Youth Blog Series: Food Insecurity

Be the Change’s Youth Blog Series highlights blogs written by university student interns at Be the Change Earth Alliance. In the blogs, the interns reflect on their experience completing “Action Packs,” which are learning resources that guide students in research, critical thinking and tangible action related to a global sustainability topic.

Summary of the Action Pack 

I completed the Food Security Action Pack which explores how food security is a social justice and environmental issue for local and global communities. Food security is a condition that ensures all people have physical and economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious and culturally appropriate foods. In the Action Pack, students will take the Action Survey to see if they have already taken actions that pertain to food security. For instance Students can take action by choosing to not eat foods contributing to food insecurity for a week, talking with the cafeteria about purchasing from local sources whenever possible, and volunteering at a local farm, or garden project. Students are encouraged to choose at least two actions and complete them by a specific date. 

In the Global Research section of the Action Pack, students will first research the concept of community food security to increase their understanding of the major theme. Next, students explore why food security is a serious issue in Canada. Furthermore, students will be able to research how food security is increasing in poorer countries due to the land grabbing trend, which is the buying or leasing of large pieces of land, by domestic and international investors in developing countries. Additionally, students will identify ways different projects address food security, such as urban agriculture, with a critical eye. It is important for them to determine whether the projects are sustainable and long-term in addressing food security. 

In the Local Activity section, students will visit a local supermarket and conduct research on where the different types of food that students commonly eat come from. Then, they will identify any local alternatives that they could buy and compare the price differences of the foods to see what action they could take for food security. To develop critical thinking, students will reflect how their choices around buying, eating and wasting food connects to global and local food insecurity. Lastly, students will evaluate the personal, environmental, social, economic cost and benefits if they choose to actively support local food security by eating local food whenever possible. Overall, the Action Pack increases students’ understanding towards food insecurity and guides them to take actions that can address the issue within their local communities. 

My Reflection

While taking actions, I found it difficult to dine out while being mindful about food security. It is hard to know where restaurants source their ingredients from. I was able to find some restaurants which offer locally sourced ingredients and I was glad to know that there are restaurants taking food security seriously. The best way for an individual to avoid contributing to lack of food security is by sourcing and cooking the food by yourself. After learning about food security, I decided to be more mindful of what I ate, and chose to cook at home. By doing this, I was able to spend more time with my family, while educating them about food security.