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This article was published 9/9/2014 (1380 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Inkster area faces "significant food challenges" according to research done by Food Matters Manitoba.
The registered charity released the findings of its Inkster community food assessment on Aug. 25 at Norwest Co-op Community Health Centre. According to the assessment, Inkster is home to some of Winnipeg’s lowest-income neighbourhoods, has the fastest-rising diabetes prevalence, the highest rate of hypertension in the city, and has limited access to grocery stores.
Inkster includes the areas of Inkster East (Brooklands, Burrows-Keewatin, Inkster Industrial Park, Pacific Industrial, Shaughnessy Park, Weston and Weston Shops) and Inkster West (Inkster Gardens, North Inkster, Oak Point Highway and Tyndall Park).
Kreesta Doucette, executive director of Food Matters Manitoba, said one of the key challenges for food security in Inkster is geographic isolation. Inkster contains industrial parks and railways, with over half the land in the area being non-residential.
"Only 27 per cent of Inkster residents are within walkable distance (one kilometre) of a grocery store," said Doucette, noting that the only full-service grocery stores in Inkster are the Safeway at 850 Keewatin St. and the Sobeys at 1870 Burrows Ave.
Doucette said low income is another food challenge for many Inkster residents, especially in the Weston, Brooklands, Shaughnessy Park and Burrows-Keewatin neighbourhoods. Doucette said the average household income in the Gilbert Park area (a pocket of Burrows-Keewatin) is just over $15,000.
Food Matters Manitoba’s research found that over half of the stores surveyed were selling milk over the legal regulated price of $1.56 for a one litre.
"It doesn’t seem like much, 20 or 30 cents on a one litre of milk, but if you’re on social assistance or you have a really low budget, it adds up really quickly, let alone if you’re having to take a bus or a cab to buy your groceries," Doucette said.
To improve geographic and economic food access in Inkster, the assessment suggests developing fresh food markets at community organizations, adjusting bus routes to improve service to grocery stores and increasing access to affordable, healthy food purchasing programs like Winnipeg Food Share Co-op’s Good Food Box program.
In addition to geographic and economic food access, Doucette said the third piece of the puzzle is food education. The assessment suggests such things as providing health information and classes in different languages and incorporating the food traditions of neighbourhood residents into food education.
The Inkster community food assessment was developed in partnership with NorWest Co-op Community Health, which will open the NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre at 103-61 Tyndall Ave. later this year.
"The information from the Inkster community food assessment provides the community with both a road map and a tool for advocacy," said Kristina McMillan, director of NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre.
"My hope is that this assessment and the opening of the Community Food Centre will act as a catalyst and that together with other stakeholders we can move towards healthier futures for this community."
Go to www.foodmattersmanitoba.ca to access the Inkster community food assessment.
Also, Food Matters Manitoba will host Politics on the Plate, a mayoral forum focused on food issues, on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Eckhardt Gramatté Hall in the University of Winnipeg.
Community journalist — The Times
Jared Story is the community journalist for The Times. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7206