Thursday, May 14, 2015

Urban hen advocates say Calgary ‘turned its back on facts’ by rejecting pilot project

Urban hen advocates say Calgary ‘turned its back on facts’ by rejecting pilot project

After Calgary council clipped the wings of a long-awaited pilot project on urban hens, some Calgarians are crying fowl and claiming such a study was just what the city needed to quell critics’ concerns.
“We turned our backs on facts,” said Paul Hughes, founder of Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK). “That’s not good governance.”
He told Metro the group has been trying for about seven years to get the City of Calgary to give urban egg-laying hens a try, and now numerous nearby communities are doing just that.

Recently Edmonton, Medicine Hat, and Okotoks have all started pilot projects, while Red Deer has just finished up its own and is now accepting applications from residents for backyard hen licences.
Shannon Sereda said she has had about six hens in her McKenzie Towne backyard coop for less than a year, but may now be forced to get rid of the chickens she bought from a Red Deer pilot participant.
“I want to be a good citizen and I want to be a good neighbour,” Sereda said.
She initially asked her neighbours to OK the coop, but later received a complaint.
Sereda described council’s rejection of a pilot project that would have allowed hens in 20 households across the city as out of the pecking order.
“The only way to get the information is to pilot these sorts of things,” she said. “They are making a decision based on misconceptions.”

Original story

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


CANADIAN RIGHT TO FOOD TRIAL: The trial has been moved up (originally scheduled for September 21st) to SEPTEMBER 5th @1:30pm, Room 1106 @ the Calgary Courthouse. Feel free to show your support and interest, all are welcome!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Alberta Food Policy Council's Fall Discussions...

This fall the Alberta Food Policy Council's Interim Chair, Paul Hughes, participated and led discussion on Food Policy/concerns about our food systems at General Assembly meetings of Occupy Calgary. Please stay tuned for the Alberta Food Policy Council's next General meeting, where we will continue this conversation.

If you are interested in becoming an active member on our Steering Committee, please contact Sheila @

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

AFPC: Local Food = Local Jobs = Local Skills/Expertise

A sample selection of AFPC Objectives:
  • Awareness of economic development benefits of local food systems
  • Local Food = Local Jobs = Local Skills/Expertise
  • Increase food security and accessibility for all Albertans
  • Assist small producers and new farmers
  • Encourage access to the land base for sustainable ag
  • Create policies and regulations that nurture and do not impede access to healthy and affordable food.
  • Create opportunities for the sale, purchase, and distribution of healthy and affordable foods.
  • Develop programs that promote the sale and consumption of healthy foods.
  • Communicate a strategic and clear message about the benefits of and opportunities for eating healthy foods. 
  • Ensure that food services provided by government programs offer and promote healthy food choices
  • Reduce poor public health outcomes associated with low consumption of healthy food such as childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes etc.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alberta Food Policy Council (AFPC) Mtg #2 13Sep11: Minutes

Alberta Food Policy Council (AFPC)

September 13, 2011
Strathcona Public Library – Community Meeting Room
8331-104 Street
Edmonton, Alberta

Attendees: 14
Meeting Notes/Minutes as of 14Sep11, prepared by Shandy:
1. 1:40 p.m. - 2nd Meeting of the Alberta Food Policy Council commenced.

2. 1:35 Overview of 1st Organizational Meeting Minutes
•    First meeting occurred July 19, 2011 in Calgary, Alberta.
•    Participants agreed to move forward with forming the Alberta Food Policy Council in Alberta to operate within the umbrella of the North American Food Policy Council
•    4 working groups formed and seeking members

3: 1:40 Meet and Greet: Brief introductions from attendees
•    Attendees provided a brief overview of their interests related to food policy.
•    Paul Hughes requested each attendee share this information via email or google group for other interested parties to review.

