The cost of eating healthy in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and Prescott-Russell (SDG & PR) has increased by 52% over the last 10 years. In 2003, it cost a bit over $125 per week to feed a family of four consisting of two parents and two children. By 2012, a survey on the cost of a nutritious food basket conducted by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) determined that it cost about $190 a week, or $823 per month.
This amount does not include convenience food items, eating out, or the additional cost of inviting company to share a meal. The results of the Nutritious Food Basket survey show that households with limited income struggle to pay rent, bills, and eat healthy. Limited accessibility and insufficient income to purchase nutritious food is therefore threatening the health and well-being of many families and individuals in our communities.
In light of the rising cost of food, the EOHU is launching an online Directory of Local Food Programs and Services. The resource, which can be found at www.eohu.ca, enables residents of the five counties to easily find resources and programs where they can access nutritious food in their neighbourhood. Food banks, the Green Food Box program, Meals on Wheels and community kitchens are a few examples of programs and services listed in the directory.
The Green Food Box is a non-profit program available in the five counties that gives clients access to a box or bag of fresh fruits and vegetables at a fair price on a monthly basis. To find out more about the Green Food Box program in your community, call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120 and ask for Health Line. You can also visit www.allthingsfoodbouffe360.ca or the Green Food Box page on the EOHU’s website at www.eohu.ca. The page can be found by clicking on the Community Health tab on the homepage and then selecting the topic of Nutrition.
Every year, the EOHU completes the costing of 67 food items designed to reflect an eating pattern that meets the guidelines established in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. The data collected in the Nutritious Food Basket survey helps to determine the average cost of eating healthy for families and individuals.
For more information about the directory and the Green Food Box program, visit the Community Health section of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s website at www.eohu.ca and click on the topic of Nutrition. You can also call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120 and ask for Health Line.