The story of Lola Lathon is, unfortunately, a familiar one: a woman whose meagre wages prevent her from accessing good-quality food, and force her to turn to food banks for support. In a June New York Times article, the Houston-based mother described how she has to skip meals to afford the gas to get to her full-time job. Ms. Lathon, like a disproportionate number of low-income individuals, suffers from type 2 diabetes, a disease whose management is markedly impacted by diet.
Our monthly Research Roundup provides an overview of some of the food insecurity-related research released in the past month at home and abroad.
Global Nutrition Report
According to this year's Global Nutrition Report, "Diet is now the number-one risk factor for the global burden of disease. The diet choices available to us are shaped by our food systems, which are not sufficiently well geared toward enabling us to consume high-quality, healthy, and nutritious diets"
Not far from our office, there's a gem of a place called The Depanneur. It's a cozy little cornerstore-turned-community-kitchen that offers cooking workshops, drop-in dinners, and supper clubs for the culinarily curious. Every week features different fare: people go there to learn to make everything from kefir and Korean chicken to kofta and kombucha. The atmosphere is fun and low-key, with tantalizing smells abound.
The NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre is located in Winnipeg's diverse Inkster neighbourhood. Staff and volunteers strive to create a welcoming place for newcomers in the centre's kitchens and gardens, using food to build connection and belonging, and offering a place where people can find – and share – a taste of home.
Making new traditions in the Filipino Family Cooking Group
What happens when you move across the world and you need to regrow roots in a new community? New Canadians often face language barriers, social isolation, and the challenge of being disconnected from the larger community. Two Good Food Organizations – Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre and Toronto's Greenest City – have discovered that community gardening can be a significant stepping stone to social connection for newcomers.
In June, we put out a national challenge to Good Food Organizations and Community Food Centres to act on imPULSE and show us what they could do with pulses. With 2016 being the International Year of the Pulse, we thought it would be a great way to celebrate these wonderful pods of possibility. Plus, pulses are grown in Canada, are very affordable, and of course, are super healthy. All the more reason to #lovepulses.
"I don’t know what I would’ve done without this place. My life has changed – it’s like black and white. There’s a lot of interaction and socializing that goes on here. Your mood changes. It has turned me around completely." - participant at Winnipeg’s NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre
Community Food Centres Canada's 2015 Annual Report is hot off the (virtual) presses!
Nick Saul delivered convocation remarks at Ryerson University's Faculty of Community Services’ Convocation on June 9, 2016 where he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his work as a community organizer and food activist. This is a truncated version of his remarks.