4. 1:45 Update with the Province, Letter from Premier Ed Stelmach to the AFPC
•    Following the July AFPC meeting, Paul Hughes drafted an email/letter to Premier Ed Stelmach to report that the meeting occurred and the plans for continuing the formation of the AFPC.
•    Paul received a written response to his submission from the Premiers Office which confirmed the plans for the AFPC were aligned with Alberta agriculture goals  and initiatives and encouraged the AFPC to further connect with the ADM for Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Jason Krips.
•    Paul has been in contact with Jason Krips' department to identify next steps.  Dept would be interested in policy ideas and recommendations from the AFPC and were interested if the AFPC has any funding to support the formation stage of the group.
•    Paul encouraged members of the AFPC to maintain their optimism about the possibility of a fresh start and the potential for meaningful collaboration with the Alberta Government to address food policy issues in Alberta.
•    Paul confirmed that the AFPC does not currently have any funding to support operations or start-up costs.

5. a) i9-11 
b) Open discussion ideas from “fresh blood” (allotted 3-5 minutes each)
Attendees requested agenda time to propose food policy issues they believed the AFPC should action
•    Farmers do not have adequate access to funding to produce food products in Alberta
o    Need for sustained funding and policy to mandate financial institutions to fund small producers based on direct marketing
•    The Peoples Food Policy Project has developed 10 policy papers which integrate feedback and perspectives re: areas for action from Alberta and across Canada.
o    It was suggested the AFPC uses these papers as a foundation for moving forward to leverage the work that has already been completed by Albertans and Canadians through Food Secure Canada
o    For more information see
•    The Alberta Policy Coalition for Cancer Prevention (APCCP) is concerned about restrictive covenants. Restrictive Covenants are legal restrictions grocery chains create to prevent new grocery stores from locating in former supermarket sites after they have relocated (often to new stores on the outskirts of cities). These restrictions create food deserts in communities and contribute to community breakdown. For more information see
•    The APCCP is also interested in policy action to tax sugar-sweetened beverages (financial disincentive), as well as supporting the provision of financial incentives (agricultural & other subsidies etc.) to promote increased availability and accessibility of healthy foods in Alberta. For more information, see
•    The need to revise Edmonton’s current bylaw to permit beekeeping within the City of Edmonton, as well as to ensure proper transportation policies for bees.
o    Calgary has already made adjustments to their bylaws to promote beekeeping.
•    Need to incorporate environmental health considerations as they relate to policies to support sustainable agriculture.
o    Farming equipment can have a negative impact on food production, land and soil compaction.
o    Need policies which support producers to transition to new technologies to protect the environment and health of the products.

c) Alberta Food Policy Council Steering Committee, Nominations and Selection 

6 volunteers to populate the AFPC Steering Committee. A meeting will be coordinated in the near future.

6. 2:30 Concept/Working Groups/Discussion of Food Policy Issues 

A. Admin & Governance  (AGWG) 

B. Policy Research & Development (PRDWG) 

C. Campaign, Awareness & Network Support (CANWG) 

D. Political Engagement WG (PEWG) 

7. 3:00 Final Words, including brief announcements
SELRS, Vandana Shiva, Food Day 24Oct11, Join ComFood, AFPC & GFSA lists

8. 3:30 Adjourn: Next Meeting 25Oct11 @ 2pm

Thank you to Sheila, Cherie, Dan & Telus ( for meeting 

Interim Chair:  Paul Hughes 

Additional notes by Kathryn:

Open Discussion

 Open discussion ideas from “fresh blood” (allotted 3-5 minutes each)

Amy talked about what she would like to see the Food Policy Council do.
-OFRE (Operation Fruit Rescue) connects with people with food you can grow in an urban environment, it is about food security, about teaching, easy healthy, sustainable ways of building community, harvesting and preserving fruit from backyard fruit trees. They see fruit trees as an asset, not a liability.
-Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto have similar groups
-Amy would like Alberta Food Policy Council to help OFRE connect with communities in Alberta wanting to do similar projects, support groups like OFRE to coordinate funding and network

Angie mentioned that Hundred Mile Kitchen, Drayton Valley.

Kathryn said the policy council should consider food justice and indigenous food sovereignty.

