HEATHER KIRBY, Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition
KAWARTHA LAKES: The Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition (KLFC) is a community-based collaboration, made up of individuals interested in our local, national, and global food systems. They are organizations which serve those in our community, who sometimes do not have enough food; and stakeholders which produce, process and distribute food within our community and beyond.
The Coalition was developed in 2013 as an action group, to foster initiatives within the community which ensure efforts to reach the ideals of the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter approved by the City of Kawartha Lakes (CKL) Council in 2011.
The Food and Agriculture Organization declared food security will exist “when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, in order to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” They also commented on poverty as a major cause of food insecurity, and stated elimination of poverty is critical to improving access to food.
Household food insecurity in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton was 14.4 percent in 2019. The provincial food insecurity average is 13.3 percent. The level of food insecurity in this region is one of the highest in the province. The KLFC and its working groups strive to diligently support all levels of government and community partners in initiatives which help achieve food security for residents in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
The following work has been completed within the past year by the Food Security Working Group of the Food Coalition. The Food Security Working Group’s emphasis is on addressing the root causes of poverty and food insecurity through advocacy for income-based solutions, such as, basic income guarantee, a living wage; safe and affordable housing; accessible and quality childcare; and transportation.
Summary of initiatives: Participated in the provincial Pre-Budget consultation and provided recommendations for income-based solutions to help address root causes of food insecurity.
Participated in CKL Zoning Bylaw Review Project and submitted bylaw suggestions to help support local, sustainable food systems and increase access to healthy and local food.
Made a formal submission for Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, providing recommendations related to addressing food insecurity through income-based solutions and more training and job opportunities in agriculture (provided local perspective as CKL is an agricultural community).
Participated in Food Secure Canada’s advocacy campaign “Growing Resilience and Equity: a food policy action plan in the context of covid-19”. Advocated to enact legislation for a basic income guarantee, as an effective long-term response to the problem of persistent poverty and household food insecurity and short-term consequences of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Implemented the Summer Outreach Lunch program, in collaboration with our partners, to provide healthy free lunches to school-age children. This year, 453 lunches were provided to children, 125 lunches were provided to A Place Called Home, and 112 lunches were provided to Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes.
Held annual meetings with MP Jamie Schmale, highlighting KLFC activities and achievements, providing relevant research and best practices to address food insecurity. Advocated for a National Universal School Food Program and Bill C – 273 (An Act to establish a national strategy for a guaranteed basic income).
Advocated for support for Bill C-273 to Federal Government, CKL Council, and community partners, through letters and social media. Updated and revamped the Food Security Action Plan of Poverty Reduction Strategy for the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton, in collaboration with Haliburton Harvest, Haliburton Food Net and Ending Poverty Roundtable for CKL and Haliburton.
Social media education and promotion, during 2021 Federal Election, regarding Federal Party platforms on Basic Income.
We are very proud of the most recent work and would like to thank the Food Security Work Group members of the KLFC for their time and efforts.
If you would like to learn more about the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, please visit our Facebook page by searching Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition. For other local resources like the Kawartha Lakes Food Charter and the KLFC Strategic Priorities, please visit https://www.kawarthalakes.ca/en/business-growth/kawartha-lakes-food-coalition.aspx.