WHAT WE HEARD: A PROVINCIAL DIALOGUE ON FOOD SECURITY IN NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
This is an exciting time for Everybody Eats -- After talking to a lot of people from across the province, we are eager to present this report that outlines what we heard. The release of the What We Heard report marks a shift from engagement to action for Everybody Eats, as the contents of the report will guide our work going forward to advance food security in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Since 2015, Everybody Eats has engaged over 900 people from across Newfoundland & Labrador in 2,200 hours of conversation about the future of food security in the province. Through this engagement, three key themes for future action on food security in the province emerged:
- Increasing Local Food Production | through commercial agriculture and fisheries, as well as through individual or community-based gardening, berry picking, hunting, and fishing.
- Improving Access to Healthy Food | considering both affordability and economic access , as well as availability and physical access to food.
- Advancing Education, Knowledge, and Food Skills | on healthy eating, food security, and food skills through both formal education and public education initiatives.
Over the coming months we will be identifying specific actions areas that we will be focusing our effort on aimed to advance food security in the province, based on these themes.
Everybody Eats is being convened by a newly formed Leadership Team, including (alternates listed in brackets):
- Kathleen Benuen (Emma Ashini) — Mushua Innu Health Commission
- Lynn Blackwood — Labrador-Grenfell Health
- Paul Connors — NL Federation of Agriculture
- Ivan Emke — MUN Grenfell Campus
- Michelle Healey (Heidi Boyd) — Division of Healthy Living, Sport, & Recreation, Department of Children, Seniors, & Social Development, NL Government
- Kristie Jameson (Eleanor Swanson) — Food First NL
- Ruth MacDonald (Jennifer McGrath) — Community Sector Council NL — Vibrant Communities
- Sue Mercer — NL Family Resource Center
- Kimberly Orren — Island Rooms Fishing for Success
- Lynn Vivian-Book (Minnie Wasmeier) — NL Public Health Association
- Brad Walsh (Erin Higdon) — Atlantic Grocery Distributors NL
EVERYBODY EATS: A DISCUSSION PAPER ON FOOD SECURITY IN NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
Everybody eats. A simple statement, but a complex challenge in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Newfoundland & Labrador relies heavily on outside food sources. Numerous communities lack full grocery stores, leaving residents dependent on local convenience stores or transportation to the closest grocery store to buy food. Many households struggle to afford enough healthy food and depend on food banks or family and friends where emergency food programming is absent. Residents living in remote regions of the province also face barriers to accessing healthy wild food.
With so many challenges facing the people of this province, it is not surprising that the province has the lowest rate of consumption of vegetables and fruits in Canada, as well as the highest rates of diabetes and obesity. These factors highlight the current food security challenges faced in Newfoundland & Labrador.
That said, the province has rich food traditions of eating from the land and sea, including gardening, fishing, hunting, and berry picking. These traditional food ways, which are still practiced across the province today, represent a great strength upon which we can build to improve food security in Newfoundland & Labrador.
In recent years, there has been incredible growth in interest and action on food security in the province. With more community organizations, businesses, governments, researchers, and citizens working on this issue, the time is right to have a provincial discussion on food security in Newfoundland & Labrador.
This paper, released in November 2015, aimed to build upon this current momentum to support an informed discussion on and create a common vision for the future of food security in Newfoundland & Labrador.