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

Saanich jam stand at the centre of controversy prepares to close

Staff review of roadside stand legislation too late for Little

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

Pipeline protestors plan march as Trudeau gives Trans Mountain the go-ahead,

20 kilometre march to protest the pipeline starts in Victoria, ends on Saanich Peninsula

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

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

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read