Coined Food Freedom Day by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), February 14 is the calendar date when the average Canadian will have earned enough income to pay his or her grocery bill for the entire year.
“Food Freedom Day is a chance to acknowledge the abundant, safe and secure food supply we enjoy in Canada. It can also serve as a time to consider our individual role and impact we have in the food system, whether that be as a consumer, farmer, processor or retailer,” said CFA president Ron Bonnett.
“While Canadian farmers are making continuous efforts to improve productivity, there are several angles to sustainability to consider. The sustainability of our food supply and making our dollar go as far as possible is a concern we all share and a solution we can all be a part of. One way we can have significant impact is in reducing food loss at the production and consumption level,” Bonnett added.
In 2009, total Canadian food waste amounted to $27 billion; this equates to $774.07 in food dollars wasted per person, according to a study done by the George Morris Centre. The proportion of food loss along the Canadian Food Value Chain breaks down as follows (see chart).
Without any food waste along the food value chain, the date for Food Freedom Day would have been February 5 this year.
“From the farm to the dinner table, far too much food is being wasted and the consequences are serious. With an ever-increasing global population and depleting natural resources, wasting food makes no sense — ethically, economically or environmentally,” Bonnett added.
“The good news is that we can do something about it. We can take responsibility as individuals and follow basic tips to save food. To improve industry efficiency along the food chain, government and industry must work together to develop a food strategy for Canada. The industry-driven National Food Strategy can be a starting point for discussion and includes several key objectives addressing efficiencies in the food system.
“Together we can minimize wasteful practices and make sure our strong agriculture and food heritage is maintained for this generation and generations to come,” Bonnett concluded.