Bob Ewing — Everybody eats. If only that was a true statement. Everybody needs to eat, but far too many are denied access to even the most basic foods. It is necessary to see the opportunity in even the direst realities; because that is the only way positive change can take place.
The opportunity here rests in the fact that food is common ground, in other words, we all have the same need, what differs is the ability to pay or otherwise obtain sufficient food. So how to we revitalize a sagging, perhaps collapsing economic structure and actualize the opportunities presented by this common ground?
Food banks are one response that society has made to address the imbalance in food distribution. Food banks in Canada date back to the early 1980s. They were originally intended as a temporary response to hunger but have become a way of life not a way out.
Laurie Monsebraaten, wrote an article which appeared in thestar.com on Saturday May 12, 20102. The article is about a new project created by Nick Saul who has been involved in the Toronto food bank movement for 14 years.
In the article Saul is quoted as saying:
“Other than checking your humanity at the door and picking it up on the way out — how can (the food bank) experience be fuelling self-worth and hope and a sense that things can change?”
“The idea is to try to change the conversation and to see food as this tool that can build community and health rather than just make people feel smaller.”
This is the dialogue that needs to spread across North America as it sees the need to move beyond the traditional food bank while still providing food for those who need it. The project goes beyond the traditional hand out.
A report, recently released, by the Applied Research Center takes another approach to actualizing the opportunities offered by food as a common ground.
The Center has produced a report which found a stronger collaboration is needed between movements for “good food” and “good jobs” in order to advance racial and economic equity in the food system. In other words, groups working for two goal, good food and good jobs would come together and function as one.
The report found low-income people and people of color are most disproportionately, negatively impacted by: obesity, food security, “food deserts,” wage and hour violations, and lack of benefits. Therefore, it concluded both groups could benefit by working towards a common goal.