GROW was established as a result of the call to action for healthy eating, using a food literacy
framework (Food Literacy For Life July 2017). Food Literacy strengthens people’s knowledge about and ability to take action across all components of the food cycle including food productions, distribution, preparation, consumption, access, food marketing and waste handling. Food Literacy matters because it holds the potential to transform the ways people act within the food system bringing about positive change in critical areas.
Well, what is food literacy? The term food literacy has evolved - food literacy is a complex and multifaceted concept but generally encompasses the knowledge, skills, behaviour and attitudes related to food. Over the last decade, the definition of food literacy has been expanded beyond food skills and nutrition knowledge to include food environments and the food system, but also contextual influences such as sociocultural and socio-economic factors. More recently scholars argue for a critical view of food literacy that takes into account the power imbalances of our food system prompting us to consider questions related to healthy food access, increased corporate food system control, who profits, and who loses (Renwick & Powell, 2019; Sumner, 2015). As schools, community organizations, and policy makers continue to turn to food literacy to promote healthier dietary behaviours and increase population health, this review seeks to conceptualize the broadened understanding of food literacy and shed light on the critical and contextual aspects of food literacy (Farrell, 2021).
The Niagara Food Forum Community Report 2019 further recommended promoting advocacy efforts and education, and innovative food provision models to improve food security for all residents in Niagara.
According to The Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy (OFNS, 2019), “The food environment in Canada has changed substantially over recent decades with the growth of global food systems, that include large scale retail stores, fast-food outlets and highly processed food products that may be negatively associated with health”. In addition, there is a new and innovative shift in how food insecurity is addressed, with a move away from stand-alone emergency food services, to long-term, community-wide strategies that address the core causes of food in-security.