Food Regina is a network of local public and private sector organizations that share the common goal of improved community food security and a strong, accessible, and sustainable local food system that ensures good food for all.
Food Regina emerged as a result of the Regina Community Food Assessment (CFA), which was a participatory, collaborative process that brought together community organizations, farmers, nutritionists, activists, and academics with the goal of improving the security and sustainability of the food system in Regina.
The first step undertaken by the Regina CFA was an Environmental Scan that analyzed conventional and Indigenous food systems in the Regina area. The Environmental Scan examined food production, processing, consumption, and waste disposal as well as the social, environmental, economic, and cultural context of the food system. It also identified critical information gaps where more research is required, including Indigenous food system data, the role of culture and tradition in determining food choices, tracking the consumption of local foods, and the relationship between climate change and food production in Saskatchewan.
Following the Environmental Scan, the Regina CFA hosted a series of community consultations and focus groups to gain a better understanding of local citizens’ experiences, needs, and perspectives on how to build a more socially just and environmentally sustainable food system. The consultations and focus groups posed the following questions: What are the strengths of our current food system? What are the gaps and challenges, and what should we do about it? Based on the feedback of a broad range of participants – including new immigrants, older adults, youth, Indigenous populations, food producers and distributors, and chefs – the CFA developed an inventory of assets and gaps in the food system.
The information generated from this process formed the basis of an Action Plan with four themes:
- Improve the infrastructure for local food production and distribution, particularly in food insecure neighbourhoods.
- Improve education and awareness.
- Implement pilot projects.
- Advocate for policy change.
Based on the priorities identified by stakeholders and other interested community members in the consultations, the Steering Committee identified the following priorities for the upcoming year:
• Develop a permanent food security coalition to oversee the progress of the CFA Action Plan.
• Develop a comprehensive communications strategy to enhance awareness of local food programming in Regina, promote sources of local food, and expand engagement in the movement for a more just and sustainable food system.
• Compile an inventory of existing food security initiatives in Regina and gaps to be addressed.
• Host an annual open house to highlight the progress of the Steering Committee and increase awareness of other local food security initiatives.