COVID-19 and Challenges in Food Accessibility and Security in the Priority Neighborhood, Toronto: We Need What Further
Emerging Challenges in Agriculture and Food Science Vol. 7,
28 September 2022
The provincial and federal governments provided emergency funding to local community organizations to reduce food insecurity and improve food accessibility to people affected by COVID-19 by giving free food support. The study explored the challenges of people and the local organizations in receiving and providing free food support and what further was needed to achieve food accessibility and security in the priority neighborhood.
Nine representatives of the local community organizations, 15 volunteers, 10 community members (food recipients) participated in the community conversation or the extensive group discussion. They shared their experiences about challenges in food accessibility during COVID-19, and what we further needed to improve the food accessibility in the priority neighborhood. Two note-takers obtained data from the community conversation, and it was a qualitative study and used a thematic approach to analyze the data and interpretation.
Lack of information of free food, language issues, the social stigma attached to requesting free food support, and fear of COVID-19 were obstacles for community members seeking free food support. The community organisations, on the other hand, lacked knowledge of those who truly needed food assistance, adequate transportation, enough room to store food, and sufficient numbers of dedicated and qualified volunteers to assist with food distribution. Additionally, there was a lack of funds for community organisations to supply people with food. The local community organizations needed an assessment to understand the available resources so that local organizations could use the resources to improve food accessibility in the community. Furthermore, the organizations required coordination and cooperation each other and extended food funding to affected families. In addition, the local organizations needed to work with community gardens, community kitchens, and food banks to support and meet the community's demands for improving food accessibility.
People and local organizations had information and communication, social, structural and systemic, and financial challenges for adequate food accessibility in the priority neighborhood during COVID-19. The study also indicated what was needed to make adequate food accessible for the community.
- Food bank
- food support
- cultural food
- community organizations