Food insecurity is a multi-faceted issue that cannot be explained simply as being caused by living too far away from food, or not having enough. The issue is complicated and encompasses many factors.

Food security has been defined as “a situation in which all community residents can obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system.” This means that food security is not just determined as having adequate access to food, but also having the ability to obtain nutritious items, such as local produce.

New research conducted by Kelly Hodgins, at the University of Guelph, shows that, while Canadians are urged to eat and shop local, it’s not always accessible to everyone. Hodgins explains that often times low income and food insecure individuals cannot afford the hefty price tag that comes with local produce. Farmers markets today tend to exist as an area for the upper class, a luxury that only a few can afford on their Saturday morning.

Food banks tend to acquire non-perishable food items such as canned soup and beans. While these foods attempt to mitigate the issue, they are often less nutritious. If a low-income family cannot afford the ritzy prices of the farmers market or grocery store, and the food bank only stocks non-perishable foods, we now by definition have a food insecure household.