Food insecurity is described as a household being unable to afford balanced meals, going hungry by eating less of skipping meals, or not having access to a variety or quantity of food that they need as a result of a lack of money. In 2017, it cost at least $873/month to adequately feed a family of four.
Food insecurity is a serious public health issue as it is likely to negatively impact one’s mental and physical health, cause higher levels of anxiety and stress, lead to asthma, to oral health problems and chronic conditions such as diabetes. These consequences of food insecurity result in higher healthcare costs.
Our city's strategy for food needs to be more than feeding the homeless. We need a different way of dealing with food across our city: it's more than just getting something off a shelf. We can use it to bring marginalized communities together. The Parkdale food centre is an excellent model for this: it offers school programs, cooking programs, workshops, and meals and food to those in need. In the aftermath of the tornadoes, they served over 8000 meals to people in need.
While food charity on its own is a short-term response to food insecurity, it does not address the problem in a sustainable way. As your Mayor, Clive Doucet will lobby provincial and federal governments to investigate a basic income guarantee program, and take initiatives to facilitate a healthy and nutritious food options across our city by:
- Promoting and supporting the implementation of Food Centre Models similar to the Parkdale Food Centre.
- Supporting the creation of new community gardens by introducing a $500,000 community garden grant.
- Developing a partnership with the Experimental Farm to launch an urban farming program that would increase our local food distribution capacity.
- Launching a Green Roof program by delivering 2,000 $5,000 grants over the next four years – this is an opportunity to increase the number of community gardens in our city and to increase our local food sources.
- Working with rural farms to bring more local produce to Farmers’ Markets across the city.