Alongside feeling hunger this week, I’m learning about it.
To be fair, this is part of my job and happens constantly. But these past few days, the learning has been particularly poignant.
I was visited today by a group from Shawanaga First Nations, near Parry Sound, Ontario. Food insecurity is vast in their area, with the nearest affordable food outlet being a $40 cab ride away — each way! As one woman explained, their hope is to return their community back to how it used to operate – self-sufficiently.
The conversation was truly inspiring. Their healing centre ran a program this fall that brought youth into the woods where they learned to hunt. Other nearby communities have had successes in buying tracts of land and turning them into sources of food and revenues. And certainly, their excitement around the idea of Community Food Centers was incredible.
Despite all this, I left the conversation troubled.
Excitement like both theirs and mine is both wonderful and vital, and I certainly don’t want to underscore its importance. But it’s born out of a great need. A need created from generations of inequity across the map. And I can’t help but feel that these issues — of hunger, poverty, etc. — shouldn’t just be the responsibility of a small group of concerned individuals. It should be our collective responsibility. And moreso, it needs to be the responsibility of our governments.
So as I go to bed tonight, tummy still rumbling but soul full of a fiery desire for change, I think about this: how do we tackle these issues collectively, and how do we insist that the government join in too?
(As a total aside, I was humbled and excited to see a little write up that appeared in a Toronto Star blog today about 52 Projects! Check it out here, and follow along with Emily’s adventures of learning about survivalism in the city. Thanks Emily!)