2019 came to a close while maintaining some alarming statistics regarding food insecurity in Canada. The most recent data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) finds that household food insecurity ranges from over 10% (British Columbia) to over 50% (Nunavut). Even more distressing is that the amount of children in food insecure households ranges from nearly 16% (BC) to 72% (Nunavut). While the latter outlier may claim a very small proportion of Canada’s population please note that well-populated provinces such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba have very concerning numbers of food insecure children, at approximately 20 and 22 percent respectively. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like things will get much better without taking immediate action as a year-end survey finds that nearly 9 out of 10 Canadians report that food prices are rising at a faster rate than their household income. Waiting for the national trend in food insecurity to correct itself is a fruitless endeavor, which is why our Foundation (with your help) is needed more than ever before.
How Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation is Fighting Against Food Insecurity in Canada and What You Can Do to Help Children Too
Helping Kids Grow Nutritious Food in Your Community
Our Foundation takes a hands-on approach to battling food insecurity in Canada, namely through the planting of school and community gardens. In 2019 we either spearheaded or were involved in numerous gardening projects that in addition to growing food, sprouted young green thumbs that will pass the torch (or should we say trowel?) to children coming up from the next generation. Of course, the proof is in the soil so without further adieu we encourage you to explore our recent school/community gardening initiatives:
- Surrey BC School District gardens
- Deer Lake (Burnaby BC) school garden
- École élémentaire Catholique Ste-Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Woodstock ON
- École Peter Greer Elementary Outdoor Garden, Lake Country, BC
- Port Weller Public School, St. Catharines, ON
- Westmont Montessori School, Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC
- Sutherland Schoolyard Market Garden, North Vancouver, BC
Helping to Educate Children About How to Achieve Food Security
There is only one way to make sure that effective food insecurity initiatives persist for generations to come – pass knowledge and skills on to children. That is exactly what we’re helping educators do with our Seeds of Inspiration Educational program. In summary, the program provides Canadian elementary schools with classroom (K to Grade 3) resources that support current academic curricula on the seed-to-table growing cycle, offering complementary (and free!) lesson materials. In addition, our Plant a Seed – Read! program extends to toddlers and preschoolers through story telling initiatives in public libraries across the country. By the end of 2019 our educational programs have reached nearly 1,100 schools and almost 70,000 individual elementary students across Canada. This is a significant and sustainable step towards ending food insecurity in our nation. View more about the recent success of the Seeds of Inspiration Educational Program and Plant a Seed – Read! along with information about how you can get involved.
But there’s more.
In addition, our Foundation’s goal of reducing food insecurity through education is achieved via the provision of experiences that connect youth to food-producing lands. One especially successful program is outdoor learning with a focus on farm visits. View more about the farm visits we have on deck for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Beyond the elementary level, our Foundation is also supporting post-secondary students who share the goal of reducing food insecurity through our education bursary program. There is really no end to the educational possibilities as long as we continue to receive your generous support.
Working Closely with Natural Food Retailers
Getting involved at the commercial level is also critical to building healthier communities and fighting food insecurity in Canada. We have identified natural food retailers who embody the same principles held by the Foundation and partner with them to achieve common goals. Take Community Natural Foods in Alberta for example. In addition to providing their community with access to nutritious food, their Change for the Earth program promotes the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) of the environment. Community Natural Foods is selling our Foundation’s eco-friendly shopping bags to customers and donations obtained through the program are being channeled to help fund other initiatives including those dedicated to seed preservation and school/community gardens. View more about our partnerships with natural food retailers.
It can’t be stated enough – none of the 2019 initiatives above could have been accomplished without your generosity. To help our Foundation battle food insecurity in 2020 we are once again putting out a call-to-action for your support. View more on how your donations will make a big difference in the lives of Canadian children.