Food: Too Good to Waste Speaker Event Thursday September 27, 7pm

Peterborough Public Health Releases Report

As discussed at the June 2018 Peterborough Food Action Network Meeting, the two reports noted below include a chapter on the topic of Healthy Food Systems.
July 25, 2018

To Support the City and County Official Plan Review Process

Today, Peterborough Public Health launches two reports developed to support the City and the County of Peterborough with their Official Plan review processes.  Each report has been designed to give the municipalities’ public health recommendations, which were developed based on emerging research and local data analysis.  “I am extremely pleased to present both the City and the County of Peterborough with a comprehensive report for their Official Plan reviews” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “These reports signify Peterborough Public Health’s commitment to provide the City and the County of Peterborough with evidence, local data, and policy examples to assist with their Official Plan review” adds Dr. Salvaterra.

Starting on January 1, 2018, Peterborough Public Health began operating under the new Ontario Public Health Standards, which includes requirements for local Boards of Health to support municipalities with their Official Plan reviews.  Locally, the City and County of Peterborough are both in the process of developing new Official Plans which will give direction for local land use decisions from now until 2041.  Janet Dawson, Health Promoter at Peterborough Public Health and lead author of the two documents states “there is growing evidence demonstrating that the way our communities are planned, designed, and built can support healthier lifestyles and behaviours; thereby reducing the amount of chronic diseases and conditions.  Many policy levers to do this are at the control of municipalities in areas such as planning, transportation, parks and recreation, and housing”.  Peterborough Public Health identifies the Official Plan review as an opportunity to consider how residents of all ages and abilities can thrive, be healthy, and resilient in this community.  “We are excited to release these reports to our local municipalities and hope that the information will educate, raise awareness, and encourage the implementation of the key policies that will help make the City and County of Peterborough a healthy community for all current and future residents” adds Dawson.

Links to both reports are available on the Plans & Reports section of the PPH website:

Health in Official Plans: A Toolkit. 2018 Submission to the City of Peterborough Official Plan Review.

Health in Official Plans: A Toolkit. 2018 Submission to the County of Peterborough Official Plan Review.

Nourish Speakers Series – June 28, 2018

Hungry Ontarians:  Charity, the Right to Food & Public Policy

Nourish, along with Peterborough Food Action Network members, will be welcoming Graham Riches to Peterborough on Thursday, June 28 from 1:30-3:000 pm at Peterborough Public Health (2nd Floor).

Graham Riches is an Emeritus Professor and former Director of the School of Social Work at UBC. His research and publications lie primarily in the field of poverty studies, human rights and social policy with a focus on the politics of hunger, food charity (food banking), and social welfare. He speaks internationally about domestic hunger, social policy and the Right to Food. His most recent publication is Food Bank Nations. Poverty, Corporate Charity and the Right to Food.

All are welcome to attend this free event.  Register at:

For more information call 705-743-3526 ext. 102.


We’re Voting for Food on June 7th

With the provincial election just days away, a reminder to everyone to considering voting for food!

We’re Voting for Food_Final

Also, please visit the Ontario Dietitians in Public Health website to learn more about their campaign entitled No Money for Food is…Cent$less. E-letters can be sent directly from this site to provincial party leaders about the rates of food insecurity in Ontario, the need for commitment to the Ontario Basic Income Pilot and to ensure that recommendations in the Income Security: A Roadmap for Change report are implemented.  Visit

Moms Feeding Families on Low Incomes in Peterborough

International Women’s Day is the perfect time to dig into a brand-new report on something that preoccupies many women: ensuring people around them can eat sufficient, healthy, appealing food. The report is based on local research that considers how mothers living on low incomes in Peterborough feed their families AND the kinds of support provided by local, mostly women-organized community food programs (like Peterborough community gardens, A Taste of Nourish, Nourish Havelock, Peterborough Gleans, JustFood, Come Cook With Us, and Collective Kitchens). The study found feeding families to be complex work strongly tied to women’s sense of identity and worth. Specifically, the mothers experience pressure to be:

  • “good” at mothering by taking primary responsibility for children’s well-being through food,
  • “good” at consumerism by participating in society through purchase, choice, and thriftiness, and
  • “good” at food program (both CFI and food bank) participation by showing gratitude and not seeming to rely too much on these programs.

