Food council aims to reduce household, community food insecurity
Simcoe County Food Council representative Michael Ryan made a presentation to Clearview council Monday hoping to raise awareness about a mission to enhance food security for all residents of Simcoe County.
He said the Simcoe County Food Security Framework was endorsed in 2019, and grew out of the creation of the Simcoe County Food and Agriculture Charter of 2013. The vision is to create a sustainable, equitable and secure local food system in Simcoe County that recognizes food as a human right. It is an inter-connected food system where safe, sufficient, nutritious, culturally appropriate food is financially and physically accessible to everyone through dignified means, and where the people are actively working toward realizing a more food secure Simcoe County.
The goals include raising awareness about and reduce household food insecurity by increasing access to nutritious food and improving food literacy, improving community food infrastructure, fostering Simcoe County’s food traditions and Indigenous food knowledge and culture, and supporting countywide collaboration toward food security.
Household food insecurity is experienced when an individual or household lacks the financial resources to access food. Addressing household food insecurity requires specific income-related interventions. Household food insecurity is influenced by: Cost of living, including housing and rent; Cost of heat, hydro, food, and other basic necessities; Social assistance rates; Job security and income; Access to transportation; and Cost of fuel and equipment required for hunting and fishing.
Community food security is a measure of food access and availability at the community level; it studies the local food system to measure the production and provision of food available to the public through retailers, farmer’s markets, community gardens, food programs and emergency food services.
Ryan said 11.47 per cent of Simcoe County residents are living in poverty and one-in-eight households are food insecure.
“If you have initiatives within your municipality that fit within those goals… we’d enjoy working with you to implement them and we may know other people who are doing similar things in other places and save some duplication in outlaying a project,” said Ryan.