Food Charters

Food charters are statements of values, principles and priorities used to point community food policy in a positive direction. Food charters are developed by bringing people from diverse sectors together and facilitating a process in which they share their concerns, experiences and knowledge relating to food and agriculture and establish a shared vision of food security.

Developing food charters are beneficial in many ways:

  • The process of bringing individuals together will increase their awareness and understanding of the broad range of food security issues
  • Opportunities for dialogue will mobilize their will to advocate for change
  • The charter can be used to help guide and inform strategic planning, organizational policies, program development and practices
  • The charter can serve as a tool to generate support for changes in government policy.

Below are tool kits that could help you develop a food charter for your community.

Your Guelph-Wellington Food Charter Tool Kit

Following the endorsement of the Guelph-Wellington Food Charter by more than 150 stakeholders, this Food Charter Toolkit was published to provides information and resources that can help residents and organizations to take action so that the Charter goals and objectives can be realized.

Rural Food Charter Development Guide
In association with Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition, FoodNet Ontario, and Huron Perth Farm to Table Network, this guide was created by Taylor Hainstock as a resource for the development of a food charter for a rural community.

Several municipalities have already adopted Food Charters. Manitoba was the first Canadian province to adopt a province-wide charter. Michigan has developed a state-wide charter with excellent background information about food systems. Below are links to some of the food charters that have been developed. Please feel free to contact us with your suggestions or contributions.

Michigan Food Charter:
Published in June 2010, the Michigan Good Food Charter presents a vision for the state’s future food and agriculture systems. Developed by a partnership of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the Michigan Food Policy Council, and Michigan State University (with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) this food charter outlines 25 agenda priorities to be addressed over the next 10 years.

Guelph-Wellington Food Charter:
Developed by the Guelph-Wellington Food Round Table in 2010, this food charter seeks to build a vibrant, sustainable, food secure partnership within the Guelph-Wellington region. This food charter is of particular interest as it is geared towards the development of a sustainable food system in a predominantly rural area.

Prince Albert Food Charter
In the Spring of 2003, The City of Prince Albert published the Prince Albert Food Charter. This document examines food security and food democracy from production to consumption. Emphasizing the importance of building rural-urban linkages, this document exemplifies civil society engagement, as representatives from all parts of the food chain were involved.

The Saskatoon Food Charter
The Saskatoon Food Charter was developed through the Saskatoon Food Coalition in 2002. Emphasizing civic participation, this document highlights the importance of promoting food security measures in individual’s homes, work places, and community.

Capital Region Food Charter
In the Spring of 2008, British Columbia’s Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR) designed a food charter as a template for individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, local and regional governments to adopt and enforce; emphasizing that everyone in the Capital Region has a role in creating a healthy, sustainable food system. CR-FAIR has also published slides from a presentation entitled “Community Food Charters: What they are and when to use them”, given on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 by Barbara Joughin, Vancouver Food Policy Council and Linda Geggie, Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable.
Part 1
Part 2

London’s Food Charter emerged from a process led by the Child and Youth Network in which the community established a vision of London as a food secure community.  On Monday, April 4, City Council unanimously endorsed London’s Food Charter. Click on the following to view these documents:
London’s Food Charter Booklet
London’s Food Charter Action Plan
Food Charter Governance Proposal

The Thunder Bay Food Charter [PDF] is a set of principles that helps guide decisions, policies and collaboration for food security in our community. It was developed by FAN with community input and has been adopted by Thunder Bay City Council and the Thunder Bay District Social Services Board.

The Toronto Food Charter [PDF] was developed by the City of Toronto Food and Hunger Action Committee, which was formed in December 1999 to study food security in Toronto and recommend ways to reduce hunger, improve the nutritional health of Torontonians, and support food-based initiatives that benefit Toronto’s economy, environment and quality of life. City Council asked the Committee to create a food charter for the City.

The City of Greater Sudbury Food Charter was passed by the Sudbury & District Board of Health, the City of Greater Sudbury, the municipalities of Killarney and of St. Charles, and also by the Township of Tehkummah on Manitoulin Island, as of September 15, 2004.

The Vancouver Food Charter presents a vision for a food system which benefits our community and the environment. It sets out the City of Vancouver’s commitment to the development of a coordinated municipal food policy, and animates our community’s engagement and participation in conversations and actions related to food security in Vancouver.

The Manitoba Food Charter sets out what Manitobans believe their food system should look like. Signatories of the Charter identify the action steps they will take towards achieving food security in Manitoba.