The Ministry supports food security initiatives and programs as the foundation to healthy eating at individual, community and population levels - to enhance physical and financial access to healthy, culturally acceptable foods. Food Security is a public health core program in a policy framework that supports the delivery of a comprehensive public health system in British Columbia.
Programs and Initiatives
- Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI)
The Community Food Action initiative is a health promotion initiative aimed at increasing food security for all British Columbians, particularly those living with limited incomes. It is a collaborative effort of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), five regional health authorities and the Ministry of Health.
The CFAI was the first provincial initiative in Canada to recognize and financially support community-led solutions to increase food security. These solutions include community gardens, farmers’ markets, community planning, support for local food production, healthy food for public buildings, creation of community capacity, community food assessments, and development of local food charters and policies. More information is available on the PHSA Food Security website.
- Farmers' Market Nutrition Coupon Program
The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program is a collaboration with the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets that provides lower-income seniors and families, including pregnant women, with increased access to locally grown produce and food products. The program provides individuals enrolled in nutrition and skill-building programs with coupons to spend at their local farmers' market during the growing season. See the news release and link to www.bcfarmersmarket.org.
- Food Skills for Families
This program helps families learn to select and to prepare healthy food. It is delivered in partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association.
- Food Systems in Remote First Nations
The Food Systems in Remote First Nations project is a collaboration with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to build long-term vegetable and fruit production in 15 community gardens previously established through the Produce Availability in Remote Communities Initiative. The project will focus on community engagement workshops and training in agriculture and food preservation. The goal is that communities will have the tools needed to continue the gardens on their own as part of a community food plan. See the news release and link to www.preserveproduce.ca.
- Produce Availability in Remote Communities Initiative
The Produce Availability in Remote Communities Initiative (PAI) was a three year initiative (2009 - 2012) led by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. It aimed to improve the year-round availability and quality of vegetables and fruits in remote BC communities. This initiative built community capacity and the capability to create a sustainable supply of produce in 24 remote communities.
The following materials were developed as part of the initiative:
Project Description and Evaluation:
Resources and Tools
- BC Food Security Gateway is a one-stop web resource for food security practitioners and others in British Columbia who want to make "healthy eating the easy choice" and build food-secure communities.
- The Cost of Eating in BC report provides information on the cost of purchasing a healthy diet according to Health Canada's National Nutritious Food Basket (NNFB) data collection tool. The Provincial Health Service Authority (PHSA), in collaboration with the five regional health authorities, collects and analyzes the food costing data across British Columbia and shares the data with Dietitians of Canada - BC Region, which writes the report.