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 aims to build upon this current momentum to support an informed discussion on, and to create a common vision for, the future of food security in Newfoundland & Labrador. If our province is to be food secure, we must better understand how we can individually and collectively contribute to shaping and sustaining a healthy and sustainable food system.
Since launching the Everybody Eats Discussion Paper in December of 2015, Food First NL has been hard at work hosting meetings, regional forums, and kitchen table talks, as well as maintaining an online forum, to collect input and feedback from across the province.
In January of this year, 2017, the online forum was closed, so that all data and input collected over the last year could be analyzed and synthesized. Food First NL has contracted a masters student to complete the analysis, which is expected to be complete by Mid-March.
After the analysis, Food First NL will be drafting a synthesis "What We Heard" document, summarizing findings collected through Everybody Eats, to share with partners, participants, and the general public.
Food First NL will also embark on the development of a Collective Impact model for advancing food security in NL.