We’ve got complex, joined-up food issues in Canada. We live in a wealthy country but Canadians who can’t buy in are being left out. Millions of Canadians struggle with poverty and food insecurity and can’t afford the food they need to thrive. They often face stigma and shame when they need to ask for help.
Poverty and food insecurity are leading predictors of poor physical and mental health. Diet-related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease reduce quality of life and life expectancy, and cost our health-care system billions of dollars every year.
People living on low incomes are more likely to feel lonely, isolated, and disengaged from their community. Increasingly, people living on low incomes do not have a place at the table, and the resulting inequality is having a serious effect on the fabric of our communities.
The CFC model proves that dignified community spaces and programs that use good food as a tool to bring people together can significantly improve the health and well-being of low-income individuals, and help communities thrive. By providing places of possibility that recognize that everybody has value and something to contribute, Community Food Centres empower people to get involved in their communities, and to push for the policies that can create a healthy and inclusive country.