MP hosts food sovereignty forums next week

NDP's Alex Atamanenko hosts international advocate for small farmers in Cawston, Princeton

Food sovereignty will be the topic of discussion during a series of public forums hosted by NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in his Southern Interior riding next week.

According to Atamanenko, there are enormous barriers and challenges facing farmers and eaters in Canada and around the world to produce, trade and have access to healthy and sustainable food supplies.

“The solutions to these challenges are varied and often complex, but overcoming these barriers will rely on the intentional actions of informed citizens in each and every community,” he said.

Colleen Ross, vice-president of the Policy for the National Farmers Union (NFU), will share her experience in international and national food movements, alongside local presenters at each of the forums. Ross and the NFU work closely with Via Campesina, a global small farmer organization fighting a battle against corporations for the right to have a say in their countries’ food policies.

“Under the current regime in Canada, there is really little hope of influencing policy that positively impacts small and medium sized farmers in a way that will rebuild our local food systems,” said Ross. “For this reason, we must organize more strategically at the grassroots levels — forming partnerships with each other here in Canada and with our allies abroad so that change for the good happens globally, not just locally.

Ross added that each voice helps the food sovereignty movement move forward. “This will quicken the pace and impact for a better future for food, farmers and society as a whole.”

Nelson and Grand Forks kick off the public forum series Sunday and Monday, followed by a discussion on Tuesday, March 20 at the Elks Club at 9725 360th Ave. in Oliver. Residents of Princeton can check out the forum on Thursday, March 22 at the Legion, 172 Bridge St. Cawston residents can drop by Cawston Hall at 2119 Main St. on Wednesday, March 21.

All forums run from 7 to 9 p.m., with a break for local and fair trade refreshments.