To the editor;
I am writing to you as part of an election campaign around food security conducted by the Kamloops Food Policy Council. I’d like to address the issue of why equitable access to food is important when we talk about food security.
Food security is obtained when every person in a community has access to safe and nutritious food that meets their health and cultural needs. Without everyone having equal access in a dignified manner, food security does not exist.
As an example, having access to the food bank does not translate to equal access to food. Although food banks are doing their best, they are not a sustainable option, and cannot possibly provide safe, nutritious food to meet the health and cultural needs of everyone at their doorstep. A better strategy would be to work toward poverty prevention. For politicians to focus on poverty prevention using food affordability as a central measure would be very helpful toward creating equitable access. Another important aspect of this in our community would be the establishment of a meaningful collaboration process with communities when it comes to policy and decision-making that affects indigenous food systems.
Some positive examples of things that are working to increase equal access to food include things like the community gardens, public produce plots, the city’s new Agriculture Area Plan, farmer’s markets, the food share program, Garden Gate, an increase in community kitchens and food skills programs, as well as socializing opportunities that provide free meals. While the work the Food Policy Council has done greatly increases community collaboration around food security, we have lots of work yet to do to make our community food secure.
Access to food and food skills is improving, but poverty still discourages people from learning new skills and being able to afford both food and cooking tools.
If we as a society can move away from the idea that food is a commodity toward seeing it as essential nourishment for life, then we can work toward providing people with the skills to grow their own food, process it locally, and be able to thus maintain their own food security.
It should not depend on someone’s income whether they can be healthy, and by educating people and investing in local farming, we can help make equitable access to food and food security a reality in our local ridings.
Jacquelyne Foidart, BSc.Ag.
Nutrition Health Educator,
Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society