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

Launch party for Vancouver Island’s new soccer team a success

Over 3,000 seats will be added to Westhills Stadium in the next 6 months

Two people rescued after falling from lifeboat at Ogden Point

Crew members of the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship fell into the water Thursday night

Saanich pedestrian incidents reflect recent trends

76% of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections

Group pushing to preserve Saanich Hydro land as park

Neighbours petitioning to buy surplus land on Kings Road

View Royal Park sign taken down after glitch redirects to pornographic website

Resident looking to learn more about workout equipment discovered the problem code

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

Five fun things to do this weekend

From a paint in to festivals, there are lots of fun events taking place this weekend

Big-time racing on tap in Langford this month

Western Speedway the place to be for a roaring good time in summer

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Zone 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Saanich balances need for sewer with rural protection

A Saanich councillor says the public does not need to be concerned… Continue reading

Most Read