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Food Security

The Population & Public Health program works with a variety of partners to improve food security in BC.
Our activities

PPH is actively involved in advancing food security in B.C. and plays a key role in leading and facilitating collaboration across government, health authority and non-government sectors to increase food security. 

PPH’s food security role started in 2005 to support the health authorities with implementation of a health promotion initiative called the Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI). PPH coordinated activities and program evaluation, developed resources, and collated evidence. 

The scope of food security work now extends beyond the CFAI to address multiple strategies that impact food security as outlined in the Ministry of Health core public health program paper on food security. Examples of PPH activities include:

  • Coordinating a provincial health authority food security committee
  • Leading and facilitating collaborative provincial food security planning
  • Collecting, analyzing, and reporting on various measures of food security in B.C.
  • Working with partners to support knowledge and awareness of food security issues among Aboriginal populations
  • Managing the BC Food Security Gateway, a website that helps people and organizations across BC access food security information and resources

BC Food Security Gateway

The BC Food Security Gateway (the Gateway) is an online resource that provides BC communities with up-to-date food security information.

The Gateway is meant to inform and link you to projects, initiatives, and organizations in British Columbia as well as publications, tools, guides, and news – so that you, too, can contribute to building food security in B.C.

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) manages the Gateway in partnership with the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC).

Reports & resources

Food Security Indicators

This work will replace the indicators developed in 2009 with evidence-based indicators that better reflect the context and breadth of food security work occurring in B.C. The indicators will inform policy and practice by demonstrating the current state of food security/household food insecurity in B.C.; reflect the impact of food security initiatives; and highlight where gaps exist and further work is needed to improve food security. 

Framework for food security indicators

BCCDC developed the framework to guide the revision of existing, and development of new, food security indicators for B.C. It divides food security into three key elements and can help illustrate the causal relationships and interconnectedness between indicators once they are developed.

Food security indicators: Review of literature

This document focuses on the literature review process and findings. The findings are summarized under four key themes identified as priorities by the health authorities and the Ministry of Health. The literature summarizes the available evidence for potential indicators and indicator areas.

Food Costing in BC

Food Costing Resources

Food costing involves the biannual collection of food prices in stores across BC for 67 food items in order to calculate the average monthly cost of an adequately nutritious diet. Regional health authority staff and volunteers collect food prices. Audience: Food costing volunteers; Released: February 2016

Food Costing Reports

This report is for anyone interested in household food insecurity and who wants to assess the affordability of a healthy diet. It provides food cost data across BC based on the National Nutritious Food Basket. The report also provides background on household food insecurity and the related health implications. Release: November 2018

Archived reports

Increasing Indigenous children’s access to traditional foods

Analysis of food safety barriers to providing non-market traditional foods to Indigenous children in childcare settings, as well as what enables centres to successfully incorporate traditional foods. A collaboration with the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society. Released: December 2016

Priority health equity indicators for BC: Household food insecurity

Analysis of household food insecurity in British Columbia, completed in partnership with researchers at the University of Toronto. Released: August 2016

Regional infographics

Agriculture's Connection to Health: A summary of the evidence relevant to British Columbia

Presents consolidated evidence on current issues related to BC agriculture and its connection to health. Released: April 2016

Exploring traditional foods

Short videos that explore the role of traditional foods for Aboriginal people and demonstrate cooking methods. Audience: Youth and youth-orientated organizations, as well as anyone with an interest in Indigenous foods; Released: August 2014

Healthy eating & food security for urban Aboriginal peoples living in Vancouver

A case study exploring access to traditional foods for urban Aboriginal people. Released: September 2011

Promoting healthy eating and sustainable local food in BC

An action framework for public institutions to support the determinants of healthy eating while promoting a local and sustainable food supply. Audience: e.g., health authorities, educational institutions, childcare facilities, and local governments; Released: June 2011

Food for thought: The issues and challenges of food security

A synthesis of current evidence on key issues impacting food security in BC. Released: August 2010


Implementing food security indicators

Detailed descriptions of food security indicators to guide their use as part of the Food Security Core Program. Released: May 2010

A seat at the table: Resource guide for local governments to promote food secure communities

Provides ideas for local governments action on how to build food secure communities. Audience: Local governments, anyone working with local governments to promote food security; Released: June 2008

Community food assessment guide

Resources to help communities undertaking a community food assessment. Audience: Local governments & community organizations; Released: March 2008 (guide) & March 2009 (companion tool)

Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI)

A variety of resources related to the implementation and evaluation of CFAI in B.C. Audience: Health authorities; Released: 2006-2008

CFAI implementation reports

CFAI evaluation

A review of policy options for increasing food security & income security in B.C.

A discussion paper about policy options and other measures that might help address issues of food security and income security in British Columbia. Released: 2007

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