Toronto – September 13, 2017 – As the global population rises and climate change transforms crop patterns, it is becoming increasingly important to protect our natural resources and food supply. A national food policy could safeguard our soil, water, air, and other resources by encouraging environmentally sustainable farming practices. This would enhance our food security by ensuring Canadians have a reliable, long-term, and abundant supply of food. Below are some key statistics regarding Canada’s farmland, food resources, and farming practices.
7.2 – Percentage of Canada’s total land base that is comprised of farm land.
7.6 – Percentage increase in soil cover, an indicator of soil health, in Canada from 1981 to 2011.
Canada’s diverse agricultural landscape provides habitat to roughly 600 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, but biodiversity is declining.
14 – Percentage decrease in Canadian farmland biodiversity between 1996 and 2011 (85% of farmland maintained its habitat capacity over the same period).
Increased fertilizer and pesticide use and a higher concentration of livestock are putting water quality at risk, while the overuse of pesticides is contributing to a decline in bee populations, which threatens the global food supply.
10 – Percentage of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to agriculture in 2015. Evidently, cutting our GHG emissions can reduce our impact on the environment.
3 – Percentage of all GHG emissions attributable to food waste.
20 – Percentage of all methane emissions attributable to food waste.
40 – Percentage of all food produced that goes uneaten annually. This amounts to $31 billion or 2% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Canada’s food waste sources include:
o 47% from households;
o 20% from processing;
o 10% from retail;
o 10% from farming;
o 9% from restaurants and hotels; and
o 4% from transportation and distribution.
Source: “A Food Policy for Canada,” Government of Canada, Online, 2 June 2017.