Good food reads 05/15/2019

Cuts to legal aid mean worse health for vulnerable people
In the Star, Dr. Gary Bloch, a family physician and strong advocate for low-income people, writes that the Ford Government’s cuts to Legal Aid Ontario will mean worse health for his low-income patients, who have legal needs that need to be addressed to keep their lives stable, and higher demand and cost for our health care system. From the op-ed: “When people are denied the ability to advocate for their legal rights, they are left with high levels of stress, in worse poverty, and in increasingly vulnerable situations. This leaves them in poorer health and puts a higher demand on the health system.”

Towards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada
A new paper put out jointly by the Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Upstream finds that child poverty rates on reserves have remained almost unchanged for a decade. In fact, they find that 47 per cent of First Nations children live in poverty (53% on reserve and 41% off reserve). From the report: “[This] snapshot provides a disturbing picture of child poverty in Canada: one where First Nations children are far and away the most marginalized and economically disadvantaged.”

'Food deserts' become 'food swamps' as drugstores outsell major grocers
The Guardian looks at the proliferation of drug stores in US cities selling more and more food to people drawn to one-stop shopping for essentials. Especially low-income people who live in food deserts without access to a well-stocked grocery store. Researchers are concerned that this convenience comes at a high-cost to health as most of the food stocked is highly processed foods high in salt, sugar, and fat, which can increase the risk of diet-related diseases. From the piece: “We don’t hear about drugstore deserts – they are everywhere. But we do hear about grocery deserts. And there is a great irony in that food sold at the pharmacy – ostensibly a place meant to promote our health – is actually bad for you.”

Meet the Mi’kmaw lawyer who hopes her national book club helps turn the page toward reconciliation Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaw lawyer, professor and activist, has launched an online Reconciliation Book Club. Each month, she’ll pick a book, announce it on her YouTube channel and then, four weeks later, she’ll post a video review incorporating readers’ comments and answering their questions. Her focus will primarily be on Indigenous authors, but will also include some allies. Her first pick is “Whose Land Is It Anyway: A Manual for Decolonization,” by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C. From the piece: “There’s a big lack of understanding, and I’m trying to bridge the divide between what people think they know about history and what they don’t know about right now.”