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Food security, part 1: local projects

Community food security exists when all citizens obtain a safe, personally acceptable, nutritious diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices, community self-reliance and equal access for everyone.

(Adapted from Bellows and Hamm 2003 by Community Nutritionists Council of British Columbia. From Healthy Eating - It Starts with Food Security (PDF) by Melanie Kurrein, RD.)

Image credit: Borough Markets by Ben-Harris Roxas

I confess: Because I usually focus on issues within the acute care hospital's walls & best nutrition practice for medical conditions, I don't think as much as I should or would like to about food issues within the larger community. For quite a while the little voice within has been prodding me, saying things like, "Yes, patient care plus keeping up with the literature on tube feeding & dysphagia plus learning new clinical pathways & documentation standards are taking up the lion's portion of your day, BUT food security is relevant, important and urgent, and needs your attention, too. Make time for it!"  That's why I'd been looking forward to this recent education day with sessions on food security. So much so I interrupted my vacation last week to attend.  It was worth missing a day in the garden -- yes, that valuable.

The expert speakers* on food security alternately inspired, informed, challenged, and, with their references to climate change & agricultural land depletion, alarmed & angered me. Thanks to their efforts, I now have a collection of resources.  And just as important the motivation (perhaps a growing passion) to think more broadly & deeply about food security and contribute to solutions.

This post would go on for pages and pages if I transcribed every good thing I heard that morning, so I'll be selective and just share some highlights. One of the presenters described Vancouver Coastal Health's food security projects, which support this vision:

Residents enjoy maximum nutritional health and live in communities where the healthy food choice is the easy choice.

"YES!" I thought. A vision statement I can believe in & wholeheartedly support. Where do I sign up?

This past week, I've been visiting the food security projects' web sites. Rather than wait until I've "digested" all the information, which is going to take some time, I thought I'd share the links now. This is only a partial listing of the many inspiring, creative & worthwhile projects & programs:

For related resources, including client counseling guidelines, please see my previous post.


*Speakers & Their Presentations:

Healthy Food - It Starts with Food Security
- Melanie Kurrein, RD, City Wide Nutritionist, VCH
- Margaret Broughton, RD, Community Nutritionist, VCH
- Kim Sutherland, Regional Agrologist, BC Ministry of Agriculture & Lands

Connecting Food and Community
- Andre LaRiviere, Executive Director, Green Table Network
- Elana Cossever, Population Health Project Manager, Healthy Communities &  Food Security, Population Health, VCH

- Diane Collis, Fresh Choice Kitchens, The Community Kitchen Program, Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society

What DC is doing to Support Food Security for All
- Janice MacDonald, RD, Regional Executive Director, DC, BC Region

Reader Comments (2)

Good job going to the conference when you were on holiday. It sounds like it was worth it. It's so true about healthy needing to be the option if people are going to change their habits. Mostly it's hard work to make good food, but it certainly tastes better.

May 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterArwen from Hoglet K

Hi Arwen. Always lovely to hear your thoughts. Yes, it is hard work but so worth it. Everyday since the beginning of May I've been harvesting greens for a fresh lunch-time salad. I don't think I ever want to buy lettuce again!

May 25, 2009 | Registered CommenterElaine

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