl) non-governmental participants presented an alternate set of proposals for achieving food security and called into question the existing approaches, policies and practices proposed to achieve food security for all. According to a member of the Canadian delegation to the W F S : fyl and who also attended the alternative summit: Throughout the week it was clear that there were two worlds. A t the F A O , governments (with distressingly few heads of state from the wealthy countries) wrestled over whether or not the 'human right to access to food' is 'justiciable' - i.e. whether someone could sue a government for failing to provide it. A t the N G O Forum, the discourse was about whether we should endorse the right to food or food sovereignty. (C. Kneen 2002) Criticism has not only been intense, but widespread. Many delegates and observers stressed that the target set was shameful and were displeased with rhetorical and unbinding commitments. The F A O documents leading to the 1996 Summit placed a strong emphasis on technological development and "the same growth model focusing on trade liberalization and market-dominated production processes that the civi l society has been critiquing for the last few decades" (Elswick 1996: 65). Commenting on these background documents, which argued that liberalizing trade would improve food security, European Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler publicly commented that he "had a problem with this, admitting, 'simply liberalising markets cannot be the only answer because there are many people who cannot pay'" (Mulvany 1997: 2). Put simply, the W F S Plan of Action predominantly reflects the dominant social paradigm and, thus, does not challenge the contemporary global food system and maintains conventional dichotomies and assumptions. According to Mies (1996), as articulated at the 16 W F S , food security w i l l be achieved at the expense of the 'other' since the Summit Plan of Action accepts the conventional conceptualization of self-reliance, which is based on opening national production systems to competitive pressures. It holds that competitive pressure wi l l spur efficiency and thus facilitate meeting human needs - the market system need only be tweaked. "In fact, the W F S adopted the same logic as the I M F , the World Bank and the W T O : importing foods from the developed countries as the best way for the developing nations to achieve food security [...]" (Menezes, 2001: 31). Officially there is recognition only of independence, not interdependence at the Summits. Food security can be protected or facilitated through cooperative planning but is primarily a status achieved or to be treated largely in isolation. The location of problems and solutions were placed inside the South. Indeed, the North's role in contributing to problems elsewhere and within were treated with complacence. This implies that "externally led policy interventions as we know them can continue with impunity, that the international community need not question its own role in the creation and maintenance of conflict, terrorism and poverty" (Pottier 1999: 18). Moreover, few Northern nations recognized that they had their own problems of food security and the idea was clearly advanced that in the event of domestic scarcity food could be imported - the source of production irrelevant. A t the conclusion of the W F S : fyl national representatives reaffirmed the target set in the Rome Declaration and formulated a new official declaration which notes that unless efforts to implement the W F S Plan of Action were accelerated then it would not be attained. Indeed, the first five years lagged by at least sixty percent behind goals (Rosset 2002). The declaration went on to "specifically urge governments to review their ongoing national food security policies with a view to filling gaps, identifying new initiatives, removing implementation obstacles and streamlining inter-ministerial and inter-departmental policy initiatives" (Food and Agriculture Organization 2002). While official Summit documents stress resources and political w i l l as lacking, the problem is much deeper than this. It is a matter of recognizing that fundamental changes are needed. "Far from analyzing and correcting the problems that have made it impossible to make progress [...], this new plan of action [the W F S : fyl] compounds the error of 'more of the same failed medicine' with destructive prescriptions that w i l l make the situation even worse" (Food First 2002). Within Canada, an article in the Globe and Mail noted that, "just 17 as they [world leaders] did after the last United Nations World Food Summit, held in Rome in 1996, they wi l l go back home and implement policies that make hunger worse" (Saul and Field 2002: A19). The W F S : fyl official declaration was "at best disappointing for c ivi l society [...]. A l l in all , a bad performance by governments" (Rosset 2002). In conclusion, while the commitments outlined in the Summit's Plan of Act ion reflect a shift in discourse, the general consensus achieved was largely a-political, a-social, and a-ecological. Given C A P F S works from the W F S parameters and structure, it is likely to suffer the same deficiencies. CANADA'S ACTION PLAN FOR FOOD SECURITY Origins and Profile Officially, the planning process for C A P F S began after the W F S in 1996 and with the formation of the first consultative group. The official Plan document was released two years later and is entitled Canada's Action Plan for Food Security: A Response to the World Food Summit. It is a fifty-three-page document divided into four sections: conceptual, domestic actions, international actions, and conclusion. 4 Ten 'priorities' were identified: the right to food, the reduction of poverty, promotion of access to safe and nutritious food, food safety, traditional food acquisition methods of aboriginal and coastal communities, food production, emphasis on environmentally sustainable practices, fair trade, acknowledgement of peace as a precursor to food security, and developing a monitoring system for food insecurity (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 2-4). To-date Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ( A A F C ) has formed two consultative groups, composed of representatives from civi l society, provincial and territorial governments, and federal government departments.5 Appendix 2 summarizes the composition of the two consultative groups. The first consultative group was convened in 1996 and dismissed in 1998, and the second was convened in 2000. The first group See appendix 1 for a content summary of the document. A n on-line version is available at <http://www.agr.gc.ca/misb/fsb/fsap/fsape.html>. 5 The Plan defines civil society as, "organizations and associations of people, formed for social or political purposes, that are not created or mandated by governments" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 1). For clarity, I will utilize this definition of civil society throughout the case study analysis. 18 participated in discussions for the drafting of the official Plan and the second group informed the preparation of the second progress report submitted to the Committee on World Food Security of the F A O . Following the release of the official Plan a coordinating and monitoring body, the Food Security Bureau, was formed and set up within the Global Affairs Bureau of the Market and Industry Services Branch of A A F C . The mandate of the organization is to: 1. Maintain an overview of the main policies and activities pertaining to food security in Canada and Canadian programming internationally. 2. Act as a focal point for information on federal, provincial and civi l society activities related to food security. 3. Prepare an assessment of progress on implementation of Canada's Act ion Plan in consultation with designated coordinators in departments, c iv i l society and provincial governments. 4. Coordinate monitoring of the Action Plan and reports, every two years on progress achieved, both domestically and internationally, to the Committee on Food Security of the F A O . 5. Facilitate contact between Canadian stakeholders or individuals who are making efforts to further the cause of food security. (Food Security Bureau 2001) The following time-line (Box 2) summarizes key moments in the development of C A P F S . 19 Box 2 K e y Events in the Development of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security DRAFTING PHASE 1996 - W F S held in Rome First consultative group for C A P F S convened rATION AND [NG PHASE 1998 1999 2000 C A P F S published and released First consultative group dismissed Food Security Bureau set up C A P F S first progress report submitted to Committee on World Food Security Second consultative group for C A P F S convened IMPLEMEN1 MONITOR] 2001 National conference on food security held in Toronto IMPLEMEN1 MONITOR] 2002 - W F S : fyl held in Rome C A P F S second progress report submitted to Committee on World Food Security Methodology To assess C A P F S , I contrasted it to a set of substantive and procedural criteria constructed from a review of the literature on food security and planning (Box 3). 6 It is one approach to the assessment of a food security plan and is based on the premise that the main purpose of any planning process is to get action toward goals (Boothroyd 1989). I take an interpretive and qualitative approach. The criteria and assessment were derived from a review of relevant literature and a qualitative content analysis of key government documents and the proceedings of a national conference. I also had semi-structured interviews with knowledgeable experts, both within and outside of government, across Canada. 6 Critical insight was offered from a variety of sources, spanning diverse fields such as social work, agriculture, nutrition, planning, development, social policy, and ecological economics. Key sources include: Boothroyd (1989), B . Kneen (November 2001), Maxwell (1996), Pottier (1999), Riches (1999), Thomson (2001): Criteria five, six, nine and ten were taken from Rees (1987). 20 Box 3 Framework of Cr i t e r i a for an Effective Food Security P lan A food security plan should... 1. Be based on a multisectoral and inclusive approach. 2. Identify the most vulnerable groups at community and household levels and outline responses to support the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food. 3. Give consideration to the concerns of the food insecure. 4. Address the assurance of sufficient supplies and emphasize sustainable production. 5. Be sufficiently detailed so that: a. Goals are clearly articulated. b. Targets are defined against which progress can be assessed. c. Evaluation procedures are clearly outlined and scheduled at reasonable intervals. d. Revision procedures are defined for updating goals, responsibilities, and activities. 6. Identify all key parties-at-interest and detail their responsibilities in relation to implementation. 7. Emphasize and support the need for ongoing planning and participation through various processes at different levels of action and spaces. 8. Consider and account for the 'unintentional' consequences of policy beyond the targeted focus. 9. Be provided with sufficient funding and expertise to ensure a reasonable chance of achieving goals. 10. Be perceived by key parties-at-interest to be an effective plan. Semi-Structured Interviews I conducted six interviews by telephone. These each took approximately half-an-hour and all were completed during a three-week period. The primary objectives of the interviews were to gain insight into background information (unpublished) on the Plan's development and to obtain opinions on its implementation. I followed a semi-structured interview protocol. The protocol explores the subject's reflections, experience and knowledge of CAPFS and more broadly food security planning in Canada. The interviews were conducted in a manner that worked with the knowledge of the interviewee and therefore not all questions were covered or equally stressed in all of the interviews.7 The interview protocol was not used during one interview on the request of the interviewee. In a second case it was only loosely followed due to the unique expertise of the subject. 7 Please refer to appendix 3 for a copy of the interview protocol used, which includes sample questions. 21 Potential interviewees were identified using three public lists of involvement in food security.8 Selection of wil l ing participants was based on responses received to a letter of initial contact and subject availability within the set interview period. The primary criteria for inclusion were experience with the development of C A P F S (direct or indirect) and continued involvement in food security issues. Thereafter selection was based on area of expertise and/or involvement. While a small sample, I sought a diverse group of interviewees. Consistent with the parameters of the research's ethical review, I w i l l identify the interviewees only by code. Refer to Table 1 for a summary of selected qualifications of the interviewees. It should be noted that a limitation of this study is the weak representation of government parties-at-interest. I could speak only with one government representative because of the difficulty experienced in identifying qualified subjects.9 Also it was the government representative who requested that the interview protocol not be used. Therefore, unless specifically noted, reference to interviewees or results highlighted do not reflect the interview conducted with the federal government representative. I used the membership lists of the two consultative groups, which are included in Canada's Action Plan for Food Security (1998) and Canada's Second Progress Report on Canada's Action Plan for Food Security (2002). The third list used is entitled, Who's Who of Food Security in Canada (Le Vallee 2003). 