Why Food Matters
Food is essential to all of us. It nourishes us and keeps us well in body, mind, and spirit. It connects us to each other, to our cultures, and to the earth.
Food is a human right.
Yet, in Manitoba, many people aren’t getting the food they need. They are facing challenges like household food insecurity, high food prices, and the effects of colonization, changing diets, and chronic disease.
We are on a mission to change that.
What are the issues?
Good food has the power to improve mental and physical health, build community resilience and inspire people to take action. Read about the power of good food in these stories.
Household Food Insecurity is not being able to afford enough food. It affects 1 in 8 households in Manitoba, including 1 in 5 children[i]. Household Food Insecurity disproportionally impacts Indigenous people, people of colour, single mothers, those on social assistance, and those with low-paid work.[ii]
Regional disparity means the cost of healthy eating for a family of four is 46% higher in Northern Manitoba than in Winnipeg, and 15% higher in Southwestern Manitoba than in Winnipeg. Yet, incomes in rural and remote regions remain lower than in Winnipeg.[iii]
Colonization has caused a lot of damage to Indigenous peoples, lands, and food systems. Yet they remain resilient in the face of adversity. Indigenous people, people of colour, and recent newcomers experience discriminatory attitudes and policies about what they can and should eat.
Dietary acculturation means taking on the eating habits of a new place. Many newcomers to Canada, although quite healthy when they arrive, experience a decline in health after only a few years. This can happen, in part, if they start eating more processed and convenience foods readily available in Canada.[iv]
Diet-related disease costs the Province of Manitoba billions of dollars. The cost of diabetes alone is estimated to be $498 million and expected to reach $639 million by 2020.[v]
Want to know more about these and other critical food security issues? Click here.
[i] PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research (2018) “Latest Household Food Insecurity Data Now Available”
[ii] Tarasuk, Mitchell, and Dachner (2014) “Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2012.”
[iii] Based on monthly food costs for family of four in Winnipeg health regions, as compared to the former Burntwood (Northern) and Assiniboine (Southwestern) health regions Rand et al. (2012) “The Cost of Eating According to the ‘Nutritious Food Basket’ in Manitoba.”
[iv] Canadian Diabetes Association [Diabetes Canada]. n.d. The Cost of Diabetes in Manitoba.
[v] Sanou et al., “Acculturation and Nutritional Health of Immigrants in Canada: A Scoping Review.”
How are people making change?
Every day we work with and hear from community organizations, policy-makers, educators, and everyday eaters who are making a difference in the food system. Whether they are working on building their own capacity, improving the practices of their organization, or advocating for better public policy, these community food champions are inspiring a movement towards a food secure Manitoba where everyone has everything they need to eat well, all the time.
Northern Manitoba Garden Heroes
After the latest gardening workshop Food Matters Manitoba held in Fox Lake Cree Nation in July, we caught up with workshop participant Brianne to chat about gardening in Northern Manitoba.
How you can help
Donate and help create opportunities for communities in Manitoba to come together and champion projects that get to the root of food issues.
Spread the word
Join our online community, start or join a conversation and help share good food stories.