This is an incredibly important piece of legislation, primarily because we need to ensure long-term food security on the Island for all – and work to prevent food waste. Also because of the economic impact buying local can have. Import substitution is just as effective as export growth when it comes to economic impact.
One of the big problems with buying local on PEI is that within supermarkets (Sobey’s, Superstore, etc.) it is hard to identify locally-produced products. The Act should address this by making it mandatory to clearly identify local products in a standard way across the Island.
A tax credit for donations from farmers to a recognized food bank needs to be a key part of the Act, and I support this whole-heartedly.
In addition, PEI must prioritize procurement of locally produced products by government. Here is an article I wrote on the subject that uses the example of the Provincial Protein Tender issued in Spring 2016.
To be clear, food security is not just about making good food affordable for all Islanders, but making sure that our Island food supply can sustain itself regardless of what is happening off-Island. It is important to reduce food dependency on off-Island sources to avoid price fluctuations, and supply interruption. This is why initiatives like supply management are important.
Supply management for areas of the food supply that are not covered should be considered. In the near future (within a decade) it is my belief that affordable distributed power storage will make it feasible for almost 100% of our food supply to come from on-Island, and the Act should take this into account.
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