9 1 could not find other qualified people within government to interview. 22 Table 1 Interviewee Background Information Interviewee Roles and Qualifications Interview Protocol Used Primero Publishes a monthly newsletter on food systems issues Works on a food security coalition and a variety of projects intended to create a capacity for community food security Recent involvement with C A P F S consultative group Yes Segundo Senior policy advisor for Canadian food and development assistance organization Member of C A P F S consultative group following drafting Yes Tercero Federal government representative, department of agriculture Member of C A P F S second consultative group N o Quarto Worked on a variety of projects and conducted research intended to create a capacity for food system sustainability and community food security Independent food policy consultant Peripheral involvement in formulation of C A P F S Member of C A P F S second consultative group Yes Quinto Community nutritionist with a food systems focus Member of a provincial food security working group (public health) Yes Sexto Worked internationally on a variety of food security projects Conducts research on food security Worked for federal department of agriculture N o Qualitative Content Analysis I reviewed the following government documents: Canada's Action Plan for Food Security (1998), Canada's Progress Report to the Committee on World Food Security (1999), and Canada's Second Progress Report on Canada's Action Plan for Food Security (2002). Hereafter reference to 'official C A P F S documents', unless otherwise stated, pertains to these three documents. I also analyzed the proceedings of the 2001 national conference held at Ryerson University to prepare for the W F S : fyl. The conference brought together over 150 representatives from both governmental and non-governmental organizations from across the 23 country and from a variety of sectors. This document is entitled Working Together: Civil Society Working for Food Security in Canada. It was selected as a relevant document to analyze since the objectives of the conference were consistent with the parameters set for the research study. The objectives of the conference were to: 1. Develop a working plan for a c iv i l society based national action plan for food security; 2. Assess the contributions of the Canadian government to food security nationally and internationally; 3. Make practical policy proposals to provincial and federal governments on achieving the goals of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security. (Koc and MacRae 2001: 6) Results of Assessment Criterion One: A food security plan should be based on a multisectoral and inclusive approach. The multisectoral and inclusive approach named in C A P F S constitutes a notable point of distinction. B y contrast, American government lawyers ruled out broad-based collaboration prior to the drafting of the U.S . Act ion Plan (Center of Concern 2001; McLaughlin 2000: 2). Canadian state and non-governmental representatives seemingly sought to develop a common program. The official Plan notes: "the consultative process which created this plan, set its priorities and identified its actions and actors, w i l l also characterize its implementation and monitoring. In this way, the process w i l l reflect the multisectoral and interdependent nature o f the Plan's obligations" (Agriculture and A g r i -Food Canada 1998: 47). However, as I w i l l demonstrate, the integrity of the approach described is questionable. During the drafting phase broad-based involvement did occur. However, it "was a quickly fraught process [...] ground down from the start" (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003) and, according to Quarto, A A F C structured the consultative process so that the voices of the c iv i l society organizations present were diluted. These participants felt it a 24 generally confusing process whereby their capacity to influence the Plan was weak, "so in the end government officials could say as they pleased" all under the rhetoric of consultation (Quarto. Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). These points were reiterated at the national conference held in 2001. Sue Cox of the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank, a panellist at the conference, remarked: Food banks got involved at a reasonably early stage, and they found it a very frustrating process. They were trying to convince government representatives that income inadequacy was most likely the major cause of insecurity in Canada. Their comments, she believed, managed to have only a small impact on what was put in the final document. (Koc and MacRae 2001: 48) In the very least, there was a disjuncture between what c ivi l society organizations had expected and understood as the problem to address, and how government officials responsible for preparing the official Plan ultimately conceived and understood the role of participation. Indeed, at the time of the Plan's release the vice-chairwoman of the Canadian Association of Food Banks stated that the association could not endorse the plan, despite having participated. The main issue of contention was that the "final report failed to recognize that federal policies contributed to the problem of poverty, with tighter restrictions on unemployment insurance and reduced welfare payments contributing to poverty and hunger" (Gait 1998: A13). Nevertheless, while the interviewees and conferees referred to the inclusive approach more often than not as 'window-dressing' it was also appreciated. "This planning process was really forced on government by civi l society screaming. The original government position was that [food security] was a southern problem, so [the fact] that the Plan was made is a success i t s e l f (Quarto. Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). Another interviewee felt that the Plan's writing did reflect the fact that many sectors were involved in its formulation. "The Plan paints a broad picture of all the perspectives that need to be taken into account" (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). Given the experience of the W F S , it could be expected that the drafting process for C A P F S would be difficult. However, it is significant how persistent this problem has proven and how deeply the process is criticized. According to four interviewees the Plan's language on inclusion and multisectoral collaboration is not supported in the drafting, implementation 25 and monitoring of C A P F S . Speaking generally about the Plan, one interviewee noted that what tends to happen are "token-like" endeavours, conceived as "mechanisms to maintain [an appearance of] buy-in" (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). A second interviewee commented that involvement and participation is now mainly relegated to the preparation of progress reports and that issues brought up in consultative forums are often ignored or manipulated (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). A third interviewee reiterated this last point and added that multisectoral collaboration is a segmented and strategic process whereby sectors (departments and agencies) work largely independently. "There does not appear to be any meaningful desire to change the substance or process of policy-making" (Quarto. Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). The low priority of the Plan for or within governments was noted in five of the six interviews and lack of expertise in four interviews. A review of the official C A P F S documents indicates that departments mainly act in isolation and strictly according to their predefined mandates and separate responsibilities and interests.1 0 One seeming exception is a federal inter-departmental working group on food security indicators. However, according to Sexto, even this working group's participants come "to the table only in mind of their mandates and interests [...] and lack a holistic understanding of food security" (Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). The lack of progress made on the 'indicator' initiative is notable. As of yet, there is no agreed upon set o f indicators and no indication that they wi l l soon emerge. Note that this 'task' was part of the 1996 W F S and a priority highlighted in the official Plan published five years ago in 1998. The federal government interviewee's comments were consistent with the idea that collaboration is a segmented process. " A l l levels of government (and other interests) have a piece of the puzzle (of food security), but no one has the whole puzzle" (Tercero. Telephone interview. 12 March 2003). It is the "responsibility of each stakeholder to take action [and] each department has its own responsibilities" (Tercero. Telephone interview. 12 March 2003). Though it "really requires and is the responsibility of the provinces (and thus also cities) to take action. The federal level has national programs and social programs that are usually delivered by the provinces and municipalities. Cities/municipalities are the closest and require support (i.e. from provinces) through funding or the provision of other resources" 1 0 To reiterate, reference to 'official CAPFS documents' pertains to the three documents listed on page 22. 26 (Tercero. Telephone interview. 12 March 2003). Note that these words reveal no firm federal commitment to food security. For these reasons, many civi l society organizations are simply no longer participating since the consultative process was not working at all and "felt like a joke" (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). The claim of multisectoral dialogue and inclusion "is neither supported nor effective at this time" (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Other c iv i l society organizations continue to participate as they can, but don't expect much in the end. Levels of frustration were high at the national conference held in 2001. "We're worn out with government; we've talked and talked and government isn't listening" (Koc and MacRae 2001: 19). Some groups "were frustrated with consultations that [they] felt had not produced concrete outcomes in the past and refused to attend" the conference (Koc and MacRae 2001: 7). Representation is therefore an important issue and was raised by two interviewees when discussing the consultative group. This pertains not only to representation of vulnerable groups, but also to other sectors and levels of government. In regard to government involvement, the matter of adequate representation is problematic given the division of powers in the Canadian constitution. It is the responsibility of each level of government to take action in areas of their jurisdiction. O f note, the first consultative group involved only three provinces, which were all represented by departments of agriculture. In contrast, the second consultative group involves all provinces and territories; however, these representatives are all from the health and social services sectors.1 1 While the involvement of more provinces and territories is a notable advancement, again only one sector is directly involved and it is unclear what is expected of or accomplished through the group. The only role of the second group, that I could firmly determine, was to inform the preparation of progress reports submitted to the Committee on World Food Security. Through the interviews I was able to determine how the second consultative group was formed. Apparently, the Food Security Bureau organized in a haphazard ( if somewhat urgent manner) this gathering of individuals and organizations prior to the W F S : fyl. N o funding or support were offered and many participants could not or would become involved. ' ' Appendix 2 details the composition of the two consultative groups. 27 The second (CAPFS) progress report only notes that the consultative group was re-constituted in August 2000 and that "some members moved to new positions involving other responsibilities and were replaced, while others joined from groups not previously represented" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2002: 83). O f course, representation in the consultative group can be equated with neither action nor inaction. Many group members have not acted upon their commitments and other groups are not even represented. For example some local governments have begun to consider food security a priority, but are not included in the consultative group. In any event, according to a member of the consultative group, the group is "now more or less defunct" (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). People "are too busy surviving and generally speaking they are not interested in being involved in a national dialogue that has proven ineffective" (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Consequently, according to two interviewees, there is a felt need to express the views of missing voices, which is problematic to some members of the consultative group (including the interviewees) since they are not a representative of the absent parties-at-interest. More generally, it is also often a difficult task to represent one's own group given the structuring of participation forms and formats. Those with ample time and finances to support their involvement are privileged (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Interestingly, this was noted as more of a concern in relation to the domestic context. A representative of an international development party-at-interest remarked that internationally focused organizations tend to be located geographically closer to where meetings are held (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). 