Good food reads 05/15/2019

In this federal election, help build democracy from the ground up​
In the Ottawa Citizen John Beebe from the Democratic Engagement Exchange at Ryerson University and Caro Loutfi from Apathy is Boring argue that if we want to get all Canadians fully engaged in our democracy — especially the most marginalized — we need to look to community organizations, who have unique relationships of trust with community members on the margins. Relationships that can be key to empowering these communities to engage in democracy. From the piece: "When democracy thrives, the voices of all Canadians are part of our democratic conversation. The results are policies and programs that include the aspirations of young people, new Canadians, and people who have been marginalized by the system."

Canadians hungry for food security to be a priority in federal election campaign, new poll finds​
A new Angus Reid survey for Dalhousie University's Agri-Food Analytics Lab finds Canadians are hungry for food security to be a priority in federal election campaign — 60 per cent ranked it as the most important issue when asked about agri-food issues. From the piece: “Food is a very important topic, but it gets lost in the noise of a political campaign. Everyone eats two, three, four times a day. If there’s one issue that affects everybody every day in a meaningful way directly, well, it is food. That’s why we should care about these issues.

The Power is Yours: Your Election Handbook
As part of Democracy Week in Canada earlier this month, the Democratic Engagement Exchange released an election handbook designed to be a one-stop-shop with everything you need to know to understand and participate in the federal election. From the handbook: "What’s important is that everyone has a voice. When those voices are raised together, they become impossible to ignore. This October, we have the chance to make our voices heard in the Canadian federal election. With our vote, we express the hopes and dreams for the future WE want and care about."

Filling 'prescriptions' for fruit and veggies blowing food bank's budget
CBC News looks at the very successful fruit and vegetable prescription program at Parkdale Food Centre in Ottawa. The food bank accepts prescriptions for healthy food from doctors or social workers and provides people with fresh fruit and vegetables. Since it began the program, the centre's food budget has doubled with families coming from across the city to fill their healthy food prescription. From the piece: "What I'm trying to do is to show that when people do not have access to healthy food, we indeed have a public health crisis."

Ending Poverty Will Require a Movement Led by Poor People​
In the Nation, Greg Kaufmann writes that really needs to happen for us to see poverty eliminated is a mass movement led by the people directly affected by it who will organize, take action and create the political will necessary to embrace available solutions. From the piece: "People are poor because our system is structured not only to produce poor people but to keep them divided. Schools are separate and unequal; jobs don’t pay enough to cover basics like housing; health care is a privilege; profits are hoarded at the top; voting rights are denied; the judicial system refuses poor people fair representation and targets people of color. The list goes on."

Basic income is just what the doctor ordered
In the Star, Dr. Danielle Martin from Women's College Hospital and Ryan Melli from Upstream: Institute for A Healthy Society, argue nothing makes us sicker than poverty and that it's time to start prescribing healthy incomes. From the piece: "The upstream factors that affect health — such as income, education, employment, housing, and food security — have a far greater impact on whether we will be ill or well. Of these, income has the most powerful influence, as it shapes access to the other health determinants. Low-income Canadians are more likely to die earlier and suffer from more illnesses than Canadians with higher incomes, regardless of age, sex, race or place of residence."

Our Food Is Killing Too Many of Us
In the New York Times, Dariush Mozaffarian a cardiologist and Dan Glickman, a former Agriculture Secretary, argue that improving the nutrition of Americans would make the biggest impact on healthcare both in terms of reducing spending and improving outcomes. They make the case for simple changes like healthy produce prescription programs. From the piece: "The 'Food Is Medicine' solutions are win-win, promoting better well-being, lower health care costs, greater sustainability, reduced disparities among population groups, improved economic competitiveness and greater national security."