Both the mothers and the community programs showed that food work is still feminized, under-resourced, and undervalued.  For everyone to eat adequately, food programming must be complemented by government action that addresses food insecurity and poverty. If you are interested in how moms and food programs are supporting eaters OR what democracy has to do with it all, then check out Moms Feeding Families on Low Incomes in Peterborough and the Support of Community-Based Food Initiatives

Moms Feeding Families community report.Apr.29

Thanks to PFAN Member, Mary Anne Martin for sharing her research!

City of Peterborough Official Plan Survey – Growth Management

The City of Peterborough has launched its latest survey on the Official Plan and want input from community members.  This is an excellent opportunity to help shape how the City will grow by 2041.  This survey is specific to Growth Management but food security and access to healthy and local food can be included in responses.

When filling out your response, please think about what we know about:

  • food insecurity and poverty in in our community,
  • the need for access in all neighbourhoods to healthy and local foods,
  • the importance of bringing people together around food (i.e., growing, cooking, eating, advocating for healthy and affordable food),
  • the need for affordable housing and considering this in future design of Peterborough,
  • the need to protect land for food production, and,
  • opportunities on public land/space for food (I.e., urban agriculture, growing food, community gardens, gleaning of fruit and nut trees in public spaces).

This survey will be open until January 18, 2018 – please add your voice and comments!  Click here to complete the survey

Dec2017_GrowthManagementSurveyPoster (2) (3)

Learn more about the City of Peterborough’s Official Plan and sign up for updates here.

As well, here is the link to the report on the last Official Plan survey that focused on the Vision and Guiding Principles.  It’s great to see that community food security was rated as one of the top 10 strategies.  The summary of comments from people who responded notes that key to Local Food Security is “support local food/urban agriculture while ensuring reliable and convenient access to healthy foods” and specifically:

  • Participants indicated that there is role in local food for job creation, health, community building, food security, and poverty reduction
  • Some participants considered food security as a regional goal and suggested improving access to local food.

Healthy Eating Not an Option in Peterborough for Residents on Low Incomes

Peterborough Public Health Releases 2017 Report: Limited Incomes:  A Recipe for Food Insecurity

October 13, 2017

Peterborough Public Health has released its annual Limited Incomes: A Recipe for Food Insecurity report.  This year’s report shows Peterborough’s most vulnerable residents continue to suffer from an inability to eat nutritiously due to the cost and affordability of healthy eating and housing.

“It is distressing to see the health of thousands of local residents compromised because social assistance programs and minimum wage don’t provide enough income to afford nutritious foods,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “It’s well known that when people are able to afford a healthy diet it not only improves their overall quality of life and their children’s lives, but also reduces further strain on the health system.  With 16.5% of our local households experiencing food insecurity, this is a public health crisis that requires the urgent attention and cooperation of all levels of government.”

While the report notes local food prices have increased by 14% over the past five years, the main issue for residents is not the cost of food, but that their incomes are too low.  For example, after paying for his shelter costs, a single man receiving Ontario Works benefits would experience a monthly deficit of $198 if he spent the $301 each month required for a nutritious diet not including other basic necessities such as clothing, transportation and medical costs.

To mark World Food Day, the Nourish Project in partnership with Basic Income Peterborough Network and the Peterborough Food Action Network, will be hosting a community talk entitled Basic Income and the Right to Healthy Food on Monday, October 16, 2017 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Peterborough Public Health featuring Josephine Grey, a human rights activist and founder of Low Income Families Together.  Copies of the Limited Incomes report will be available for the public.

