What is Food Security?
Very few people have been educated on the subject of Food Security, myself included, so I've decided to do some research and relay my findings to you. Before I get into that I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is James Brandon, Gerry's son, and I'll be running the Social Media, Bookkeeping, Web Dev, IT/Networking , and whatever the heck else my Dad needs while L'Autochtone gets up and running. Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk Food Security.
Food Security, in layman's terms (a.k.a. my own terms,) refers to a community's access to sustainable and nutritious foods. I'm sure already you have in mind a community with poor Food Security, maybe an image of a developing nation, or a First Nations community in Canada, and certainly there are communities all over the world with dreadfully poor food security but have you thought hard about where you get your own food? If you're like me the majority of your food comes from a name-brand supermarket and is imported from far away. I would challenge you, the next time you go shopping, to figure out what percentage of the food you buy is produced in your Province, let alone your community. Then consider the resources necessary to get that food to you.
For example, let's take a box of cookies. Even in a proud Canadian brand, wheat comes from the prairies, sugar from the Caribbean, oats from the Midwest states, maltodextrin from...uh, I dont even know what maltodextrin is... and that's the point. It's not sustainable, not nutritious (even for a cookie,) and not helping to grow your community. It's not food secure. Now let's look at a carrot, a nice healthy carrot grown in California. The cost of that carrot is kept down because the company that produces it uses GMO varieties, and sprays it with chemicals to keep insects off. So the nutrition is questionable as it is, but the astronomical cost in fossil fuels getting those carrots distributed all the way to Northern Ontario is hard to calculate (It ain't good.) Now, finally, look at a carrot grown on a farm 20 miles from where you live. You can meet the farmer at your farmer's market, shake the hand that plucked the carrot from the ground, and know that the purchase of that carrot is sustainable, nutritious and food secure.
And now you may be thinking "Well I can't get everything I need that way" and perhaps you're right, but it takes some effort to make your community food secure. Everything you need for a healthy diet is grown or produced within 100 miles of where you live (you may have heard of the 100-mile diet?) and you just need to change a few habits to accomplish it. Shop at farmer's markets, find a local butcher and ask them where they get their meats from, challenge your local authorities and restaurants to fight for your food security.
At L'Autochtone we're going to do our very best to not only make our own cuisine food secure but also to educate and assist people in making their own households food secure. Food Security Education is going to be a core value for us and we have some big ideas in the chamber so stay tuned here and follow us over on Facebook and Instagram to see how things are progressing!