Food deserts: Towards a comprehensive solution


Olivier Bourgeois


Option consommateurs




The aim of this study was to find comprehensive solutions to the problem of food deserts. Option consommateurs (OC) discovered that the food security intervention model adopted by community food centres indicates one promising avenue of development because of its potential for meeting emergency needs, promoting knowledge and fostering social inclusion. Combining these challenges into one mission seems to be the best way of ensuring a reduced impact of food deserts on urban populations in Canada – especially since focus groups have shown that consumers are ready for a change that would result in the introduction of alternative food systems.

OC believes that the Canadian food system must be transformed to better meet the needs of Canadians as regards access to healthy, affordable food. It is time to move towards food systems whose mode of operation is based on the acknowledgement of the right to food. Local initiatives aimed at managing the food system, while useful in that they permit dialogue between stakeholders in the food sector, must be supported by policies from the provinces, territories and federal government. By including the right to food in the development of public health and poverty reduction policies, Canada will adopt a new vision that will put citizens at the heart of its concerns and will protect their right to food.

Although geographic accessibility remains an issue in itself, it appears that affordability is a major determinant that must still be considered. Initiatives to fight poverty are essential tools in reducing food insecurity. As long as there are holes in the social safety net, rising food prices remain a serious threat to the right to food.

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OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

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Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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