The root cause of food insecurity and poverty is a lack of sufficient income.  “Programs such as food banks, community meal programs and emergency food access programs provide short-term relief to those who are in need,” stated Dr. Salvaterra.  “These short-term strategies are not enough and instead, we need to consider broader and longer-term strategies that addresses poverty such as Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot.”

Peterborough Public Health Asks Residents to Help Shape Canada’s National Food Policy

August 17, 2017 – National Solutions Needed as Studies Show Food Insecurity Persists Despite Extensive Local Efforts to Reduce Poverty

Peterborough Public Health wants residents to help shape Canada’s national food policy to ensure every Canadian has access to nutritious and safe food to be healthy.

“Our community has dedicated a great deal of energy and resources to ending local food insecurity, and yet evidence shows that local efforts are not enough,” said Carolyn Doris, RD, Public Health Nutritionist. “We need action at the national level to address the complex issues of the food system that perpetuate poverty and food insecurity and prevent people from being able to access healthy food.”

Ms. Doris noted there are two ways residents can voice their input into Canada’s national food policy.  Everyone is encouraged to join Maryam Monsef Member of Parliament, Peterborough-Kawartha for a Community Conversation for A Food Policy for Canada from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 15, 2017, at the Douro Community Centre.  Find out more information about the event here. For those more comfortable sharing their ideas online, the Government of Canada has set up a website entitled “A Food Policy for Canada” available at

Currently, Peterborough has a higher rate of food insecurity than seen in most other parts of Ontario and Canada.  Cancer Care Ontario reports that those living in the local health unit area experience the highest level (16.3%) in Ontario while PROOF, the national food insecurity research group, reports that the Peterborough census metropolitan area (CMA) has the highest level (17.6%) of 27 major CMAs in Canada.  These numbers are tied in part to the unaffordability of housing.  In Peterborough, 49% of renters face unaffordable housing, according to the Affordable Housing Action Committee.

A newly-released academic book, Nourishing Communities: From Fractured Food Systems to Transformative Pathways, reflects on almost a decade of collaborations around community food systems across and beyond Canada.   The chapter, “Connecting Food Access and Housing Security: Lessons from Peterborough, Ontario,” by researchers Patricia Ballamingie, Peter Andrée, Mary Anne Martin, and Julie Pilson reiterates that the primary root of both food insecurity and housing insecurity remains inadequate income.  The authors considered food access and housing security in Peterborough by exploring  government policy at multiple levels, the work of local community-based initiatives, and existing research on initiatives across North America that simultaneously focus on housing insecurity and food insecurity.  Because food insecurity and housing insecurity are closely tied through household income, the layout of cities, and the way human needs are valued in cities, the authors argued that the two issues need to be addressed together.

The authors concluded that “community-based innovation in relation to food and housing must be accompanied by stronger action by provincial and federal governments to be commensurate with the scale of the problems—something that the case study of Peterborough really brings to the fore.”

This finding concurs with Peterborough Public Health’s annual Limited Incomes report.  It perennially demonstrates that social assistance and minimum wage rates challenge people to afford both housing and healthy food.

“When faced with this choice, people must choose housing – the less flexible of the two – leaving them to cut corners on healthy diets,” explained Ms. Doris. “Community food access, emergency housing access, food skills programs, and housing supports are important, but there is no replacement for a better income.”

More information about the book can be found at:

9 in 10 Canadians see no progress being made on food insecurity, poll finds

(From Community Food Centres Canada)

Individuals looking to government to take concrete action

TORONTO, June 19, 2017 /CNW/ – As policymakers, experts, and stakeholders prepare to make their way to Ottawa this week for the A Food Policy for Canada Summit, many Canadians have food insecurity on their minds, according to a recent Ipsos poll on food insecurity, health, and poverty in Canada commissioned by Community Food Centres Canada, a national nonprofit that increases access to healthy food in low-income communities and promotes food skills and civic engagement.

