A window of opportunity exists for public, private and civil society stakeholders to agree on a National Food Policy and for the agreed upon NFP to guide stakeholder decsion-making now and in the longer-term. Agreement among stakeholders is dependent upon finding a balance between (a) solely “lassez-faire” or “pure market” instruments for agrifood system solutions to pressing 21st century economic, social, and environmental challenges and (b) purely collective or communitarian instruments. In other words, corporate shareholders and civil society players must respect the priorities of one another (for example, self-interested market competitiveness and broader community social welfare) as well as find common ground on shared challenges and collaborative solutions.
The McConnel Foundation’s Food Systems Initiative providing support of market-based interventions by community groups and its partnership with both civil society organizations such as Food Secure Canada and businesses such as Maple Leaf Foods is an example of leadership in finding and maintaining this balance — a balance of perspectives, of interests, and instruments for change. Such leadership is a welcome contribution to making an effective and long-lasting NFP possible.