›› Katrina Philpotts

Food insecurity, the inability to access sufficient, safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods, is increasing at disproportionate rates in many Indigenous communities in Canada. However, the impacts of the lack of access to land for food and cultural practices among urban Indigenous populations have been poorly documented.

Originally from Nunavut, I know too well the hard issue my ­community faces. Although food insecurity is a ­problem throughout Canada, it is hitting ­Nunavut especially hard and is something I ­understand way too well. At one point, Food Secure Canada reported that nearly 70% of the Nunavut population were food insecure. Such ­pervasive food insecurity in northern Canada is a direct violation of the right to available, ­accessible, and adequate food.

I now live in Victoria, BC, and know that the Capital Region’s food insecurity rate of 14% is still slightly higher than the national rate.

Food is a vital part of Indigenous ­culture, well-being, and health. Food security is essential to our ability to make healthy choices and live our best lives. Research consistently shows the link between wholesome food choices and healthy eating. Having access to affordable and nutritious food is a vital determinant in improving the health and wellbeing of our people and communities.

Writing this article is an opportunity for me and others in my community to celebrate and highlight the importance of accessing and eating healthy food. The Good Food Box and the Victoria Native Friendship Centre have collaborated over the years to come together and ­provide fresh foods to the urban Indigenous ­community. The Good Food Box inspires and nurtures a healthy community by having built a local, sustainable, and ­Vancouver Island food economy. The hope is that the ­Victoria Native Friendship ­Centre ­continues to actively collaborate with local partners, like the Good Food Box, to continue to develop shared approaches and find innovative solutions so that we can keep moving forward as an equitable and healthy urban Indigenous community.

Katrina Philpotts is the Special Projects ­Assistant/Library Coordinator at ­Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC). VNFC is a partner organization of the Gift of Good Food.