It’s 6 AM and I’m on a bus in Cusco, Peru, en route to “San Jeronimo”, the famous outdoor farmers market 20 minutes outside the city of Cusco.
The market is flush, rich in colors and smells, with rows and rows of fresh vegetables, ripe fruit, colourful flowers and every kind of grain from rice to quinoa. There are readily available seeds for planting your own food and hundreds of little chicks available for $0.50 each. “So, you can raise your own chickens,” I was told.
What a privilege to experience such an inclusive and welcoming market where food was plentiful, and a community of Peruvians of all ages connecting with each other.
I came back home to Canada with a sense of responsibility I had never experienced before – I just knew that with the privilege of owning my own land, I needed to at least grow my own food. I put a call to friends and family to see who was interested in creating a community garden. Four of us booked a day in May to make this idea a reality - we planted potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, among other crops.
None of us had gardened before, so it was an adventure that we took on!
Two months later, the space in my backyard that was previously unused, is now flush with fresh vegetables. Through this adventure we learned how to grow our own food, we created a space to gather, work together and have fun.
Food security, according to the United Nations World Food Summit, exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. This is a complex issue that needs all of us in the Edmonton and Area to come together and take action to make sure every person in our community has opportunities to access fresh, healthy food to eat.
Fast Facts about Food Security in Edmonton:
- 15,000 people received food hamper from the Edmonton’s Food Bank every month
- Approximately 40% of the clients that access the Edmonton Food Bank are children
- Over 2,100 children under 12 years old receive lunch and snack through the School Lunch Programs run by E4C every year
- Over 30 Edmonton Public Schools have students who are highly social vulnerable
- One out of every ten households in Alberta is food insecure
Take initiative, share your backyard, grow your own food, donate the fresh food you grow to the school lunch programs or a community agency in your area and teach your children where food comes from.
There are many ways you can get involved today!
Grow your own food
Donate to United Way
Plant a row, grow a row and donate fresh vegetables to your local foodbank
WeCan Food Basket
Join a Collective Kitchen
Enter the Fare Fight for Food contest
Participate in Operation Fruit Rescue
Share your Backyard
Edmonton Food Bank
St. Albert Food Bank
Leduc and District Food Bank
The following reports highlight the cost of eating and food security:
The cost of eating in Alberta
Hunger Counts/Food bank report
Chantal Normand, Community Investment Specialist, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region