This post was written by Hannah Brundson, winter Practicum Student at the Women’s Centre
As a practicum student at the Women’s Centre, I have had a chance grow my understanding of the ways women are impacted by food insecurity and poverty.
During my time at the Centre, I have also been involved in work to address these issues at a community level. Some resources provided at the Women’s Centre are; Emergency Food Hampers for women in need, our Thursday Food Day program, referrals for the Calgary Food Bank over the phone and in person, and Good Food Boxes available for purchase.
To talk about ways that we could address the issue of food insecurity, the Women’s Centre had a Social Issues Discussion about Food Sovereignty and Dignity on Wednesday, March 7. Kate Stenson and Shaye Radford from the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, an organization actively involved in work to reduce food insecurity, facilitated the discussion about food sovereignty and dignity, and also led us in preparations of a delicious vegetarian chili and corn biscuits.
We had an interesting discussion about food insecurity in Calgary, and what food security, food dignity, and food sovereignty means to us. We learned about the 7 Pillars of Food Sovereignty and how many activists are moving from conversations about food security (which is about access to safe and nutritious food) to food sovereignty (which acknowledges food citizenship and the responsibility everyone has to maintain healthy relationships within our food systems).
We explored the role of gender and food. This conversation made me think about how my mom has been the one in charge of planning meals, grocery shopping, and cooking in my family, and how she has shaped my understanding of women’s roles when it comes to food. Another thing that came up in our discussion was the relationship between food dignity and income, as food insecurity rates are higher with families experiencing poverty.
After beginning our great discussion, we rolled up our sleeves and started preparing some dishes of our own! Our event took place the evening before International Women’s day celebrations at the Women’s Centre, so we prepared some chilli and corn bread to share with participants at the big event.
We were also very excited to have the Honourable Stephanie McLean, the Minister of Status of Women in Alberta, participate in our discussion. Minister McLean shared her experiences and perspectives on the connection between food sovereignty, dignity, and gender with us, and helped us make the chili! After the dishes were prepared, we continued our discussions as we sampled delicious chili and corn biscuits together.
Save the date for our next Social Issues Discussion: Migrant Caregivers on Wednesday April 4, 6-8 pm