SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The Community Food Action Program was launched today in Saint John at the Crescent Valley community garden by Culture, Tourism and Healthy Living Minister Trevor Holder.

The program was created to support individuals and groups in their efforts to build stronger, healthier and food-secure communities.

"Having a food-secure province means that more New Brunswickers will be able to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle," said Holder. "We are committed to seeing that vision become a reality. The positive impact of initiatives such as community gardens, collective kitchens, and cooking programs are already being seen in our province. This program will provide leadership in helping create opportunities that allow New Brunswickers to get affordable food. It will allow communities to take those positive changes even further."

From 2007 to 2008, 10 per cent of New Brunswick households experienced food insecurity. This means that at times, these households were unable to afford enough food to meet the needs of all their family members. Studies have shown that problems like these are associated with obesity, distress and depression.

The Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation is among the partner organizations working with the Department of Culture, Tourism and Healthy Living on the project.

"This program fits well in the efforts toward reinforcing the capacity for managing health by and for the people of the province," said Léo-Paul Pinet, president of the corporation. "Already, a majority of the province's 12 community inclusion networks have identified this need in their regional action plans. This program will help New Brunswick communities address those needs."

Organizations can apply for up to $2,000 in funding per project. Funding will be granted to initiatives that demonstrate an ability to increase food knowledge and skills, access to healthy food, and community engagement and mobilization by building on local assets and capacities. The program was designed with the collaboration of several community stakeholders to ensure a sustainable approach.

"In order to increase food security and improve health and wellness, a comprehensive and collaborative approach is required," said Holder. "The Community Food Action Program will help fulfill the need for long-term solutions that can improve the quality of life for New Brunswickers."


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