Southwestern Public Health uses a survey called the Nutritious Food Basket to calculate the cost of a healthy diet. The Nutritious Food Basket is based on nutrition recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide, eating patterns, and buying habits. The survey results represent the lowest average cost of 67 food items across many grocery stores in Elgin St. Thomas and Oxford County. The survey does not include convenience foods, snack foods, infant formula and baby food, foods purchased for cultural or religious reasons, foods purchased for special diets, or personal care items (such as soap, shampoo, etc.).
When money is tight, people often have to cut their food budget to afford other basic needs. This is called food insecurity. People who are food insecure may:
- Worry about how, when, and what they will feed themselves and their family
- Choose cheaper, less healthy foods
- Eat less food than they need
- Rely on community food assistance programs to make ends meet
- Skip meals so that their children can eat
- Go a whole day without eating
The problem isn’t the cost of healthy food. The problem is that people don’t have enough money to afford healthy food.
Community food access programs (food banks, community meals, etc.) provide short term relief for those who are in need. For more information on these programs, visit the Food Programs and Services webpage.
- Factors that impact our health, including food insecurity
- Watch Jenn’s Story
- Elgin St. Thomas Coalition to End Poverty
Long term solutions are needed to address low incomes. These include:
- A Basic Income Guarantee
- Jobs that pay a Living Wage
- Social Assistance Programs
- Affordable child care, safe and affordable housing, and public transit
Speak up! Write a letter to your local government on solutions to food insecurity
- Get involved during elections. Your vote matters!