Health and Sustainability in the Canadian Food System
308 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jan 2013
Release Date:18 Jul 2012
Release Date:18 Jul 2012

Health and Sustainability in the Canadian Food System

Advocacy and Opportunity for Civil Society

UBC Press

Members of civil society organizations are among the most vociferous critics of the modern food system and its crippling effect on the well-being of people and the environment. Yet even after decades of campaigns, governments have failed to address health and sustainability issues in a systematic and effective way.

Recognizing that new approaches are in order, Rod MacRae and Elisabeth Abergel bring together experts and advocates from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to examine the food system from multiple angles. They conclude that solutions lie not just in lobbying elected officials but in initiatives at the subparliamentary level. Case studies on a range of topics – from breastfeeding to sustainable pest management promotion to the efforts of organizations and programs such as the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Council and the federal government’s Action Plan on Food Security – tell a story of misguided campaigns and missed opportunities.

Real change, this inspiring volume shows, is possible. It will come when advocacy groups develop innovative strategies of influencing decision makers more resistant to public pressure: business lobbies well connected to government agencies, middle managers, and ministries unused to collaborating across departmental mandates.

This book will interest students and scholars of environmental, health, and food studies, as well as policy-makers and advocates interested in improving the modern food system and democratic governance.

This book brings together an impressive group of diverse, multidisciplinary scholars and practitioners who provide an insightful portrayal of the intricacies of policy-making in the agriculture and food sectors – particularly in terms of identifying where the power lies. This topic will only become more important with growing concerns about food price crises, land grabs, food safety, climate change, rural decline, and related trends affecting food security and environmental and health crises, domestically and globally. Steffanie Scott, Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo
Rod MacRae is an associate professor of food policy in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Elisabeth Abergel is a professor in the Sociology Department and a member of the Institut des Sciences de l’Environnement at the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Introduction / Rod MacRae, Elisabeth Abergel, and Mustafa Koc

Part 1 – Paradigms, Scales, and Jurisdictions

1 Effecting Paradigm Change in the Canadian Agriculture and Food Sector: Toward a Multifunctionality Paradigm / Grace Skogstad

2 Alternative Land Use Services and the Case for Multifunctional Policy in Canada / Alison Blay-Palmer

3 The Experience of Canadian Environmental CSOs: Thoughts from the Green Side / Mark Winfield

Part 2 – Lessons from the Canadian Food System

4 The Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee: Legitimacy, Participation, and Attempts to Improve GE Regulation in Canada / Elisabeth Abergel

5 Lessons from Twenty Years of CSO Advocacy to Advance Sustainable Pest Management in Canada / Rod MacRae, Julia Langer, and Vijay Cuddeford

6 Breastfeeding Promotion and Social Change in Canada: A Review of Ninety Years of Breastfeeding Policy and Practices / Aleck Ostry and Tasnim Nathoo

7 Canada’s Action Plan on Food Security: The Interactions between Civil Society and the State to Advance Food Security in Canada / Mustafa Koc and Japji Anna Bas

8 The Obesogenic Environment and Schools: Have CSOs Played a Role in Shifting the Debate from Individual Responsibility to Structural Factors? / Tony Winson, Rod MacRae, and Aleck Ostry

9 From Green Energy to Smart Growth: Practical Lessons from the Renewable Energy Movement for Agricultural Land Protection and Sustainability Activists / José Etcheverry

10 Helping Good Things Grow: Creating Nurturing Polices and Programs for New Farmers through Civil Society-Government Collaboration / Sarah Robicheau

Conclusion / Elisabeth Abergel and Rod MacRae


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