A focus on food
We see food as one of the mega-issues affecting our country. Food affects all regions of Canada and its direct and indirect impacts influence all aspects of our economic, environmental, and social well-being. As such, the Centre’s focus is on food in the largest sense. This holistic approach provides the Centre with an opportunity to engage along the length of the food chain. It also reflects the reality that the food we eat is not limited to where our food is grown and where it is processed. It is also the places where we buy our food and where we eat it. It is the distances that our food travels; the places it visits on the way to our plate; and the ways in which it is produced, harvested, processed, distributed, stored, sold, eaten, and wasted. An all-encompassing approach to food affords the Centre a highly sophisticated and integrated view of what we eat and the range of issues that the Centre’s research will address.
In our view, despite being a mega-issue, food in Canada suffers from the lack of a truly grand vision—a Canadian strategy—that connects all the parts and all the players. The power of having a Canadian Food Strategy is that it brings all the players together with the potential for shared objectives and goals.
A holistic vision of the greater food sector
The Centre focuses on building a holistic vision of the greater food sector, encompassing all parts of the Canadian food sector rather than emphasizing one component. This includes who grows our food; who makes our food; where we buy and consume our food; how food affects our health, environment, and communities; and how food is taxed, regulated, and controlled. In addition, it includes the businesses that directly and indirectly support food sector companies as they conduct their business.
A short- to long-term perspective
The Centre examines issues from a 1- to 20-year perspective. This allows it to identify short-term actions in response to immediate challenges, while taking into account the long-term perspective needed to achieve the shared vision for the future of food in Canada, articulated in the 2014 Canadian Food Strategy, and to map actions to be taken to bring the vision and framework to fruition.
An action-oriented approach
The Centre is action oriented. It focuses on identifying steps toward achievable change. Centre research is geared to providing concrete suggestions for food businesses, government regulators, and not-for-profit organizations to respond to opportunities or challenges that the research identifies. The Centre’s research is grounded in the current reality of increasing food requirements, changing consumer preferences, a highly globalized food marketplace, and mounting environmental pressures.
Inclusive, rigorous, and strongly independent research
The Conference Board will draw on the best information and resources available in Canada and internationally to help inform its research. The research conclusions will be strongly independent and based on the Conference Board’s interpretation of the evidence. We are not an advocacy organization, nor do we approach Centre research with pre-conceived conclusions.
A partnership-based approach
The Centre for Food in Canada seeks appropriate partnerships with businesses, government representatives, and key partners from the academic and not-for-profit sectors who can contribute to achieving the Centre’s goals and mandate. And the Centre continuously strives to build linkages with other food research groups and experts both in Canada and internationally.