World Food Day

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Project: Building Community

Recognizing the Power of Good Food on World Food Day

Let’s take today, World Food Day, to reflect on the essential role food plays in our lives and its power to build healthy communities.

Food is a large part of our province’s history and identity. From the traditional hunting and fishing of the Anishinaabe people to the iconic grain elevators that dot our landscape and drive our economy, it’s evident how food shapes our world.

Yet many Manitobans are not getting the good food they need. Some can’t find good food where they live. Some don’t have the means to afford healthy food. And still others have lost the skills needed to prepare food for a balanced diet.

Imagine yourself at your local grocery store to pick up some food for the week. In Winnipeg, this costs the average family $150.  The reality is much different for northern Manitobans.

Good Food in Northern Manitoba

In Fox Lake Cree Nation, the cost to feed a family of four each week is $275. That’s over a hundred dollars more every week than a family in Winnipeg. Fox Lake doesn’t even have a grocery store of its own, so residents have to make the 45 minute drive to Gilliam to pick up most food items.

And prices can be even higher in other northern communities. In Shamattawa the cost skyrockets to $448. That means Shamattawa residents are paying nearly two and a half times as much for food than Winnipeggers.

Northern families are continually forced to make tough choices and are faced with few options. Unfortunately, quantity or quality is a choice that has to be made too often.

Chickens1Some efforts are being made to increase affordable food in the north. Most recently, the province announced their Affordable Food in Remote Manitoba pilot program, in which eight communities will be eligible to receive a subsidy on fresh milk, vegetables and fruit purchases.

Northern families are also looking for ways to grow, prepare and share their own food.

Like the community members in Cross Lake who are planting gardens, beekeeping and raising chickens. This is making a difference for people like Sam McIvor and Lorna Ross. Their family just finished their fourth year raising chickens.

They spent the summer carefully tending to their flock and providing guidance and tips to other families raising birds for the first time.

Chickens2At the end of the season, Sam and Lorna alone had over 250 pounds of meat, which they shared with family, friends, and elders in their community.

This not only puts more good food on the tables of Manitobans, it also builds community, gives people a chance to learn new skills and fosters a sense of independence and self-confidence.

Food Matters Manitoba believes food is a powerful tool. We know food brings people together to build skills, feel pride and live healthy lives.

What can you do?

At Food Matters Manitoba, we believe in good food for everyone. If you think food has the power to build healthy communities, join us by becoming a monthly donor. With your support, more Manitobans can experience the life changing effect of good food. This work wouldn’t be possible without your generous gifts.

 

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