2: Zero Hunger
Mapping Food Access in Our Neighbourhoods
Kathy Dunster; Michelle Franklin; and Zev Cossin
You are a part of a global effort to increase access to education and empower students through “open pedagogy.” Open pedagogy is a “free access” educational practice that places you – the student – at the center of your own learning process in a more engaging, collaborative learning environment. The ultimate purpose of this effort is to achieve greater social justice in our community in which the work can be freely shared with the broader community. This is a renewable assignment that is designed to enable you to become an agent of change in your community through the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this work, you will integrate the disciplines of Anthropology; Urban Ecosystems; Sustainable Horticulture to achieve SDG #02: Zero Hunger Target 2.1: By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
Identify similarities, differences, challenges, and creative opportunities provided by a local food desert, food mirage, or food swamp.
Explain social and health effects of a food desert, food mirage, or food swamp in the local community.
To create a document that can be distributed in and around the community to help others seeking affordable and nutritional sources of food.
Imagine you are living in an urban food desert, far from a farm where you can purchase healthy, affordable, locally grown produce (vegetables and fruit). We all need to eat but you do not have the money to take transit to the supermarket where you have the most choices. One time you walked past the local farmer’s market and you could not believe what you were seeing: fresh, delicious-looking vegetables and fruit from nearby organic farms, but $5.00 for a head of lettuce was not in your wallet, and never would be: that the market was not accessible to people like you and was a food mirage. You moved to a new neighbourhood and found various grocery store options within walking distance, but along the way you are inundated with the temptation to spend your money on fast food or fancy beverages (food swamp).
There is a large and growing body of research noting that food deserts and food swamps can lead to malnourishment, undernourishment, and obesity. With obesity comes costs to human health, society, and the economy. While some consume too much for their needs, others suffer from hunger.
The 2018 Global Nutrition Report tracks country progress against the following targets: child overweight, child wasting, child stunting, exclusive breastfeeding, diabetes among women, diabetes among men, anaemia in women of reproductive age, obesity among women, and obesity among men.
- Canada is listed as meeting one target.
- The USA is listed as not meeting any targets. Further, in Appendix 3 the USA is one of 11 countries noted as being malnourished or undernourished because of obesity.
Map: For this assignment, you will be mapping food access around your campus in order to explore local food security or insecurity. You will inventory all food sources within the municipal boundaries of the community in which your campus is located. This includes, but is not limited to grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, and free food sources such as food banks, places of worship, and community gardens and kitchens. You will locate them on a Google Map that is shareable with your classmates.
Discuss: After the map is compiled you and your classmates will discuss and determine whether (and why) your campus is located in a food desert, food mirage, or food swamp from the perspective/reality of being a post-secondary student that is affected by access (or lack of) to healthy food. We will compare the maps produced by students at both KPU and MC to discover similarities, differences, challenges, and creative opportunities. How might others in your community have differential access to these food sources? What might some of the social/health effects be of them?
Create: After individually reflecting and then collectively discussing what we have learned, the class will look for practical solutions to the food problems surrounding the campus. The final task in this assignment is to create a document that can be distributed in and around the community to help others seeking affordable and nutritional sources of food.