By Jessica Nicksy
I recently set out to find out what people in Parry Sound & Area think about food: where it’s going, where we’ve come from, and what needs to change. I interviewed about 40 people from across the food system: farmers, small business owners, non-profits, town and township councilors, food and social service users. They spoke to me about their experiences, both professional and personal, with food in Parry Sound.
While no two people saw the food system in exactly the same way, what was consistent was the idea that things could be better. Prominent narratives included the difficulty of accessing food for many in the area, whether the barrier is money, time, or skills; the decline of agriculture, home growing, and food skills; the vulnerability of food prices in Parry Sound to national and global trends. Amidst these troubling trends, many also saw a hopeful way forward. They pointed to an increasing recognition of food as an important community builder linking human health (both mental and physical), the environment, and a strong local economy. They highlighted the multitude of new initiatives in the Parry Sound area that build community through food, from community gardens and kitchens to Meet Your Local Maker events.
It would be impossible to share all of the information that was gathered in those interviews, even in a lengthy report. Instead, I created an infographic that summarizes the most important concepts, and links them to data from the Parry Sound Area. Check it out below.