Press Release

Food.     Producing, obtaining and preparing food is such a basic part of our daily life.  Yet increasingly, food is in the news and in our consciousness.     Is our meat supply safe?   How is climate change affecting food security here and around the globe?  What are we doing to address childhood obesity? What role should genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) play in our food supply?       These are just a few of the thought-provoking topics to be addressed in three days of workshops at the Growing Together: Cultivating Food Security Assembly, October 14 to 16 at Crossways-In-Common, 222 Furby Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.        More than 125 participants from across Canada will gather to discuss, deliberate and work towards developing a common voice on the pressing national and international issues surrounding food, agriculture, hunger and health.      The 2004 Food Security Assembly, which has attracted well-known and emerging speakers from across North America, is co-hosted by Winnipeg Harvest and Canadian Foodgrains Bank with support from the Canadian Association of Food Banks, Manitoba Health, Health Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Agriculture Canada, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, St. Matthew’s Community Ministry.       The public is invited to attend two free Public Town Halls in conjunction with the Assembly.
On Thursday, October 14 from 7 pm to 9 pm, at the West End Cultural Centre, 586 Ellice Avenue, we pose the question Do Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) have a Role in Food Security?  Distinguished panelists Brewster Kneen (farmer, activist, author from BC), Gary Martens (farmer, pesticide-free researcher from MB), and Curtis Rempel (farmer, ag biotech researcher from MB) will tackle this question.
On Friday, October 15 from 7 pm to 9 pm, at Crossways-In-Common Sanctuary, 222 Furby Street, our panel discusses Human Rights and Food:  What’s the Connection? with distinguished guests Carole Samdup (globalization/human rights specialist from QUE), Graham Riches (author, Director of Social Work from BC), Don Kossick (food activist, community organizer from SK).
“This Assembly is critically important because everyone needs to eat,” says Dan Wiens, farmer and Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s Hunger Education Coordinator.  “With 842 million hungry people on this planet, including many thousands in Canada, food security is an issue we can’t ignore.”                                                                                                              “Winnipeg Harvest is committed to ending hunger not only here at home but nationally and internationally,” said Heidi Magnuson-Ford, Agency Liaison with Winnipeg Harvest.  “In order to achieve that goal it is important that we share our strengths, sharpen our understanding of
food security issues and work collectively.  This Assembly will give us the opportunity to do that.”
A pre-Assembly forum is also open to the media.  Hosted by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Co-operative Development Services of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives and SEED Winnipeg on Wednesday, October 13, from 9 am to 5 pm at Crossways- In-Common, Growing Together: Co-Operative Opportunities in the Food Sector provides a venue to exchange information about co-operatives as a flexible and effective mechanism to address different aspects of food security.
Growing Together   at a Glance:
Wed, October 13,  9 am to 5 pm at Crossways-In-Common, 222 Furby Street Co-operative Opportunities in the Food Sector
Thurs, October 14, 8:30 to 4:30 at Crossways-In-Common, 222 Furby Street The Global Context of Food Security.  Workshops
Thurs, October 14, 7 pm to 9 pm at West End Cultural Centre, 586 Ellice Avenue Do genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) have a role in food security?  Public Town Hall
Fri, October 15, 8:30 to 4:30 at Crossways-In-Common, 222 Furby Street Safe and Nutritious Food.  Workshops
Fri, October 15, 7 pm to 9 pm at Crossways-In-Common, 222 Furby Street Human rights and food: what’s the connection? Public Town Hall
Sat, October 16, 8:30 to 4:30 at Crossways-In-Common, 222 Furby Street Community mobilization.  Workshops.
Food security is the assurance that all people at all times have both the physical and economic access to the food they need for an active, healthy life.  It means that the food itself is nutritionally adequate, culturally appropriate and that this food be obtained in a way that upholds basic human dignity.
In 1996, the Canadian government endorsed the Rome Declaration on World Food Security. Participants at the 2004 Assembly will be discussing Canada’s commitment at home and abroad.
Media Contacts:
Assembly information:                                       Interviews with speakers: Diane Poulin                                                       Anna Kirbyson Winnipeg Harvest                                               Social Planning Council of Winnipeg (204) 982-3584                                                   (204) 943-2561                           cell: 228-4371