The need is complex, including the environmental and ecological sustainability of food systems, the social and health implications of escalating food costs, and growing chronic disease, poverty and inadequate food access among low-income groups and other vulnerable populations, particularly recent immigrants, Aboriginal peoples, women, lone seniors, lone parents and their children.
While food insecurity is still not very visible in communities, the recent global economic instability, an increased consumer interest in farmers markets and local seasonal foods, and growing evidence of obesity and diet-related health issues have spawned public and government interest in food with an increasing emphasis on food policy.
People in communities everywhere need to become more connected with food and decisions concerning their access to healthy, sustainably produced food.
Our food systems need to change. Everyone has the right to live in a sustainable, vibrant and nourished community. Food is a vital source of well-being for everyone.
Nova Scotia consistently has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the country, making it a serious public health concern. Many people in our communities are not able to get the quality and variety of healthy foods that they need or worry about not having enough to eat.
Food security means different things to different people. For some, it means being able to get food that is healthy and nutritious and being able to enjoy it with friends, family and community. For others, it means not having to worry about having enough food or enough money to buy food. Food security also includes being able to make a living by growing and producing food in ways that protect and support both the land and the food producers, and that ensure that there will be healthy food for our children’s children.
This is a global issue, as many of us do not know where our food comes from, what is in our food, how safe it is to eat, and whether the ways we are producing food will ensure healthy food for future generations. In other words, food security means that an individual or a community has access to nutritious, safe, personally acceptable and culturally appropriate foods that are produced, procured and distributed in ways that are environmentally sound, socially just and sustainable.