This month, our REALTalk Series will explore food security and food scarcity in Niagara.
What Conditions Create Food Insecurity?
Neighbourhood circumstances may affect physical access to food. For example, people living in urban areas, rural areas, and low-income neighbourhoods may have limited access to full-service supermarkets or grocery stores. This is particularly true when public transportation is limited or unavailable, or stores have restricted hours due to provincial or regional lockdown requirements.
Besides poverty driving some of the inaccessibility of food in our community, other factors play a fundamental role. Other causes of food insecurity in Canada include; lack of access to farming lands, land grabbing and development, unfair trade rules, a surge in the population, the reallocation of agricultural land for agrofuels, natural disasters and climate change, wastage of food, commodity trading, and market dominance by corporate monopolies and duopolies.
Food security is a growing issue in Niagara. United Way founded the Niagara Food Security Network in 2019 to foster collaboration between all stakeholders to ultimately improve the food security for everyone in Niagara. NEXTNiagara aims to support local initiatives that have an impact. You can help by making a donation to United Way Niagara when you register for the event.
Recommended listening: Hard to Stomach: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/398-hard-to-stomach/episode/15814062-appetite-for-change
Amanda Ali is the Food Security Project Coordinator for United Way Niagara. Amanda has always felt food is a perfect vector for connecting people, learning cultures and promoting health. She channeled this into her schooling and work. With degrees in biology, global health and nutrition, and international project management, Amanda has spent time in India, Kenya and Canada managing emergency response, food security, nutrition, and health projects. She is now focusing her efforts at home to foster health and well-being in Niagara and build a more inclusive food system where everyone has access to affordable, healthy and diverse food.
Jon Braithwaite is the CEO for The Hope Centre in Welland. He has beeen married for 24 years to Miriam and has two wonderful adult children, Eve and Sam.
He has spent his career working in the not for profit sector working for Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way and most recently as Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara Falls. He is passionate about increasing supports for those most vulnerable in our community.
Erin Riseing is the Program Coordinator for the Niagara Community Garden Network (a program of United Way Niagara), a collaborate network of organizations offering space, tools and resources for people in Niagara to grow their own food. For over 20 years, Erin has been an avid gardener and educator for people of all ages to facilitate learning about the natural environment and health. Erin has a B.A. in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology and formerly practiced as a licensed Naturopathic Doctor. She moved away from her practice to work directly with people in community to advocate for making healthy food accessible for all.
Brandon is a Community Health Broker with Public Health, Niagara Region Public Health. Working for public health in Niagara, Agnew is a community health broker, a mix of social and community-development work. It involves helping people struggling with poverty through the pandemic.
Presented by NEXTNiagara and Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association