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Panel of local experts to discuss the human right to food

With an estimated 1 in 8 Canadians facing food insecurity, discussions on food as a human right are gaining traction
(stock photo)

A panel discussion set to take place later this week will gather experts to discuss the human right to food.

Dalhousie's Agri-Food Analytics Lab's senior director, Sylvain Charlebois, will be moderating the discussion.

A recent poll by Angus Reid for the lab found that 87 per cent of us feel food prices are increasing faster than our household incomes.

Charlebois said, with an estimated 1 in 8 Canadians facing food insecurity, discussions on food as a human right are gaining traction.

"Of course we have the right to food in Canada, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the government has to play a proactive role in making sure everyone has something to eat every day," he told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show.

"Should we make sure everyone has a right to eat, should the government play a role, what should be the role of the private sector, so in essence, this is what this panel is about."

The panelists include two food security experts.

Mount Saint Vincent University's Patty Williams is a founding director of FoodARC - the Food Action Research Centre and Kathleen Kevany is from Dalhousie's Faculty of Agriculture.

Legal experts Vince Calderhead from Pink Larkin and Jamie Baxter from Dal's Schulich School of Law will also be a part of the talk.

"To look at the legality of making food a human right in Canada," Charlebois explained. "Then we can move on to look at the statistics and look at the situation in Halifax, Nova Scotia and in the Maritimes to see how many people are food insecure."

Charlebois said the event will follow a Q&A format and will be held off-campus in an effort to engage the greater Halifax community.

"I'm looking forward to listening to the panelists, but most importantly, I'm looking forward to hearing what the community has to say," he said. "Participants will come, I'm sure, with great questions."

Food prices are expected to go up between 2 and 4 per cent in 2020 and Charlebois thinks people are already starting to feel the pinch.

"More and more people are being left behind, whether it's people with lower incomes or students on campus here, you can feel that people are becoming more concerned about food prices."

The panel discussion is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 and the Halifax Central Library's BMO Community Room.

It is free and open to the public.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for
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