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THRIVE! FOOD AT THE CENTRE Community Health Board Conference, October 18, 2013 Patty Williams, Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change.

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Presentation on theme: "THRIVE! FOOD AT THE CENTRE Community Health Board Conference, October 18, 2013 Patty Williams, Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change."— Presentation transcript:

1 THRIVE! FOOD AT THE CENTRE Community Health Board Conference, October 18, 2013 Patty Williams, Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change Director, FoodARC, Mount Saint Vincent University

2 Thrive! Food at the Centre…  What?  What do we know about food security in NS communities?  What food issues are coming up for CHBs?  Why?  Why is this happening?  So What?  What are the implications for health?  What is being done about it and what difference is it making?  Now What?  How can CHBs do to support THRIVE!?

3 WHAT do we know about food insecurity in NS? Tarasuk, Mitchell & Dachner, 2013

4 What is the monthly financial impact of purchasing a nutritious diet in NS?* * Family of four on Income Assistance Williams et al. 2012, CJPH, 103(3):183-8

5 What is the monthly financial impact of purchasing a nutritious diet in NS?* *Family of four relying on Minimum Wage $5.80/hr$6.50/hr$7.60/hr$8.10/hr$9.20/hr (2008 NNFB) Newell et al., forthcoming

6 Voices… women living with food security in NS “The most difficult situation I’ve had to face is the realization that I cannot afford to feed my family the foods that I know they need. Not just the foods they need for every day meals, but also special foods for each of their individual developmental stages. At times I have become very depressed and angry with myself for having three children and not being able to properly maintain the type of life they so deserve. I’ve gone through stores with $20 knowing that this is for two weeks... I would have never thought that I would be in such a predicament…” Williams et al. 2012, JHEN, 7:

7 What do we know about challenges for sustainable food systems in NS?  Smaller percentage of total expenditures on food  Increasing farm debt  $203 million in 1983 vs. $795 million in 2010  An aging population of farmers (~7% <35yrs)  13% of food dollars spent go back to NS farms  NS only province in Canada to show  in the number of farms since 2006 (2.9%)  Interest in fresh local and sustainable seafood products but most ground fish exported whole

8 WHY is this happening? Nova Scotia Participatory Food Security Projects Policy Working Group, 2006

9 WHY is this happening?  Cost and affordability of a basic nutritious diet  Experience of food insecurity  Availability of locally produced foods  Indicators of community food security  Understanding the landscape around food-related policy Constraints, enablers and opportunities  Dialogue processes at community, provincial and national levels

10 So what? Implications for health  Adults and adolescents in food insecure households have  lower intakes of milk products, fruits and vegetables  higher risk of inadequate nutrient intakes.  Experiencing hunger has negative, long-term effects on children’s health.  Independent of other social determinants of health, adults with some indication of household food insecurity are more likely to have  poorer physical and mental health  multiple chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease,  hypertension, and depression. Tarasuk, 2012

11 SO WHAT is being done about it? NS Food Security Network Includes organizations working on various aspects of food security throughout the province A growing food movement… FSC National Assembly Nov 2014, NSFPC, local food networks and coalitions, etc. Creating the conditions for food security in NS: Ways to get involved 2011 Onward

12 Voices for Food Security in Nova Scotia…

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14 NOW WHAT can CHB’s do to support community food security?  Support a Healthy Start for Children and Families  Equip People with Skills and Knowledge for Lifelong Health  Create More Opportunities to Eat Well and Be Active  Plan and Build Healthier Communities

15 Support a Healthy Start for Children and Families & Equip People with Skills and Knowledge for Lifelong Health Example: Community-based programs, e.g. Kids Action Program (KAP)  Network of CAPC/CPNP-funded outreach programs for at risk families and children in Annapolis Valley  How do they build food security for families and communities?  Food centred programming (gardening, food box, etc.) that builds skills and knowledge  Relationships and social networks  Research, advocacy & awareness  How can CHBs participate?  Support community-based programs and partnerships That facilitate participation of at-risk populations (childcare, transportation, breastfeeding support, etc) That enable organizations to engage in true community development work  Raise the profile of these services within the community  Engage first voice experience of food access issues in the development of health plans  Partner with community-based programs to develop critical health/food literacy programs Shaw, S. Master’s Thesis (Forthcoming).

16 “They are there to help me in any way they can, whether it be an appointment, food, anything like that, they were always right there and that was something that was above and beyond for me. Like their job – I know they get paid to do these things; they go above and beyond all the time [and] they [referring to Kids Action Program] have resources and ways around things to help you that most people didn’t even know were available...” Shaw, S. Master’s Thesis (Forthcoming). Voices…

17 Engage multiple perspectives and alternative methods for community food security Example: Local Food Network, e.g. Tri County Local Food Network, Cumberland Food Action Network  Helps build and support a sustainable, healthy, local food system that is accessible to all through action, education, advocacy, and relationship building.  How can CHB participate?  Support actions the network identifies they need to move forward  Learn about alternative strategies for food security  Engage diverse perspectives on food related health issues  Participate in policy change by connecting with decision makers and creating positive social environments for alternative food networks

18 Plan and Build Healthier Communities Example: Food Charters  A statement of values and principles to guide a community's food policy.  Community groups and members are working together to develop one for Halifax.  How can CHBs participate?  Support the development of food charters at local levels  Utilise food charters to inspire community health plan priorities in regards to food and provide linkages to other levels of decision making.  Utilise food charters as a tool for education, advocating for policy change and creating networks and partnerships within communities.

19  Think… challenging your own assumptions  Talk… to understand; involve those most affected  Act… If possible pay for food that reflects the true price but recognize that not everyone can.  Advocate for policies that support income adequacy  Support local food economies including fair trade  Get engaged in creating change that is meaningful for you A Call to Action: Think, Talk, Act!

20 Thanks to the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness ( ), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council ( ), Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation ( ), Canadian Institutes for Health Research ( ), Public Health Agency of Canada ( ) and Health Canada ( ) for funding support. Thank You For more information contact: or visit our website:


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