Good food reads 05/15/2019

Ottawa hit interim target for poverty reduction ahead of schedule, statistics reveal
The federal government released an update on the one-year anniversary of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, including a review of the new national poverty measure the Market Basket Measure. In the update, we see that food insecurity is on the rise and that food is one of the first things people cut when money gets tight. The government also announced a new 10-member advisory council, including people with lived experience. From the piece: "We’re really hoping we get the updated market measure and that it is reflective of the realities of poverty in Canada and that we are able to see (future) announcements embody that."

Home truths, Part 1: Why affordable housing isn’t just a Toronto issue
TVO has an excellent five-part series on housing online right now. In the first piece, Eastern Ontario hubs reporter David Rockne Corrigan explains that affordable housing isn't just a Toronto issue — it's a province-wide issue. In the series, he looks at the causes and effects of Ontario's housing crisis and what governments and activists are doing about it, telling the story in four different cities (Prince Edward County, Kenora, Kingston, and Peterborough). From the piece: “You have people asking, ‘Is it fair that only rich people can afford housing in our city?’ And, of course, the answer is no — it’s not fair. We need to be asking ourselves, how is it that a place like Peterborough is suffering in this way?”

The rise of sugar and why your dad puts sweetener on strawberries
Another interesting multi-part series in the Star looks at the history of sugar in our diet. In the first of three parts, the writer traces sugar's journey from a luxury item to a key part of our celebrations and addition to everyday food to a growing health concern. From the piece: "...most people didn’t consider it a risky ingredient, in part, because conventional wisdom held that sweetness was nature’s way of telling you a substance was safe to eat. Poisons tend to be bitter. Thanks to that, as well as its cultural associations with wholesomeness, innocence and celebrations like birthdays and weddings, sugar’s growth remained unchecked and, over time, managed to make its way into breakfast foods, after-school snacks and even some boxed lunches." Part two on hidden sugar is now available.

Guelph doctors, health providers treat loneliness by prescribing yoga and crochet lessons
11 community health centres across Ontario, including in Guelph, are participating in a "social prescription" pilot where they are connecting people with group activities like fitness classes, conversation groups and more in an effort to fight social isolation and loneliness, which can have a major impact on physical and mental health. From the piece: "I've seen changes in folks that regularly attended," said Izabela Lukomska, who has taken part in programs as both a client and volunteer."I've seen people make connections ... I saw a neighbour of mine talk more, become more verbal, more connective, more willing to take chances to be outside of her regular self."

Calgary income poverty rate drops; living wage gap narrows
A new report fomr Vibrant Communities Calgary finds increasing the minnimum wage and bringing it closer to a living wage can have a real impact and reduce poverty. Their 2019 snapshot shows income poverty in Calgary dropped to 6.9 per cent in 2019, down from 9.8 per cent between 2015-17. And part of the reason is that the gap between the minnimum wage and living wage in Calgary is at a historic low of eight per cent — the minnium wage is $15/hour and a living wage is $16.45. From the piece: "Doing our own research, taking a deeper dive into income poverty at the local level, and sharing that information with Enough for All stakeholders is essential to our role as stewards of the strategy,