1 3 In comparison, many domestic organizations are volunteer-based, with very limited budgets and much more geographically dispersed, which makes it harder to attend and prepare for meetings. We cannot afford to fly across the country, generally without adequate notice to prepare, for a brief meeting (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). "We are given virtually no turn around time" to respond when we are included (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Those working most actively in food security are doing so with "shoe-string budgets" and 1 2 To reiterate, the first consultative group was convened in 1996 and dismissed in 1998 with the release of the official Plan. The second consultative group was convened in 2000. 1 3 The consultative group is not specifically a domestic group for a domestic audience. To reiterate, the Plan addresses both the domestic and international contexts. 28 with little official (government) support (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). Without clear support and consideration given to what restricts or enables participation the lack of adequate representation in the consultative group wi l l persist. In summary, the multisectoral and inclusive approach employed by A A F C in the formulation of C A P F S and as executed in its implementation is seriously flawed. This criterion is only very partially satisfied. Criterion Two: A food security plan should identify the most vulnerable groups at community and household levels and outline responses to support the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food. While C A P F S notes that the majority of Canadians are food secure, it does recognize that some groups of people are more at risk to food insecurity than others and a number of vulnerable groups are identified. 1 4 The official C A P F S documents also continue to endorse the human right to food, which is not the responsibility of any one agent.1 5 Endorsement, however, does not and has not meant the progressive realization of the right to adequate food. I return to this matter after first discussing the identification of vulnerable groups and responses outlined. The Plan does identify vulnerable groups at the community and household level. Succinctly, C A P F S recognizes that: "Food security can be manifested in many ways. It can be temporary or chronic and its severity can vary with age, status, gender, income, geographic location, ethnic or national affiliation and a host of other factors" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 6). Poverty and gender inequality are specifically highlighted 1 4 Specifically, vulnerable groups identified in the official CAPFS documents include: women, children, single parent women, Aboriginal peoples, people with physical and mental disabilities, people with acute or chronic illness, elderly people, homeless persons, unemployed people or people with low-incomes, and refugees and new immigrants (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2002: 10; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1999: 8; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 11). However, the official CAPFS documents also stress: "While Canada undertakes to describe those people vulnerable to food insecurity, an agreed upon set of indicators to identify or define a food insecure person has not, as yet, been established" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1999:43). 1 5 In 1976 the federal government ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The provinces supported ratification, which meant that the Canadian government committed itself in international law to respect, protect and fulfil the human right to food (Riches 2002: 660). Since then Canada has ratified the International Convention of the Rights of the Child, signed the World Declaration on Nutrition, and the World Declaration on Social Development (Riches, G. Personal Communication. 20 October 2003). 29 as contributing to vulnerability to food insecurity. However, there is little evidence of poverty and gender inequality throughout the official C A P F S documents. For example, within the official Plan gender inequality in the domestic context is not touched upon after the introductory section. Only a handful of references alluding to inequality are presented and phrased in the terms that "some people are poorer than others" (Agriculture and A g r i -Food Canada 1998: 12). Inequality is conceived strictly as a matter of income. Reference to poverty, on the other hand, is interlaced throughout the document. Overall, no contextual understandings of how poverty, inequality and/or gender contribute to food in/security are provided in the official C A P F S documents. The Plan's understanding of food insecurity at the individual, household and community level is extremely limited. Indeed, despite the diversity of groups identified, the Plan treats insecurity experiences superficially and responses outlined tend to mainstream situations of insecurity. 1 6 This is an important point to highlight and I w i l l briefly discuss two examples in the following two paragraphs. While food insecurity may primarily be a matter of insufficient income, interlocking systems of oppression and domination are deeply embedded in the proliferation, persistence and experience of food insecurity. This does not, however, imply that separate responses must always be created for all vulnerable groups. It is said to stress that the right to adequate food should be realized regardless of one's ability to fully participate in the marketplace. It is remarkable that in C A P F S the only differentiation made between genders, and is specifically directed toward women, pertains to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. This is noteworthy because C A P F S specifically recognizes that gender contributes to vulnerability and because single parent women are consistently cited as a particularly vulnerable group. They are both "disproportionately represented among families on welfare and more likely to need income assistance to maintain their families" (National Association of Women and the Law 1999). The Plan's gender-blind approach fails to recognize that since the responsibilities for child-care go unrecognized or under-valued single parent women often "are denied desperately needed income supplements otherwise available to the working poor" (National Association of Women and the Law 1999). 30 A second example of the Plan's failure meaningfully to differentiate responses is reflected in the discussion of, and responses outlined for First Nations' peoples and communities, which are conceived as l iving predominantly in remote areas. Indeed, it was not until the second progress report that First Nations people were recognized to also live in cities. Further, rather than address traditional food acquisition (a 'priority' o f the Plan), the Plan emphasizes facilitating the transition to a cash-based economy so as to "reap the benefits from the best of both the traditional and the commercial food system" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 16). One interviewee noted that C A P F S profoundly fails to consider the magnitude of food security challenges experienced by First Nations people and in First Nations communities (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). The interviewee's remark is consistent with comments made by a plenary speaker, Herb Naziel , Chief Samooh, Hereditary Chief of the G i l s e y h u Clan, at the 2001 national conference. The dominant focus in C A P F S is placed on, or implicitly related to, participation in the labour market. The difficulty is that there is no indication in the official C A P F S documents that (relevant) future or current policies and programs wi l l be examined according to how they negate or support the progressive realization of human right to adequate food or according to how they may differentially impact vulnerable groups. Indeed, rather than consider social policy adequacy, financial management is a point emphasized throughout the official C A P F S documents. It accompanies any reference made to the national safety net. For example, the second progress report notes that governments have endeavoured to reduce their debts, improving financial situations, which has obliged them to re-examine programs: "In order to help them [food insecure individuals], all levels of government in Canada are following a balanced approach of social investments and prudent financial management" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1999: 12). The return of growth to the economy is praised in the Plan and while discussion of the impacts of restructuring is not absent in the official C A P F S documents, the response outlined in the Plan is deficient: "Continuing to help Canadians in this regard means ensuring adequate social investments, facilitating the 1 6 The term mainstream refers to the process of assuming or privileging dominant aspects of social identity in policy; for example, policies that privilege the nuclear household or assume the ability to fully participate in the marketplace. 31 effective use of limited resources and engaging all concerned, especially those most 17 vulnerable, in the decision-making process" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 12). The Plan endorses the human right to adequate food. Clarification is emphasized and the Plan calls for "factual and balanced discussion with c iv i l society to review the relationship between trade, trade agreements and food security" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 23). Discussion of this right in the official C A P F S documents, however, is sparse and stressed as an issue important to others (namely civi l society). Canadian civi l society has been actively trying to clarify and determine how to respect, protect and fulfil the right to food. In Canada, public education and awareness are playing an important role in this process. While its primary focus is international, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, as part of its work on defining the right to food, co-sponsored a study to analyse the effects of provincial and federal legislation on domestic food security. This information has been shared with Canadian civi l society organizations with an interest in the domestic aspects of the right to food. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1999: 11) Public debate on and clarification of what the right to food means is important. However, taken alone such dialogue reflects more of a 'sit and wait' approach. Some action can be taken in the mid-term. Since the Plan's release there has been no "concrete action on the implementation of this aspect" (Clark and Northcott 2001). The general feeling is that the "right hand appears not to know what the left is doing, given that in domestic welfare policy and practice the human right to food has been abandoned" (Lightman and Riches 2000: 185). Indeed, "support for the right to food [...] started to come undone with [the] rising association of international trade with food security" (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003) since food security implies restrictions on the advancement of international trade agreements such as the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Agriculture. Dialogue with government is difficult: "Our calls are most often not returned" and efforts 1 7 The response outlined is without substance because it refuses to recognize that, for example, fifty-eight percent of food bank recipients receive social assistance, nearly twelve percent are working poor, and eight percent receive disability support (Wilson and Tsoa 2002). This is in the context of the fact that nearly half of the food banks in the above study reported difficulties keeping pantry shelves stocked. "Despite attempts to distribute the best quality, quantity and variety of food possible, studies reveal the nutritional inadequacy of 32 generally discouraged (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Disproportionate support (financial and with expertise by governments and private interests) is given to the advancement of the Agreement on Agriculture in comparison to the clarification of the right to adequate food. In order to satisfy the criterion the Plan needed to identify the most vulnerable groups at the community and household levels and outline responses to support the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food. While the Plan adequately identifies the most vulnerable groups, it fails to outline meaningful responses to support