Concerns about food insecurity and food sovereignty are being amplified by COVID-19.
Access to nutritious food is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and an adequate family income is the key element that ensures Saskatchewan residents can obtain appropriate food to meet their dietary needs. Household food insecurity in Saskatchewan is historically an issue of income inequality and poverty, which is exacerbated during the COVID-19 crisis.
Under normal circumstances, food insecurity affects around 13 percent of the SK population.
This means that 13 percent of SK residents do not have have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, culturally-appropriate and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and fulfilled life.
The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the deep inequities in our community.
This happens as unemployment levels rise and combine with emerging issues of access to food and increasing demand on community services. Without effective responses to the hardship created by COVID-19, the prevalence of food insecurity in Saskatchewan communities will rise, and health implications of being food-insecure will amplify.
At the same time, food insecurity does not affect all Saskatchewan residents equally, and there are clear social patterns of vulnerability.
Evidence has shown us that racialized communities are disproportionately affected by food insecurity, as well as lone-parent families, women and children and the elderly. We have seen incredible acts of solidarity, innovation and compassion in the community responses to food insecurity in Saskatchewan. While we must address urgent food insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis, we must consider how we can channel energy to enact long-term systemic change.
We must address the urgent needs during the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, we must consider: How do we channel energy to enact long-term systemic change?
“Poverty is already a very significant issue in our community and [COVID-19] really brought that to the forefront. It’s exacerbated that problem.”
– Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer
Insights from Thought Leaders
Dr. Rachel Engler Stringer, Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan explores the impacts to community food security during COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Check out the full video podcast or explore her remarks to individual questions.
Despite having no student volunteers at this time, SEARCH has had to adapt services and are responding to the needs of their community with an expanded lunch program.
APSS has responded to the needs of their community by serving 400 clients a meal each week, while adapting their existing programs during the crisis.
Featured Food Resources
Explore more on Food & COVID-19 in the Resource Library
Food Insecurity in Saskatoon During a Pandemic: Community Responses and Reflections for Long-Term Systemic Change
View our past webinar on community responses during the pandemic and thinking forward to how we can learn from this unprecedented time to address food insecurity in our community.
With this toolkit, your community can make short-, medium- and long-term plans for food security using a food systems approach. This toolkit includes ideas, templates, tools and information to support your planning.
This article explains the food insecurity and housing issues that have been ongoing issues within Indigenous communities. The authors want to ensure any solutions need to be initiate by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.
The Coalition for Health School Food has compiled media articles about the incredible work of organizations across Canada who are helping to feed the children who normally rely on a school food program.