What is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity exists within a household when one or more members do not have access to the variety or quantity of food that they need due to lack of money and/or resources.
The World Health Organization explains that food security is built on three pillars:
Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.*
Food insecurity exists whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain.* The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has produced General Comment 12 which declares that: “the right to food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, have physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or mean for its procurement.”*
There is a growing gap between the rich and poor in Alberta, creating greater income inequality* Poverty is a complex issue however we know things like a lack of affordable housing, contribute to people not having enough money to live and to obtain basic needs like food; even those working full time. Food for Friends is here to assist those individuals with nominal amounts of cash on food cards, to help those exhibiting a need for food support.
Will Food for Friends be the solution for food security?
Food for Friends recognizes that emergency food assistance is not enough. Our contribution is to help alleviate hunger in communities and provide individuals and families with nutrient dense foods. All food security programs, whether it is our program, a food bank, collaborative kitchens or other programs will not solve the issue of food security. While the hope that Food for Friends will empower and educate people on better food choices, leading to healthier lifestyles, we are still a reaction to the fact that there are people in our communities who need food. The bigger picture is income inequality and what municipal, provincial and federal orders of government are going to do to address this growing concern. Food for Friends will advocate for poverty reduction strategies and stay current with recommendations from different community organizations and the government for increasing access to food.
Why people need this service?
- 1 in 8 Canadian households struggle to put food on the table
- 67,443 Albertans visited food banks in March 2015
- 5,070 Low income households in Red Deer
Not for profit societies have been serving the low income segment in Red Deer for many years. While their work is valued, Food for Friends can augment with it and provide specific solutions to address food equity and food security. The province of Alberta alone saw a 23.4% increase in the use of food banks from March 2014-2015.* Food for Friends seeks to provide a progressive way for people to obtain food security. We empower individuals by allowing them to choose their own foods at a local grocery store like everyone else, which also helps them to maintain their dignity.
Food for Friends was conceived in Red Deer from a passion to improve lives through poverty reduction strategies and healthy eating. There is unfortunately a need for food redistribution and a lack of awareness about the access to food for over 5000 low income and even some middle income households in Red Deer. Our society has created a two tier system for those needing food; where poor people go to the food bank and rich people go to the grocery store. We need to move towards integration and have one door instead of two doors. Our community needs to move to a more sustainable and efficient way of helping people access food, which is achieved through Food for Friends.
- *Food Insecurity and Hunger in the United States: An Assessment of the Measure, 2006, Chapter http://www.nap.edu/read/11578/chapter/5#42
- *Canada Without Food, The Right to Food, http://www.cwp-csp.ca/poverty/a-human-rights-violation/the-right-to-food/