the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food. Those responses targeted to specific vulnerable groups tend to mainstream their situations and the adequacy of existent social policy went unexamined. The Plan fails to satisfy the criterion. Criterion Three: A food security plan should give consideration to the concerns of the food insecure. Food security plans that are not responsive to the concerns of the food insecure w i l l be irrelevant or ineffective. Consideration must be given to how food insecure individuals and/or the most vulnerable groups "define and see their l iving and working conditions and which areas they believe need to be transformed" (Milojevic 2001: 100). Given the diversity of insecurity experiences, causes and situations, and a strong of history of researching 'them' rather than researching 'with them', this criterion is particularly difficult to address. In order to satisfy this criterion the Plan should, in the very least, identify the concerns of the food insecure. There has been no real effort made to identify the concerns of the food insecure. "Enduring solutions empowering the food-insecure to help themselves" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 6) are not outlined and the food insecure are conceptualized strictly as "the people with no voice" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 6) and planned for as such. Their participation and that of advocates on their behalf, as discussed in the first criterion, has been a seriously flawed process. In this regard, the stress placed in the second food bank diets and increasingly common experience of hunger among food bank recipients" (Wilson and Tsoa 33 introductory message is notable. While the Plan is clearly divided between the domestic and international contexts, the Plan in Canada is for all Canadians, not the most vulnerable: "We also wish to thank them for helping us all to keep in mind who this Plan is for: the communities and people of Canada, the people in countries in transition, and the people in developing countries, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable" (Agriculture and A g r i -Food Canada 1998: i i) . This point brings into question the extent to which food security is recognized, in the Plan, as a problem in Canada. A review of the literature and two interviews conducted with individuals who work at the community level in food security revealed three primary concerns when asked what the concerns of the food insecure were. They include: ensuring that basic needs can be met of which food is one, acquiring better food, and l iving with dignity and pride. A n examination of the official Plan and progress reports reveals that these concerns are not adequately addressed.1 8 The Plan does not reflect the basic needs 'reality' of insecurity in Canada: food, clothing and shelter are interrelated issues. A t no point does the Plan recognize that in developed countries, such as Canada, food budgets are the most elastic: as income declines the money available for food declines. It is the most discretionary of all essential expenditures (Mclntrye 2003). Whatever money is leftover after rent or at the end of the month is spent on food. "Food prices are already among the lowest internationally and people in Canada still can't get enough food" (Primero. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Also , the Plan does not differentiate between who is or should be acquiring better food, defined as more nutritious and higher quality. "The Canadian food supply can provide foods with nutritional characteristics that support healthy eating. A n environment also needs to be created to enable Canadians [...] to make informed choices for healthy eating" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 14). The subsequent focus is strictly placed on education and surveillance. Such action items, while important, w i l l fall short especially in regards to the most vulnerable i f consideration is not given to factors that affect their food choices. Some studies have confirmed the point that it is not always a matter of education: individuals often know what is good for them to eat but cannot afford to buy it or find it 2002: 4). 1 8 These concerns are not necessarily those of the food insecure. They are, however, widely discussed in the literature on food security. This analysis is included to demonstrate the superficiality of the Plan and give weight to the idea that the government does not meaningfully consider food security a problem in Canada. 34 difficult to physically access (Koc and MacRae 2001: 14). 1 9 The overarching treatment of access to nutritious food not only ignores the competitive structure of the food industry and the consequent impacts on health, but may also compound negative stereotypes of food 20 insecure individuals. The foregoing analysis shows that C A P F S failed to identify the basic concerns of the food insecure, which did not necessarily have to be those highlighted in the literature or by the interviewees. Therefore, the Plan fails to give satisfy this criterion. Criterion Four: A food security plan should address the assurance of sufficient supplies and emphasize sustainable production. Planning for the assurance of sufficient supplies demands that attention be given to questions not just of how much food is produced, but also how, who, and where it is produced and made available. Emphasis on sustainable production is important since the assurance of sufficient supplies demands that objectives set do not contradict or jeopardize basic ecological and social relations. In the official C A P F S documents the development of the Canadian food system is conceptualized along the lines of export-led growth. Food is treated as any other aspect of gross national product. The current proposed agricultural policy framework is praised in the second progress report as a "comprehensive approach so that the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector has a solid platform from which to maximize opportunities in the global marketplace, resulting in increased profitability through growth, diversification and value-Studies in Britain and the United States have found that food retail chains tend to ignore poorer neighbourhoods (Wrigley, 2002; Koc et al, 1999). Consequently, '"disadvantaged consumers' experience constrained food choice as a function of low income and restricted mobility" (Whelan et al., 2002). Those identified in the literature as more likely to be affected by these 'food deserts' include low-income families, those without access to a car and/or resident in areas of poor public transportation, those with caring responsibilities, the elderly, the disabled, and in some cases ethnic minorities (Whelan et al., 2002; Koc et al., 1999; Travers, 1996). Notably, these studies have also examined changes in nutrition and perceived security ' in ' food deserts and after an intervention has been made (the sourcing of a food retail outlet). Results have been positive and called for assumptions to be 'checked.' 2 0 In the current context one finds that to "sell food in an economy of abundant choices, companies must worry about these other determinants [convenience and price] much more than about the nutritional value of their products - unless the nutrient content helps to entice buyers" (Nestle 2002: 16). The 'successful' food system "has increased the availability of refined, energy-dense foods rich in animal fat and sugars, but which are lacking in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals" (Robertson et al. 1999: 182). \ 35 added activities" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2002: 14). Canadian departments of agriculture appear to be in lock-step with the dominant value program and publicly have demonstrated a poor understanding of the contemporary context. A t the national conference Wendy Cymbal of A A F C in defence of departments' priorities noted: "Trade encourages local production by encouraging areas of comparative advantage" (Koc and MacRae 2001: 43). Her statement is almost tautological. A l l production to an extent is local since it occurs in place. What is of concern is that production is only one 'phase' of the food system. Each aspect of the food system from input to output increasingly is fragmented and non-local. Daily nourishment relies on increasingly distant and fewer sources. Apparently it does not matter who produces, processes, or distributes food. In Canada sufficient supplies of food can be imported and the Plan does not consider the consequent increasing dependency "on ever fewer players for jobs, investment, and even food" (Qualman and Wiebe 2002: 15). The only discussion in the official C A P F S documents of communities in Canada involved directly in the food system pertains to promoting investment and ensuring that "rural communities in all regions of Canada share in the economic benefits of the global 21 knowledge-based economy" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 27). There is no differentiation made between real place communities (for example, farming versus fishing villages) and there is no discussion of the most important dilemmas and trends o f the contemporary food system that threaten or contribute to its unsustainability, which include the corporate concentration of the food sector and its industrial, global nature. Rural depopulation simply requires "access to capital and training, especially in new technologies" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 26). Action items highlighted and the general discussion contained in the official C A P F S documents are not only disconnected from situation, but are also overly vague. Only one consequence of liberalized trade is considered: "the transition to freer trade, coupled with the impact of other variables, can decrease the incomes for certain segments of the population. Without appropriate measures, food security for some Canadians may be compromised" 2 1 The following areas are targeted for special attention regarding foreign direct investment in Canada's International Investment Promotion Framework for the Agri-Food Sector (a program highlighted in the Plan): hog production and processing, processed consumer products, agriculture and food biotechnology, nutraceuticals or functional foods, and industrial uses of agricultural products (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 27). Of note, many of these 'targets' are contested nationally and at community levels. For example, debates over hog production have divided numerous communities and it is a 'hot' issue. 36 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 22). The on-going process of market-based 22 restructuring is benign and the only alternative. The difficulty is that the primary objectives set by A A F C are consistent with those that have contributed to creating the problems supposedly addressed in C A P F S and many others not considered. The Plan fails to recognize that ever-liberalized global trade is mutually incompatible with addressing many of the challenges to developing a more sustainable food system. When food is shipped long distances more energy is invested in transporting the food than is received in the form of food calories (Sustain/Elm 2001). "In North America, food travels an average distance of 2,500 to 4,000 kms from farm to plate. This distance is up 25% since 1980. [....] It w i l l be impossible to slow or reverse climate change until we reduce food travel and localize markets" (National Farmers Union 2003: 14). 2 3 Those interviewees who work directly in relation to production aspects of the food system were particularly frustrated with the contradictions in the official Plan and as implemented. Segundo commented that the "most shocking aspect of the Plan is the internal contradictions [...] where sustainability can be achieved through trade" (Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Progress on social and ecological issues highlighted in the official C A P F S documents is subject to the primary motive of expanding production and maintaining economic growth. In practice those factors and methods of production that are more profitable are privileged. In result, how C A P F S looks at and puts into practice technological development for 'sustainable agriculture' is limited. It is product-driven for standardized production directed toward protecting "the resource base and enhancing long-term competitiveness through value-added production" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 18). Technological development for product-driven standardized production negates any consideration of working with social or ecological systems (Manno 2000). Primero was particularly frustrated with the Plan as "millions of dollars continue to be invested in genetic engineering" and industry expansion, while "pennies are allocated to supporting sustainable 2 2 The restructuring of food systems under the prevailing neo-liberal doctrine generally involves market-oriented reforms; such as reducing government spending, export expansion, deregulation, and privatization. 2 3 Climate change and energy efficiencies are highlighted in the official CAPFS documents as important challenges to address. 