Why do food choices matter?

Which type of food label, in your opinion, is most valuable when consumers make food choices?


what food democracy means

The term “food democracy” was first used by a researcher and former farmer from Britain named Tim Lang. He developed this term in the mid-1990s because he was concerned about the increasing control that big corporations had on food production and the decreasing control and lack of active participation of consumers.

Food democracy is about the power that consumers and producers have to influence the ways that food is produced, consumed and distributed. It refers to the strategies that consumers and farmers use to improve the existing food system. This includes working as a society to ensure there’s enough affordable, culturally appropriate, easily accessible and nutritious food for everyone.

How do you think food democracy can be influenced by both economic and social trends?



U.S Department of Agriculture




food systems

When looking at food choices, trends and patterns, you may come across the term food systems. A food system, no matter its size, encompasses five sectors:

  • How and where food is grown
  • The processing of food
  • The distribution of food
  • Food consumption
  • The disposal of waste created by the other four processes

You can look at food systems on a global level, a national or provincial level, a community level or in a household. A community food system focuses on food production, processing, distribution and consumption in a particular place. A goal of community food systems involves improving access by all community members to an adequate, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate diet. It supports family farms and encourages more direct links between farmers and consumers. It promotes food and agriculture policies that centre on local food production, processing and consumption. 

Every time you choose and eat food, you are ‘voting’ for a certain type of food system. If you go to supermarkets, buy at a farmer’s market, choose organic, look for quality certifications or ‘made in Canada’ labels, you are influencing the food system.

What differences would there be between a food system centred in a community and the global food system?


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