Saanich backs initiative to reduce need for food banks

Saanich council has thrown its support behind an initiative that aims to completely end the need for food banks.

Saanich council has thrown its support behind an initiative that aims to completely end the need for food banks.

The goal of the proposed National Food Strategy is to work with the other levels of government to better plan and co-ordinate food security, as opposed to providing continual food charity, in hopes that would eliminate demand for food banks.

“It’s about making the best use of our resources. We’ve got farmers that are in the business of growing food, we’ve got lots of food in this country,” said Coun. Dean Murdock, former chair of the Healthy Saanich advisory committee. “It’s about putting it to best use and finding mechanisms at the disposal of government to make sure that healthy food gets in the hands of people who need it and can’t afford it.”

The National Food Strategy is a proposal from Faith in Action, a Victoria-based organization that focuses on addressing root causes of poverty in B.C. FIA says the existing strategy to feed the hungry isn’t the best way to end hunger.

“Churches in particular have responded to this need by donating to a food bank, but the longer we do it, the more we realize it’s letting the government off the hook,” said Peggy Wilmot with FIA.

Food Banks Canada numbers show that 882,000 people accessed food banks across the country last year, an all-time high. More troubling, 11 per cent of those people used the service for the first time.

The three food banks in the municipality of Victoria – the Mustard Seed and smaller services at St. John the Divine and Saint Vincent de Paul – restrict their users to one visit each month to keep the system afloat.

“It isn’t just about people not having food, it’s about poverty and the high cost of housing, and living wage and having enough means to access healthy foods,” said Linda Geggie of the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable.

Wilmot agreed that the guaranteed annual income needs to rise to reduce the reliance of the “working poor” on food banks.

“If people had adequate housing that didn’t cost them 100 per cent of their income, then they’d have money left over to buy food,” she said.

Murdock said the first steps from the municipality will be an awareness campaign. Unanimous support from council directed staff to write letters to the provincial and federal governments urging them to adopt the National Food Strategy.

He also hopes to eventually get resolutions supported by the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

– with files from Daniel Palmer

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

The BC Ferries’ website is down for the second time in one week from what they say is likely an overwhelming increase in web traffic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Surging web traffic crashes BC Ferries’ site again

Website down for second time this week

Embracing the urban forestry rule known as 3-30-300 could improve the community’s mental health, says Saanich Coun. Zac de Vries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council embraces 3-30-300 rule to improve access to green space

Coun. Zac de Vries says rule promotes health and well-being through urban forestry

BC Housing has brought in sanitation trailers to the former Mount Tolmie Hospital site so its current residents can access clean water, showers, sinks and toilets after a collapsed sewer pipe impacted water service to the building. (Google Streetview)
Mount Tolmie Hospital homelessness shelter using sanitation trailers after pipe collapse

Travelodge shelter residents faced intermittent hot water supply in late May, early June

Numerous Esquimalt residents can now build a detached accessory suite of up to 65 square metres in their backyard. (Township of Esquimalt)
Backyard suites now legal for some Esquimalt properties

One unit of up to 65 square metres now permitted for eligible residents

COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School, both on June 14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Two Saanich schools report COVID-19 exposures

Exposures reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ B.C. plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Syringes prepared with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are seen at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Vaccine first doses now available for walk-ins on Vancouver Island

People aged 18+ can walk in for their first COVID-19 vaccine

Photos displayed at a vigil for former Nanaimo outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found June 3 and whose death RCMP are investigating as a homicide. (News Bulletin photo)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

Most Read