Paying for Nutrition

Funded by Industry Canada, the project will define methodology, conduct research, and produce a report comparing the cost of healthy foods in two regions of Canada: Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario.  
As demonstrated by the Council of Canadian Academies recent report on Aboriginal Food Security in Northern Canada, food insecurity in the north is a crisis in need of urgent attention. Food Secure Canada (FSC) has convened and supported the Northern and Remote Food Network for the past 5 years in order to share information and develop collective projects to impact policy that affects food security and food sovereignty in northern and remote communities. The network and its members have identified food costing research as a need to support their work locally, regionally and nationally.  Food costing involves gathering the prices of different foods to assess the cost of eating a basic healthy diet (more information is available here).  While food costing methods are well developed for ‘southern’ Canada using the 2008 National Nutritious Food Basket (NNFB), many believe that the Revised Northern Food Basket (RNFB) does not adequately reflect the realities in Northern Canada, in particular the reliance on traditional / country foods to meet food needs.  As a consequence, many local efforts are under way to revise food costing.  Paying for Nutrition will bring together those wishing to advance food costing work with a particular focus in Northern Canada.
Goals of Project
  • Develop guidelines that improve the nutritious food basket methodology in the north and determine if data can be compared across regions.
  • Study affordability of nutritious food basket (compared to cost of living) in two regions (Northern and Southern Canada) and determine if and how to compare prices across the North and South. 
  • Strengthen work of Northern network through a community of practice on food costing in the north and a report on cost of food in North to support advocacy efforts.
  • Apply and promote participatory food costing methods where feasible.
Community of Practice on Food Costing in Northern and Remote Communities
As a part of the project, Food Secure Canada will hold a series of teleconference meetings to provide expertise on the complexities of food costing in northern and remote Canada. This group will meet on a regular basis by teleconference to dig into some of the tough questions around food costing.  These conversations will help shape the methodology guide on food costing in the north which will be one of the outcomes of this project.
Topics of conversation will include: 
  • Collecting valid, representative data 
  • Including traditional food in food costing 
  • Comparing between northern communities and between northern and southern regions 
  • Accounting for differences in quality, expiry dates, and variety of foods
  • Seasonal variations in availability and affordability of food
This month's discussion: Tuesday May 26, 1-2pm EST
Traditional foods are the basis of indigenous, and many northern, diets.
How do we determine the cost in dollars for foods which are hunted, fished, gathered?
Researchers have collected prices for equipment and supplies, attempted to measure time, effort, and opportunity costs.
Can we come up with a methodology to cost and compare traditional food? This topic may run into two sessions!
Sign-up below to join in the conversation and receive email communication about upcoming teleconference meetings.
Contact Information