Last night, The Stop Community Food Centre held their inaugural “Speaker Series – Food For Thought” at the Gladstone Hotel.
The series is designed to provide a forum for discussing some of the most pressing issues in Toronto such as food, poverty, and health. Moderated by Rachel Giese, a Toronto journalist, the panel of experts included Gary Bloch, founder of Health Providers Against Poverty; Trish Hennessy, director at Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; and Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute.
Food security is a serious issue affecting many Canadians. All of this is leading into a growing social and public health problem. Lack of funds due to housing costs, low wages and unstable work, and difficulty accessing healthy food are just some of the factors that have contributed to making it challenging for people every day to access nutritious food. This can range from temporary or chronic and its severity can vary on a host of factors. In every country, regardless of its wealth or level of poverty, people can be food insecure.
According to the Wellesley Institute, 1 in 10 households in Canada or 2.7 million Canadians are food insecure. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food insecurity as, “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.
The presence of these issues raises questions of why they prevail, how they should be addressed and who should be responsible for resolving them. These topics were all reflected in the discussion by the panel. Attendees were also encouraged to ask questions and continue the conversation throughout the evening.
It was very evident through the discussion that not enough is being done to improve the situation right now in our city. Even as we are seeing progress in recent years with initiatives like community kitchens, food buying clubs, farmers’ markets and food boxes, there is still much work to do.
Below is an infographic on the impact of hunger and food insecurity in Toronto by the Wellesley Institute, a non-profit research and policy think-tank. To download the full report please visit the Wellesley Institute website.