More than ten per cent of Canadians experience food insecurity, which means they lack access to “sufficient, safe and nutritious food.”
But if Canada is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, why do we let so many go hungry? What should be done about it, and by whom?
Upstream has been working with the best of Canada’s new and established food security experts to answer these questions through a series of articles over the next month. They offer multi-level solutions from individual neighbourhoods, to the entire country. Everyone has a role in improving food security, from individuals who choose to support local producers to governments who improve income support programs.
We begin our focus on this important topic with a pair of articles explaining the facts of food insecurity in Canada. Tim Li of the international research program PROOF explains why food bank usage isn’t a reliable guide to understand the extent of the problem. Professor Emeritus Graham Riches exposes the inability of charity to lift people out of food insecurity and proposes a new approach based on the internationally-recognized right to food.
At the local-level Gord Enns of the Saskatoon Food Council provides four actions individuals can take to improve their own food security, while Professor Wanda Martin promotes the role local government can play in shaping urban landscapes into agriculturally productive ones.
Improving food security in Canada’s north has its own unique challenges. Lauren Achtemichuk examines how culture and geography must be considered for solutions to Nunavut food insecurity, and Professor Kelly Skinner looks at programs that could work.
Not all interventions succeed, but failures contribute to eventual success. Professor Rachel Engler-Stringer covers how the closing of a co-op grocery store in Saskatoon highlights the role low incomes play in perpetuating food insecurity. Professor Elaine Power continues this thread by explaining how a basic income guarantee would alleviate food insecurity issues by addressing the upstream problem of poverty.
We’ll finish this theme with a big idea. Diana Bronson of Food Secure Canada writes on how a national food policy could improve food security for Canadians, and what such a policy would look like.
We want to hear your thoughts on improving food security in Canada too — Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #FoodSecurity to share your ideas and join the conversation.
Lauren Achtemichuk is a recent graduate from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Arts and Science Honours degree in Environment and Society, and a Certificate in Sustainability. Her curiosity for the north expanded through academic focus on northern environments and developments, and community involvement on her experience in Nunavut.
Cody Sharpe is Upstream's Policy Coordinator. He is currently completing his PhD in public policy at the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. He has worked in program management positions for various non-profits as well as in government, taught at the university level, and helped found a community service learning organization which linked student researchers to non-profit agencies in Saskatchewan.