37 [place-based] food systems" (Telephone interview 11 March 2003). Both are contained in the official C A P F S documents. Conceptions of food quality and food safety are also distorted by the primacy of economic values. In the official C A P F S documents conceptions of food quality are based on those aspects related to standardization of product (uniformity and durability) and the approach advocated for food safety is hazards-based. The Plan focuses on emergent concerns over food-borne pathogens with the globalization of trade and development of new technologies. The response outlined, to increase monitoring of food imports, is deficient. Longer food lines and industrial processing methodologies have increased vulnerability and make monitoring a difficult and latent endeavour at best. Three interviewees specifically commented on this aspect of the Plan. Quarto pointed out that it is the very structure of the food system, supported in the Plan, which is creating niches for disease and pest organisms. The very niches the Plan calls for to be monitored (Quarto. Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). Clearly the Plan fails to meaningfully analyze the global and national food system. In summary, the Plan fails to discuss and outline a range of possible responses to address the assurance of sufficient supplies. It does not emphasize or facilitate the development of a food system based on the primacy of sustainability except in a strictly economic sense. It reflects a linear understanding of security based on a neo-liberal logic. Therefore, the Plan fails to satisfy the criterion. Criterion Five: A food security plan should be sufficiently detailed so that: (a) Goals are clearly articulated; (b) Targets are defined against which progress can be assessed; (c) Evaluation procedures are clearly outlined and scheduled at reasonable intervals; and (d) Revision procedures are defined for updating goals, responsibilities, and activities. 38 Canada's Action Plan works from the W F S commitments. The commitments form the 'backbone' of the official Plan and progress reports. 2 4 Each commitment is boldly highlighted in the official Plan and their articulation impressive - so impressive and all encompassing that few tangible points for action or accountability are offered. N o interviewee or document reviewed questioned the clarity of the Plan's goals, understood as necessarily taken from the W F S commitments. Many, however, commented that such clarity means little in practice since nearly anything can fit within the Plan. Three interviewees pointed out how broad statements quickly fall apart when commitment to their implementation is weak. It is when one gets "more and more into the details that the rubber hits the road" (Quarto. Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). Since the Plan's release there has been little movement past the quite vague and all-encompassing commitments. The second component of this criterion, the definition of targets against which progress can be assessed, follows. The Plan defines one target that is time-bound: to reduce by half the number of hungry by 2015. It is the only target identified in the Plan and no new targets or means to measure achievement have been defined. In relation, Quarto stated: "There needs to be some instrument that says i f certain things don't happen then someone w i l l get in trouble [...]. If there are no clear performance requirements things won't happen in the current environment" (Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). Quarto called for additional targets to be set and noted that until then the Plan and like processes wi l l not be meaningful. According to the official C A P F S documents, monitoring (evaluation) is a collaborative effort. However, collaboration has proven more talk than action and neither of the two progress reports give any sense whether 'things' are getting better or worse. Evaluation procedures are only weakly outlined in the official Plan and have not been addressed over time. The Plan is evaluated through the submission of progress reports to the Committee on World Food Security, an external international audience. N o official progress reports are prepared with the intention of informing a domestic audience. The Food Security Bureau prepares the reports every two years and has no authority to ensure that any party-at-interest contributes to the evaluation of the Plan, including from within government. The first progress report was prepared with little to no input from civi l society organizations. The The commitments are listed in Box 1 on page 14. 39 second progress report was a more collaborative effort, but problematically so for some civi l society organizations. What started as a joint endeavour between government and c iv i l society organizations ended with intense frustration when government withdrew promises without notice and general "mischief-making" on the part of government was pronounced (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Five of the interviewees noted that the progress reports, like the official Plan, are simply a recounting of initiatives already underway. The interviewees also questioned i f any of these initiatives had any connection with C A P F S . Three interviewees stressed that no analysis was undertaken in the preparation of the reports. Sexto commented specifically on this point noting that the individuals responsible for ultimately writing the reports often have very limited knowledge of food security and "don't know what to look for when reviewing material submitted" (Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). Coupled with the fact that there is no discussion of revision in the official C A P F S documents the deficiency of the progress reports is a significant problem. There is no means to facilitate the refinement of goals, responsibilities or targets. According to Quarto, the fact that the reports are directed toward an external committee is not a primary concern. Rather, it is that their preparation is consistently weak and without content. Quarto felt that this problem would persist so long as the reports were prepared under the wing of A A F C and by a body with no mandate or concern with implementation. A n alternate body, such as the auditor general, may not facilitate progress on goals set, but would more likely prepare reports that reflected the substance of what really was or was not happening in regards to the Plan's development (Quarto. Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). Whi le many of the Plan's details need not necessarily be determined at one time, the Plan should at least outline how those details missing would be filled in. This has not occurred. Evaluation procedures are very weakly outlined and the matter of revision is completely absent. A series of broad-based goals are articulated and (only) one target Participants had been led to believe that the report would be a joint effort between government and civil society organization representatives. It was, thus, understood that some contradictions and difference of opinions could be contained within. However, the final document did not reflect this understanding. The main issue of contention was the executive summary since, for example, it contained action-items that had never been implemented. These points were not addressed until after the WFS: fyl when the executive summary was re-issued. 40 defined. Much room for improvement is noted. The Plan only very minimally meets this compound criterion. Criterion Six: A food security plan should identify all key parties-at-interest and detail their responsibilities in relation to implementation. The Plan opens with two introductory messages. The second is from the Minister of A A F C and the Minister for International Cooperation. It states that the Plan is the "shared responsibility of all stakeholders involved in achieving food security: the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, civil society organizations and institutions, the private sector, and ultimately, each and every individual" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: ii). The subsequent sections of the official Plan work from a clearly structured format. Each commitment is introduced, followed by one or several action items and the identification of actors for each item. The aforementioned parties-at-interest, except individuals and municipalities, are the actors identified. The actors identified, however, did not necessarily participate in the Plan's formulation or since endorse the process. Generally, consistent and accountable leadership is lacking. There is no government agent willing to take a leadership role and there is no agent empowered to hold parties-at-interest to commitments made or responsibilities outlined. The Food Security Bureau, the responsible agent for coordinating and monitoring the Plan, has no authority or resources to ensure policy coherence (or action) among the diverse parties-at-interest in government. Since the inception of the Food Security Bureau there has only been one official coordinator and for a very brief time. Food security is integrated into the agendas of key parties-at-interest only variably. Some interviewees stressed that while civil society organizations tangibly demonstrate their commitment to advancing food security, carrying out at least their responsibilities, there is little indication that CAPFS has influenced the work of government parties-at-interest.26 It should be noted, however, that within government in a few provinces and some municipalities food security has been recognized as an important issue to address; for example, see the Food Charters of Toronto, Saskatoon or Prince Albert. Non-governmental parties-at-interest are key agents catalyzing many of these initiatives. One interview with an individual who works at the municipal level commented that the Plan was not being implemented per se, but used for guidance and legitimization (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 April 2003). 41 Investigation into this point is especially difficult since the inner workings of government departments are rarely made public. A cursory review of selected federal level annual reports (2001) gives no indication that food security is a priority, if at all relevant issue or responsibility.27 Also, the vast majority of the action items in the official CAPFS documents pertain to the federal level. The interviewees also felt that CAPFS is more a federal initiative. Quinto called food security a "political hot potato" and noted that while it "sounds like we are part of the world stage it is really all [mainly] on paper at the federal level" (Telephone interview. 2 April 2003). Interestingly and in seeming contrast, the government interviewee commented specifically on the important role played by cities and municipalities - as noted these parties-at-interest are not mentioned in the Plan and have not been a member of the consultative group. The action items outlined in the Plan are also questionable. The Plan seemingly does little "more than endorse and recount the progress of modest measures already under way at the time of the [World Food] Summit" (McLaughlin 2000: 1). Following the release of the official Plan the Globe and Mail noted: "anti-poverty activists immediately criticized the plan as a vague rehash of policies already on the books" (Gait 1998: A13). This point was stressed in three interviews and was raised at the national conference where frustration with the superficiality of the Plan was heard. Therefore, while the Plan does identify key parties-at-interest and detail their roles in relation to implementation, there are also significant gaps. The plan only very minimally satisfies the criterion. Criterion Seven: A food security plan should emphasize and support the need for ongoing planning and participation through various processes at different levels of action and spaces. The official Plan is the "basis for further discussions on the specifics of implementation, including timing, roles and responsibilities, coordinating mechanisms and 2 71 reviewed the content of the 2001 annual reports of Health Canada, Human Resources Development Canada, and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. I searched for references to food and/or food security. 42 related actions" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 2). Each party-at-interest " w i l l examine the plan for its implications on their own programs and activities" (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1998: 47). Three elements are identified in the official Plan to guide these deliberations. They include: partnership, dialogue and policy reflection, and sharing research, information and best practices. The implementation of these action items, however, is weak. The stress placed on continuous planning is superficial. Very few subsequent planning processes have occurred 28 and the operationalization of the aforementioned 'guiding elements' is limited. Those planning processes that have occurred since the formulation of the official Plan have restricted participation and generally are not accompanied by any public communication (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). According to two interviewees, efforts made by civi l society organizations to form partnerships and share information with government are implicitly discouraged, mainly at the federal level. Most department leaders, the interviewees continue, do not see food security a priority and have not participated in or supported subsequent planning processes. A n important process that was supported explicitly as food security planning was the national conference held in 2001 at Ryerson University. 