Food Insecurity

Food insecurity is an urgent public health problem and an important issue for local, provincial and federal politicians. Food insecurity negatively affects a person’s physical, mental and social well-being, and their life expectancy.

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity is the result of not having enough money to buy food. When income is too low, people do not have enough money for basic living expenses including rent, utilities and food.

Policies that improve the incomes of low-income households are needed to reduce food insecurity.

Who is affected by food insecurity?

Almost 15% of Huron Perth residents (about 20,000 people) in 2020 struggled to pay for food.

It’s hard - and sometimes impossible - to make ends meet when earning minimum wage, working part-time and precarious jobs, receiving social assistance or living on a fixed income.

Monitoring food affordability

Huron Perth Public Health annually surveys the price of a variety of foods from grocery stores across Huron and Perth counties. This information is used to calculate the cost of one week’s worth of groceries.

Monitoring food affordability also involves creating different income scenarios to show the amount of money left after paying for basic expenses (rent and food).

More information can be found in the Cost of Eating report.

Solutions for food insecurity

Food banks are still the main community response to food insecurity. In reality, food banks and other charitable food programs (such as meal programs or community gardens) are not a solution. They fail to address the main problem of inadequate income.

The best way to end food insecurity is by addressing poverty.

Income solutions are needed so that everyone has enough money to meet their basic needs, including food. For example:

What can you do?

What are we doing?

Huron Perth Public Health participates in the Perth County Food Security Coalition and the Poverty to Prosperity Coalition to advocate for adequate income for all Ontarians.

The Huron Perth Board of Health endorsed the Ontario Dietitians in Public Health (ODPH) Food Insecurity Position Statement in June 2020.