FoodARC Projects

Participatory Food Costing Project (PFCP)


The Participatory Food Costing Project has changed its name to Voices for Food Security in Nova Scotia

Voices for Food Security in Nova Scotia (formerly known as the Nova Scotia Participatory Food Costing Project) will continue building on more than a decade of collaborative and community based participatory research to improve knowledge, understanding and action to create the conditions to address food insecurity in Nova Scotia. In this new phase of the project, greater emphasis will be placed on key stakeholder and local-level community engagement in using the research to build capacity, support actions and drive policy change for food security. Please visit the new project page for more details.

Can Nova Scotians afford to eat healthy?
Report on 2012 Participatory Food Costing – released May 9, 2013

On May 9, 2013, the NS Participatory Food Costing Project held a media event. Moderated by Dr. Ardra Cole (Associate Vice-President Academic and Research, Mount Saint Vincent University), Dr. Patty Williams (Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Policy Change and Director of FoodARC) presented key highlights of the report, followed by presentations from Caralee McDaniel (Dartmouth Family Centre), and Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed (Medical Officer of Health for the Capital District Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre) around issues and opportunities relating to food security. Click below to watch the video (1 hour, 9 minutes)

Background Information

Photo - 3 women in a grocery storeEvery day thousands of Canadians struggle to have enough nutritious and safe food to feed themselves and their families. Many Nova Scotians do not have adequate income to meet their basic needs and lack the resources to afford a basic nutritious diet. Our goal is for all Nova Scotians to be food secure.

We began by asking a simple question: “How much does it cost for households living in Nova Scotia to maintain a nutritious diet?” The process used to determine this is called “Food Costing.”

Until 2002, food costing had not been completed in Nova Scotia since 1988, so there was an urgent need to determine the current cost of a basic nutritious diet for various communities and for various family types. We undertook our first participatory food costing study in 2002.

“Our experience in Nova Scotia helped us develop a better understanding of food insecurity as well as what steps can be taken to change policies and create long term solutions”

– Dr. Patty Williams

Following this, food costing studies were conducted in Nova Scotia in 2004/05, 2007/08, 2010, and 2012 with the support of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

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