Chatham-Kent is an agricultural community. Food is a large part of economy, our past, our present, and our future. Despite our long history of producing fruits and vegetables for the nation, it seems they are not making it to the plates of our residents. Chatham-Kent has the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption in Ontario. And to top is off we have a low rate of self-reported food skills in addition to exceeding the Ontario average for those living with diabetes at 8.6% (6.8% in Ontario) (Statistics Canada, 2012).
However, this is not an individual issue but one that involves the larger system we live in. This includes the lack of adequate and secure income, affordable housing, access to childcare and healthcare, and several other social and economic factors. All of these factors impact one’s ability to live a sustainable life.
It is time to make some real changes around food and look at how we can create a more sustainable food system for the people of Chatham-Kent.