Ottawa Organizations Collaborate on Food Security

March 4, 2016

Ottawa, March 4, 2016 – The University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Good Food Box and the Wabano Centre of Aboriginal Health are on a mission to improve food security in Ottawa.

On Thursday, March 10, from 6 to 9 pm, project partners will share research findings that touch on the topics of food, health, food security, community food programs and the well-being of Ottawa residents, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit groups. Brief remarks will be provided by Mayor Jim Watson and prayer will be provided local First Nations Elder, Albert Dumont to pay tribute to different life forms and the Creator. Other community members and political leaders will also be in attendance to celebrate the occasion. The event is taking place at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, at 299 Montreal Road.

Everyone including media are welcome to attend the event and participate.

The Healthy People, Healthy Communities Project looked into identifying the barriers and facilitators to food security and buying and eating fruits and vegetables for Ottawa residents living in the city’s downtown core. Because of the known benefits to eating enough fruits and vegetables, the project also looked at the potential ways to improve the Ottawa Good Food Box Program in order to minimize certain barriers to program access and subsequent participation for First Nations, Inuit, Metis and other minority groups at-risk of food insecurity and chronic diseases.

Among the results, they found that Ottawa Good Food Box participants are more likely to be food secure than those who do not participate in the program and are likely to eat fruit more often in an average week than people who aren’t involved in the program. However, a closer look at issues around food access, affordability, selection, quality and quantity – the dimensions of food security – are still problematic for Ottawa residents in general; whether or not they take part in local food programs.

These results show a need for deliberate and coordinated action to create more food secure and healthier communities to have a more meaningful impact on issues that prevent food security and optimal health. To enhance opportunities for healthy eating and living, results suggest that social policy and social assistance reform may be better alternatives to help the most vulnerable households at-risk of poverty and food insecurity. Those involved in the Good Food Box Program are committed to making fruit and vegetable access more convenient within the confines of the program for people in Ottawa but changes to social policy and social assistance, as well as action to develop and implement a national food strategy and policy could better address other important issues that determine health outcomes for individuals and families who live below poverty.

If you are interested in more information about the community feast and forum on March 10 or would like to attend, please sign up through Eventbrite or contact Emily Lecompte by email at emily_lecompte@hotmail.com

ABOUT – The Ottawa Good Food Box

The Ottawa Good Food Box is a non-profit community-based initiative bringing neighbours together to buy a variety of delicious and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices. It was developed in 1996 by a group of Community Developers and Community Nutritionists as a way of reaching out to those in the community who were not accessing adequate fresh fruits and vegetables. The organization relies heavily upon community volunteer support to carry out its services.

The Ottawa Good Food Box is supported by the Centretown Community Health Centre.

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS:

Natasha Beaudin
Health Promoter
Ottawa Good Food Box coordinator
Centretown Community Health Centre

Emily Lecompte
Ph.D Candidate in Experimental Health & Social Psychology
University of Ottawa

To schedule an interview, please contact:

Valérie Levert-Gagnon
Communications Officer, Centretown Community Health Centre
613-233-4443, ext. 2496
vgagnon@centretownchc.org