Community Food Security

FoodNet Ontario has adopted the following definition of community food security:

“A situation in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes self-reliance and social justice.”

(Hamm MW and Bellows AC. J.Nutr Educ Behav 2003;35:37-43 )

A secure food system is:

Accessible – available and affordable

Nutritious – safe and healthy

Acceptable – in terms of both culture and taste

Sustainable –the water, land and people who grow and produce food are protected

(adapted from Thought About Food?: A Workbook on Food Security & Influencing Policy,
Nova Scotia Nutrition Council and the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre, 2005)

Three main strategies are used to improve community food security in Ontario:

  1. Emergency and Short Term Strategies (e.g., food banks);
  2. Capacity Building Strategies (e.g., Collective Kitchens, Community Gardens, Good Food Box, farmers’ markets);
  3. System Change Strategies (e.g., policy development, advocacy, social marketing, campaigns).

Other activities that support community food security include:

  • Research
  • Educational programs and materials
  • Economic initiatives to support local food production and distribution
  • Networking
  • Building partnerships and alliances