2 9 The conference was held to prepare for the W F S : fyl and initiated by a group of individuals from various c iv i l society organizations and supported financially by a number of federal government agencies. A l l interviewees, including the government representative, drew my attention to this conference and spoke positively about the experience. Three interviewees stressed that an annual national conference should be held and supported financially by government. "They don't need to reinvent the wheel [....] A l l that needs to be done is to get existing organizations together [....] If we had a yearly conference allocated, we could do some planning and make some progress [....] but there is fear [on the part of government] of what would come out" (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). Primero pointed out that "we keep calling for an annual conference that is funded so that [...] grassroots people can be present and their voices heard in the process" (Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Segundo also stressed that meetings and conferences are an invaluable entry point for dialogue. Things aren't One cannot relate the continued activity of civil society organizations with the satisfaction of this criterion. It pre-dates the Plan's formulation and diverges from the narrow boundaries of the Plan. 43 happening because of the Action Plan, but because people are getting together and making a ruckus, pushing government (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). The transcendence of formal planning and/or mandate boundaries was a theme stressed in all interviews. In order to satisfy this criterion C A P F S needed to both emphasize and support the need for ongoing planning and participation, which would occur through various processes at different levels of action and spaces. The Plan weakly emphasizes the need for ongoing planning and participation. Government parties-at-interest have not supported such processes and attention has not been given to exploring how these processes can be best assured to happen in the levels of action and spaces most important. This is significant since subsequent planning processes could have compensated for many of the deficiencies already noted in the assessment of C A P F S . Therefore, the Plan fails to fulfill this criterion. Criterion Eight: A food security plan should consider and account for 'unintentional' consequences of policies beyond the targeted focus. Domestic policies affect other spaces, sectors and times. They also have consequences that tend not to be foreseen because they are unintended or outside of the policy's jurisdiction. Unintentional consequences could include the displacement of ecological degradation, economic volatility, geopolitical turmoil, or social distress. The articulation of this criterion is intended to address the tendency to gloss over or ignore "uncertainties, complexities and, possible adverse outcomes" and to proactively respond to "expectations of policy interventions [... that are] typically overly simplistic, with linear perceptions of cause and effect" (Jolly 1999: 195). Food security is not achieved or maintained in isolation. The Plan communicates a feeling that the problem of food insecurity can be resolved with ease. Consequences of policy whether intentional or not are not considered. This is a worrisome point as the evaluation procedures outlined are weak and the matter of revision completely absent. Since the Plan does not consider or account for the 'unintentional' This is the same conference as the one I use for the assessment of the case study. 44 consequences of policies beyond the targeted focus, this criterion is not satisfied and strongly so as attention to even the intended consequences is weak. Criterion Nine: A food security plan should be provided with sufficient funding and expertise to ensure a reasonable chance of achieving goals. First, and similar to criticisms made of the U.S. Plan of Action, no resources or budget commitment have been made for implementing C A P F S . It is at the discretion of each department head to consider how and i f food security fits into their budgets. Funding for food security initiatives and within the consultative group tends to be on a case-by-case basis. Financial support for food security initiatives undertaken at the municipal level is often channelled through unrelated governmental programs, such as those based from the voluntary initiative sector (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). I found no indication that additional funding was allocated to the Food Security Bureau despite the fact that it is only party enlisted to oversee the Plan's development. At the 2001 national conference, and supported by three interviewees, one of the conclusions drawn in a workshop was that the government has failed to provide (or consider) the sufficiency of resources to ensure that there is a reasonable chance of achieving the Plan's goals. "We demand that governments at every level (local, national, international) ensure adequate funding and support for food policy and food security groups with full c iv i l society participation" (Koc and MacRae 2001: 35). Conferees called for long-term financial support that was not allocated on a project-by-project basis, investment in infrastructure, and support for research directed at local level issues such as community-driven research into indicators of food security. A consistent theme raised in the interviews was the lack of consistent expertise within government parties-at-interest and the subsequent failure to draw on alternate bases of expertise. Three interviewees commented specifically on challenges experienced with rotating staff and the assignment of more junior staff with little status, experience, or political sway. Quarto pointed out how at times this meant a significant shift from high energy, commitment and knowledge, to one where staff knew little of the file, had little influence 45 within departments and were relatively unresponsive (Telephone interview. 24 March 2003; Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Sexto explained that the lack of expertise available internally has not been addressed over time. He went on to note that staffing and funding are essential issues to address if the plan is to be turned into action (Telephone interview. 2 April 2003). Some departments, such as CIDA, have publicly acknowledged that food security is an area they are not well experienced with and do not have staff with strong, if any, background in the area (Koc and MacRae 2001). It would appear that few within government are well versed, if at all familiar with, food security and regardless it is one file of many to address even for the Food Security Bureau. In summary, the adequacy of resources to implement the Plan has not been considered. This is complicated by the fact that the development of a resource plan and/or budget commitment to objectives set was fragmented - left to parties-at-interest to determine. There was no coherent or comprehensive treatment of matters that would transcend these boundaries or determine which priorities demanded additional support. The Plan has not been provided with sufficient funding and expertise to ensure a reasonable chance of achieving goals. The Plan fails to satisfy the criterion. Criterion Ten: A food security plan should be perceived by key parties-at-interest to be an effective plan. Framing the assessment of this criterion is the understanding, communicated in three of the interviews, that the Plan is a framework not an action plan. While no interviewee felt that CAPFS had been effective and leading anti-hunger agencies have not endorsed the Plan (Gait 1998; Riches 2000), few are willing to completely dismiss it as inconsequential. The strongest theme revealed in the interviews and at the conference is how the Plan's formulation legitimized the actions and concerns of many civil society organizations. It was an important turning point noted specifically by Quarto and also at the national conference. Quarto stressed that the Plan's biggest impact has been at the provincial and municipal level: "the Plan doesn't guide these processes, but rather gave a justification for the work to be done" (Telephone interview. 24 March 2003). Quinto also touched upon this 46 point. She has used the Plan in reports prepared at the municipal and provincial level. She pointed out that the fact that it was prepared at the federal level was important since it gives 'weight' to the importance of her work (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). A speaker at the national conference, Annette Stapenhorst of the Newfoundland Food Security Coalition, discussed a similar experience: Several other events [following the release of the Action Plan] happened to bring people (churches, public health, social activists, etc.) together. Suddenly people asked, what is food security? 'Canada's Action Plan for Food Security helped to legitimize the issue. We were able to insert the issue of food security into our discussions' said Staphenhorst. Food security indicators have been forced into government activities, and have facilitated an interdepartmental perspective within government looking at food policy, (qtd. in K o c and MacRae 2001: 16) Second, the formulation of C A P F S served well to facilitate dialogue, essentially opening up the political process. Segundo, for example, noted that the development of the Plan has provided a space to engage with government representatives. Attendance at meetings called by the Food Security Bureau was required and individuals did not always have to wait for their calls to be returned (Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). Segundo felt this was an important benefit and strategy utilized in advancing food security. It enabled c iv i l society organizations to remind Canadian government representatives of what was communicated at the W F S and ultimately in C A P F S . Third, some consider the Plan to be an informative document. This point was stressed weakly by one interviewee and strongly by a second interviewee who commented that the Plan is a "quite lofty document but helps give direction and set parameters," a "beautiful document that has not translated into action" (Quinto. Telephone interview. 2 A p r i l 2003). Similar points were raised at the national conference. "The action plan was very useful in getting politicians to understand the concept of food security; the content may not be satisfactory, but it can be useful as a tool to move the process forward" (Koc and MacRae 2001: 19). Mustafa K o c of Ryerson University remarked that C A P F S was a useful and informative public policy document and concluded, '"what is needed is not a new list o f 47 things to do, but a plan of action for when, how, and by whom this agenda wi l l be carried out"' (Koc and MacRae 2001: 10). Frustration with and criticism of the Plan, however, is strong. Commitments to food security are not new and interviewees noted that food security has consistently not proven a national priority, especially at the federal level. "Developing an action plan (i.e. Canada's Action Plan for Food Security) without the political wi l l behind it really goes nowhere" (Koc and MacRae 2001: 11). Segundo felt that the Plan is "past its due date" and "its wind is out" (Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). The "only shot [at advancing food security] is the human right to food" which is "where the momentum" is occurring (Segundo. Telephone interview. 11 March 2003). At this point, two related visions emerge. Both are likely valid and were raised in four interviews. The first vision stresses the importance of continuing to work on the advancement of the human right to food. The right to food is seen as a means to hold parties-at-interest (namely governments) to commitments made. The second vision focuses on the ability or willingness of governments to move from 'tweaking' to 'reforming.' The interviewees stressed that in order for the Plan to be effective governments must support fundamental changes to the food system's reform program. Quinto felt that it is this very reason why governments are so "fearful" of engaging in planning with c ivi l society organizations (Telephone interview. 2 Apr i l 2003). A fourth theme discussed in the interview with Primero is that the Plan's understanding of and approaches to food security are more meaningful in the international context than the domestic context. Gender and rural and agricultural development are, particularly, more meaningfully addressed. Internationally, Canada is using an ecosystem approach to food ( IDRC programs), including social, economic and political factors. This international work is transdisciplinary, uses a gender analysis, and is based on community participation. These principles must be applied in Canada as well: our motto is, ' A s In Rome, So A t Home.' (Koc and MacRae 2001: 35) This statement is not intended to imply that there are no problems with the international section of the Plan. This research has not endeavoured to assess the international section. Canada's approach to food security internationally is an important area for further research. 