Our access to nutritious food is closely tied to our work, family, and social lives
all of which have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These impacts have created new barriers to accessing food, while exacerbating existing barriers. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted food access in Guelph-Wellington, Our Food Future, in partnership with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health and Toward Common Ground, asked community members and social service providers about their experiences of food access and food insecurity during the pandemic. What we learned is summarized over the next few pages and will be used to establish local priorities and identify and implement interventions to increase access to affordable, nutritious foods for everyone in Guelph-Wellington.
COVID-19 restrictions and the individual actions people took to keep themselves and others
safe changed how we access food. A snapshot of what we heard:
• Many people stayed home to limit their exposure to COVID-19, while others who were caring for family members were unable to leave the home easily. This made it challenging to get to grocery stores and community organizations for food.
• Job loss and increasing food prices related to the pandemic impacted some households’ ability to afford nutritious food, leading them to experience food insecurity for the first time.
• Community organizations that support people experiencing food insecurity noticed a change in demand for emergency food services during the pandemic. Forty-two percent of community organizations that were surveyed reported an increase in demand with new clients and more food needed by existing clients.
• While the barriers to affordable, nutritious food are perceived differently between people who are at increased risk of food insecurity and those who are not, both groups agreed that income-based solutions, such as guaranteed annual income and a living wage, would help to increase food access.