Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Food insecurity in Alberta increasing in Alberta

Anna Appel

Anna Appel, Alberta Health Services Viva Vitality columnist

When I was growing up, I always knew I wanted to work in the health care field. I am a student in my final semester at the University of Lethbridge, completing a Bachelor of Health Science degree in Public Health, and I’ve discovered I am very interested in working in health promotion with a focus on food security.

If the term ‘food security’ doesn’t strike a chord in your memory, you may think of it as being able to support your family at all times so that they have enough safe and nutritious food in order to live a healthy and active life.

Many people might assume that this isn’t hard to achieve, but lately we are finding increasing rates of ‘food insecurity’ nation-wide.

According to Statistics Canada, while more than 7 per cent of Albertans in 2010 experienced food insecurity, this had risen to 8.1 per cent of the province’s population in 2012. The most recent food security data for Calgary tells us that 8.09 per cent of the city’s population had food insecurity in 2007-08, which rose to 12.07 per cent in 2011-12. With the available data, this information shows us that the issue of food security continues to be on the rise.

During this winter semester, I am working as a practicum student at the Medicine Hat Community Health office with the Public Health Promotion Program team. Since I’ve started, I’ve been involved with a number food security programs in the community and one in particular is the Good Food Club program.

The Good Food Club program is an initiative of the Community Food Connections Association; a group-buying club that provides fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices from local producers whenever possible. The initiative is a response to rising food prices and the growing food insecurity rates in the community.

Programs such as this one benefit people’s grocery bills through the wholesale prices they receive with each box of food. There are three sizes of boxes participants can purchase every second Tuesday of the month. Each month, price comparison charts are included in their monthly newsletters that clearly show the customers how much they’re saving when compared to the five major grocery store chains.

Based on the largest size box (large – $20.00) for the month of December, there was an average saving of $16.29. These types of programs are great for not only the grocery bill, but also benefit a family’s health.

For more information or if you’re interested in joining the Good Food Club, please visit their website:, email:, or phone: 403-502-6096.

Anna Appel can be reached via e-mail at

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