48 Last, Quarto directly questioned the limitations imposed on the achievement of the Plan's goals due to its location within A A F C . Quarto stressed that the very judgement of effectiveness wi l l be difficult so long as the organization responsible for submitting progress reports is under the wings of A A F C . This department has a strong history of prioritizing and organizing for economic values and the maintenance of the status quo direction of the food system. In conclusion, to satisfy this criterion the Plan needed to be perceived by key parties-at-interest to be an effective plan. According to the interviews conducted the Plan is not effective in achieving its objectives. 3 1 Therefore, the Plan fails to satisfy this criterion. Summary Canada's Action Plan for Food Security might have been a turning point in the Canadian state's approach to planning for food security. Indeed, on the surface there is genuine merit. Not only did the Canadian government officially and publicly recognize that food security was a problem domestically, but it also fulfilled its commitment to formulate a national plan and did so under the banner of broad-based, multisectoral participation. Few signatories to the Rome Declaration submitted national plans of action prior to the W F S : fyl and only two countries (Canada and the United States) made their plans readily available (Center of Concern 2003). In order to evaluate the approach taken by the state to planning for food security, I compared the development of the Plan against a set of ten criteria constructed from a review of the literature on food security and planning. A s summarized in Table 2, it weakly satisfied only three of the ten criteria. A s formulated, structured and executed the Plan is severely deficient. Thus whether Canada's Action Plan for Food Security is a genuine turning point is open to question. 3 1 To reiterate, unless specifically stated the results highlighted to not pertain to the interview conducted with the government representative. No statement can be made on the government representative's perceived effectiveness of the Plan. 49 Table 2 Summary of Results Criteria A food security plan should... Result 1. Be based on a multisectoral and inclusive approach. Weakly satisfied 2. Identify the most vulnerable groups at community and household levels and outline responses to support the progressive realization of the human right to adequate food. Failed 3. Give consideration to the concerns of the food insecure. Failed 4. Address the assurance of sufficient supplies and emphasize sustainable production. Failed 5. Be sufficiently detail so that: a. Goals are clearly articulated. b. Targets are defined against which progress can be assessed. c. Evaluation procedures are clearly outlined and scheduled at reasonable intervals. d. Revision procedures are defined for updating goals, responsibilities, and activities. Weakly satisfied 6. Identify all key parties-at-interest and detail their responsibilities in relation to implementation. Weakly satisfied 7. Emphasize and support the need for ongoing planning and participation through various processes at different levels of action and spaces. Failed 8. Consider and account for the 'unintentional' consequences of policy beyond the targeted focus. Failed 9. Be provided with sufficient funding and expertise to ensure a reasonable chance of achieving goals. Failed 10. Be perceived by key parties-at-interest to be an effective plan. Failed Proximal Reasons The foregoing analysis shows that there are a series of quite simple reasons for the Plan's failure. Namely while public pronouncement is vital for legitimization and may well serve as a catalyst for action, it w i l l fall short without investment in and commitment to an effective planning process by at least the key parties-at-interest. Setting the goal alone is insufficient and this is really all the Plan has done. There is little to no indication that food security is a priority for government. Subsequent to the Plan's formulation, food security has not been integrated into the planning processes of even the most relevant government parties-at-interest and the Plan's development has stagnated. 50 Further weakening the Plan is the severely deficient quality of the Food Security Bureau progress reports to date and the lack of any mechanism to implement the Plan. The following assessment of the U .S. Action Plan holds also for Canada's Action Plan: The lesson of the past is that without clarity of interest and purpose, sustained political commitment at the highest level, and the establishment of workable and accountable governance mechanisms, a large gap will remain between public pronouncement and effective action. (Taylor and Tick 1999) DISCUSSION The above, however, provides only a superficial understanding of why CAPFS has failed - there is a great deal more to why the planning process proved so limited. Two questions frame my discussion. First, why did the planning process with many meritorious features prove so limited? Second, what does the case study say about contemporary approaches to planning for food security? I would argue that the Plan is a befuddled symbol of the food system as a contested terrain. The process of its development and the contradictions in the Plan show that the Canadian government is 'for' food security while also in lock-step with the mainstream (neo-liberal) program. Thus, according to the government, food security is little more than a matter of tweaking and tightening. Overall no specific action is required. It is very much for this reason that there was no substance to the seemingly inclusive and consultative process for the Plan's development. A progressive approach to planning for food security would transcend the conventional boundaries of policy and thus threaten the status quo (content and process) and privileged interests. While I have significant reservations about the Plan's content, I am not primarily concerned with this matter per se. There is no lack of policy recommendations, no shortage of good information or expertise, and there is a strong base of dedicated individuals and organizations; and yet the propensity is to marginalize these elements even when planning processes are 'opened' up. Indeed, despite that the parameters defined by the WFS were flexible, many of the same criticisms made of the WFS Plan of Action are equally applicable to Canada's Action Plan and the American Action Plan which was formulated through what 51 is perceived as a relatively closed process. The saying that 'the apple has not fallen far from the tree' stands. Speaking generally on the tendency of institutions to impede change in the food system, the People's Food Commission, which got underway in 1978, notes: With each of the institutions we have looked at, the story is similar: in each there are hardworking, responsible, often critical people. But the drift o f the institutions themselves, as part of the system, is to reinforce that system, largely by beaming the message at us from the time we are tiny children: this is the way it is; it isn't all that bad; it is irresponsible to want to change it. (People's Food Commission 1980: 75) Selection Pressures Such institutional inertia is largely a consequence of the primacy of economic values in the dominant social paradigm. Indeed, it is not so much a matter of the conscious assertion of the merit in pursuing economic growth, but of the hidden incentives and disincentives that structure modern economies and societies that are based on, and organized for, the pursuit of economic growth (Manno 2000). A process of selection privileges information and knowledge that favour market exchanges since the latter are 'good' for the economy and marginalizes that which is directed toward alternative, non-commodified, values. " I f structural elements in the economy privilege certain kinds of goods and services with more investment or resources, time, and attention, then those goods and services w i l l be more available and less expensive than their alternatives [...]" (Manno 2000: 28). It is a classic positive feedback loop whereby choices exercised reinforce the direction of the system toward social and ecological destruction, and with the present case propel policy institutions to impede change in the food system. 3 2 Alternatives have great difficulty gaining audience when they are generally under-resourced, under-developed and under-utilized. The applicability of Manno's arguments to the case study analysis is clear. A s exemplified through the Plan's development, dominant goals and priorities compete with those of food security, and in the end the dominant goals win out. These goals and priorities assert the primacy of economic values and market based solutions. Moreover, those wi l l ing When the economic growth is the guiding motive (food understood strictly as a commodity), capital tends to be favoured over labour, embedded-knowledge over user-knowledge, and intensive energy over extensive energy, and abstract, distant relations over place-based relations (Manno 2000). 52 to work within the rigid structures of this system of incentives and disincentives are privileged - careers held, partnerships granted, resources allocated. One example of the 'competition' between values discussed in the case study analysis is the withdrawal of support from the progressive realization of the human right to food because of the restrictions this implies on more liberalized trade. Two interviewees alluded directly to points similar to those raised by Manno. One commented on the wealth of knowledge available but not optimized in Canada on food security. A second interviewee, commenting on contradictions embedded in the Plan, noted that in practice resources are disproportionately invested in initiatives such as genetic engineering, a 'growth' industry, rather than local food systems or place-based solutions which generally return less profit. In consequence, so long as this hierarchy of values persists "what gets pruned from our existence is very much what matters to life" (Manno 2000: 122). The money sequence of values cannot adequately value or protect life, human or ecological (Vatn and Bromley 1994; McMurtry 1999). The preoccupation with growth and production efficiency desperately needs to be transcended and transformed into a more holistic and life-supportive collection of values that recognizes human dependencies, both social and ecological. The challenge to individuals and organizations is to push forward with alternative values and programs that are more life supporting. Participation in Food Security Planning A question then raised is how can civi l society organizations meaningfully exert influence on policy development and how can people become part of this process so that the political w i l l to advance food security is achieved and maintained. Differently stated, how can food security be recognized as a significant and challenging priority? The argument made, and which I have respectfully set aside, is that planning processes need to be 'opened up' because more inclusive approaches contribute to 'better' plans. I do not say this to devalue participation but simply to bring to fore the fact that effective planning for food security w i l l not be achieved so 'easily'. Instead I focus on the understanding that political w i l l does not exist only within governments and cannot emerge from governments without sufficient support. Therefore, attention needs to be given to raising the public saliency and legitimacy of food security in Canada. This would be well 53 complemented by continuous efforts made to maintain and expand access to decision makers. These points draw from assertions made by Van Rooy (1997) 3 3 and Hal l et al. who note that it "is what the authorities believe to be legitimate, feasible and well-supported that is important" for policy development (1975: 475). 3 4 For these reasons, continued support for and activity around realizing the right to adequate food is important, especially since its development (clarification) has not focused solely on the responsibilities of national governments but also discussed guidelines for intergovernmental organizations (such as the World Trade Organization) and non-governmental organizations. Before further discussing the right to food, an important area for further research is revealed that merits discussion. Future studies should not relegate local governments to a subordinate position and should pay more critical attention to the nuances of this terrain. Despite the formal divisions of power in the Canadian constitution, the case study analysis highlighted, but could not investigate a series of examples which indicate that the interface between the local and federal levels is a consequential terrain shaping community led food security initiatives. Indeed, it is here where one of the Plan's few successes lies. The Plan legitimized and further catalyzed the activities of many people working in food security. Many local governments consider food security a legitimate and feasible issue to address, and are working with diverse agents to plan for its advancement. I have two concerns with focusing on the right to food in planning for food security. First, I am concerned that it would relegate food system sustainability (primarily, ecological) to a secondary position. There is a great risk that too strong a focus would be placed on meeting immediate needs while ignoring the fact that most people do not produce their own food and that all humans have always been and wi l l always be secondary producers. Second, 3 3 Van Rooy compared the role of NGOs at the 1974 World Food Conference versus the 1992 Earth Summit. She concluded that the ability to exert influence will be strongest in highly salient, low policy, and open door areas. Highly salient areas have sufficient public pressure to put and maintain the issue on the public agenda. Low policy areas are generally non-controversial and easier to address and administer response; and open door areas exist when there is early and continuous access to decision makers. 