Food insecurity in Kawartha Lakes one of the highest in province

By Lindsay Advocate

A basic income is one of many solutions supported by the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition's Food Security Working Group.

Household food insecurity in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton was more than 14 per cent in 2019, whereas the provincial food insecurity average is about 13 per cent, making this area one of the most food insecure in the province. 

The Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition’s Food Security Working Group has been busy in the past year, with its emphasis on addressing the root causes of poverty and food insecurity through advocacy for income-based solutions. These include a basic income guarantee, a living wage, and safe and affordable housing. It also includes accessible and quality childcare and transportation.

The coalition was developed in 2013 as an action group to foster initiatives within the community that strive to reach the ideals of the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter approved by council in 2011.

The Food and Agriculture Organization declared food security exists “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”, and commented that poverty is a major cause of food insecurity, and elimination of poverty is critical to improving access to food.

Summary of local initiatives:

  • Participated in the provincial pre-budget consultation and provided recommendations for income-based solutions to help address root causes of food insecurity
  • Participated in city zoning bylaw review project and submitted bylaw suggestions that will help support local sustainable food system and increase access to healthy and local food
  • Made a formal submission for Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy providing recommendations related to addressing food insecurity through income-based solutions as well as for more training and job opportunities in agriculture (provided local perspective as this city is an agricultural community)
  • Participated in Food Secure Canada’s advocacy campaign “Growing Resilience and Equity: a food policy action plan in the context of covid-19.”
  • Advocated to enact legislation for a basic income guarantee as an effective long-term response to the problem of persistent poverty and household food insecurity as well as short-term consequences of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Implemented the Summer Outreach Lunch program in collaboration with our partners to provide healthy free lunches to school age children.  This year, 453 lunches were provided to children, 125 lunches were provided to A Place Called Home, and 112 lunches were provided to Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes
  • Held annual meetings with MP Jamie Schmale highlighting KLFC activities and achievements as well as provided relevant research and best practices to address food insecurity. As well as, advocated for a National Universal School Food Program and Bill C – 273 (An Act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income).
  • Advocated for support for Bill C-273 to Federal Government, local city council, and community partners through letters and social media.
  • Updated and revamped the Food Security Action Plan of Poverty Reduction Strategy for City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton in collaboration with Haliburton Harvest, Haliburton Food Net and Ending Poverty Roundtable for CKL and Haliburton.
  • Social media education and promotion during 2021 Federal Election regarding Federal Party platforms on basic income.

For questions related to Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, contact the coalition chair, Heather Kirby at . For questions related to Food Security Working Group, please contact the working group chair, Aisha Malik at .

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