Welfare Food Challenge – Day 4

It was a rough day. Woke up nauseous and with mild headache and brain fog. It is not unusual for me to have days like this. My health is a bit of a roller coaster, but this morning seemed extra rough and quite possibly exacerbated by this shitty diet. I am also reminded that I don’t digest beans very well, which I will spare you the details of needless to say that I have a sensitive gut.  So what do I eat for protein?  Anyways, I felt better as the day progressed and had enough in my budget for a decent evening snack that included a handful of hazelnuts, a few Tbls of chia seed and coconut milk. It was enough to stave off hunger….until morning.

Fortunately, my work week is pretty easy, which is lucky cause work can include a fair amount of physical work and long hours. Having said this, tomorrow is our school garden day, which includes some physical work. Then Friday will be easy but Sat I booked a landscape work party at the co-op where I live in which we will be building new raised garden beds. I am a bit worried whether I will hold up.

I imagine that being on income assistance or disability and eating poorly would make it hard to pull oneself together, to get out and find work, to simply get through the day without the physical (and mental) energy.  This reminds me of a participant in our Bulk Food Group who is a senior on a meager pension and who called me up and basically told me that she was starving, in the very real sense. Her doctor had told her that she was severely malnourished and needed to start eating properly again. She had very little money to buy healthy food, and for whatever reason was not accessing such food from anywhere.  Her health was compromised and she suffered from a number of chronic ill health conditions. To declare oneself as literally starving in Canada should be an oxymoron.  Good news is that she is feeling much better since accessing fresh produce through our program. She always comes to pick up food and is consistently enthusiastic, positive and extremely grateful for the food.

I am also thinking more about how our commodified food system has really created this messed up two tier system in which there are those of us who can afford healthy food and those who can’t (or many who can only afford healthy food some of the time). At the same time, we have a tremendous surplus of food and up to 30% (maybe higher in some places) wastage. There is no reason why people should or need to go without, especially if we were to find a way to redistribute this surplus food through a redistributive or sharing model. Rather than food as a commodity, good food should be freely available to all as a right or responsibility.

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