How might we engage the public in enabling policy changes to address food insecurity in Calgary?
Food insecurity, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization, is the “inability to acquire or consume adequate diet quality or sufficient quantities of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so”. Canada, though a wealthy first world country, has a large population that is unable to acquire healthy food.
Hunger affects a varied population in Calgary, with risk factors including various socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics such as; low income, low-level education, higher number of children, being a lone parent, living in rental accommodation, being indigenous, changes in income levels, changes in household expenses, income shocks due to ill health, increasing housing and energy costs, and unexpected life events. Any population in Calgary is vulnerable to food insecurity.
How might we empower food security in the neighbourhood of Manchester, Calgary?
Manchester, Calgary was a strategically established residence for the city’s abattoir, built along the railroad. Outfitted with only a few amenities – a church and school – the community dissolved over the century while the rest of Calgary developed.
Today, dense highrises are the only form of infrastructure being developed in the small, boxed-in community. Rapid housing development has pushed the community beyond its capacity for sustainable living, but is projected to host 300% more bodies in the decades to come.
Currently there are no services in the area: no grocery store, no school, no support services, no community centre. Most buildings exist to support the surrounding industrial park instead.
As a community of accessible housing, there are no resources to meet the various needs of occupants, though many require support. Intervention is essential as more are expected in the near future.