The Numbers Are In

Food Banks Canada has just released their annual report for 2014 (see Hunger Count 2014). The stats are sobering and disturbing. In a country as wealthy as ours it’s appalling that over 841 thousand Canadians had to seek the assistance of food banks during March of this year (up from last year, and 25% higher than in 2008).

To put this into perspective, that’s greater than the population of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and all three territories combined (total population in 2014 was almost 790 thousand). It’s also larger than the total population of New Brunswick, and approximately 90% of the population of Nova Scotia.

Let those numbers sink in.

If it were possible to replace every single person who lived in New Brunswick with someone who needed the help of a food bank, we’d still need to find places for over 85 thousand people.

Can we, as a civilized country, ignore these people? When do we finally say enough is enough. We know there is sufficient food to go around. Research indicates that we waste almost 40% of the food we produce – and much of that is at the household level. Something has to change.

The Farm To Fork team knows that new ideas can only help to improve this situation. We know that communication facilitated by technology can make a difference. We know that there are bright ideas out there that could revolutionize the way we deal with food in this country (and beyond). We know that every person deserves access to healthy food.

And because of this, our team is happy to be involved with the Food Waste Hackathon that is going on this weekend at the University of Guelph. Students from across campus are gathering to develop solutions to quantify, reduce, and eliminate food waste (UofG students can be part of it by registering here) – because 841 thousand people are depending on us to build better solutions.

Every person deserves access to healthy food is more than our driving principle – it can be our collective reality if we choose it.

You – yes you – need to do something today. Call your local food bank or food pantry, find out how you can help; donate food, money, or time. Add your voice to the growing numbers who are working to confront this urgent crisis. Please, take the time to make an impact.

It’s up to us. We just have to choose it.