Farmers Forum staff
OTTAWA — Twenty years ago, the late Anita Stewart of Wellington County spearheaded “the world’s longest barbecue” as a show of support for beef farmers hard hit by the BSE border-closure crisis in 2003. The event became an annual tradition and eventually morphed into “Food Day Canada” — now federally recognized as “Food Day in Canada” with Ottawa’s unanimous support.
The Saturday before the first Monday in August (Aug. 5 this year) is the appointed date to celebrate local Canadian food, as set by the newly approved Food Day in Canada Act. The Act required only Royal Assent to become law, following the final vote on the Hill on May 8.
The Act is also intended to honour the legacy of Anita Stewart, known for her lifetime of advocacy for local food, cuisine and agriculture. Stewart, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2020, was also a cookbook author and the first Food Laureate at the University of Guelph.
The legislation originated in the Senate, sponsored by Senator Rob Black. It won unanimous support in the Upper Chamber and then the House of Commons.
“I am delighted that Food Day Canada was passed into law in time for its 20th anniversary,” Black said. “This event will give Canadians an opportunity to thank the farmers who put food on our tables every summer for years to come.”
“This summer, and for every year to follow, we will together recognize the work of our farmers, fishers, processors, chefs, and everyone along the food supply chain who not only feeds us but also enriches our diverse national culture,” MP John Nater (CON — Perth-Wellington) said before final passage of the bill in the Commons.