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Equity & Access in the World of Organics

Sunday, January 27, 2019 - 10:30 am to 11:30 am

assorted vegetables

Workshop Description

One in eight households in Canada is affected by food insecurity, which negatively impacts social, physical, emotional, and financial health.

Those most affected by household food insecurity include lone-parent families, those living alone, Aboriginal people, recipients of social assistance, children, and the elderly.

In light of the physical, psycho,  social phenomenon of organic food, what are the implications of unequal access inherent in our current food system? What programs can be put in place to mediate unequal access?   What are the implications of a rural or urban context?

With no national program to address the rising levels of household food insecurity in Canada, it is most commonly addressed through food banks which are inconsistent, ad-hoc, band-aid solutions. Food banks rarely have organic food, thus the most food insecure among us are often left out of the organics discussion altogether.

What role can organic food, and the systems and people supporting organic food, play in addressing the very pressing issues of Canadian household food insecurity?

Given the increased cost of organic food, the price is inaccessible for many individuals and families.

How can we bridge the divide between those who are able to access organic food and those who are not, making organic food more equitable?

We’ll highlight various successes of community partnership and outreach within organic farming and cooking.

The overall goal of this panel discussion will be to educate, as well as provide positive and hopeful solutions to questions about organics and equity.

Topics covered will include:

  • Organics & equity
  • Community outreach
  • Government subsidies
  • Social justice
  • Local community partnerships
  • Organics in charitable food and food banks

Panelists: Stephen Scharper, Emily Gilbert & Heather Lekx

Emily Gilbert is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto in a collaborative program between the School for the Environment and the Department of Anthropology.

Her research examines food  insecurity in an urban Canadian context, and her ethnographic fieldwork takes place in food banks and community gardens in Regent Park, Toronto.

Emily Gilbert

Dr. Stephen Scharper is associate professor at the School of the Environment and the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto.

He is also cross-appointed in the department of anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, and is associate faculty with the Toronto School of Theology.

Stephen Scharper

Heather Lekx is the Farm Manager at Ignatius Jesuit Centre.

Heather Lekx