October 1, 2020

Winnipeg
1° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Close

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Think tank report card gives Manitoba food concerns to chew on

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Winnipeg Harvest volunteer Gloria Smith in front of empty pallets at the agency's warehouse. Though Manitoba scored well in the category of food safety on the Conference Board of Canada's first provincial food report card, it didn't fare as well in areas such as urban retail food accessibility and the use of food banks.</p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Harvest volunteer Gloria Smith in front of empty pallets at the agency's warehouse. Though Manitoba scored well in the category of food safety on the Conference Board of Canada's first provincial food report card, it didn't fare as well in areas such as urban retail food accessibility and the use of food banks.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/5/2017 (1231 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba received mixed grades for its performance in the Conference Board of Canada's first provincial food report card.

The province scored an A for food safety but was dragged down by a D — worst among the 10 provinces — in household food security in the 157-page study released Thursday.

The document, which compiled 63 performance metrics to evaluate overall performance, comes on the heels of the conference board's national food-strategy proposals in 2014 and the federal government directing the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food to lead the development of a Canadian food policy, said one of the study's authors, Jean-Charles Le Vallée.

"We're providing this report as a benchmark, a tool to start the discussion. It is a portrait of today (to assist) government to set targets, industry to set targets," he said by phone from his office in Ottawa. "Our goal... is to help industry to grow... but at the same time, food has to be safe, to be nutritious, people have to have access to food, you want it to be produced sustainably."

In its five category evaluations, the not-for-profit think tank said Manitoba was the top performer in food safety (Saskatchewan also drew an A), while it settled into the middle of the pack in terms of environmental sustainability (B), healthy food and diets (B) and industry prosperity (C).

The province lags in the subject of household food security, drawing the lowest mark (D) among its peers, the study states. However, Manitoba data was only available for eight of the subject's 16 metrics.

Of those, the report states, Manitoba scored low on urban retail food accessibility, use of food banks — posting the highest rates of adult usage — and household emergency supply kits.

"There are such things as 'food deserts,'" Le Vallée said. "Manitoba performs not so well in this area, as opposed to Quebec which, along with Newfoundland, is among the top in the country."

The lack of emergency preparedness is not just a Manitoba problem, he said.

"Over half of all Canadians are not ready for food emergencies," Le Vallée said, touching on the subject of floods, "which you have in Manitoba. People should be better prepared, you would think, but it's not the case."

A similar report released last year by the conference board compared Canada's food-related performance with 16 other nations.

The provincial report card was a natural progression of that conversation, Le Vallée said, adding the more than 30 media interview requests the organization received Thursday shows the nation's "tremendous interest" in the subject of food safety and security.

"We have a good system, it's robust, but it doesn't mean we can't do better," he said.

scott.emmerson@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.

To submit a letter:
• fill out the form on this page, or
• email letters@freepress.mb.ca, or
• mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us