CHOPPED AND STEWED: Food, Dignity and Nutrition


Photo by Bigstock.


Whether you are growing food or eating it, or organizing to demand change, there is usually a lot more pleasure and power in numbers.


The Neighbourhood Action Food Group thinks so, too. Since January, a group of people have been meeting regularly to share stories and experiences about food and poverty. They concluded that food poverty is built into legislation, especially for people who are dependent on welfare and charities for survival.


According to Dieticians of Canada, it costs around $60 per week to eat healthy and nutritious meals. When considering single welfare recipients in British Columbia receive $610 a month, it’s easy to see that this budget is unrealistic. And relying on charitable food donations, despite a charity’s altruistic intentions, inevitably means that a person on welfare will not be getting the nutrition needed to maintain a healthful life, and this has a negative rippling effect on a person’s capacity to contribute back. If you factor in families with children, the situation becomes dire.


Armed with the words: “Our nutrition. Our dignity. Our right to buy our own food,” a group of about 15 people met last week outside of the welfare office on Commercial Drive and marched to the Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan's office to demand recognition that food poverty is built into legislation, and to demand change.


The collective actions they are calling on the MLA to support include:

• Advocate for higher wages, welfare & disability rates in order to eat and live with dignity.• Lobbying for food equality & education.
• More affordable food stores.
• Stop gentrifying the community with fancy restaurants & condos.

• SRO’S should have proper regulations on Cooking facilities and kitchen.
• Create more community gardens/rooftop gardens within the community.
• More Community Kitchens in SRO’S for people are in isolation. 

• Address dietary supplements and sensitivity. 

• Challenge all food providers to step up to provide good quality foods. 

• Food charities line-up continues to be revolving doors like an assembling line. (Even in poor weather conditions).


Food security, or a lack thereof, is a reflection of society’s health as a whole. It’s always hard to get on the treadmill after a long break (or to demand change after things have gotten out of hand), but the end result, being healthy and fit, is well worth it.


For food security news and updates, follow me on Twitter @Elecia_C.

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