SLF111 - Food Systems Trends and Policy in Canada

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-20 13:27:04.236
Last review date 2018-07-20 13:27:17.693

Subject Title
Food Systems Trends and Policy in Canada

Subject Description
The production and consumption of food are at the core of many local and global issues.  World hunger, malnutrition. genetically modified seeds, access to markets for new farmers and human nutrition are just a few of the issues that are prevalent in today's society.  Policies have a major impact on all of the dimensions of these issues.  Although policies have attempted to address various food issues, there is a broad consensus that food policy lacks effectiveness on several fronts.
This course will introduce you to the various elements, concepts and key issues in the field of Food Policy.  It will help you understand the complexity of formulating and implementing policies as well as gain the practical skills to critically analyze food policies and programs. This will be accomplished by examining various Canadian and international food policies and programs. 

Credit Status
One credit towards the Sustainable Local Food Certificate Program

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Develop sustainable local food system policy perspectives and knowledge, in a global context, with a particular emphasis on national and local trends across Canada.

2. Enhance research skills and offer research services needed by the sustainable local food movement.

3. Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly food system policy research and analysis in reports and online discussion.

4. Bring an informed-practical, conceptual and problem-solving-perspective to work on sustainable local and global food system projects.

5. Develop relationships and contacts with individuals and organizations working on food policy across Canada that will enable future research, cross-pollination of ideas, partnerships and job opportunities.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline
Part I: Global to Local Food System Policy in Context

Module 1:  Sustainable Food Policy in Canada - Then and Now
The People's Food Policy Commission conducted 75 hearings across Canada between 1977 and 1980, documenting the struggles of farming, fishing and First Nation's communities in a report entitled The Land of Milk and Money. This prescient document serves as a starting point for Food Secure Canada's newly launched People's Food Policy Project. It also sets the stage for this subject, in tandem with Liberal Member of Parliament Caroline Bennett's Towards a Comprehensive Food Policy for Canada initiative and host of provincial food policy frameworks mostly grounded in Ministries of Agriculture.

Module 2:  Global and Local Level Food Policy Trends
The shifting food system priorities at the national level in Canada parallel developments in the United States, Europe, the Global South and in local communities everywhere. We will consider landmark policy initiatives such as the 2007 Nyéléni International Forum on Food Sovereignty Declaration, the American Planning Association's 2007 "Policy Guide on Community and Regional Food Planning", the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development and the ground swell of local food policy councils and Food Charters across Canada.

Part II: Local Food System Policy Research in Action

Foxes and Hedgehogs:  The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows onE big thing. Archilochus, 7th Century BCE
The driver of this subject is research that furthers sustainable local food system policy in your city, region, or at a broader level (provincial, national, international). You may choose between two research paths: the "fox", generalist path; or the "hedgehog", specialist path. The foxes will meander around a bit, researching and writing a series of 3 smaller (6-8 pages each) research reports in a diversity of sustainable local food system policy areas. The hedgehogs will dig deep into a single research and writing project (20-30 pages) that will last entire subject. These separate paths will be described a bit more bellow under the assignments section, and in detail once you begin the subject. Both foxes and hedgehogs will be involved in reading and responding to their fellow participants' research reports.

Report Reviews and Exam:  

Mode of Instruction
This subject will be delivered via the internet. This involves the use of the online materials and/or text, possible group discussions and consultation with your instructor via email. Students will be responsible for completing all online activities and participating in group discussion and working through textbook questions, as required. 

Prescribed Texts
No textbook required.

Computer Requirements:  Computer and Internet access.  Speakers required.

Reference Material

Required Supplies
Speakers required

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
All the academic policies of the College at which you registered apply. This includes, but is not limited to policies related to grading, supplemental exams, deferred exams and accommodations.

Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Participation 30%
Leading a Discussion 30%
Essay Proposal 5%
Draft Essay 10%
Final Essay 25%

No student will be eligible to graduate with a Seneca College certificate or diploma if, in more than 30% of the subjects required for graduation, the student has received a "D" grade.

  • Assignments are due on the date given by the instructor.
  • A late penalty of 10% per day is assessed for late assignments, including those not handed in at the beginning of class when due.
  • Material will not be accepted after one week following the due date and/or when the marked material is returned to students, whichever comes first.
  • Assignments are to be prepared by computer.

Absenteeism and Exams
  • Students who are absent for an examination due to an emergency (e.g., motor vehicle accident, hospitalization or death in the family) may provide official documentation within five days of the missed exam and be provided a deferred exam at a later date.  Official documentation includes a death notice or an original doctor’s certificate identifying the date, length of time expected absence and the specific reason for the absence.  Examinations missed without official documentation and approval result in a grade of zero.
  • There are no deferred options for missed tests.  

English Proficiency
  • All written work should demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
-writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
-spelling and punctuation are correct
-sentences are structured correctly
-main ideas are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
-work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs
-work is arranged in correct format (e.g., as a report, essay)
-up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all work if the above English competencies are not met.


Approved by: Sharon Estok