President & CEO, Canadian Centre for Food Integrity
Learning more about our food system is a great way for Canadians to feel confident about supporting its sustainability and growth.
As someone who has worked in agriculture my entire adult life, I know firsthand that Canadians care about our food system and would like to know more about it. Our food system is a pillar of our trade and commerce and the foundation of many industries that make Canada one of the best countries in the world to live in.
An enviable food system
Canada’s food system today is based on science, research, economics, and rich experience. The agriculture sector has continuously adapted to meet our society’s demand for safe, reliable, and high-quality food at a reasonable cost. Despite rising prices, our food remains affordable compared to that of much of the world.
There are checks and balances, rules, regulations, and standards that make our food some of the safest, if not the safest, to consume in the entire world. Yet, when consumers hear the words genetic modification, plant breeding, pesticides, and fertilizers, many believe that they’re intrinsically bad things. They are, in fact, the tools we need to sustainably supply food to Canadians and maintain our ability to also feed people around the world.
Rain, heat, fires, and floods have touched every province. They’re affecting our ability to produce food. Yet, we still have an enviable food system.
Technology is also vital to steering the sustainability and growth of our national food production through the impacts of climate change. Rain, heat, fires, and floods have touched every province. They’re affecting our ability to produce food. Yet, we still have an enviable food system.
Mitigating climate change
The best way to mitigate climate change is to have soil that’s as resilient and healthy as possible. Canadian farmers recognize the need for reduced tillage, precision application of pesticides and fertilizers, planting cover crops that sequester carbon, judicious use of water, and better genetics in the crops and animals we raise. A solid knowledge of how our food is grown and produced is necessary to know how to sustain it in the future.
Climate-Change Challenges Across the Country
How is the Canadian Food System Acting on it?
precision application of pesticides & fertilizers
planting cover crops that sequester carbon
judicious use of water
improved crop and
Today, growing a bushel of corn requires 40 per cent less land, 40 per cent less energy, and 50 per cent less water compared to growing a bushel of corn in the 1980s, and it also produces 35 per cent fewer greenhouse gases.
If we were farming with 1960s technology, we’d need another one billion hectares of land to produce the same amount of food we do today. Using advancements in technology and plant and animal breeding is allowing us to sustainably produce more food on less land.
Supporting ongoing sustainability
For example, in the early 1900s, the wheat that Canadian farmers grew was shorter, took longer to mature, and needed more water than the wheat we grow today. With a growing world population expected to top nine billion by 2050, we cannot restrict the ability of our food system to feed people in a sustainable manner.
As consumers, we all need to take an interest in our food system. According to the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity’s latest public trust research results, trusted sources of information are our farmers, research scientists, and our government.
A better understanding of food production, its impact on our economy and environment, its challenges, and the role government plays in regulating the industry will help us make informed decisions about how we support a sustainable food system.
To learn more about your food and Canada’s food system, visit itsgoodcanada.ca and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (@ItsGoodCanada).
It’s Good, Canada is an initiative of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. It highlights the work of everyone involved in Canada’s food system, and it shows that our food system is designed to ensure that good quality food makes its way to the plates of all Canadians and families around the world. It’s Good, Canada encourages a dialogue about our food system between Canadians and food producers, and it does not advocate for any specific solution.