Did you know? Although most food insecure households are employed, 70% of households reliant on social assistance are food insecure. Source: PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research Being food insecure has profound impacts on physical, mental and social well-being; Food insecurity places a person at greater risk of becoming a high-cost user of the health care system.

The Food Security Action Group is made up of healthy food promoters, soup kitchens, food banks, agriculturalists, church groups, local food promoters, funders and policy makers. Despite the severity of the experience, only 1 in 5 food insecure households access traditional food charities.

The Food Security Action Group supports the model of a Community Food Centre (CFC), or a hub model to better meet community needs.  This model leverages the power of community and creates a sense of belonging that empower all community members to advocate for a better food system.  Community Food Centres or Hubs challenge the line between giver and receiver by giving everyone a place and inviting people with lived experience to be involved in program creation and delivery.

The Food Security Hub Project will bring community organizations, municipal leaders, food producers, and community members to the table for action focused discussions on their communities food security needs. The project a partnership with the United Way of Bruce GreyGrey Bruce Sustainability Network, the Grey Bruce Health Unit and the Poverty Task Force with 5 Food Security Community Conversations and an Annual Fall Food Gathering scheduled in 2019.

The Food Security Action Group also supports a Second Harvest program that promotes the registration of Grey Bruce donors (farmers, producers, restaurants, grocery stores) and recipients (food banks, hot meal programs, community kitchens, etc.) on FoodRescue.ca.

Food is integral to our health and well-being. It is a vital way we express our cultures, nourish our bodies and celebrate together. Food also represents a significant portion of everyone’s budgets and continues to rise. In 2019, Grey Bruce reported its lowest unemployment rate in 19 years of 2.4%[1] but we know that 20% of households are still food insecure[2]. We can’t talk about food security unless we talk about income security. Annual Food Security Conversations and Fall Food Gatherings/Food Bank Summits - organized by the Food Security Action Group since 2016 -contributed to an increase in community understanding of what is food security. Collectively we examine ways to improve local food systems and envisioned changes for our communities. In our work, we recognize that food banks and hot meal programs will not solve peoples’ income and food insecurity problems but we do work to increase community-based food organizations’ capacity to offer healthy and dignified emergency food programs.

At the Fall Food Gathering 2019 we advanced our Second Harvest Grey Bruce program with a new partnership with FoodRescue.ca, a free online platform that connects food donors with non-profit community food organizations. 58% of food produced in Canada is lost or wasted annually. Second Harvest heard from businesses that they’re willing to donate their surplus produce; They just needed a system to make it easy and safe to connect with social service programs in their own communities. OSHaRE in Owen Sound provides hot meals for 100 people/day (M-F) and packed lunches on the weekend. The involvement of FoodRescue.ca means a steady supply of fresh produce from Zehrs to OSHaRE. This opens up opportunities for OSHaRE to offer a fresh food market and a food distribution hub with other emergency food programs in Grey County and Bruce County. FoodRescue.ca positively impacts our environment and ensures good food gets to people who can use it.

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