Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: JustFOOD Action Plan for the Halifax Region
Overview: The Halifax Food Policy Alliance (HFPA) and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) have released the JustFOOD Action Plan as the region’s first strategy to increase access to nutritious meals.
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Food policy category: Food security, sustainable agriculture, nutrition
Program goals: To build a healthy, just, and sustainable food system.
How it works: The JustFOOD Action Plan Part A includes 56 recommendations for improving Halifax food systems through six principles:
- Governance: to enhance collaboration among government departments and agencies.
- Social and economic equity: to increase community food sovereignty, to address racial inequities and the root causes of food insecurity.
- Food production: to support and strengthen sustainable local food production.
- Food supply, processing, and distribution: to ensure a sustainable and efficient supply and distribution of food in the region.
- Health, wellness, and resilience: to promote and support access to nutritious food.
- Food waste reduction.
The plan calls for:
- Signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) to join with cities across the world that are committed to developing sustainable food systems.
- Establishing JustFOOD working groups to develop implementation strategies.
- Establishing a Food Policy Council to replace the HFPA.
- Monitoring and evaluating progress based on the framework provided by the MUFPP.
Part B of the action plan, which is currently being developed, will detail the implementation strategies created by the working groups and require commitments to action from partner food systems organizations. Part B will be presented to the Halifax regional council in the fall of 2023 with requests for funding for specific initiatives.
Progress to date: In 2018, HFPA developed the Halifax Food Charter with the goal of creating a local, sustainable food system for the region. In December 2019, HRM formalized a partnership with the HFPA to develop the JustFOOD Action Plan. A draft framework for the plan was submitted to the Halifax regional council in September 2020. JustFOOD held workshops in March and June 2021 to test the draft goals and determine the next steps for making a successful action plan. Engagement sessions with priority populations were held in 2022, and a draft of the action plan was submitted to community partners for feedback.
Why it is important: HRM has a food insecurity rate of 18.6 percent, compared to 15.9 percent across the ten Canadian provinces. Food insecurity disproportionately affects populations of color, with Black Canadians experiencing food insecurity at rates 3.5 times higher than their white counterparts. Thirty percent of Indigenous households in Canada are food insecure, compared to 11 percent of white households. In Nova Scotia, the largest concentration of BIPOC communities – 11.4 percent of the population – is in Halifax, as compared to 6.5 percent in Nova Scotia as a whole. The JustFOOD Action Plan addresses inequities facing the Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities and aims to create a healthy, accessible, and sustainable food system for all.
Program/Policy initiated: The Halifax Regional Council accepted the plan on March 7, 2023, and a community launch will be held on March 29.
Point of contact:
Similar practices: A total of 260 cities have signed the MUFPP, and all of them are committed to creating healthy, sustainable food systems.
Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted.
- Canadian Food Insecurity by the Numbers (Maclean’s)
- Food Insecurity in HRM Relentless, but New Plan Offers Way Forward (Saltwire)
- Food Security in Nova Scotia (Ecology Action Center)
- Hunger Count 2022 (Food Banks Canada)
- About Food Insecurity (Feed Nova Scotia)
- Economics and Statistics (Nova Scotia)
- Halifax Council Adopts New Strategy to Address Food Insecurity (CBC)
- JustFOOD: Action Plan for the Halifax Region (Halifax)
- JustFOOD Action Plan for the Halifax Region (JustFOOD Halifax)
- Halifax Developing Plan to Fight Food Insecurity Amid High Costs of Living (Global News)
- Halifax Food Charter (JustFOOD Halifax)
- Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2021 (University of Toronto)
- Municipal Role in Supporting Food Security (Halifax)
- Update on JustFOOD: Action Plan for the Halifax Region (Halifax)
- What We Heard JustFOOD Workshop #1 Report (Halifax)
- What We Heard JustFOOD Workshop #2 Report (Halifax)
- Working Together to Promote Community Food Security and Strengthen Our Food System (Halifax)