The numbers are in! Between August and October 2019, 7437 Canadians and community members gathered to talk with their candidates ahead of the federal election. Their message was clear: food insecurity and other food issues matter to Canadians, and they want their incoming government to work towards a healthier, more sustainable and more just food system.
Food Secure Canada worked with 117 organizations to host 50 events across the country, 21 events of which were in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada. Altogether, over 2900 hours were spent organizing, calling candidates, cooking, and running events. Taking place in community centres, schools, healthcare centres, farmers markets, and many other formats, Eat Think Vote was in nearly every province and territory (check out the map below!).
Thanks to our dedicated event hosts and passionate community participants, we were able to reach 216 federal candidates, 34 of whom were elected and 4 named to Cabinet. Candidates from all political parties participated:
Within communities, Eat Think Vote became a common project on which different organizations could work. In some instances, groups with different mandates but a common value for good food came together to integrate perspectives from food security, health, poverty, agriculture, education and other fields into conversations. These diverse viewpoints showed how multifaceted food is, intersecting with election issues such as housing, employment and health.
We always talk about collaboration, but we don’t always have the time to make it happen. This was a really great opportunity to bring food organizations together.”
– RONDA REACH, Chinook Food Connect
In addition to strengthening the social fabric of a community, organizations and individuals also expressed that the campaign helped them learn about food insecurity and policy advocacy, and be empowered to take part in the political process.
And not only did people gather to talk about issues in their community and the policy and programs needed, they also gathered to break bread together, have a cup of coffee, and meet their candidates and fellow community members in an approachable way.
Around the country, news outlets started noticing that communities were gathering to not only talk to their candidates, but share stories on how important food issues were to them. Coverage ranged from the CBC to local newspapers to campus news, and key articles can be found in our article here.
Eat Think Vote in 2019 was colourful, lively, and full of good food, and the team at Food Secure Canada would like to thank all who participated, our hardworking event hosts, the experts who contributed to our backgrounders, and other collaborators. We would also like to especially thank our sponsors Feed Opportunity and Inter Pares, without whom this campaign would not be possible.
For photos from the campaign trail, check the hashtag #eatthinkvote on social media, or see our photo album here.