Bringing voices together for World Food Day in Vancouver

Bringing voices together for World Food Day in Vancouver

World Food Day

On World Food Day (WFD), Oct. 16, 2023, we gathered in downtown Vancouver to hear different viewpoints on what’s working and what’s broken in our food system.

We were mindful of this year’s WFD theme: Water is Life. Water is Food. Leave No One Behind.

Every year, agriculture accounts for 72 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals. Learning how to preserve this resource globally and at home is becoming a pressing issue. In 2023, more than 80 per cent of B.C.’s water basins experienced Level 4 or 5 droughts, the highest on the province’s scale.

How can we take action to protect this precious resource that is so vital to food production and to life?

These are issues that cannot be tackled alone.

UBC worked closely with U.S.-based think tank Food Tank, an outstanding advocate for reforming the food system. Food Tank convened more than 30 participants on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations North America to talk about the food system from an environmental, economic and social perspective.

Partnering with us on the event were Simon Fraser University, Driscoll’s, and WholeChain. Other collaborators included the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Compass Group, the University of Guelph and the Arrell Food Institute.

It was particularly interesting to hear about innovations in the private sector and in the food supply chain, and to hear from those who are often not given a seat at the table: youth, Indigenous peoples, and those on the front lines affected by climate change.

I am grateful to everyone who shared their views – and I am excited to be taking their suggestions for positive change forward to COP28 in Dubai later this year.

View the full session on the Food Tank YouTube channel.

Photos from the World Food Day event in downtown Vancouver.