What is food literacy?
Food literacy is having the knowledge, skills, capacity and attitudes to choose, grow, prepare and enjoy healthy food to promote a healthy lifestyle. It means understanding the impact of our food choices on our health, community, environment and our economy, and the role that food plays in families, communities and cultures.
Food literacy is influenced by the environment in which we live and is developed over time. Food literacy is critical in order to navigate and participate within a complex and dynamic food system.
What is food insecurity?
Food insecurity is the inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints. Marginal food insecurity is worrying about running out of food and/or limited food selection due to a lack of money for food. Moderate food insecurity is having to make a compromise in quality and/or quantity of food due to a lack of money for food.
Food insecurity is a serious problem in Canada that negatively impacts physical, mental, and social health, and costs our healthcare system considerably.
What is the difference between a food bank and GROW?
GROW is not a food bank, but we share the same commitment: helping to relieve food insecurity. Think of food banks as an emergency room, and GROW as the wellness centre for food.
With over 2,423 residents in the Elgin Community living in poverty, we know food banks and programs like GROW play a vital role in providing food access for our most vulnerable. We also know that many people face barriers to accessing support, such as low-income cut-offs or limitations on the number of visits to the food bank. As the gap continues to widen between income and living costs, so does the need for new approaches to food security.
GROW’s mission is to put healthy food within everyone’s reach, at any time. GROW provides a space for community members to come together, learn about food literacy, shop at the low-cost market, grow food, and prepare food in an empowering environment.
Why are we here?
Food insecurity is a very serious problem in the Niagara Region. According to Niagara Region Public Health, 49,000 people in the Niagara Region are receiving government assistance. Food insecurity affects 10% of Niagara Region households and a quarter of these households have no place to go for food.
Specifically, Niagara falls, the Elgin Neighbourhood, where GROW is located, has the following evidenced-based needs according to Niagara Region (2019):
- low income measure (28.52%)
- household income under $20,000 (20.91%)
- working poverty (15.82%)
- tenants paying 30% or more income on rent (53.98%)
- unemployed (8.85%)
- no high school diploma (17.02%)
What does GROW do?
GROW works to increase food security through access and education. We do this through two strategic goals:
1. Healthy Food Access: access to safe, healthy, local, and culturally acceptable food.
2. Food Literacy and Skills: information, knowledge, relationships, capacity and the environments to support healthy eating and to make healthy choices.
We are working to bring people together to build social connections and community capacity, increase access to healthy food and food skills, and elevate the voice of community members to address the root causes of the issues that affect them.
GROW Community Food Literacy Centre is a dynamic and responsive non-profit organization that supports people to eat well, connect with their neighbours and contribute, through advocacy and mutual support, to a more just and inclusive Canada. The core of our work is achieved by partnering with local agencies, schools, community programs, local farms, organizations and food distributors.
Who can access GROW?
We are a community centre for food with a city-wide approach. All are welcome to participate in our programs and services. However, our low-cost market is specifically designed to relieve the financial stresses many of our low-income residents face (proof of income required). It is also the only fresh food market for many of our residents who do not have the means to go to a grocery store because of lack of mobility or access to transportation.
If you do not meet the low-income threshold for our market, and wish to support our programs and mission, we encourage you to volunteer.
What can I do to help?
Visit our donate page and see how you can help GROW provide access to good food for all!
Send us an email if you are interested in volunteering at one of our market days or specialty programs.