Food security in Nova Scotia a complex issue that must be addressed: report
HALIFAX – A report looking at food security in Nova Scotia released Thursday gathered input from people across the province about challenges they face.
The document, compiled by researchers, characterizes the issue as complex, encompassing everything from breastfeeding mothers to access to healthy foods.
“We heard about the difficulty on lower fixed incomes, such as seniors being able to travel to the groceries store, we heard from people who use food banks, about how people who use them feel like people misunderstand them and have misconceptions about how they are as people,” said Marjorie Willison, who helped conduct interviews for the report.
Concerns were raised about two important sectors in the province — farming and fishing, and whether or not an adequate living can be made off them.
The report says more Nova Scotians want to eat locally produced food, but small-scale producers are struggling to sell their products, and that has created a disconnect that needs to be examined.
“We know that the way we need to truly address the problem is to think long-term and to work holistically,” says Dr Patricia Williams.
Williams said improving food access and encouraging more local food outlets are some ways to a create a healthy, sustainable food system.
“It’s not only an issue across the province, but across Canada, around the world,” she said. “In fact, I think if you have noticed, there are more and more people talking about food.”
Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical officer of Health for the province, said the report addresses crucial issues.
“Food is a basic fundamental for our overall health, so it’s certainly an important public health issue,” he said.
Authors said the new report provides a strong framework to addressing food security in Nova Scotia and something that could help push the province to become a leader in the field.
“There’s multiple strategies and it’s going to take a lot of different people across different sectors working together, and a lot of leadership from government as well,” said Williams.
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