Settler colonialism and the (im)possibilities of a national food policy

  • Sarah Rotz University of Guelph
  • Lauren Wood Kepkiewicz University of Toronto
Keywords: food policy, Indigenous food systems, settler colonialism


In this perspectives piece we ask: is it possible for a national food policy to form the foundation for sustainable and equitable food systems in Canada? First, we argue that under the current settler government, such a policy does not provide this foundation. Second, we consider what is possible to achieve within the scope of a national food policy, recognizing our responsibility as settlers to hold our government accountable so policies do not exacerbate food system inequities. To mitigate some of the harmful effects of current food-related policy, we make three suggestions: 1) restrict land access based on capital, number of properties owned, acreage, and interest in food provisioning; 2) support relevant and culturally appropriate markets by divesting from industrial scale food chains, and re-invest in marginalized food provisioners; and 3) direct funding to diverse non-consumptive food networks rather than export-oriented agro-food industries. To be clear, these suggestions will not decolonize a national food policy; rather, we argue they present short-term actions within the current settler state to address some of the ways the Canadian government inhibits Indigenous food systems.