Food Security in Northern Ontario
Food insecurity remains as one of the biggest issues facing northern communities. It is defined as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food”. It is basically determined by access to a healthy and balanced diet. There are several causes of food insecurity, but the largest drivers are the high cost of nutritious food, short growing season and limited local selection. In Canada, First Nations people are more likely to experience food insecurity and in some communities in Ontario, food insecurity rates average around 28% but are as high as 70%.
Of the 38 remote communities in Ontario, 25 are First Nation, representing over 14,000 people. The people living in these communities rely on imports of food to sustain them, especially in the winter months. Locally grown food is a sustainable option that will not only reduce costs for residents, but also result in healthier diet choices. Due to their remote location, and the high cost of nutritious food, many remote communities in northern Canada suffer from extremely high rates of food insecurity, and subsequently medical conditions from poor diets. As a company we strive to partner with communities to with a 8 step process to facilitate progression to food security.