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

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.

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