Mary Ellen talked about food banks, how to get fresh food for low-income Albertans.
-could subsidize low-income individuals to buy fresh healthy foods
-Slow Money Alberta
-need an investment strategy for food banks

Angie said that food justice is about finding ways to create a food system where people are not reliant on charity, food banks
-SELRS is looking at how to enable everyone to have access to local food, and farmers get a fair price

Paul mentioned the "local food buck"

Mary Ellen
-Green Eggs and Ham will provide food and accommodation for a whole family if one member of that family works o the farm, this is a standing offer they have made to Food Banks, for their clients
-they have worked with the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Millwoods Centre for Newcomers to try to connect, but haven't found newcomers who are interested in working on the farm
-Farm Start is an Ontario organization that supports new farmers and immigrants with farming backgrounds
-this could be an area for the policy council to research

-community gardens are important, and so is storage space for produce --ie. a freezer
-what about community freezers, or community root cellars? how to store food at a commercial level?
-Manitoba and some northern communities have community freezer programs

Mary Ellen
-a challenge to this is issues producers face with distribution, storage, and trucking

Question raised to group: how to continue this discussion?
-Twitter: send an email to Paul to join Twitter account Twitter @AlbertaFPC
-Google Group: you can join the google group by following a link from the blog: Google Group/List
-Email AFPC
-Join the Steering Committee, or working groups
-Blog: you can post to the blog by emailing Paul, or ask Paul to add you as an author

Don Herman, from Grande Prairie
-grower with community gardens in Grande Prairie
-concerned about herbicide and pesticide use, used for lawns and personal use
-here at meeting to observe and listen

Policy Steering Committee, Nominations and Selection

-could have representation from each of 4 main working groups, urban and rural reps, have each urban centre represented
-as a steering committee member, would be expected to give an hour of week to role, email correspondance, chair meetings, coordinate meetings
-help with basic administration and governance, decide how/if we are going to have elections
-right now this role would be largely conceptual, deciding the direction of the council
-Telus provides free communication for conference calls for one year

Paul asked members present at meeting to volunteer for the Steering Committee, the following offered to join:
-Amy - Edmonton
-Stacy - Calgary
-Paul - Calgary
-Kathleen - Barrhead
-Mary Ellen - Leduc
-Sheila - Airdrie

-Motion to approve: Mary Ellen
-2nd motion: Don
-All in favour

Sally asked to be involved in the political engagement working group

Rene introduced Sustainble Equitable Local Regional System for Food (SELRS)
-an initiative of Growing Food Security in Alberta, with support from Dieticians of Canada, federal funding from the Rural Secretariat
-project runs until March 31, 2012
-focused on 17 rural communities
-put together a blueprint for how to set up a sustainable, local food system for rural communities
-conducting interviews with main stakeholders
-August 8, inaugural gathering in Lacombe
-Rene and Brenda are main facilitators, plus a "guiding group" of 13 people
-emphasizing transparency, a "glass barn" approach to this project
-next meting will be on September 28th.

Final Words/ Announcements
-reminded group to join GSA list serve,
-also can join COMFOOD, the Community Food Security Coalition's network (based in USA)

World Food Day is October 24th
-can send letter/email to local mayor and ask them to proclaim World Food Day-- City of Calgary did this 2 years ago
-Sally is screening "Queen of the Sun"
-OFRE might organize a fruit pick

Vandana Shiva is speaking in Calgary, Sept.23 and Sept.24

Motion to Adjourn

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


AFPC conference Call options:

Participant Access code: 5474257 #

Dial-in Phone Numbers:
780-429-7423 Edmonton Local
403-532-8075 Calgary Local
647-837-0597 Toronto Local
613-683-0932 Ottawa Local
514-788-7663 Montreal Local
604-681-0262 Vancouver Local
1-877-353-9586 Toll Free North America

1. 1:30 pm Open 2nd Meeting of the Alberta Food Policy Council

2. 1:35 Overview of 1st Organizational Meeting Minutes

3: 1:40 Meet and Greet: Brief introductions from attendees

4. 1:45 Update with the Province, Letter from Premier Ed Stelmach to the AFPC

5. 1:50 a) i9-11
b) Open discussion ideas from “fresh blood” (allotted 3-5 minutes each)
c) Policy Steering Committee, Nominations and Selection

6. 2:30 Concept/Working Groups/Discussion of Food Policy Issues
A. Admin & Governance  (AGWG)
B. Policy Research & Development (PRDWG)
C. Campaign, Awareness & Network Support (CANWG)
D. Political Engagement WG (PEWG)

5. 3:00 Final Words, including brief announcements

6. 3:30 Adjourn: Next Meeting 25Oct11 @ 2pm

Interim Chair:  Paul Hughes