Food security is a communal issue. It affects us all.
Planted partners believe in the power of local, sustainable and equitable food solutions. We believe in connecting people to the land and in solid relationships within communities. We believe in mutual respect and dignity. And we believe that working together for food security can transform us and our city.
Food security is one of our number one concerns here at Planted. We created a fun, little animated film to introduce folks to the issue.
About the Issue
Food security exists when all residents in a community can reliably access safe, nutritionally adequate, culturally appropriate food. Food security can only exist in a food system that is sustainable; and the most sustainable food systems are predominantly local.
An equitable food system is socially just. It ensures that everyone, regardless of income, can obtain quality food in a dignified manner.
Barriers to accessing quality food include:
- Having a lower income
- Having to pay higher prices for better food choices
- Living too far from where quality food is sold
- Not having transportation options or full mobility
- Not having knowledge or space for preparing food or storing it
The cost of eating is the primary barrier to food security. The Dietitians of Canada estimate that in 2011 a family of four living in BC needed to pay $868 each month to meet nutritional requirements, which was more than twice the amount of money a family of four on income assistance receives for non-housing expenses.
The effects of prolonged food insecurity are profound: poor pregnancy outcomes, poor growth and development in children, learning deficits and other challenges (from the Dietitians of Canada). Recent studies in Vancouver have shown that when homeless shelters serve three square meals a day, their residents are much less likely to be violent and much more likely to improve their housing outcomes.
Planted’s partners are moving beyond the usual charitable responses to hunger, shifting the balance towards community development and social enterprise. Emergency food relief will always be necessary, but we believe that by forging a collaborative network of community initiatives, we can help create a strong food system for everyone in our community.
Community Responses to Food Insecurity
Adapted from the Vancouver Food System Assessment, 2005.
- Vancouver Food Assessment: a resource on food security in Greater Vancouver
- Provincial, municipal and grassroots food security initiatives:
- The Knowledge Pantry: resources and links from Farm Folk City Folk
- City Farmer: an award-winning blog about all things urban agricultural