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Food resilience: policy changes to be expected!

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Food resilience is one of our central concerns at Équiterre, and we are committed to eliciting the necessary public policy changes to encourage and support farmers in adopting resilience-building practices that promote soil health.

To steer this transition, we are actively working with various ministries and policy makers at both the provincial and federal levels to encourage government action supporting a green recovery with more sustainable agricultural and food systems.

Équiterre is calling on the federal government to:

  • Develop a new Resilient Agriculture program to encourage farmers to reduce climate risks by adopting soil regenerative agricultural practices;
  • Together with the Farmers for Climate Solutions coalition, we are calling on Ottawa to help farms become pillars of green energy production, to offer incentives for engaging in climate-friendly agriculture, to reward farmers who reduce their climate risks, to help innovative farmers serve as mentors for their peers and to support the next generation of farmers;
  • Ensure that federal institutions (prisons, Coast Guard, etc.) are supplied with local food for their food services;
  • Create a school food fund (request made in partnership with the Coalition for Healthy School Food).

Équiterre is calling on the provincial government to:

  • Protect agricultural soil with the help of a public statement by the Premier on the need to protect agricultural land, complete with a pledge to respect the jurisdiction of the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec (CPTAQ). This would bring a halt to rezoning decrees by municipalities and MRCs;
  • Invest in agricultural land trusts with a view to permanently protecting farmland against rezoning and speculation;
  • Maintain the investments that had been announced prior to the pandemic for the upcoming Plan d’agriculture durable, to ensure agricultural sustainability and to support the transition to responsible agricultural practices in order to help regenerate the foundations of our food security – soil, water and biodiversity;
  • Ensure that the upcoming climate change action plan includes ambitious objectives for carbon storage in Quebec’s agricultural soil and for the reduction of nitrous oxide emissions, as well as public funding and increased insurance coverage for the risks faced by farming businesses that implement plans to reduce their carbon footprint and to adopt soil protection and regeneration practices;
  • Mobilize and support public institutions in ensuring a supply of healthy, local and environmentally-responsible food as part of their food services by improving the supply chain and adopting ambitious targets in this regard.

The pandemic has shown us that we’re able to take quick action to solve a major crisis. Together, we are capable of collectively shifting our agricultural and food systems to help mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and other crises in order to ensure that we can continue to feed our population.