Berwick 'making it easier for people to make healthy food choices' with new policy

John Decoste
Published on February 4, 2016

Then-Berwick active living co-ordinator Katie Verrette, right, and Deanna Beck, a health promoter with the Department of Health and Wellness, make a presentation to Berwick town council on a new Healthy Food Environment policy for the town.

©John DeCoste

BERWICK - Berwick council is making it easier for residents and staff to make healthier food choices.

The town’s former active living co-ordinator, Katie Verrette, and health promoter Deanna Beck of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, made a pitch to council in November that aims to “create healthy food environments by increasing access to and consumption of healthy foods and beverages within municipal settings, making the healthy choice the easy choice.”

Council adopted the policy recently, which applies to food and beverages sold or served at all municipally-owned recreation facilities and places, recreation programs and events, municipal workplace wellness programs and canteens, contracts and vending machines on municipal property.

Interim active living co-ordinator Rebecca Dillman says the policy defines specific nutrition criteria and portion sizes based on the Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating. It follows a three-year plan to gradually introduce more healthy food options.

“The policy is not about taking away people's choices. It's about making it easier for people to make healthy food choices simply by increasing the number of healthy choices available to them,” Dillman said.

Instead, it limits and decreases the number of unhealthy choices available.

“By making our environments more health-promoting, we can make it easier for all of us to be our healthiest,” she said.

The policy is all about health promotion, said Mayor Don Clarke.

“We're taking a lead to encourage our residents, and especially the younger generation, to eat more healthy,” he said.

Healthier choices will be available at town-sponsored events and “anything we’re directly involved in,” he added. The town is encouraging other groups and organizations to adopt the policy as well.

 “I think it's great that we're able to model this policy in our town, and we encourage everyone to adopt their own healthy food policies,” Clarke said.

“We're all in this together. Making positive changes now can impact our community for generations to come.”

To view the policy in its entirety, visit the Town of Berwick website at