Learning from Practice: Advocacy for Health Equity from a Food Security Perspective

Context: This paper from the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health highlights the experience of the Ontario Association of Public Health Nutrition Professionals and Food Secure Canada in advocating to improve food security focusing on three advocacy roles in public health.

  • Role 1 - Framing food security as being related to inadequate income and advocating for a move away from charity-based approaches (e.g. food banks) to a focus on income related solutions.
  • Role 2 Both organizations supported the generation and use of data needed to move forward the policy agendas
  • Role 3 Working in collaboration and developing alliances with a broad range of partners

Public health professionals can use this resource to:

  • Integrate an advocacy approach into your health equity activities
  • Develop a health equity framework or strategy for your organization
  • Support a conversation in your organization on policy approaches to improving food security

"Food Secure Canada has taken an approach to framing that emphasizes the collective nature of the issues and solutions surrounding food security, especially as they relate to complex food systems. FSC has thoughtfully considered the way it communicates about issues for each specific advocacy initiative.

For instance, the goal of FSC’s Eat Think Vote campaign in 2015 was framed as ‘good food for all’, a strategy that was deemed to be successful, following the campaign’s evaluation stage.


Advocacy is at its most powerful when it comes from an alliance of many different individuals and groups (ideally from a wide variety of sectors) working together. Consistent with its overall goal of bringing diverse sets of organizations together, advocacy efforts work to emphasize that many actors – civil society, different levels of government, and private businesses – need to work together.

“We don’t have all the answers. But what we can do is to convene actors to understand these systems, where the problems are, and how we can address them together – collectively. ” FSC has built strong partnerships with a wide variety of networks. Those networks include public health- affiliated organizations like Dietitians of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and some Ontario Public Health Units, including those from Sudbury and Thunder Bay."

Read the full paper:

Learning from Practice: Advocacy for health equity - Food security

National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health | 2017

Network group: 
- Private group -