Written by Denise Deby.
Given our need for healthy food, it’s surprising that food issues are often not on the agenda.
That’s a problem, especially because many people don’t have healthy and sustainable food:
- Here in Ottawa, eight per cent of people live in households that are food insecure—meaning unable to afford or access a sufficient, healthy diet. For low income residents, it’s worse: a third of households don’t get enough to eat.
- Across Canada, four million Canadians are food insecure. That includes 1.15 million kids. Among Inuit, First Nations and Métis people and in the North, food insecurity is five or six times higher.
- Food prices have been rising faster than incomes. Food bank use has increased by 25 per cent since 2008. Every month, around 850,000 Canadians—including working people, people on fixed incomes and children—need food banks in order to make ends meet.
- More than half of Canada’s farmers are over 55, with 80 per cent planning to retire in the next 10 years.
- Our industrial food system produces abundant food, but at a significant cost to the environment.
That’s why Food Secure Canada and others are calling for food to be an election issue.
Eat, Think, Vote / Je mange donc je vote is a campaign to bring people together to demand a new approach, centred on a national food policy that ensures everyone has safe, affordable, healthy and sustainable food. It calls on the government to uphold the right of everyone to food, support new farmers and sustainable food production, establish a basic income and more.
Here are some ways to get involved:
* Support the Eat, Think, Vote campaign, and sign the petition for a comprehensive, just and sustainable approach to food.
* Participate in Eat, Think, Vote Ottawa on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Eat a meal with local candidates, your neighbours and organizations working on food issues, and share your perspectives. Details and registration here.
* Help raise awareness of food as an election issue. On social media, use #EatThinkVote and #EatThinkVoteOTT.
* Vote on October 19.
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Watch for people handing out lunch bags marked “ChewOnThis!” on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. It’s part of Dignity for All’s campaign to promote awareness about the need for a national plan to deal with hunger and poverty in Canada. Find out more here.