Food banks are often stigmatizing, difficult to access and offer little choice, no wonder only about a quarter of those who meet the objective criteria of food insecurity ever went to a food bank. Struggling Canadians need sufficient income to feed themselves now and in the post-pandemic future, write Elaine Power, Jennifer Black and Halifax’s Jennifer Brady.

PSA: The right to food protects Canadians from food insecurity and hunger. However, this does not obligate the Canadian government to feed citizens. This panel will examine the practicality of harnessing private sector food supply chains to provide affordable and nutritious food as well as assessing policy mechanisms that can protect Canadians against hunger and malnutrition.

Food banks are a wonderful institution, and in these times of austerity-induced suffering they need our full support. That said, food banks are not very efficient in getting food to hungry families. “We found that most food-insecure households delayed bill payments and sought financial help from friends and family, but only 21.1% used food banks,” the authors of a recent study state.

The trailer for Six Primose, a documentary about the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre and the dramatic impact that access to healthy food, a social network and empowering programs have had on individual lives and the community as a whole. See the entire film this Wednesday January 30, it’s free!

In Ontario yearly health care costs for a food secure person are around $1600. The same costs for a person who experiences severe food insecurity are almost $4000. Almost 4% of Nova Scotia’s households experienced severe food insecurity, meaning that people missed meals, reduced food intake and at the most extreme went day(s) without food. You can’t solve our healthcare crisis while you ignore those numbers. Raise the rates and the minimum wage!

We interview food security expert Dr. Valerie Tarasuk, who will be visiting Nova Scotia later this week. She talks about hunger counts that don’t count hunger, food banks that don’t solve food insecurity, and income thresholds that don’t reflect it. Also, why people who are food insecure get sick so much, even if the illness has nothing to do with diet. And finally, what we should do to fix the problem.