Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

The Price is Wrong


On Easter Sunday I depart for Thompson to teach courses in culinary and hospitality.  Thompson, (I am embarrassed to admit) is the furthest north that I have ever been. I understand that the north is breathtaking and yet even though it is perched on my doorstep, I have yet to explore it.

In the mean time, a friend of our family has made me aware of a movement and an event that she and a working group are spearheading.  Brilliantly titled “The Price is Wrong” it sheds light on the issue that food security is a basic human need and right but in the north that right is negatively impaired by a number of factors that can be altered.  Since this is my brief exposure to this issue, I do not want to risk misrepresenting the facts and defer you to this press release that I received last evening.

 The Price is WRONG: Confronting Food Insecurity in Northern Canada
WINNIPEG- Southern city dwellers are appalled by the high price and availability of food in Canada’s northern and remote communities. On Monday, April 1st 2013 beginning at 11:30 a.m. university students, Northern and Southern Canadian residents, as well as guest speakers Tina Keeper and John Fox will be gathering at the newly opened Neechi Commons (865 Main Street) to share personal experiences, showcase real food prices, petition the Federal Government, and roundance in protest. A theatrical game show will also be incorporated with visual representation of the issue. Northern and remote communities in Canada are more likely to be food insecure due to inflated food prices and cost of transportation than those located in Southern Canada, and which are close to large city centers. This need not be the case. Communities can be self-sufficient and food secure based on the abundance of wild/country foods. Close proximity to roads and large city centers allows communities increased food security only in that they have dependency on corporate food supplies and agribusiness, and not necessarily food self-sufficiency. Therefore, we are petitioning the federal government to remove many of the systemic barriers in place that limit a community’s ability (particularly those in the North) to be food secure and to have food sovereignty. Currently, Northern and remote communities are forced to be dependant on corporate monopolies to supply their food. For instance, there is a lack of subsidization for local country food hunted by local community members. Additionally, “public health” restrictions do not allow for local country foods to be widely provided in the Northern communities (specifically in the public institutions such as schools and hospitals). We agree with the statement made by Food Secure Canada in their Food Sovereignty in Rural and Remote Communities discussion paper: “The capacity of remote communities to harvest and trade (locally or regionally) their own traditional food (including fish, game, berries, etc.) is undermined by the current regulatory system. This system inadvertently makes these communities dependent upon the long distance import of less-healthy market food in exchange for natural resource extraction” (Food Secure Canada)

In my mind, the timing of this event is no coincidence.  In our family Easter is acknowledged as a time of resurrected life, rebirth an reawakening.   Many of us will assemble this Sunday for a time of feasting.  The sharing of an abundant table is a tradition that transcends many cultures-life is celebrated with food so that life itself can continue and thrive!  But there are people in our own province and our own country that do not have the opportunity to break bread with their loved ones.  This is a wrong that can be made right.  I encourage you to learn more by checking out these resources:

Kath’s quote: “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it; and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied; and it is all one.”- M. F. K. Fisher

Love-that is all.