Toronto and Food Insecurity (Blog 9)

Food insecurity should not even be an issue in Canada, yet 1 in 10 Canadians households experienced food insecurity in 2004 (Kirkpatrick; Tarasuk, 2009, 135).

Food insecurity seems to be a growing and ongoing issue. As wages are decreasing and jobs are becoming harder to find, food prices are highly increasing. I went grocery shopping today and I browsed around prices. The food prices in Toronto are exceedingly high. Bloor Street Market is prone to good sales and deal, but Rabba? I don’t think ‘sale’ is part of their vocabulary. Being open 24/7, Rabba is a reliable food source for many Vic students. If you missed dinner or you’re in need of a late night snack, Rabba is ‘where it’s at.’ In contrast to the student residences, there are many residential apartments nearby. Yorkville is just around the corner, and there are small housing areas between Young and Bay. My point is, that there is a mix of economic incomes. The majority of people who reside in Yorkville can afford these prices, but there are many who cannot afford these prices. But what if these people do not have the ability to get to discounted supermarkets? Is it fair that they have to pay these prices?

“Among the resource augmentation strategies examined, delaying payment bills in response to threats of food shortages was most commonly used” (Kirkpatrick; Tarasuk, 2009, 137).  In a developed, economically stable country, no one should be struggling to manage money and shelter. If a larger, low-income family lives in an area without access to discounted food stores, how are they to feed their children? What if one of the family members needed intensive medical care or medicine? The family, probably lacking insurance benefits, would have to rely on food banks and shelters. Associations between food insecure houses and distance to discount supermarkets varied from 1-2 km (Kirkpatrick; Tarasuk, 2010, 1141). Depending on the form of transportation they have, 1 to 2 kilometers can be quite challenging. It takes about one kilometer to get from Innis to Victoria College. Now imagine carrying groceries for your entire family. Not so pleasant, eh?

I understand that the guest did not support food banks, but I think that food banks are still a reasonable source of food attainment. When your family has absolutely nothing on their plate, even a slice of processed cheese is better than a starving child. Luckily, I have never been in this situation, but I believe that I would attend a food bank if I had too.

This year, our residences had the opportunities to donate 30 meals per person (with the individual’s permission) to a food drive. Small actions like these can help with hunger.  As a community, we should be informed of issues like this.

Kirkpatrick, S and Tarasuk, V. 2009. Food insecurity and participation in community food programs among low-income

Toronto families. Canadian Journal of Public Health, March.April, 135-139.

Kirkpatrick, S and Tarasuk,V. 2010. Assessing the relevance of neighbourhood characteristics to the household food

security of low-income Toronto families. Public Health Nutrition, 13 (7), 1139-1148.

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