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Originally thought to be a temporary solution to poverty, food banks now feed around 27,000 people each week in Vancouver. But food prices are increasing around the world and here at home, the province ranks number two for highest child poverty rates in the country. This does not bode well for people who need help acquiring food.
While the generosity is always appreciated, the food from food banks and charitable food sources often lack nutritional value—meals are made of heavily processed ingredients and lack the basic food groups. We can assume that there are a lot of people, children included, who do not have access to truly nutritious and wholesome food.
Planted is a young not-for-profit food network, founded “as a means to promote efforts that are reforming the quality, abundance, nutritional impact, and delivery of food to vulnerable communities in Vancouver.”
This means that in addition to helping groups fundraise for food related projects, Planted helps connect organizations, linking up groups that might be able to create a mutually beneficial relationship in providing food, real food, to the people who need it most. For example, linking community gardens that grow an abundance of food with kitchens that make free community meals while at the same time teach cooking skills.
The project is just getting off the ground and the hope is to entice a variety of different groups to pool and share resources so that people who rely on food charity will eventually be able to have more choices and more entry points on the road to becoming food secure.
We all know what it can be like when we miss a meal, how it affects our mood, concentration level and ability to cope with stress. Wholesome health starts in the belly and ensuring that everyone, no matter their lot in life, gets the nutrition needed should be a priority for a city as rich in so many ways as ours.
Elecia Chrunik writes a food security blog for Megaphone. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.