Last week we had a wonderful opportunity to spend the afternoon with some food colleagues in south east New Brunswick. We have plans to bring the Our Food project to New Brunswick next spring.
This was a chance to get the lay of the land and start the conversation about what the project could look like.
The opening introductions revealed the diversity in the room. We had representatives from food banks, Farm to School programs, community gardens, community development organizations, food security networks, local politicians and many more. The passion for food issues came through loud and clear.
The early part of the afternoon focused on the work we’ve been doing in Nova Scotia since the spring of 2013. (Check out our fancy report here!) Then we turned the conversation to New Brunswick and all the great work happening there, using an activity called “Progress Markers”. Progress Markers are a relatively simple technique to both collect information on what’s likely to happen in an area in a given time period, as well as to dream big as a group about the things that could happen if we worked together. We asked people what they would “Expect to see”, “Like to see” and “LOVE to see” happen in the New Brunswick food world in the next year or two. We then discussed our ideas in pairs before bringing the conversation together as a whole group.
Expect to see:
- More collaboration – between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, amongst communities, and amongst food leaders;
- More community gardens & food skills workshops;
- More local food in school cafeterias, with supportive education to go with it, and a stronger farm to school network.
Like to see:
- More support from decision makers for local food systems and food security;
- Stronger connections between farmers, local businesses, and the community at large;
- Intentional sharing, learning and storytelling between the Maritime provinces;
- The food bank experience changing to be more dignified.
- Stronger local food infrastructure and economy – from processing and abattoirs to more farm acreage to better distribution;
- All schools serving local, fresh food and creating a generation of food secure children;
- Decreased diabetes and obesity rates in New Brunswick. Change NB from the least healthy province to the most healthy province!
Thank you to Aaron and rest of the Westmorland Albert Food Security Action Group for hosting us. We’re looking forward to future collaborations.