Food security, precarious employment and mental health are often misunderstood. Through this journey, you will explore what it is like to live in a food desert and why healthful, accessible food is vital to a vibrant community.

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64.5% of food bank users were low-income, rental market tenants
412,998 individuals accessed Ontario food banks in March 2012
38.7% of food bank users, or 159,918 individuals, were children (11,737 more children than in March 2011)
44.6% of all food bank users were women over 18 years of age
A food desert is a geographic area where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to an automobile. Food deserts usually exist in rural areas and low-income communities.
With the rise of the suburban superstore and lots of small innercity supermarkets a challenge arises for those in overt and for planners and public health policy makers because of the uneven distribution of healthy, affordable food.
The United Nations defines food security as a condition in which all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life
The London Food Bank in 1987 helped roughly 600 families per month, in 2014 it is within striking distance of providing food for 4,000 families per month!'
Meet George. He is a factory worker, who is working contract positions, and has trouble finding full-time work. George works hard for a modest wage and can’t afford a car. He is on his way to the nearest supermarket to get groceries for his family.
George’s wife, Lily, has to work two jobs in order to help sustain the family. Lily does not have the time to go to the grocery store, and therefore it is George’s responsibility to get the groceries every other day.
George, Lily and their son, Derrick live in a food dessert, which are disadvantaged areas of cities with relatively poor access to healthy and affordable food.

Giant Tiger:

Distance: 2.7km
Time: 33min

Metro:

Distance: 4.2km
Time: 51min
George has to walk 51 minutes to and from the nearest superstore and is lucky if he can bring enough food for his family to live off of for 3 days
The London Food Charter states that The City of London and its people are committed to creating a food secure community where there is:
A just and sustainable food system that contributes to the economic, ecological, and social well-being of our city and region which balances local production and fair international agricultural trade;
Sufficient personal income and resources to ensure safe, nutritious foods in adequate amounts for everyone, everyday;
Ready access to quality grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other food sources which provide safe, nutritious and culturally-appropriate food;
Opportunity for residents to become food literate; and, opportunity for residents to grow and sell food within the city.
George has become accustomed to this way of grocery shopping. If he wants to have access to an affordable grocery store he has to be able to walk 4.1 km
George has been familiar with the Food Bank all his life. When he was younger his family had to work hard to afford healthful and nutritious food.
The London Food Bank has always recognized that their organization was supposed to be a temporary solution. With that in mind we, through the London Food Bank, have been challenged to find a way so that London Food Bank is no longer needed.
London is surrounded by some of the most fertile and rich farmland in the world. London also has a number of programs and organizations in the city, which are working on alternate nutritious food growing and delivery methods.
The Poverty Research Centre will look at all of these local options and begin to research alternate ways to address food insecurity in London.