Brief

Sustainable Food Systems in Canada: Building a vision for IISD

IISD undertook an exercise to examine how and whether we could better engage on sustainable food systems in Canada. We surveyed and interviewed staff and external expert stakeholders, and conducted literature review of key sustainable food systems issues. We identified potential research themes and areas of work where IISD could support these policy conversations.
By Vanessa Corkal, Marina Puzyreva, Maria Carmona, Beth Timmers, Livia Bizikova, Dimple Roy, Carin Smaller, Elise Epp on December 14, 2021

In 2021, IISD completed an exercise to examine how and whether we could better engage on sustainable food systems policy and research in Canada. To do this, we conducted surveys and workshops with IISD staff and held interviews with external expert stakeholders at the forefront of sustainable food systems work in Canada. Through the project, we identified research themes and areas of work where IISD could potentially support Canadian policy conversations, building on our existing expertise and capacity. This summary report highlights the key findings of our internal exercise.

  • Some of the research themes we identified include:
  • Trade and sustainability tensions
  • Labour and market issues
  • Access, agency, and food security
  • Climate risks and impacts in food production
  • Agricultural land use, water use, and biodiversity

We identified the following areas that require scaled up work, where IISD could add value:

  • Advising on how to effectively reduce emissions in the Canadian food system
  • Supporting evidence-based policy solutions for sustainable agriculture
  • Tracking key data on food systems and supporting food systems literacy
  • Evaluating fiscal barriers and opportunities to support resiliency in agriculture
  • Promoting a holistic and equitable approach to policy development for sustainable food systems

This project, supported by IISD staff members from various programs, aims to inform and inspire future discussions and action on sustainable food systems, including collaboration with other actors in this space.