How Secure is Your Food Supply?
Campbellton Community Garden: Raised Beds
Food prices are rising, and more and more people are turning to growing their own food to help keep the costs down. Unfortunately, far too many people do not have the room to grow much, and while growing something is better than growing nothing, very few of us can feed ourselves without going to a store and buying food.
So what happens when you have little or no land and your income is insufficient to feed your family? Food security is often discussed in terms of what we called the Developing countries. However, there are far too many people across North America who are a pay cheque away from hunger.
Sure there are food banks and lunch and breakfast programs that can help but there is no guarantee they will always be there to help. The food banks depend upon people being able to give surplus food and what happens when the surplus dries up?
When would your food supply run out if you were unable to buy food anywhere? Do you ever think about how secure or perhaps, better put, insecure your food supply is? What is food security?
In 1996, the World Food Summit defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.
Generally speaking, food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences.
Food preferences include vegan and vegetarian choices as well as ethnic cuisine.
Food is a commodity. This means it is bought and sold in a marketplace. This is a good way to do business, as long as all the participants have the means to shop, and buy the food their bodies and minds demand. Unfortunately, many families cannot feed themselves on the income they receive each month, and the money often runs out before the month does.
What can we do? We can encourage the growth of local food growing and producing business by shopping local as often as we are able. We can encourage the development of community gardens, yard sharing and community shared agriculture projects.
Community gardens, such as the one in the accompanying picture in Campbellton New Brunswick, enable people without any other access to land, to grow some of their own food. This increases their ability to take care of themselves, and fosters a sense of community among the gardeners.
Community gardens also provide a gardening education to those who need it, and new gardeners can learn about techniques such as starting seeds indoors in order to extend the gardening season.
These actions localize food production and can create jobs and incomes which means people have money to spend. This localization of food production is happening across the continent, but it needs support both consumer support and political support at the municipal, provincial or state and federal levels.
Food security is a political issue, besides finding ways to grow your own food and shopping local, talk with your political representatives and tell them to make food security a priority. Remind them food is a right, one they need to honour.
- What is Food Security? :: The Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Food Security Network of Newfoundland & Labrador (FSN) is a provincial, membership-based, non-profit organization with the mission to actively promote comprehensive, community-based solutions to ensure access to adequate and healthy food for