According to the poll, 91 per cent of Canadians think food insecurity is a persistent problem in our country, a problem that 41 per cent believe has worsened in the last decade. And Canadians want to see solutions: 74 per cent believe that government has a responsibility to take action to ensure everyone has access to healthy, affordable food.

“Canadians are telling us loud and clear that we need to do better,” said Nick Saul, President and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. “We know that the best way to reduce food insecurity is to increase people’s incomes. We currently have National Food Policy and National Poverty Reduction Strategy processes unfolding in parallel at the federal level, and we need to make sure that they both speak to this issue – and to each other.”

According to the PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research project, four million Canadians are food insecure. Food insecurity negatively affects physical and mental health, and costs our health-care system significantly. Lack of household income is the most important predictor of food insecurity.

Increasing access to affordable food is one of the four focus areas of the National Food Policy. The others are improving health and food safety, growing more high-quality food, and conserving our soil, water, and air. The public consultation phase of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is being led by Employment and Social Development Canada, is wrapping up at the end of June. The timing for the development of a strategy and implementation plan has not yet been announced.

“We need to ensure that reducing food insecurity and improving the lives of vulnerable Canadians stays at the forefront of both of these important conversations,” says Saul. “At the same time, with so many ministries involved in the National Food Policy, there is an important opportunity to surface new solutions that can break down silos and address the complex issues affecting different parts of our food system – solutions that could include community responses to food insecurity, a national school lunch program, and support for small farmers.”

The Ipsos poll also asked Canadians about areas where this type of multi-sectoral approach could be useful — for example, addressing Canadians’ declining levels of food literacy and finding innovative approaches to promoting healthier diets and reducing chronic disease. It showed that Canadians are interested in new approaches, including solutions that would put more affordable fruits and vegetables on the plates of low-income individuals. 91% of Canadians said they would support a government subsidy program that would provide fruit and vegetable vouchers to people living on low incomes as a way to address diet-related illness.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between March 29 and April 3, 2017, on behalf of Community Food Centres Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online via Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval.  The poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would be had all Canadians been polled.

Community Food Centres Canada builds and supports vibrant, food-focused organizations that bring people together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food for all. Find out more at

To view the poll results, click here.

Ontario Food Security Strategy- Have Your Voice Heard

On April 19, 2017, the Ontario government, through the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office, announced that they would be seeking input on the development and shaping of a Food Security Strategy.  The province is supporting access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food for everyone in Ontario.   The long-term vision of the province is be a province where every person is food secure, to support them in leading healthy and active lives”.

A Discussion Paper:  Building Ontario’s First Food Security Strategy has been released and provides more information.  The Strategy proposes 4 broad focus areas that include:

  1. Empowered communities with custom-made solutions.  Food security challenges and solutions differ across the province. Communities need tools to help mobilize solutions and supports to individuals and communities based on their needs.
  2. Integrated food initiatives that use knowledge to drive collective impact.  We recognize the need for a shared vision, clear goals, common metrics and a set of connected, mutually reinforcing activities based on the best available knowledge. We can increase food security in our province by working together towards a shared vision.
  3. Food Security is about more than food.  Income, the cost of food and other basic necessities matter. There are lots of ways to increase economic access and reduce the frequency of trading off one basic need against others at the household level.
  4. Driving innovation.  To tackle significant challenges and issues we need new ways to get to solutions. We will support, encourage and learn from creative, innovative disruptors who will help us find them.

Nourish and the Peterborough Food Action Network hosted an event, Hunger Bites: Putting Eating on the Agenda on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 to bring local voices together to inform a response on the proposed Strategy.  Thanks to everyone who attended.

Please take the opportunity to provide your thoughts before the consultation ends on May 31, 2017.  Nourish has pulled information together and made emailing a response to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office easy by visiting  Please take the opportunity to have your voice heard on this important opportunity.