September – December, 2022

This province-wide survey collected detailed information on community food production


Food Producers Forum launched Where’s the Food? our online survey last September, to collect detailed information about community food production in our province. We had previously launched a dozen projects to help expand food production at the community level, but we realized that no one really knew how much food was already being produced in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This project drew together a team of volunteers that included staff from the provincial Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, researchers at Memorial University and local community representatives from across the island and in Labrador. Led by two academics with extensive experience in qualitative research, the team put together an online survey to find out how much and what kinds of food were already being produced in Canada’s easternmost province. This project was completed without any funding or government support!

As far as we know, this is the first time that details of community food production have been collected.

Where’s the Food? gathered detailed information, including how much of each type of food is being produced, how it is being grown or gathered and what types of support food producers will need to be able to expand local production.

The survey results were rich and detailed.

* In 2022, 750 survey participants in 167 communities produced 6.2 million pounds of food.

* They included 700 gardeners, 650 foragers, 170 who raise animals, 310 hunters & 500 fishers.

* The survey heard from about 100 people who grow or gather food to sell commercially.

* Home food producers on average each had produced more than 500 pounds of food.

* Individuals who hunt, raise animals or fish each produced an average of 375 pounds of food.

The survey identified the following needs, challenges and opportunities:

* Farmers and community gardeners need easier access to available land for agriculture.

* Community cold storage and root cellars are needed for local food preservation.

* There is a need for more local, approved abattoirs for meat processing across our province.

* There is a general interest in tool sharing and community farming, especially in rural areas.

* There is widespread desire for workshops, mentorships and online training in food production.

These results show that food producers in our local communities are already helping rebuild food security in the province. Informed by this survey, food advocates can ask governments for better policies, programs and resources, to support and expand production of local healthy food.

Our team welcomes any chance to share their survey results. A detailed report is currently in preparation to be released this fall. Anyone interested can contact Food Producers Forum at www.foodproducersforum.com or by emailing foodproducersforum@gmail.com.

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