Canada is a country that boasts natural beauty, friendly communities, and celebrations of multiculturalism and diversity. Yet, the 2011-2012 survey by Statistics Canada (1) raised attention to food security issues on a national scale; 8.3%, or 1 in 12 Canadian households experience food insecurity.
Hunger may be the first thing that comes to mind when food insecurity is named, but the root causes and rippling impacts go far beyond simply “the lack of food”. Researchers found (1) that food insecure individuals are also compromised in physical and mental health, reduced in their ability to perform to full potential at school and work, and possessed greater risks for perceived lack of social support, depression and chronic stress. With 1 in 20 children also experiencing food insecurity (1), this issue is relevant for both current and future generations of Canadians.
As a relatively new identified issue, food security is achieved (2) through knowledge, research, community connections, as well as action and advocacy for environmental sustainability, local food movements, and policy change. From grass-roots movements in the community to policy change at the government level, the path to food security is challenging, multidisciplinary, and lengthy; however, reaching this goal will bring incalculable positive impact for all.
Richmond Food Security Society (RFSS) believes in growing a robust local food system through advocacy, education, and initiatives at fighting hunger and increasing local food production. The Get Rooted Youth Leadership Program is designed to provide Richmond youth (16-25 years old) with just that: educational workshops, volunteer initiatives, and action projects that advocate for food security in Richmond.
In 2015, Get Rooted Youth Leaders attended six expert-led workshops, accumulated 158 program volunteer hours, and hosted a successful symposium at Kwantlen University to engage the Richmond community in food security advocacy. Based on these successful outcomes and positive participant feedback, RFSS is excited to host Get Rooted again in the summer of 2016. We aim to increase youth recruitment up to 30 and expand program impact through more volunteering and action projects.
Recruitment for the 2016 Get Rooted Youth Leadership Program is happening now!! For more information, go to our program page.
“Young people are a huge untapped resource for organizations and communities…They can offer organizations fresh perspectives on issues, innovative problem solving…and the courage to pose tough questions that need to be asked…Youth engagement ensures that…their voices help shape the future…youth are no longer seen as recipients of services but as citizens that are actively engaged and involved in the issues and processes that affect them…it is about adults and youth working together as equal partners to make decisions and create change. ” – Ministry of Children and Family Development, 2013
Food security (3) exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
- Statistics Canada. Health at a glance: food insecurity in Canada [Internet]. Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2012 [updated 2015 Nov 27; cited 2016 Apr 13]. Available from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2015001/article/14138-eng.htm
- Food Secure Canada. What is food sovereignty [Internet]. Montreal: Food Secure Canada. Available from: http://foodsecurecanada.org/who-we-are/what-food-sovereignty
- Food and Agriculture Organization (United Nations). Food security: concepts and measurement. Rome: Economic and social development; 2002.