Healthy food highlighted in N.B.’s new poverty reduction plan

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New Brunswick’s new poverty reduction plan — Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan, 2014-2019 — includes a focus on food security and healthy food availability.

Released in May by the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation of New Brunswick (ESIC), the five-year plan is based on four pillars: community engagement, learning, economic inclusion and social inclusion.

“This plan represents the willingness of New Brunswickers from all sectors to rally around a shared vision of society that seeks to build a more inclusive New Brunswick,” said ESIC’s president, Léo-Paul Pinet.

Overcoming Poverty Together’s Social Inclusion pillar identifies four priority actions for improving food security and healthy food availability for New Brunswickers:

  • Promote and support community-based initiatives related to food preparation, food safety and access to healthy food.
  • Promote transition of food banks to community-based food centres.
  • Encourage initiatives that address availability of nutritional food and food management and coordination in emergency food programs.
  • Promote the establishment of community based breakfast programs in all public schools.

“As a society, we need to act collectively to implement sustainable measures addressing the challenges of food security,” the plan says. “Although some of the suggested priority actions are intended to overcome the problems of food insecurity, they are not presented as long-term solutions.

“The real long-term solution to food insecurity is the elimination of poverty and the implementation of initiatives that promote economic and social inclusion for all people.”

To learn more about food security, visit the N.B. Food Security Action Network’s website.

Overcoming Poverty Together stems from a two-month-long public engagement process that collected nearly 5,000 comments during 12 public dialogues and other meetings. Participants included citizens, professionals in the social field, representatives of community organizations, business people, and elected officials.