Government of Canada supports initiative to help Canadians with low incomes access fresh produce

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, plays an important role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians and helps prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Unfortunately, there are some Canadians who do not fully enjoy the benefits of continued good health. Canadians with low incomes can face barriers that may limit their ability to access and enjoy the benefits of nutritious foods.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $1.5 million in funding to support Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) to expand its Market Greens initiative to approximately 30 locations across Canada. This initiative aims to support healthy eating and increase food access among Canadians in low-income neighbourhoods. It will do so by establishing and increasing access to low-cost fresh produce markets and offering fruit and vegetable vouchers that can be used at participating local affordable markets.

The Market Greens initiative will support local organizations to create year-round community markets that will offer low-cost, fresh produce for Canadians in low-income neighbourhoods. These produce markets may also offer activities such as food demonstrations and tips and recipes from Canada’s Food Guide to help participants eat healthy on a budget. The new Canada’s Food Guide provides advice on how to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks to help you eat healthy and save money.

The CFCC will also pilot a cost-saving voucher program for groups at higher risk of experiencing food insecurity such as newcomers to Canada, Indigenous peoples, those at risk of some chronic diseases and households with young children. The vouchers will work as an incentive that will allow participants to purchase fruits and vegetables at participating local markets at a reduced cost, thereby providing increased access to nutritious foods. The initiative will also promote community resources like cooking programs, community meals and garden workshops.

In addition, the CFCC will pilot an innovative program where physicians at select community health centres will issue prescriptions for fruits and vegetables, primarily to low-income people living on low incomes who are also managing chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes. The prescriptions can be redeemed at participating local community markets to help patients easily access nutritious foods.Quick Facts

The Public Health Agency of Canada is providing $1.5 million to CFCC to support the Market Greens initiative. Through this investment, CFCC has also leveraged matched funding from the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security and the Arrell Family Foundation.

The Market Greens initiative is funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention – Multi-sectoral Partnership program. Since 2013, this program invests $20 million annually and leverages additional non-governmental funding to support interventions that encourage behaviour change and positively affect the health of Canadians.

Canada’s Food Guide snapshot is now available in 31 languages. In addition to English and French, the snapshot is available in 9 Indigenous languages and 20 other languages.

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