Welfare Food Challenge – Day 5

Am relieved to have gotten through the day given that this was my most physically demanding day. On top of work, I found the energy to cycle over to the Vancouver School Board rally in protest of the provincial government’s firing of that Board. Funny how the issues are connected – a provincial government that has little regard for poverty reduction nor public education.

Anyway, back to the Challenge. My co-worker Kathy Whittam, who is also on the Challenge, again shared me some of her food, which again, helped me through the day. I guess this is what people in this situation do….they help each other. Kathy, her husband and daughter are all on the Challenge and she says it is a bit easier for them having $54 for the week and being able to stretch that money further…for example, finding a large bag of potatoes for a few bucks, like bulk buying. Kathy also took more time to source out the cheapest food she could find. I have actually been under budget for a few days, so was also able to splurge a bit tonight and roasted up 2 full potatoes with ketchup. Wow, what a treat….two potatoes.

My understanding from today is the importance of sharing. I alluded to this in my previous post where I mentioned the need to better redistribute food surplus, to work towards creating a sharing economy in which we take care of others based on free access to food. This is a notion that has become more clear to me recently when challenged by First Nation leaders who I work with, that food security is not simply a right, as defined by some legal principal, but rather a responsibility, and one of four core values in the Aboriginal world view –  the three others being respect, wisdom, and relationships. We have the responsibility to ourselves, our families, our communities, and the land.  It also entails mutual accountability, reciprocity, maintaining a healthy, balanced life as well as showing leadership through modelling wellness and healthy behaviors (First Nations Health Authority). When I see First Nations standing up for the environment for example, I better understand that this commitment comes from an awareness of one’s responsibility.

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