The federal NDP critic for agriculture returns to Kamloops Tuesday during a stop on his Farm to Fork tour.
Since 2011, Welland Ont. MP Malcolm Allen has been spreading awareness on the need for a national food strategy.
He’s been speaking and gathering opinions across the country while carving out a comprehensive food policy, which will be a significant platform for the NDP’s 2015 election campaign.
Speaking at the Desert Gardens Community Centre tomorrow, Allen is pushing for a “pan-Canadian food strategy” that supports farmers, improves access to healthy food and markets Canadian food at home and abroad.
“What we don’t want to see happen is growers go out of business because the market’s flooded with imports,” said Allen. “Because once that farmer’s out of business and nobody’s farming it anymore, you’re really beholden to someone else to grow that product for you.”
Canada lags behind many other developed countries like Scotland and Australia in implementing a national food strategy, said Allen.
His party launched a petition to push for a solution, pointing out that the United Nations raised concerns about a lack of a co-ordinated food strategy in Canada when addressing poor food security in aboriginal communities.
“Under Stephen Harper’s watch, there are over 2 million Canadians at risk of going hungry,” states the petition. “And the small family farms we’ve relied on for generations for safe, affordable food are disappearing — more than 8,000 lost since the Conservatives took office seven years ago.”
Allen said he also wants to hear from locals.
“If I learned anything from my good friend and late leader Jack Layton is was always… keep your ears in gear and your mouth closed and you’ll probably learn a heck of a lot more.”
He drops into the Mohave Room of the Desert Gardens Community Centre at 540 Seymour Street on Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m.