3 4 Legitimacy refers to whether or not government considers the 'issue' to be something it should be concerned with. It reflects what the government (and ultimately public) assume is the proper role and sphere of government action. Feasibility refers to the possibility of taking steps to deal with the issue and support concerns the prevailing boundary of "tolerable discontent" (Hall et al. 1975: 483). One conclusion drawn by Hall et al. is that the closer to government the issue's point of origin the better the prospects that it will be addressed. This is because governments will attempt to retain control over the reordering of priorities since to do otherwise would threaten their pre-selected programs. Further, "unless facts reinforce or confirm the 54 as of yet the right to adequate food is only weakly incorporated and heard in the domestic (public) context. Food continues to be taken for granted by most in Canada and many find it difficult to understand how their food choices affect and are a part of the food system of others. Indeed, humans tend to have great difficulty moving from tangible feelings and concrete experiences to a more integrated analysis of the system (People's Food Commission 1980). This reflection process is embarked on personally and collectively and can be encouraged or discouraged. In this regard planning and planners can play an important role. Food is a thread woven throughout the field of planning. Beyond the fact that the 'conventional' planner's work is embedded in everyday lives in situated spaces where food is a basic component (real communities and real people), the field and the training of planners (though in need of revision) is well suited to facilitating an integrated analysis of people's concrete experiences and feelings. This is despite the fact that food is new to the field of planning and rarely discussed. Food security planning in many regards is similar to what Chambers calls planning for people, which is an area planning has a stronger presence. Planning for people, like planning for food security, entails that "the uniform becomes diverse, the simple complex, the static dynamic, and the controllable uncontrollable. The future becomes less predictable" (Chambers 1995: 33). Speaking on the matter of sustainable development, but equally applicable to food security, Rees notes: Planners, by the very nature of their profession, are uniquely positioned to play a leadership role in this transition. In this increasingly fragmented and specialized world, planning is the one academic discipline and professional pursuit that explicitly attempts to be holistic or at least integrative at the level of society as a whole. (1995: 355) It w i l l require concerted effort to catalyze the field of planning (for food security), but not monumental. priorities or choices of authorities their effect will depend upon the extent to which they are politicized" (Hall et al. 1975: 504). 55 CONCLUSION: RECOGNIZING DISJUNCTURE If key parties-at-interest are to have a real influence in the formulation of food policy, there must be a re-examination of the dominant system of values and beliefs. If there is to be an appropriate democratic process to develop alternatives, substantive change is necessary. A n argument that is gaining currency in many spaces essentially states: "No realignment of the present set of interacting components and relationships can be sustainable without a fundamental change in the critical socio-cultural variables determining those relationships" (Rees 2002: 2). Indeed, food security is as much about values and choices as it is about factors of production. Accordingly, the advancement of food security for all w i l l invariably be a slow and conflicted process. Planning for food security challenges today's predominantly market-based thinking. The conundrum then posed for people is that responsibility for the persistence of the problem of food in/security can rarely be fully located externally. To live in a system is to be part of that system for better or worse. 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B y Sean Cosgrove. 15 February 2003. 18 February 2000 <http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/health/tfpc_secure.pdf>. Travers, K i m . "The Social Organization of Nutritional Inequities." Social Science and Medicine 43.4 (1996): 543-553. Vancouver Food Policy Organization. "Food Matters." Newsletter. Winter (2001). 03 October 2002 <http://www.vcn.bc.ca/vfpo/newsletter.htm>. 63 Van Rooy, Al ison. "The Frontiers of Influence: N G O Lobbying at the 1974 World Food Conference, The 1992 Earth Summit and Beyond." World Development 25.1 (1997): 93-114. Vatn, A r i l d and Daniel Bromley. "Choices without Prices without Apologies." Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 26 (1994): 129-148. Visser, Margaret. "What Shall We Have for Dinner?" Much depends on dinner: the extraordinary history and mythology, allure and obsessions, perils and taboos, of an ordinary meal. Ed . Margaret Visser. Toronto: McClel land and Stewart, 1986. 11-21. Whelan, Amanda, Ne i l Wrigley, Daniel Warm and Elizabeth Cannings. "Life in a 'Food Desert'." Urban Studies 39.11 (2002): 2083-2100. Wilson, Beth and Emi ly Tsoa. HungerCount 2002. Eating their Words: Government Failure on Food Security. Canadian Association of Food Banks, 2002. 15 February 2002 <http://www.cafb-acba.ca/pdfs/other_documents/ HCFinal2002E.pdf>. Winson, Tony. The Intimate Commodity: Food and the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex in Canada. Guelph: Garamond Press, 1993. Wrigley, Ne i l . "Food Deserts in British Cities: Policy Context and Research Priorities." Urban Studies 39.11 (2002): 2029-2041. Young, Iris Marion. Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997. 64 A P P E N D I C E S Appendix 1 Content Summary of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 1998. Part 1: Understanding Food Security Defining Food Security Parallels in Canadian and International Food Security A Canadian Perspective on Food Security Part 2: Domestic Actions Commitment One: A n Enabling Environment Commitment Two: Access to Food Commitment Three: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Commitment Four: Trade and Food Security Commitment Five: Emergency Prevention and Preparedness Commitment Six: Promoting Investment Part 3: International Actions Commitment One: A n Enabling Environment Commitment Two: Access to Food Commitment Three: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Commitment Four: Trade and Food Security Commitment Five: Emergency Prevention and Preparedness Commitment Six: Promoting Investment Commitment Seven: Implementation and Monitoring Part 4: Conclusion Implementation and Monitoring of Canada's Action Plan for Food Security 65 CN O o CM at •3 % u o o fe i T3 O t/2 Z, o u o z o u w C/J > c P . 4) o o ON o r o o • a c < C _o o 'I1 ed y c 14? c I 1 u Q o o fe Cd | •3 C3 c o cd c O T3 < .1 IU o fe cd T3 ea I c l IO c 4> c o UH ' > 1 ^ IO GO c ed 4) o o co 41 •c co E , § l o » c tD I > IQ o o CO c cd s IO 42 o 1-C3 4> CO o Pi •*-» G > Q S ed o IE -G s 3 a i u , 6 0 cd +-» •c a I -3 cd o cd T 3 cd o c 4> s o 3 cd -*-» 0 0 & CM X c CD CL a < l-i 3 cxT ON W ea 3 o CD > U O 1'6 3 <d <S § w (U o 3 o HE & w <; o .. CL 1) E b O O O w OH P o CM o o H CM 4> > c a; oo fi O H 4> i-c I * 00 ON ON ON ON CN CU s 5T a cu s e i-CU > , o 10 13 u cu •a cu fe T3 C cd u | "G o & cd cd O 13 O O fe i CN C O -4-» u & T3 O O fe S I • r—t T3 ed o o G u 6 0 G o -s o. _> > « <0 e IQ • Id C . O cd , e i i •3 cd § O CN 10 -4—» C o W '*§ , § IO to G cd ol |T3 00 4) "C 4) 42 co E '•S , § i o •*-> G 4> I 4> > IP CO 4) CJ O co 4> 6 IS CN , 1> [ ^ ic5 42 o = 4) co c 4> 4) Q "ed C O '-*-» cd e 4) cd T3 cd o CO 4) O o CO Pi B cd S 66 o o © PH S3 o C/2 o u o u w «3 cj 13 c3 ID ca t! CJ 40 ca CJ ca CJ 8 C3 UH T 3 C ca C CJ IS u 1 CJ 4= CQ ca CJ K ca 4= o 1 o a o ca u § 2 cj 00 o o 00 c ca c8 cj cj H -*-< to I o 2 c3 CJ o o oo ca > o Z cj oo o o oo -«-» la a ca C 3 ca O H M | C O hJ T3 C ca 43 •+-» la a CJ oo o o oo c ca la CJ a c ca ca w CJ O c •c PH CJ o x bp 3 eg ca CJ T3 CJ •8 43 co CJ C T3 (3 o o o co CO CJ «.a CJ oo co CJ T J -+-» <u <u -4-» 00 o CJ CJ o CJ 43 « <L> oo a CJ 10 43 o c ca CQ <u oo ca CJ a c o o o oo la £ PH £ i cn ca oo c ca CJ 43 o to ca oo s o a CJ C CJ O IH o 43 CJ 00 OS Os 5T la • IOI =8: PH P 0 o u H o u H 05 u c o t 1 13 > cj Q O O tn cj' -4-» ; | CJ 43 C o 1 CJ Q la I CJ o If I CQ CJ 2 S e5 c ca o o PH t l Civil Society SECOND CONSULTATIVE GROUP (2000) # representatives CN CN m CN CN -Total Membership = 35 Civil Society SECOND CONSULTATIVE GROUP (2000) Aga Khan Foundation Canada Agricultural Institute of Canada Canadian Association of Food Banks Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance Canadian Council of International Cooperation Canadian Council of Fish Harvesters Canadian Federation of Agriculture Canadian Foodgrains Bank Farm Folk/City Folk FoodFirst Information and Action Network Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy Mennonite Central Committee Canada National Farmers Union Ontario Association of Food Banks Oxfam Canada PARTNERS in Rural Development Public Health Association Ryerson Centre for Studies in Food Security United Nations Association in Canada University of British Columbia University of Ottawa Union des producteurs agricoles - Developpement international Unitarian Service Committee Canada Winnipeg Harvest World Vision Canada Total Membership = 35 Civil Society FIRST CONSULTATIVE GROUP (1996 - 1998) # representatives CN CN CN CN 1—H CN T—1 Total Membership = 25 Civil Society FIRST CONSULTATIVE GROUP (1996 - 1998) Aboriginal Nurses' Association of Canada Assembly of First Nations Canadian Council of Fish Harvesters Canadian Federation of Agriculture Canadian Foodgrains Bank CHF - Partners in Rural Development Daily Bread Food Bank Fisheries Council of Canada Global Network on Food Security International Development Corporation National Aboriginal Forestry Association National Farmers Union National Institute of Nutrition Ontario Public Health Association Oxfam Canada Oxfam Quebec Unitarian Service Committee of Canada Universite Laval - Department of Food Science and Nutrition University of Montreal - Department of Nutrition Total Membership = 25 68 Appendix 3 Interview Protocol Introduction: This interview is designed to be flexible and responsive to your experience and knowledge on food security planning in Canada. I wi l l not be audio taping the interview and I w i l l have sole access to the information. During the interview I w i l l ask you to share your knowledge, experience and opinion on the problem of food security in the Canadian context and also in relation to Canada's Action Plan for Food Security. Given that your participation is voluntary, please let me know at any time i f you would like to decline answering a question. This is in addition to your right to withdraw from the study. Please refer to your copy of the informed consent form, which outlines the parameters of this study and your rights as a participant, or speak directly to my advisor or myself. A s mentioned previously, I am conducting my thesis research on food security planning in Canada, focusing on governments' approaches. Canada's Action Plan for Food Security has been selected as a case study for analysis and the focus of my research is on the domestic context. I am looking at the larger-scale dynamics of insecurity and the purpose of my research is to assess Canada's Action Plan for Food Security in order to make recommendations that would support Canada's commitment to advancing food security for all. Subject Initial Questions: Provide an opportunity for the subject to ask any questions or make any comments prior to commencing the inquiry. Inquiry: 1. What has been your involvement in the development of C A P F S and/or the W F S ? 2. What was your level of engagement and the type of experience had? 3. How long have you been working on issues related to food security? 4. Do you feel the Canadian state's consultative planning process, as of yet, is adequate? 5. Do you feel it adequately represents all key parties-at-interest and enables meaningful participation? 6. How important is representation in the JCG? 7. Who has and w i l l have the greatest influence on the plan? 8. Who should have the greatest influence on the plan and who should become less important? 9. Do you feel that the Plan is in sufficient detail (goals, targets, responsibilities, procedures), i f not do you feel that through its implementation these details have been meaningfully clarified? 10. In your opinion, what issues, expectations, goals and/or values are addressed most meaningfully in C A P F S ? 


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