A long-standing day to celebrate food in Canada will be officially recognized this year on its 20th anniversary.
Food Day in Canada, which has long had the support of politicians who issue statements applauding the farmers, processors and chefs who are key players in making food in Canada what it is, won official recognition this spring following a senate bill sponsored by Senator Rob Black of Ontario and chair of the Canadian Senators Group.
“This event will give Canadians an opportunity to thank the farmers who put food on our tables, every summer for years to come,” Black said when the bill passed third reading in May.
An Act to Establish Food Day in Canada received Royal assent this spring, and Food Day in Canada will be officially recognized on August 5 this year.
“Whereas supporting local farmers contributes to a sustainable Canadian food system; and whereas the people of Canada will benefit from a food day in Canada to celebrate local food as one of the most elemental characteristics of all of the cultures that populate this nation,” the act establishes the Saturday before the first Monday in August as Food Day in Canada.
The day was pioneered by the late writer Anita Stewart (1947-2020), the first Canadian Food Laureate at the University of Guelph. The role saw her host events hat put Canada’s food and agriculture at the centre of the menu bringing Canadian cuisine to both the national and international stage.
The day itself was conceived as a way to celebrate food production during a dark chapter in Canada’s modern food history, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (or ‘mad cow’) crisis of the early 2000s. BSE saw a historic depletion in Canada’s cattle herd, and it took nearly 20 years for the country’s ranches to recover. However, the legacy continues to be felt in myriad ways.
“Since the first Food Day Canada, the event has grown into a cross-country celebration that embodies Canadian culture, cuisine, and ingredients,” event organizers say.