- Current Initiatives > Healthy Eating (Food Security)

Food Security

Food Security

Food security exists when all community residents have access to a safe, affordable, personally acceptable, nutritious diet that comes from a sustainable food system that maximizes healthy choices, community self-reliance, and equal access for everyone. 


Food security is an important issue for individuals and families as well as the communities they live in. Local food security is influenced by a number of factors. 


·         Lack of income: Many low income individuals and families don't have enough money to take care of healthy food and other basic needs. The issue is not the high cost of food, it is the lack of adequate income: the price of food relative to average income is actually lower in Canada than in almost all other developed countries. Unfortunately, high fat, high calorie diets taste good and cost less than "prudent" diets based on lean meats, fish, fresh vegetables and fruit. In Ontario, lack of food security is linked to low household income from either employment or social assistance and to not owning a home. Having a job is no guarantee of adequate income for food: over half of food insecure Ontario households depend on income from employment.

·         Grocery stores, farmers' markets and gardens out of easy reach:  People are more likely to meet nutrition recommendations when they have ready access to grocery stores with healthy and affordable food as opposed to convenience stores that offer mostly packaged processed food.  Low income neighborhoods often have a higher density of convenience stores selling "junk" food, liquor stores and fast food outlets relative to full service grocery stores.

·         Community gardens and other forms of urban agriculture: Provide opportunities to increase access to healthy food.

What would food security look like in our community?

·         Community partners help develop local food charters, urban agriculture guidelines, local food procurement policies and land-use planning policies.

·         Local land use planning policies make sure there are grocery stores, community gardens and farmers' markets within easy reach.

·         Property taxes, land-use decisions and other laws and guidelines help local farmers, and those who process and sell food, compete fairly with imported food. 

·         Food is produced and sold within the local region.

·         Social assistance and minimum wage is based on local living costs and covers the cost of a healthy diet and other basic needs.

·         Education and training help people choose local foods and prepare them in healthy ways.

Food security has many benefits

·         Keeping money spent on food in the community supports local farmers and others in the food sector by creating jobs, income and security.

·         Makes healthy foods more available so people can meet their nutrition needs.

·         Increases the number of vegetables and fruit people eat, which is an important part of a healthy diet.

·         When people buy local and eat foods in season, it helps to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality.


Community Garden

Wasaga Beach Community Garden

Community gardens are places where people come together to grow fresh food, to learn, relax and make new friends. Community gardeners know that sharing land to grow food and other plants builds a sense of place and community.


The benefits of the community garden include:

·         easy access to fresh, nutritious food

·         a sense of achievement that comes through growing some of your own food needs

·         making friends with people in the neighborhood learning the skills of gardening, shared decision making   and cooperation, all of which are necessary to successful community gardens

·         healthy outdoor exercise

·         participating in a constructive and productive recreational activity

·         Improving the local environment.




In December 2011, Development Committee of the Town received a report from the Healthy Community Network (HCN) outlining their goals for 2012. One of these goals proposed that the HCN, "In collaboration with the Parks, Facilities and Recreation Department explore the feasibility of implementing a Municipal Community Gardens Project." This goal is consistent with recommendations in the recently completed Parks, Facilities and Recreation Master Plan.



In February of 2012, a Community Gardens Committee was established comprising representatives from the Parks Facilities and Recreation Department (3 members), the HCN (3 members), the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (2 members), the South Georgian Bay Community Health Centre (1 member) and nine local residents, including six members of the Wasaga Beach Garden Club.



The objective of the project is to provide the opportunity for local residents to have access to fresh, healthy food and to provide a forum where they can learn basic gardening skills. The Committee hopes that armed with the experience of growing their own food, the participants will be motivated to create vegetable gardens in their own backyards and encourage their neighbors to do the same. In this way, the project has the potential, over time, to create many converts to the "grow local" philosophy who can benefit from the advantages which growing local, healthy food can bring.



The community garden has been approved as a two year pilot project for the Town of Wasaga Beach. The 2013 growing season has all 52 individual plots planted by multiple community organizations and residents. Many of the gardeners are donating all of the produce from their plots to the local food bank in Wasaga Beach. In addition there are 7 plots being grown by the YMCA and the South Georgian Bay Community Health Center for food skills programming and youth engagement.


For more information, please contact


Peter Wilmott at willmottp@sympatico.ca


If you are interested in applying for a plot please click the link after the photos below to download the application form.

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