AICBR and YAPC hosted a booth to field questions about food security July 20 at the Whitehorse Fireweed Market. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Researchers asking Yukoners for input on food policy

‘As Northerners we’re defining our own needs’

The Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research worries that rising rates of poverty and increasing food costs put more Yukoners at risk of food insecurity.

Food insecurity is inadequate access to food due to financial constraints.

While the most recent data from the 2012 Canadian community health survey said that 17 per cent of Yukoners are food insecure, these numbers may actually be rising, said Molly Pratt, a spokesperson for AICBR.

There are many reasons why people become food insecure, but one of the driving issues is affordability, said Pratt.

“Poverty plays a huge role in that, so we want to be looking at food security from a variety of different issues, ensuring that food is healthy, ensuring that food is culturally appropriate,” she said.

Food security in Yukon is “our people having enough access to good, healthy, affordable food that they want to eat,” said Pratt.

Food insecurity can have public health, economic and social impacts on the territory. The AICBR and the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition are working with Food Secure Canada to talk about food security in the Yukon.

It’s a chance for the public to get engaged in the national food policy and share what’s happening in the Yukon already with regards to food security planning, said Prat. It’s also a time for Yukoners to tell the federal government what the food priorities are in the territory.

“As Northerners we’re defining our own needs,” said Pratt.

At the federal level, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is working to develop a food policy for Canada. AICBR and YAPC want to talk to the community about Yukon food security and how the territory will fit into the national policy that’s being developed.

There has already been some work done on food security in the Yukon, including the construction of gardens in multiple communities. Some communities have been looking into food security and planning a way forward, said Pratt.

Last year the Yukon government released its food policy, which focuses mainly on increasing local growing and local food production, she said.

AICBR and YAPC hosted a booth to field questions about food security July 20 at the Whitehorse Fireweed Market.

There will also be a free public meal at the Old Fire Hall July 31 to take questions and have a facilitated conversation about food security.

For more information about these policies and events, people can visit or yapc.ca.

Contact Jamie-Lee McKenzie at jamielee.mckenzie@yukon-news.com