© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Riverbank Development Corporation manager and Prince Albert Food Coalition representative Brian Howell joins Mayor Greg Dionne in reiterating their support of the Prince Albert and Area Food Charter at city hall on Tuesday.
Hoisting a framed Prince Albert and Area Food Charter, Mayor Greg Dionne and food coalition representative Brian Howell kicked off a week of action.
The Prince Albert Food Coalition is a “group of community members who are concerned about food security in our community,” Howell explained.
City council has endorsed their food charter since 2002 -- a support reiterated with last year’s unanimous approval of its latest revision.
“It’s a bit unusual for cities to be involved in food security,” Howell said.
“It’s traditionally seen as a job of the federal and provincial governments. But, in Prince Albert I think there’s always been a recognition that our problems are shared and that we all need to work together on common solutions.”
The charter basically notes that “every community member has the basic right to a secure, affordable, nutritious food supply that is produced in an environmentally sustainable manner,” coalition chair Rick Sawa summarized.
Although this year’s Food Security Action Week is piggybacking on Homelessness Action Week, Sawa notes that the two issues don’t necessarily come together.
“It’s not just homeless people who aren’t eating properly -- it’s all kinds of people who are not eating properly,” he said.
Quite often, people are too busy with work commitments to cook a healthy meal, instead relying on fast food.
“If you eat junk food it actually affects your body in a bad way, as opposed to eating healthy, organic … food -- your body thrives on it,” he said.
For another segment of people, who depend on minimum wage, it’s either rent or food -- a situation where food gets the short stick.
“You can’t not pay your rent,” Sawa clarified. “You can eat macaroni and cheese and a loaf of white bread – you can cheat on those, but you can’t cheat on your rent.”
In addition to reiterating his support of the Prince Albert and Area Food Charter during Tuesday’s event, Dionne said that city council is taking action on the issue.
“We have quite a few vacant lots in our west flat and other areas that we are going to talk … about next year, putting in community gardens,” he said.
At the end of the day, food is something I do believe we’re all entitled to. Mayor Greg Dionne
“At the end of the day, food is something I do believe we’re all entitled to.”
Tuesday’s get-together kicks off a week of events centred on food security and homeless.
Check the Daily Herald print edition and website throughout the week for more articles about food security and homelessness in Prince Albert.
Food Security and Homelessness Action Week schedule
10 a.m. -- Announcement of a new homelessness partnering strategy project at city hall.
1:30 p.m. -- Canning and preserving workshop at The NEXT, at 1322 Central Ave. -- upstairs.
7 p.m. -- The movie “A Place at the Table” will be shown at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, at 125 12th St. E.
1 p.m. -- March Against Homelessness will begin at the Indian Métis Friendship Centre, at 1409 First Ave. E. A social event will follow the march.
12 p.m. to 2 p.m. -- the Indian Métis Friendship Centre is holding thanksgiving dinner.
2 p.m. -- A tenancy education program presentation will take place at the Prince Albert Arts Centre, at 1010 Central Ave.
6 p.m. -- A slow food potluck dinner -- slow, indicating it’s not fast-food – will take place at the Grace Mennonite Church, at 250 28th St. W.
10 a.m. – The Prince Albert Food Bank Annual Food Drive will take place, with volunteers heading out around the city to gather food donations.