Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Food Banks Fear Perfect Storm from Rising Fresh Food Prices

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Food Banks Fear Perfect Storm from Rising Fresh Food Prices

Article excerpt

Price increases squeeze Canadian food banks

--

MONTREAL - Canadian food banks hope that the pinch they're feeling from rising food prices isn't snowballing into a full-fledged crisis.

While each agency has unique circumstances, many say higher prices during the peak winter period are limiting how much food they can purchase and having an impact on donations while also spurring a greater demand for their services.

"The difficult thing for any food bank is trying to prepare for the year ahead and what might happen in a situation like that," said Michael Maidment, executive director of the Ottawa Food Bank.

Fresh produce prices began to surge after Christmas as adverse weather in U.S. growing regions and a weaker Canadian dollar caused the cost of imports to soar. Some food banks shifted what they handed out, turning more to canned and frozen goods. Most tried to access locally grown produce, particularly root vegetables.

But Maidment said vegetable vendors have warned to expect higher prices for those items too due to the greater demand.

A case in point -- the price of Ontario-grown carrots, a common replacement for higher priced alternatives, has surged 18 per cent in two weeks, Maidment said.

That will put a strain on his food bank's $50,000 fresh produce budget, which is designed provide enough food for spring, when the facility begins to grow its own vegetables with the help of volunteers.

"We expected the price would increase after the Canadian stock was depleted and then we were importing ... but we've obviously seen it much sooner than that."

That's not good news for the head of the Edmonton Food Bank, who has delayed putting in an order for carrots because the total bill has doubled -- right when there are more mouths to feed.

The economic downturn in Alberta due to the global oil price plunge has resulted in a whopping 60 per cent increase in the number of people turning to the food bank -- 19,000 people used the Edmonton facility in December, many of whom have lost their jobs in recent months. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.